Wellesley Pre-College Summer Program - Young Women in High School

It’s Time to Discover Your Power and Own It

by Nancy Coleman,

Associate Provost & Director of Strategic Initiatives,

Wellesley College


“What it boils down to is simple: If we want to drive progress in the world, we need to put girls in the driver’s seat.” – Kathy Calvin, CEO and President, UN Foundation

We could not agree more.

It seems like women’s empowerment is on top of everyone’s agenda these days.  You don’t have to look far for awe-inspiring examples of women of all ages owning their power and showing the world what strong leadership looks like.

Whether it's Christine Sun Kim, who delivered the National Anthem in American Sign Language at the 2020 Super Bowl, Megan Rapinoe, American soccer superstar and champion of equal pay,  Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks and advocate for children’s books with black girl protagonists, or Greta Thunberg, teenage climate change activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, women are stepping up, taking center stage and flexing their muscle.  We say that it’s about time. 

Start now.  The type of confidence and self assurance that it takes to own your power starts now. Women who are encouraged to be leaders in childhood are more likely to aspire to be leaders as adults. This difference in aspiration is dramatic. In a study by the consulting group KPMG, 74 percent of women who were encouraged as children to lead aspired to senior leadership roles later on, while only 48 percent of those who didn't receive childhood encouragement felt similarly.

Develop a leadership mindset.  Leadership is much more than a position, it’s a state of mind, and it evolves on its own individual journey from person to person.  Leadership can involve many things but self assurance, confidence and grit are a few qualities we see emerge from our summer students.   We often see young women stepping up to show their leadership skills without even realizing that’s what they are doing. Activities that support building community; mentoring or developing another person; helping someone succeed, or offering suggestions to improve a process or the way things get done are just a few examples of informal, but important leadership.

Bust out of your comfort zone.  Do you at Wellesley.  We are proud of our strong history and heritage of educating high achieving women across the globe.  In the spirit of this tradition, our inspirational summer programs are designed to cultivate confidence, independence, decision-making and engagement in high school students.    Along the way, students who join us will meet some amazing women and create new friendships from around the world, interact with accomplished Wellesley faculty, learn something new about a subject of interest, and have fun. 

Explore who you are.  Seek something different, and look for opportunities to broaden your perspective:  socially and academically. Wellesley programs encourage students to take risks by expanding their worldview and challenge themselves to discover more about who they are, and what they want.  The first step to owning your power is to learn more about yourself. Sometimes a different perspective can help with that.   

It’s a fact that better support and guidance is needed for young women to support the cultivation of confidence and leadership ability that is authentic, true to the individual and supportive of the whole self.   What better place to experience that than at Wellesley?

This summer, crush your goals and own your power.  We know you can do it!