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EMU Foundation

Lauren Shackleford

Lauren Shackleford is on a mission to empower women.

Shackleford, a Huron, Ohio native, is a first-year graduate student at Eastern Michigan University, who is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership; however, her ultimate aspiration is to inspire women to reach their fullest potential.

“I always wanted to get more into the women’s movement and [promote] equality for all women and all individuals,” states Shackleford. “I definitely wanted to take the significant steps to becoming more involved with the effort.”

Immersed as a graduate intern for the Women’s Resource Center and for the VISION Volunteer Center on campus, she arranges events, coordinates volunteer programs and lends her support to existing projects. Her involvement captured the attention of Glenna Frank Miller, retired assistant vice president of student life, who encouraged Shackleford to attend the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in Washington, D.C.

NCCWSL, which is ran in conjunction with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NAPSA), the two-day conference empowers and celebrates the success of women from all walks of life with exclusive opportunities to network and gain knowledge through beneficial workshops and seminars.

Despite this amazing opportunity, Shackleford was faced with the costs of attendance and worried that she would not be able to go. Frank Miller then mentioned the 2013 NCCWSL National Scholarship, available to EMU students through the AAUW Ann Arbor Branch, which would help cover the cost of registration to attend the conference. Shackleford jumped at the chance and was selected to receive the scholarship, along with nine additional EMU women.

At that point, the AAUW Ann Arbor Branch provided the scholarship recipients transportation to the conference. During the seminar, Shackleford was inspired by two women in particular who spoke at NCCWSL; Katie Miller and Rachel Simmons.

Miller, a former cadet, is one of the leading advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) service members and Simmons is a noteworthy author who is known for her book “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.”

Motivated by the conference, Shackleford applied—and was selected— to be one of ten women to serve as a member of AAUW’s 2013-2014 National Student Advisory Council, which provides the unique opportunity to advise a national women’s organization on the needs of college students and to foster their leadership skills.

“I feel that if we have a better support system for women pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, we can break down walls and these stigmas around women being able to do the job,” says Shackleford, drawing her motivation from her inadequate internship experience.

“My biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid of messing up; don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Do something that you wouldn’t normally do, or challenge yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.”

Shackleford plans on using her experience from the conference to coordinate her own Women of Distinction panel at EMU, featuring successful women in technology who can help inspire EMU female students to pursue fields in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); all that would not be possible without the assistance of the scholarship that ignited her motivation and allowed her to attend a life-changing conference.

Students like Lauren Shackleford are boundless at Eastern Michigan University, each filled with their own set of aspirations and innovative ideas to help shape the future. It is through the support of our alumni and friends that we can enhance our educational institution and supply students, like Shackleford, the opportunity to make those aspirations a reality.

Give to the Genuine Eastern Michigan (GEM) Endowed Scholarship

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Lauren Shackleford

EMU Foundation is located at 112 Welch Hall, 850 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197 Phone: 734.484.1322