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APSU’s Young Women's Leadership Symposium empowers attendees to push boundaries

By: Victoria Godinez April 12, 2024


APSU’s 12th annual Young Women’s Leadership Symposium saw more than 70 attendees engage with its workshops and networking opportunities. | Photo by Ally Shemwell

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Peay State University’s 12th annual Young Women's Leadership Symposium was held on March 22. This year’s theme, “Women who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” proved to be a transformative experience for attendees, with each workshop and speaker instilling a sense of empowerment and motivation.

More than 70 people attended the six-hour event hosted by Dr. Marsha Lyle-Gonga, a professor in Austin Peay’s Department of Political Science and Public Management.

“[The theme] was born out of the fact that we had so many issues to deal with - both locally and nationally - about equity and advocating for equity within our own organizations,” Lyle-Gonga said.

The symposium offered various workshops to choose from, which were led by Austin Peay State University faculty and staff:


Students sit in on APSU’s 12th annual Young Women’s Leadership Symposium, “Women who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” | Photo by Sean McCully

Bristia Hartley, one of the student participants, expressed her admiration for the event's meticulous planning and engaging speakers.

"I loved attending the Young Women's Leadership Symposium,” she said. “It was very clear that there was a lot of love and thought put into the event."

Hartley said she was impressed by the engaging speakers and the topics they covered, adding that Lyle-Gonga - one of her professors and the creator of the symposium - also inspired her to attend.

Dr. Eva Gibson, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Science and Counseling who presented during the symposium, described the event as a significant platform for women to navigate societal challenges and strive for work-life balance.

“This powerful event is an important encourager for women as we navigate the demands of society," she stated.

During an impactful presentation titled "Power of P.I.N.K.," Gibson highlighted key points aimed at encouraging women to push boundaries and excel in their endeavors. The acronym "P.I.N.K." emphasized the importance of pushingthrough adversities, taking the initiative in planning one's future, understanding personal needs and being kind to oneself.

The symposium was a testament to the impact of empowering women to embrace their potential and strive for success in various aspects of their lives. Attendees left the event feeling motivated and equipped with tools to navigate their leadership journeys.