TU launches first Outstanding Young Women Leaders cohort

By Rebecca Kirkman on February 3, 2020

New program extends women’s leadership preparation initiatives at TU to Baltimore County high school juniors

Nancy Grasmick

Towson University’s Women’s Leadership Collective has expanded to include high school students with the launch of the Outstanding Young Women Leaders program in January.

The yearlong program pairs 25 public school students—one from each Baltimore County high school—with local business and nonprofit leaders and TU faculty. The students were nominated by school principals and chosen by a university committee based on academic and leadership achievements.

Spearheaded by TU Presidential Scholar Nancy Grasmick, the first woman appointed as the state superintendent of Maryland schools from 1991 to 2011, the Women’s Leadership Collective launched last spring with a targeted group of about 100 TU undergraduate and graduate students.

Read more: Dr. Grasmick secures more support for Women’s Leadership Collective

With the first cohort of the Outstanding Young Women Leaders program, the collective has extended its outreach to young women from high school through mid-career levels.

“Towson University has an established signature program for Women’s Leadership. Our Outstanding Young Women Leaders inaugural cohort provides leadership training, on-campus opportunities and corporate mentoring to one high school junior from every Baltimore County high school,” Grasmick says. “This expansion completes the program's vision for 3-prongs of women’s leadership: high school, on-campus, and external participants.”

The Women’s Leadership Collective grew out of TU’s Professional Leadership Program for Women, a five-month program that supports women in developing their capacity for leadership and influence.

“I’m really hoping to find a good mentor for me that can truly help me ... learn how to help others as well as help myself,” Lansdowne High School junior Karli Cluster told the Baltimore Sun. The 16-year-old student athlete plans to pursue a career in nursing, and hopes the program will help her develop social and leadership skills.

“Towson University has a long history of preparing leaders,” says TU President Kim Schatzel. “Through this important initiative, celebrated national leader and revered TU alumna Presidential Scholar Dr. Nancy Grasmick is innovating once again by advocating for leadership preparation for young women to begin as early as possible. It is never too early to begin preparing our future leaders.”

Programming for the Outstanding Young Women Leaders will occur approximately every six weeks and run through December 2020, with a new cohort launching in January 2021.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland and Diverse and Inclusive Campus.