Women's Leadership Initiative

Women's Leadership Initiative

Dyson Women’s Leadership Initiative welcomes applications from any Dyson student interested in gender equity. All students regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic background, dis/ability, sexual orientation, and nationality/citizenship, are encouraged to apply

Open to all first year students in Dyson College, the Dyson Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) is a one-year program created to address the issue of women's historical underrepresentation in leadership positions. Recent statistics indicate that women continue to be underrepresented in the political, academic, corporate, media, and sports leadership. The situation is even more dire for women of color, immigrant woman, and other marginalized women.

The Dyson Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) provides a safe space, mentorship, training, opportunities, and community for its participants who are seeking to create positive change in themselves and the world. Associate Professor Emilie Zaslow (Communication Studies) and Professor Meghana Nayak (Political Science) work with peer leaders who are student campus leaders to ensure that WLI Fellows receive academic and social support.

Applications are by invitation to all first-year Dyson College students on the New York City campus. Some events are open to the entire Pace community, and WLI fellows are active in several campus organizations and events.

The WLI will work to:

  • Build community across diverse experiences including race, culture, class, sexuality, areas of study and other aspects of social identity
  • Encourage skills that empower leaders
  • Raise awareness of inequalities and guide Fellows to develop strategies to address these inequalities
  • Include networking, wellness, and personal growth activities to address the challenges and obstacles young women experience as they develop leadership skills
  • Provide academic mentoring and support to assist Fellows as they explore career and life choices
  • Create a forum to counter the "sexism fatigue" young women experience as they try to reach their goals.

Students who are accepted to the program will receive:

  • Academic Mentorship: Opportunities for intellectual growth, leadership training and experiences, and support from faculty invested in your success.
    Sample Events: A workshop with Career Services to learn about steps you can take each year and a small group discussion with faculty members sharing the stories of their challenges and strategies for academic success.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Access to events that will help hone important skills that will assist in building confidence and communicating effectively.
    Sample Events: A special dinner with recent graduates who were campus leaders and a workshop on collective leadership and creating a circle of support.
  • Community Service and Community Building: Opportunities to connect with other students with similar interests and passions and to help and serve others.
    Sample Event: Field trip to participate in community gardening.
  • Wellness: Special events designed to support emotional well-being, reduce stress levels, and encourage an enjoyable college experience.
    Sample Event: Exclusive sessions on using yoga and relaxation techniques for feeling empowered and getting through difficult times like midterms and finals.

For more information

Emilie Zaslow, PhD
Communication Studies
Pace University
41 Park Row, Rm. 504
New York, NY 10038
(212) 346-1870

Meghana V. Nayak, PhD
Political Science
Pace University
41 Park Row, Rm. 511H
New York, NY 10038
(212) 346-1465


  • "WLI has been a great experience for me! With having all of the different events like the advocacy skills workshop and the sewing patches for a quilt to donate, I think that WLI has helped me to learn new skills and get more involved on campus and within our community, as well as giving me a great group of people to socialize and become friends with that I maybe wouldn't have gotten the chance to meet otherwise. The workshops are events that I always try to attend because I think the skills and conversations that take place are really beneficial in learning how to use our voice and be effective leaders. While I have experience with many other leadership positions in the past, I still think that learning new skills and working on skills I already have is really important. Another impact WLI has had for me is introducing me to people who have similar values and goals as myself, which is really great because, for me, I want to surround myself with people who will push me to do better and will teach me things, and I think that I definitely get that feeling when we meet together as a group or hang out outside of class."

    Nikki Noorian '20, Psychology

  • "I have become very involved in the WLI and am very enthusiastic about it. I think that it has definitely given me a sense of community.  It has given me a chance to network and meet people within my program but also it has given me the opportunity to meet students from all different programs within Dyson. The different panels, and various programs we have have taught me a lot about leadership skills and how they can present themselves in different ways. I have also learned a lot about myself and the way that I think. Also, I just like it because I find the activities to be very fun and interesting."

    Sydney Korman '20, Political Science

  • "I believe that WLI is so empowering because it's a safe space...and, from my knowledge, no one feels as if they would be crucially ridiculed for anything that they might say. I also love the sense of community when we have discussions and WLI meetups."

    - Breonna Taylor '22, Communication Studies