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Bowie State hosts a virtual women’s expo for students during Women’s History Month

Bowie State University Women’s Forum is hosting its first Virtual Women’s Expo that started on Thursday and continues today for Women’s History Month.

This is the third expo for the women’s forum but this virtual one was a lot of work said Renee McQueen, the chair of the Bowie State University Women’s Forum. The theme of this expo is ‘Still I rise, Her Story, Her Becoming.’

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There will be panel discussions, keynote speakers and networking events. This year, the expo will have an all men led panel for the first time.

“We hope to provide the same type of interaction and energy that people would get if they were coming on campus,” McQueen said. “It is up to us to continue to have these conversations and providing a safe heaven place where women can be empowered and developed.”

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McQueen wants more student involvement throughout the expo and tried to have events for everyone. She said international students from Africa will be in attendance.

Marena Ford, a senior communications major, has been looking forward to attending the expo after years of missing it.

“Expos like these are important for all women who need that extra supportive conversation or push in life. It can be a life-changing experience. Completely transformational for some women and that all in itself is empowering,” Ford said.

McQueen was elected by the president to start up the women’s forum on campus.

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Aminta Breaux is the first woman president of Bowie State University in its 150-plus history. She said there is more work to be done.

“It is my hope that when young girls and women see me they see the possibilities within themselves. Women are still facing challenges as they try to climb the career ladder and our youth need to see role models to help build self-confidence and empowerment,” Breaux said. “While we have seen progress with more women rising to the executive level, there is still a need to close the gap and create more opportunity for women to reach the upper echelon in universities as well as in business and industry, including in the board rooms.”

Women’s History Month is about recognition of past achievements and paying homage to those who have opened doors for women throughout history. Breaux has been inspired by two educators in her life Mary McCleod-Bethune, an African-American educator, civil rights activist and adviser to Franklin Roosevelt. Also, Lucy Laney, an educator who opened a school for African-Americans in the late 1800s and was one of the founders of what is known as the NAACP today.

“What struck me the most about both of these women wasn’t just what they accomplished, but when they made such contributions. I look at such achievements during those times as just remarkable and their lives and legacies inspire me to want to do more,” Breaux said. “These are just some of the many women in our history who found a way to educate our youth and who helped pave the way and inspire more women to become educators, leaders in education and leaders in our communities.”

Breaux wants women to lift up other women in their words, acts and deeds.

“Use your own strengths and abilities to empower other women to live up to their full potential. By doing so, we all benefit. By the same token, we all lose when we don’t provide the means for women to fully engage in our organizations, the workplace and in our communities,” Breaux said.

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