Program Overview

Each summer, Mississippi University for Women (The W) hosts the National Education for Women’s Leadership in Mississippi program (NEW Leadership MS), modeled on the national development program developed by Rutgers University. Now in its 8th year, the program remains the only of its kind in Mississippi and one of only three New Leadership® National Network partner programs in the South. The 2020 program will run from May 17-22, 2020.

For six days, NEW Leadership MS brings together undergraduate women from across the state’s colleges for a residential program designed to enhance their understanding of politics and prepare them to seize leadership roles in politics and public service. The program is a unique opportunity for young women to increase their understanding of policymaking processes, identify a range of careers in politics and public service, network with a diverse group of professional women in those careers, and nurture their own ambition for a life of leadership.


Applications are open to any woman studying at one of Mississippi’s public, private, or community colleges. NEW Leadership MS prioritizes political and socio-economic diversity and encourages applicants regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religious beliefs, or partisan attachments. NEW Leadership MS is inclusive of all women.


Program graduates receive two hours of college credit in political science or women’s studies, and the only cost is a $20.00 non-refundable confirmation fee, paid only after acceptance. All meals, housing, and transportation to and from program events (including the day in Jackson, at the Mississippi Capitol Building) are provided at no cost to participants.

Curriculum Highlights

NEW Leadership MS teaches women’s politics, the impact of politics on our lives, and how to increase engagement. Intensive programming features scholarly experts in women’s history and politics as well as women shaping public policy as elected and appointed officials, public servants, lobbyists, journalists, community leaders, and issue advocates. Learning takes place via a range of pedagogical techniques, including interactive presentations and panels, small group discussions, hands-on workshops, and an “Action Project” in which students present testimony is a mock legislative committee hearing.

Living together for this immersive program builds a sense of community and encourages long-term professional relationships among a diverse group of participants. In addition, women political leaders serve as Faculty in Residence (FIRS), staying on campus with students for the duration of the program. This allows for an intensive mentoring experience in which learning extends beyond scheduled sessions as informal conversations continue over meals and in residence halls. Participants are encouraged to share ideas, challenge opinions they heard during the day, and reflect in a way that could not occur in non-residential programs. This atmosphere is further enriched by the nonpartisan nature of programming.

For more information, email or call (662) 329-7166.

Applications are due February 28, 2020.