Psychology major Kathleen Watkins of Greenwood attended the 2014 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) June 5-7 at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
The Due West Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) nominated Watkins, who was selected from among nominees throughout South Carolina.
“It’s the second year for our Due West Branch and Erskine to have their nominee chosen to receive the one state scholarship to attend and represent AAUW South Carolina,” Professor Emerita of Biology Dr. Jan Haldeman said.
Last year’s nominee was Rachel Whitmire, a chemistry major from Pendleton who graduated summa cum laude in May.
Watkins, a rising senior, will be serving a second term as chair of the Erskine Entertainment Board beginning this fall. She was among the recipients of the Ruble Student Servant Leadership Award at the 2014 Student Leadership and Awards Gala sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Office of Student Services. She appreciated the chance to enhance her leadership skills at NCCWSL.
“I had such a great time at the NCCWSL conference,” she said. “It was such a neat experience getting to meet individuals from all over the country, and even some foreign countries as well.”
Watkins said her roommate at the conference was from Rhode Island. “We hit it off immediately and I believe that just having her there made my experience as wonderful as it was!” she said.
Speakers at the event included Chelsea Clinton and media technologist Deanna Zandt. Watkins said Clinton was “much more personable and down to earth than I expected,” and called Zandt “an inspiration.”
She attended seminars with serious themes—one panel of women who work in graduate education offered advice on how to prepare for life after an undergraduate career. But her final seminar focused on fun, with a teacher who “led us all in various belly dances and routines.”
“I learned a lot about empowering oneself and honing the specific skills a woman needs to become the best leader she can,” Watkins said.
“NCCWSL is a unique and awesome event,” she said, adding that she would recommend the experience to other college women in leadership positions.
Watkins and her roommate spent an evening with Erskine alumna Sarah Money ’13, who took them to a Thai restaurant.
After dinner, the friends enjoyed seeing some of the sights as the lights came on in the nation’s capital. “D.C. is absolutely beautiful at night!” Watkins said.
The Due West Branch of AAUW was established in 1958-59 through encouragement from Dr. J.R. McCain, Erskine graduate and president of Agnes Scott College, and Mrs. J.M. “Totsy” Lesesne, first lady of Erskine College. Branch members prepare exam bags at Christmas for Erskine students and sponsor a Student Recognition Banquet in the spring for women students at Erskine and at Abbeville County high schools. Professor Emerita of Biology Dr. Janice Haldeman is an active leader in the Due West Branch.