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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

I will admit that I am usually the very first person to complain about everything being online. Even with blue light glasses I always have a headache, it’s so much harder to make connections, the list goes on and on. However, the new virtual age has had some benefits and one of these has been allowing people to see how easy it is to utilize Zoom options for presentations, classes, and larger events. The Her Campus chapter at St. Ambrose University chose to add a virtual component to their recent Speaker Panel event, so I had the privilege of attending even though it was held nearly 400 miles away from my campus.

The Her Campus SAU Speaker Panel was a great way to kick off Women’s History Month. There were three incredible women, all amazing in different ways, speaking a bit about what they do, how they ended up where they are, and what advice they wanted to share with young college women. 

Starting off with Dr. Lisa Powell through a pre-recorded speech, we got to listen to the story of how Her Campus began. As a staff writer going into my third year with Her Campus, this was the first time I had really heard this story. I joined my campus’s chapter at the height of the COVID pandemic and the larger events have been rather limited since, so having the opportunity to hear about the motivation for starting Her Campus was fascinating. More specifically, we got the chance to hear about how there were opportunities that the founders turned down to allow for the organization to continue to serve their desired purposes. The big takeaway here: don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities that could advance you if they are going to make you change who you are. 

The second speaker was Dr. Amy Novak. She spoke largely about how her sister was the child that excelled academically and how heartbreaking it was to her when she did not get placed into the same advanced classes as her sister. She talked about how nobody expected her to succeed. The really big comment that stuck with me was how she shared her mother’s reaction when she told her that she got accepted into a graduate program; how it would be even longer before she brought home grandbabies. Despite this, she is now the President of St. Ambrose University. The big takeaway: even if you are the only one who believes in yourself, keep believing. 

We also heard from Dr. Judy Correa Kaiser. She came to the United States to finish her college degree at Florida State. When she came here, she did not speak any English. Dr. Kaiser continued her education to become a Doctor in Clinical Psychology and has used her platform as a professor to develop programs at St. Ambrose that will provide students with first hand experience of what they might be expected to do in an entry level position after school. She spoke about the challenges she faced in pursuing education and the ways those challenges shaped her. This big takeaway: don’t give up, there is always another way to create your success. 

The benefit of the way Her Campus is set up is that it allows different schools to use it as a platform. It allows us to have smaller groups of staff writers, interns, and editors that can create a community not just together, but on their campuses as well. 

However, that’s not where Her Campus ends, it also allows those campus chapters to meet, mingle, and collaborate. This Speaker Panel put on by the SAU chapter was a great example of different chapters coming together to support each other. We got to celebrate not just the women who started all of this, but all of the women who are now involved, who will be involved in the future, and who will be inspired by the work of Her Campus. 

Erika is a pre-med honors student in the Lyman Briggs college at MSU. With 3 majors there isn't a lot of time for much else but she loves writing whenever she can, going on spontaneous adventures, and thinks there is nothing better than late-night (early morning) conversations with your closest friends.