Women's Leadership Initiative

The Dyson Women’s Leadership Initiative is a one-year program for female and female-identified students enrolled in Dyson College. Associate Professor Emilie Zaslow (Communication Studies) and Professor Meghana Nayak (Political Science) will work with peer leaders who are student campus leaders to ensure that WLI Fellows receive academic and social support.

Applications are by invitation to prospective first-year students. Some events are open to the entire Pace community, and WLI fellows are active in several campus organizations and events.

The WLI will work to:

  • Build community across diverse experiences including race, culture, class, sexuality, areas of study and other aspects of social identity
  • Encourage skills that empower leaders
  • Raise awareness of inequalities and guide Fellows to develop strategies to address these inequalities
  • Include networking, wellness, and personal growth activities to address the challenges and obstacles young women experience as they develop leadership skills
  • Provide academic mentoring and support to assist women as they explore career and life choices
  • Create a forum to counter the “sexism fatigue” young women experience as they try to reach their goals.

Dyson Women’s Leadership Initiative is open to female and female-identified students, inclusive of race, socioeconomic background, disability, sexual orientation, and nationality/citizenship.

Students who are accepted to the program will receive:

  • Academic Mentorship: Opportunities for intellectual growth, leadership training and experiences, and support from faculty invested in your success.
    Sample Events: A workshop with Career Services to learn about steps you can take each year and a small group discussion with faculty members sharing the stories of their challenges and strategies for academic success.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Access to events that will help hone important skills that will assist in building confidence and communicating effectively.
    Sample Events: A special dinner with recent graduates who were campus leaders and a workshop on collective leadership and creating a circle of support.
  • Community Service and Community Building: Opportunities to connect with other students with similar interests and passions and to help and serve others.
    Sample Event: Field trip to participate in community gardening.
  • Wellness: Special events designed to support emotional well-being, reduce stress levels, and encourage an enjoyable college experience.
    Sample Event: Exclusive sessions on using yoga and relaxation techniques for feeling empowered and getting through difficult times like midterms and finals.

For more information

Emilie Zaslow, PhD
Associate Professor
Communication Studies
Pace University
41 Park Row, Rm. 505
New York, NY 10038
(212) 346-1870

Meghana V. Nayak, PhD
Political Science
Pace University
41 Park Row, Rm. 511H
New York, NY 10038
(212) 346-1465


  • “WLI has been a great experience for me so far! With having all of the different events like the advocacy skills workshop and the sewing patches for a quilt to donate, I think that WLI has helped me to learn new skills and get more involved on campus and within our community, as well as giving me a great group of people to socialize and become friends with that I maybe wouldn't have gotten the chance to meet otherwise. The workshops are events that I always try to attend because I think the skills and conversations that take place are really beneficial in learning how to use our voice and be effective leaders. While I have experience with many other leadership positions in the past, I still think that learning new skills and working on skills I already have is really important. Another impact WLI has had for me is introducing me to people who have similar values and goals as myself, which is really great because, for me, I want to surround myself with people who will push me to do better and will teach me things, and I think that I definitely get that feeling when we meet together as a group or hang out outside of class.”

    - Nikki Noorian '20, Psychology
  • “I have become very involved in the WLI and am very enthusiastic about it. I think that it has definitely given me a sense of community. I feel as though I know many powerful and intelligent women because of the program. It has given me a chance to network and meet people within my program but also it has given me the opportunity to meet students from all different programs within Dyson. And even though we are just past the midway point of the first semester I feel as though I have already learned so much from the program. The different panels, and various programs we have have taught me a lot about leadership skills and how they can present themselves in different ways. I have also learned a lot about myself and the way that I think by being in the UNV 101 class. Also, I just like it because I find the activities to be very fun and interesting."

    - Sydney Korman '20, Political Science
  • “I truly do love WLI, because it makes me feel like I’m a part of an influential group of young women. I believe that WLI is so empowering because it’s a safe space for all women and, from my knowledge, no one feels as if they would be crucially ridiculed for anything that they might say. I also love the sense of community that Zaslow, Jaclyn, and Larissa give us when we have discussions and WLI meetups. I enjoy being surrounded by so many great women who believe in each other and as a venerable young woman in one of the most influential years of her life, an environment like so means so much more to me than they realize.”

    - Breonna Taylor '22, Communication Studies