The Independent

NEIU Celebrates its Phenomenal Women Leaders

Janean L. Watkins, Editor in Chief

March 5, 2012

                                                                                          As the Editor in Chief of the paper, and founder of Seeds Literary Journal of NEIU, I understand what it takes to perform in leadership roles here at NEIU. That's why, for women's history month we decided that the best way to pay homage to the women leaders here at the university, was to create a spread that showcase the phenomenal, female student leaders of the NEIU community. When searching for women to honor, we ran across 18 women that are Presidents of the respective organizations. Through pregnancies, poverty, and various forms of adversity – these women has persevered. Not only are they mothers, wives, workers and scholars – these women are in positions of power. They are using what they've got, to make NEIU a better place for each and every student – one organization at a time. Follow them, as they tell you a bit about themselves, and what they do in their everyday lives. ~*~*~*~ Stephanie Gomez is a young Latina feminist raised in Chicago. She founded Latinas in Power (L.I.P.), a sisterhood that promotes academic success and a firm cultural identity for Latinas in college. Currently studying Sociology, she plans on graduating May 2012 and beginning a Master's Program in Latino and Latin American Studies in the fall. She is a Robert E. McNair Scholar and a nominee in "Who's Who Among Colleges and Universities". In addition to researching and organizing, she finds peace in writing and sharing her poetry. She is a true believer that there is power in our narratives and that healing takes place when we share our deepest fears with our comadres. VIVA LA MUJER! "Surround yourself with good people, people who appreciate your light. Don't let anyone dim your light!" – Stephanie Gomez **** *********************************** Hello, my name is Danait Araia and I am President of the Student Government Association. I am a senior here at NEIU and expect to graduate this Spring with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. My interest in government stems from my family's participation in Eritrea. My immediate family and I came to America as political refugees and although we are displaced we continue to fight against oppression in Eritrea. I have been heavily involved in many international and African non-profit organizations with this mission in mind for most of my life. Since joining the NEIU community I have participated in Model Illinois Government twice and SGA for two years. I started in SGA as a Representative in the Council of Clubs in fall 2010. Last year I decided to run for SGA leadership and campaigned for the Vice President position. This semester I was promoted to President and it has really been a great opportunity to refine my leadership skills and experiences before I graduate. I believe my participation in SGA will prepare me for the future and I strongly suggest students look into joining or participating before they leave NEIU.   *************************************** I'm Courtney Jennings-Hope, a 23 year old student who hails from Gurnee IL. I am a Junior, and a Political Science major with a minor in Philosophy. I am active in several clubs, which include my Presidency in the Politics club, membership in Model United Nations and Model Illinois Government; I'm also in the SGA as the IBHE-SAC Rep and was recently voted Secretary of the IBHE-SAC. Off campus I work at a local library and I am a tutor for adults working to read and write at an adult level, as well as, with at-risk teens who have ambitions to attend college. "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. Don't be afraid to take initiative. Go for it!" – Courtney Jennings-Hope *************************************** I am Andrea M. Yetzer, Co-Chair of the NEIU Sociology Club. I am a Senior, and a double major in Psychology and Sociology. As a graduating senior, I spend most of my time on campus in the library, running the Sociology Club, and engaging in Psychological research, while simultaneously attempting to socialize with some of the amazing people I have met at NEIU along the way. Off campus I work full-time as a Behavior Detection Officer at O'Hare. I keep busy organizing group gatherings with friends and coworkers, along with training for and participating in obstacle racing. "Always challenge yourself, never assume you can't do something. Always go for it!" – Andrea Yetzer *************************************** Justice Studies major and President of the Amnesty International club at NEIU, Sharon J. Rehana is a first-generation Chicagoan who brings with her an Assyrian cultural upbringing, strong family roots and a passion for discovering more about the world she lives in. She is currently working on her second B.A., and looks forward to integrating her background as a journalist and teacher with overseas experience, towards promoting peace and compassion throughout the world. Sharon hopes that by drawing awareness through Amnesty International on campus, humanity can reach its highest peak.   "Stand up to what you believe in, use criticisms that come your way as a source of strength." - Sharon Rehana *************************************** "Hey everybody! I'm Nergal, the current acting President of the Feminist Collective. Much of my time on campus is divided between the club, classes, and my job as an FYE Peer Mentor. Occasionally, I can be found dragging my feet in an futile attempt to delay going to class. In my free time, I'm glued to my PS3, League of Legends, and general Pro-Choice ranting set to the tunes of my mother's favorite Assyrian artists. "Don't take any $#!+ ever! No one is going to speak for you. Don't be afraid to get emotional." – Nergal Malham *************************************** Marlene Julye is an OIF/OEF veteran, the president of NEIU's Student Veterans Club and a Senior in the NEIU Social Work bachelor's program. From 2004-2009 she served in the United States Navy as a MH-60s helicopter mechanic before returning to school. Along with being a full time student she regularly volunteers with Girl Scouts of America and interns with Albany Park Community Center in their veterans outreach program. This year, she was appointed to the National Leadership Committee for Student Veterans of America to serve as an advisor to student veterans as well as their organizations. After graduating in May 2012 Marlene will be pursuing her masters in Social Work and plans to work with veterans and their families. "If you think you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on! Just keep going!" – Marlene Julye *************************************** Lakeesha J. Harris is a graduate student of Political Science at NEIU seeking her Master's degree in comparative politics and international relations. In 2011 she graduated cum laude from NEIU with her B.A. in Women's Studies. She is also the 2011 Student Laureate of NEIU and a McNair Scholar. Currently, Lakeesha is the Editor In Chief of.:Seeds:. Literary Arts Journal of NEIU and the newly elected Student Trustee. As a Senior Staff Writer for the NEIU Independent she is dedicated to providing timely advice the NEIU community. Lakeesha is also a fierce advocate for education reform and women's and LGBTQ rights. She has been featured on WBEZ's Chicago Matters series, Chicago Tribune, and her essays and poems have appeared in several magazines and anthologies including Ebony (2010) and the upcoming anthology "Sex Crimes Against Black Girls." "See every opportunity as a learning experience; even the small ones, use your instincts and let them be your guide." – Lakeesha Harris *************************************** I am Nicole Maldonado. As a senior majoring in sociology, I have carved out a niche for myself in my three semesters at NEIU. I am Co-Chair of Sociology Club; where we promote critical thinking through academic discourse. I also tutor students in Sociology in the Learning Support Center. Off campus I volunteer for the Sex Workers Outreach Project and the All-Stars Network. I am anti-capitalist, vegan, feminist and dedicated to fighting inequality in all forms.   *************************************** Cathleen Schandelmeier-Bartels graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with her Bachelor's Degree in 1989. She is now a graduate student in the College of Education where she is working on her Master of Arts in Teaching degree with an expected graduation date of May 2012. As a leader, Cathleen has served as President for the NEIU Illinois Education Association (2009-2010), worked as a Senior Staff Writer for the NEIU Independent (2008-2011), and as Station Manager for WZRD Chicago, 88.3 FM - NEIU's freeform radio station where she is now a "wizard" (disc jockey).   *************************************** My name is LaMaria C. Howard; I am President of the Black Heritage Gospel Choir. My major is Interdisciplinary Studies, and I am a Senior with an expected graduation date of May 5th 2012. On campus, I am active with the choir and show support to various organizations. On & off campus, I am a mother of an energetic 2 year old daughter, Ariel. I work part time as an HR Recruiter and I volunteer at youth based non-profit organization. I believe that education is key! "Find a focus and make it your main goal!" – LaMaria Howard *************************************** Starr De Los Santos is a Puerto Rican and Dominican lesbian who grew up in Washington Heights, New York. She is currently a Senior at Northeastern Illinois University. She is majoring in Justice Studies with a double minor in Sociology and Philosophy and plans on graduating this upcoming May. She has previously worked as a peer mentor for the Dean of Students Office and since then has been very involved on campus. She has participated in many different clubs and organizations and has served on numerous committees on and off campus. She has worked in many different leadership positions and has also trained other individuals on leadership development. She is now the President of Northeastern Programming Board and has done an amazing job along with her colleagues in making NPB more visible on campus. NPB is in charge of planning different fun and educational events throughout the school year for NEIU students and the community to participate in. Starr plans to stay at Northeastern and obtain her Masters in Political Science; afterwards she would like to attend law school. She is striving to enter the political world in hopes to promote equality and justice throughout the nation.  ...

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Women Leaders