NEW Leadership® Saint Mary's Program

NEW Leadership® Saint Mary's Program
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What does politics mean in practice?  

What is public service about? 

The NEW (New Education for Women's) Leadership program addresses those questions directly, teaching undergraduate women how to become actively involved in politics, advocacy, and public service. Started at Rutgers University, NEW Leadership comes to California in 2024 for the first time. The Women's and Gender Studies at Saint Mary's College will host the first in California NEW Leadership Summer Institute on June 21–28, 2024, with applications opening January 2024. 

Applications are due on Monday, April 15. Please note that applications will be reviewed in the order received. Any applications received after the April 15 due date will still be considered, on a rolling basis.

Twenty students from community colleges and four-year universities from across the San Francisco Bay Area will spend one week on the Moraga campus learning about the multiple pathways to political engagement and careers in the fields of politics, government, and public service. Participating students will meet California elected officials and women in government at the municipal, county, and state levels. Students will also interact with women leading social and political movements in the Bay Area, learn about the work women do in government and politics behind the scenes, and have the opportunity to share meals and evenings with leaders-in-residence with experience in California politics.

The Institute is a hands-on experience. Students will develop a project that they will test in the field, attend lectures and workshops on topics ranging from the workings of state politics to how to run a political campaign, participate in professionalization sessions to learn the skills necessary to enter the public sphere and succeed, and travel to the Capitol in Sacramento for government day. By the end of the Institute, students will have built a community with a network of peers, advisors, and contacts that they can rely on as they continue their education and pursue their careers.

Leaders in Residence


Attorney and novelist Veronica Gutierrez


Attorney Crystal Riggins


Pasadena City Council Member Nora Garcia

New Leadership FAQ

NEW Leadership® Saint Mary’s is open to undergraduate students enrolled in any California college or university and California residents enrolled in out-of-state schools. Rising juniors, seniors, and spring semester graduates at 4-year institutions and students at 2-year institutions in sophomore year are eligible to apply. Women of color, LGBTQ women and nonbinary students, and nontraditional college students are especially encouraged to apply. NEW Leadership® is committed to including students from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and educational backgrounds.

Demonstrated leadership experience in your campus or community and a commitment to expanding knowledge about politics and civic engagement are primary considerations. NEW Leadership looks for participants who will bring a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge to the group and who are open to learning from others.

No. Participants in previous Institutes have represented a wide range of majors including music, biology, business, social work, education, criminal justice, Women and Gender Studies, and political science. There is no specific academic profile for the successful NEW Leadership® participant as students from all academic backgrounds are needed as advocates and public leaders.

The program will be hosted at Saint Mary's College, in Moraga, California, on June 20–28, 2024.  Participants will live on campus for the duration of the Institute and participate in all scheduled activities.

NEW Leadership® Saint Mary’s is a full-time program which requires participants to participate in all sessions, classes, workshops, field trips, and community meals. The days are long, with breaks throughout, but the week goes very fast.

There is no direct cost to students. Each participating college and university is asked to pay a $500 program registration fee per student in order to defray expenses. Meals, transportation, and residence are included. Applicants are required to provide contact information for a faculty or staff member at their college who will agree to assist them in obtaining funding for the Institute registration. However, no student will be turned away because their college or university cannot contribute to their participation in the Institute.

Each college and university is different, but officials such as the Deans of Humanities or Liberal Arts, directors of intercultural centers, and advisors for students of color and others might have access to special funds for students to attend summer institutes, conferences, or internships. They would be the most appropriate source of funding for the NEW Leadership Institute. Students pay nothing themselves and may attend even if their institutions do not provide any funding. 

Contact Us

Professor Myrna Santiago

Professor María Luisa Ruiz

Professor Zahra Ahmed