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LAUSD's Young Women’s Leadership Conference: a summary

March is Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate than to highlight some high achieving women in leadership positions. As a member of the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SSAC), I was able to attend LAUSD’s Young Women’s Leadership Conference and, despite being a little skeptical at first, it ended up being one of the most impactful and empowering experiences I have ever had. 

To preface this, eight months prior I had the opportunity to be a part of Superintendent Carvalho’s council of students, the main focus being to aid the district in decision making and bring back feedback from our campus. Through this opportunity, I’ve already been able to connect with many amazing, accomplished women and awe-inspiring role models who work in varying fields, pushing me to think harder about what this month really means. 

Going into this role, I was aware that LAUSD generally has a bad reputation when it comes to their cultivation of student’s education, and honestly I wasn’t expecting much from the conference. I’ve been to the same type of events before, and unfortunately it’s been consistently disappointing. However, being involved in SSAC made me hopeful that LAUSD had some exciting ideas up their sleeves, and for me the conference definitely exceeded all expectations. 

As a volunteer for the event, I arrived early at Helen Bernstein High School to help set up, and immediately I understood how well run it was. It boasted a large variety of highly accomplished speakers, the keynote being Dr. Anjali Tripathi, an Astrophysicist at NASA. Not only has she worked in the White House and at JPL, but it also turns out (unsurprisingly) that she is a kind, wonderful person. Speaking to the hundreds of girls who showed up for the conference, she not only talked about all the amazing achievements but also the challenges along the way. I can speak for everyone at the conference when I say it was really transformative, and being surrounded by so many girls around the same age, eager to learn, listen, and aspire was an experience that stuck with me. 

After her speech, we broke up into small groups of about 20-ish people, and we met with a separate panel of equally high-achieving women ranging from engineers to lawyers. In these groups, we were able to ask questions about how they got to where they are today and just have time to listen to their stories. For me, this was probably the highlight of the conference, not only because I got to hear from so many different voices but also because of how deeply their stories resonated with me in terms of their struggles, disappointments, and seeming failures. As someone who has big ambitions for the future, it was so inspiring to see little bits of myself in their stories. 

One of the big takeaways from this conference was that there are so many trailblazing women out there outside of the standard few that are continually presented to us. It compels me to forge my own path and create my own story as it is continuously unfolding.

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