The seventh Young Women’s Leadership Program made its Schar School of Policy and Government debut when it kicked off on July 10 with more than 100 young women and their parents in attendance at George Mason University’s Van Metre Hall in Arlington, Va.
The program, founded by former U.S. Rep. Barbara J. Comstock (R-Va.), will take some 115 middle school and high school students from around the region this summer to meet and interact with women who hold leadership positions in a variety of fields, including politics, business, technology, military, law enforcement, philanthropy, and others. The nonpartisan program is free to those who enroll.
Comstock, who served two terms in Congress representing Northern Virginia’s 10th District, founded the program when she was a delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates. This is the first year the Schar School is hosting the program.
At the kickoff event, Comstock told the audience about her career, including a teaching stint as a law professor at Harvard University after having failed to gain entrance as a student, before introducing Corliss Udoema, president and CEO of government contracting firm Contract Solutions Inc. Udoema, an award-winning entrepreneur who was presented with a Congressional Commendation in 2017, reminded the young women in the audience to rely on their strength of character and to pursue their ambitions with confidence.
That was precisely the message Comstock intended for the participants to hear in designing the program. Comstock said she would like to expand the program to year-round and to open it up to women older than high school age.