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HerStory series promotes female role models

Carly Landon | Monday, September 14, 2009

With hopes of providing a stronger female voice on the Notre Dame campus, First Year of Studies Academic Advisor Dr. Elizabeth Ramquist launched a lunch-time talk series titled “Telling HerStory: Highlighting Women as Role Models in the life of the Mind, Body, and Soul,” which began Sept. 8.

The events occur monthly in the Coleman Morse Center, generally on the first Tuesday of the month. The series will showcase female role models who have successful careers, are good mothers or are women in the religious ministry.

The women featured are females in the Notre Dame community who have been nominated by their peers as positive role models for young women. The series will also offer the opportunity for female colleagues to become acquainted in an informal setting and hear one another’s journeys and how it is they all arrived to be part of the Notre Dame community.

“Great things can happen when generations connect and learn from each other,” Ramquist said, “I think in many parts of society that’s lost. Through this program I would like to regain that.”

Last week, the first session drew a crowd of around 50 people, of them about half undergraduates and half faculty members. Lynn Hubert, Notre Dame’s Director of Regional Development for the Midwest, was the guest lecturer.

“Our turnout was moderate, but less than I expected,” Ramquist said, “However, we have had such a positive feedback, especially from faculty, that I think we can expect better turnout next time.”

Ramquist built her idea for this talk series off another previous series similar to it under the same name organized by professor Dawn Overstreet during a yearlong fellowship here at Notre Dame. Overstreet’s program received wide praise from the Notre Dame community though it failed to be continued after her departure from Notre Dame.

Ramquist would also like to stress her goal of promoting less generation segregation. She said she hopes the series will show women of all ages that they share common experiences, and despite age barriers, they can learn from each other in a sort of mentor relationship.

“As an undergraduate, I benefited from being mentored by women ahead of me,” Ramquist said. “I think for me that is the foundation of this series because it is important for younger women to learn from older women.”

The next HerStory event will be held on Oct. 13 from noon until 1 p.m. in the Coleman Morse Center featuring Dr. Nyree MacDonald as the guest speaker.