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Empowering SNHU Women with “The Empowerment Project”

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On November 14, the Deborah L. Coffin Women’s Center sponsored a screening of “The Empowerment Project,” a film dedicated to sharing the stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

The documentary follows the journey of “a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions.” The question the documentary challenges women to answer is, “What would you do if you knew you would succeed?” The Women’s Center asked this question of women at SNHU throughout the week leading up to the event and will be displaying the answers in their windows. Answers ranged from “Become a University President” to “Write amazing poetry” to “Teach in the inner city.”

Following the screening of the film, a panel was held to discuss the issues, challenges and successes showcased in the film on a more personal level. Just as the film crew for “The Empowerment Project” focused a part of their documentary on their own transformational story, Brooke Gilmore, director of the Women’s Center, moderated a panel focusing on the same. Associate Dean of Online STEM Angie Foss, Katrina Gomes, director of IT Operations and Technology at Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and senior and President of Math Club Mary Shakshober spoke of their experiences as women in male-dominated fields of study and profession.

Foss shared her thoughts about the event, panel and discussion. “I think the question that [the documentary] posed is a powerful question. I always tell myself I need to be brave, and when I sense that I’m having to be brave, I realize it’s something I should be doing all the time, and I hope everyone walks away with that thought and the knowledge that they can be brave always.”

“The Empowerment Project” brought a unique discussion for not only faculty and guests, but the students attending as well. Jasmine Tyrance shared that the documentary hit home for her personally, as her mother works in a male-dominated field. “It [the documentary] makes me want to be capable of more and this panel has inspired me to do more, be proactive and take action for the things I want and the things I want to be capable of.”

Anna Laugelle
Anna is a sophomore at SNHU and is in her second year as a staff writer on the Penmen Press. She is a graphic design major and helps with layout for the paper as well. Anna also works at the Deborah L. Coffin Women's Center and is a part of the Signature Leadership Program on campus.