Sabrina Ridenour, a senior from Frostburg, Maryland, is one of only 10 women nationwide selected to serve on the American Association of University Women’s 2016-17 National Student Advisory Council. The council consists of students selected to become AAUW’s ambassadors for on-campus issues related to their mission of promoting equity and education for women and girls.
Ridenour decided to apply for the SAC after seeing the impact the organization was able to make on a local level and saw the council as an opportunity to expand her reach.
“We’ve grown our chapter and have led our members in advocating for women’s issues on campus,” said Ridenour, founding president of WVU’s AAUW chapter. “I will be working with AAUW staff in Washington D.C., to advise them on important women’s issues that WVU and the state of West Virginia currently face.”
AAUW empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. The organization focuses on women’s issues that are relevant across the nation, such as sexual assault on college campuses and the gender wage gap.
“I am most looking forward to making an impact on the gender wage gap,” Ridenour said. “It is disheartening to see our state at the very end of the list when it comes to comparing the United States’ gender pay gaps. WVU does a wonderful job of providing an excellent education, but I want to make sure that women are compensated for equal jobs that men also hold.”
Having a WVU student on the SAC will bring a wealth of resources to campus that will support ongoing efforts by the University to address women’s issues. WVU recently purchased a license to hold AAUW’s “Start Smart” salary negotiation workshops and will partner will AAUW to host the annual Equal Pay Day Bake Sale, which Ridenour will play a key role in planning.
“This is the first time a student from WVU, let alone a university within the state of West Virginia, has been selected for this opportunity,” said Ridenour. “I am representing WVU alongside students from Ivy League schools, reputable women’s and genders studies programs and other impressive undergraduate and graduate programs. It’s about time WVU has a voice in this capacity, because we have so much to offer to AAUW and vice versa.”
Ridenour will meet with the committee once a semester in Washington D.C., and participate in monthly conference calls to support planning additional campus equality events. She will also help to plan the 2017 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. She hopes this experience will help her become a better leader and communicator in her future endeavors.
“As a female engineer, I dedicate a lot of my free time to advocating for women in STEM and inspiring the next generation of women engineers,” Ridenour said. “There are, however, more fields in which women are a minority such as government and leadership. I am hoping to expand my knowledge in that capacity so that I can be equally equipped to advocate for women everywhere.”
CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
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