(KFVS) - Three local students are among 35 female students selected to participate in the Women's Civic Institute at Southern Illinois University.
The Women's Civic Institute is a program designed to promote personal development, enhance civic involvement and promote an understanding of democratic leadership principles.
Among those selected to participate in the 2016 institute are Yvet Youssef, a communication studies master's student from Anna, Izabella Bradford, a microbiology sophomore from Goreville, and Shay Wood, a psychology sophomore from Shawneetown.
The Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism at SIU developed the Women's Civic Institute in 2012.
Citing the need for the initiative, Mythili Rundblad, coordinator of the Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism said "While women comprise three-quarters of the staff at large non-profit organizations, only 21 percent have leadership roles according to www.associationsnow.com."
Runblad noted similar problematic statistics in state and federal government.
"Leadership in elective office is critical because public policy that effects most facets of our lives is shaped by elected leaders" said Rundblad.
Each year the center selects WCI participants on the basis of applications and interviews to participate in a semester-long experience including a variety of opportunities to learn and grow.
The students will participate in workshops, discussion panels, community service projects and networking events where they will connect with female leaders from campus and beyond.
They will also visit Springfield and meet with women legislators, directors and lobbyists and learn of the challenges and rewards involved in developing and implementing public policy.