Leadership conference spurs senior ‘to do more’
Senior psychology major Angie Schoonover, who attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in early summer, has returned to Erskine this fall inspired to “do so much more for the world than just find a career.”
The conference, held June 2-4 at the University of Maryland College Park, was sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
“The Due West Branch of AAUW nominated Angie for AAUW South Carolina’s scholarship, which she received to attend the conference,” Professor Emerita of Biology Dr. Janice Haldeman explained. She noted that Schoonover is the third Erskine College woman to receive the scholarship. Previous winners, each selected when they were rising seniors, were Rachel Whitmire ’14 and Kathleen Watkins ’15.
Schoonover said she was impressed with the conference speakers and enjoyed spending time with some of the attendees, including a group of young women “all from the same school, but extremely diverse in backgrounds and personalities.”
Her own ideas about leadership were reinforced at the conference. “I would like to believe that one person can change the world, but overall, my experience has taught me that working as a team gets the job done.”
But the conference offered more than an affirmation of her own views. The speakers for the event, Schoonover said, “had so much valuable information to share and stories that really sparked a sense of responsibility in me—a responsibility to improve society.”
The speakers’ stories made a personal impact on the Erskine senior. “After hearing so much of the trials they all faced, I was able to realize how lucky I’ve been. One word that kept coming up was ‘privileged,’” she said. “I was also made aware of the changes I can help implement to help others have a fair chance as well.”
Calling the conference “a wonderful experience,” Schoonover observed, “Not only do you get to meet a bunch of inspiring people, you also get a better idea of who you are as a person and what you want to fight for.”
As she begins her senior year, Schoonover aspires to act on what she learned at NCCWSL. “I want to be that person that people can depend on to be fair and to help make our campus an amazing place to be,” she said. “I want people to be able to come to me without fear of judgment or criticism or bias. I think that’s a key part of leadership and equality.”
Looking toward graduation this spring, she is giving serious thought to her next step, and since the conference, she says her ambition is “to do so much more for the world than just find a career.”
So her to-do list has expanded a bit.
“After going to the conference and meeting so many fantastic women, I was inspired to do more,” she said. “I still want to go to graduate school and get a degree in forensic psychology, but I realized that there’s so much more out there.” She said she hopes to “travel,” “implement change,” “touch the lives of young women and men, and help inspire them to make the world a better place.”
Schoonover will deliver a report on her NCCWSL experience to the state AAUW conference in March.
Angie Schoonover, who is from Manning, S.C., has served the Euphemian Little Sisters as chaplain, vice president, and president. She is vice president of the Erskine Society of Psychology (ESP) and co-president of Epsilon Sigma Tau and the Council for Exceptional Children. She worked with an autistic individual for two semesters and has volunteered in Erskine’s animal laboratory. An honoree at the 2016 AAUW Student Recognition Dinner, she is described by Professor of Psychology Dr. Robert Elsner as “a strong leader and brilliant woman whose compassion allows her to gain insight into people’s problems.”