Erica Frederick-RockErica Fredrick-Rock of Corinna and a Biology student at University of Maine at Augusta was in Orono May 30-June 4 for Maine NEW Leadership, a six-day, nonpartisan public leadership education program provided at no cost to college women from a wide range of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and educational backgrounds and academic majors.  Sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, the program helps participants learn skills and develop networks that empower them to become civic and public leaders.

Twenty-seven emerging Maine leaders representing seventeen different higher education institutions were selected through a competitive application process for this intensive, high-level training. Participants came from many of the University of Maine and Maine Community College campuses, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Bates College, Thomas College, Husson University, St. Joseph College, and Hunter College. 

Highlights of the week included:

-Touring the State House and meeting legislators, advocates, and lobbyists
-Visiting the Margaret Chase Smith Library and learning about the leadership skills Senator Smith embodied
-Networking with women leaders in business, education, and politics
- Researching and analyzing legislation being considered by the state and holding mock press conferences and legislative hearing
- Learning how to work with people of opposing views and diverse backgrounds
-Hearing from a panel of NEW Leadership alumnae, which reflects the staying power of the program and highlights the fact that NEW Leadership alums are staying connected in Maine and stepping into leadership roles.

The NEW Leadership program originated at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  In 2009, the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center launched NEW Leadership in Maine, and 161 students have graduated from the program in its first six years.  It is the only leadership program directed at college women across Maine. There are currently 27 colleges and universities in the national NEW Leadership network.

Erica Fredrick-Rock stated of the experience, “It really opened my eyes to the challenges that women still face, how much we’ve overcome, and how I can begin to make a difference.” Erica is majoring in Biology at UMA and expects to graduate in May 2015 and intends on going to graduate school for a career in medicine. Through her involvement in the Maine NEW Leadership conference, Erica has begun volunteering with The Maine Women’s Policy Center and The Maine Women’s Lobby. ​