Category Archives: news

Nichols Hosts Bartlett H.S. Students

audienceOn Wednesday, October 28, the Institute for Women’s Leadership hosted 18 female juniors from Bartlett High School for the first College Connection Day. We are thrilled to report that this event was a huge success and exceeded all of our expectations. The day was primarily led by nine Nichols College student “mentors” who guided the students throughout the day in exploring their possibilities, dreaming their futures, setting goals, and practicing networking skills.


The day began with some fun ice breakers as the students got to know each other and their Nichols mentors for the day. From there, we brought back five recent Nichols graduates for a panel to discuss their experiences, give guidance to the students, and answer student questions about the progression of their careers. panel2The panel members emphasized to students that you never know where you may end up and to take every opportunity possible.

The day then moved into activities designed to help students dream their futures and set goals. Students developed their own vision boards and created a SMART goal with the help of our Nichols mentors. Following lunch in Lombard Dining Hall, the day closed out with the development of personal elevator pitches and mock networking. panel4Students were asked to select someone they might like to meet. For some it was someone from a field in which they are interested, for others it was a college admissions counselor. Faculty and staff volunteers came to role-play, helping students with networking skills like body language, proper handshakes, and introductions.

The event was a huge success and, we hope, got the Bartlett students thinking more about their futures. The College Connection Day will continue with a session in the spring, geared towards helping students navigate the college application process. First, we must thank the American Association of University Women for providing IWL with the grant that helped make this event possible. We would also like to extend thanks to the staff members around campus who dedicated their time to the event. We are grateful to Bartlett High School for allowing us the opportunity to make a difference with their students. Finally, we must extend a huge thanks to our Nichols student mentors who were excellent teachers and role models for the (1)

IWL Launches College Connection Program

By Alyce Viens, Program Coordinator for IWL

new-granteeOn October 28, 2015 the Institute for Women’s Leadership will be hosting its first College Connection event. This event, made possible by a grant from the American Association of University Women, consists of 20 female Bartlett High School juniors coming to campus to gain valuable skills in dreaming their future, exploring possibilities, creating sound goals and practicing networking skills. What is most significant about this event is that the students will be taught by 10 Nichols College student mentors. These mentors will guide the high school students throughout the day, acting as instructors and delivering valuable knowledge and skills. This event is the first of two College Connection events. The second, in the spring, will focus on the college experience by preparing students for the college process, how to prepare and what to expect. We are excited to launch this program and look forward to meeting all of the Bartlett High students! And, we express our sincere gratitude to AAUW for selecting our program as a grant recipient.

Joining IWL, Joining the Movement

By Alyce Viens ’14

My name is Alyce Viens and it is with great pleasure that I return to the Nichols College campus as the new Program Coordinator for the Institute for Women’s Leadership. As a 2014 graduate, with a degree in Business Administration: Management, this campus holds a special place in my heart. It is at Nichols that I began to truly figure out the direction in which I was headed for the future. During my time at Nichols I reinforced my passion for education, interned for the Empowering Women in Business Conference, and spent a semester in Washington, DC as an intern for the United States Department of the Interior. I always look back fondly on my time at Nichols and think of it often.

alyce viens , headshotAfter Nichols, I continued with my education and went from being a Bison, to a Bulldog, at Bryant University where I obtained my Master of Arts in Communication. My communication studies at Bryant led me in several different directions, but my research was primarily focused on political neuroscience and communication, identity formation and expression, persuasion, and organizational communication. During my time at Bryant I was fortunate enough to have incredible mentors, some of the top names in the communication field. They pushed me to the limit every day and definitely played a large role in where I am today. In addition to my part-time position with IWL, I am also a communication adjunct professor at Bryant University and Quinebaug Valley Community College.

During the end of my time at Nichols, IWL was just getting off the ground. I attended a few of the events and found them to be very fulfilling. However, after graduating I had not really thought too much more about it. It was only until I heard Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations’ launch of the HeForShe campaign that I started to think about women’s leadership once again. I was simultaneously astounded and not at all surprised about the information of women still being unequal to men. Though I had hardly ever consciously considered this, reflecting back on the experiences I have had in both education and in the “business world,” I know this inequality to be true. I became fascinated with knowing more and it was then that I dedicated a semester to research into this phenomenon. I dug a little deeper into the word “feminist” and the denotative and connotative meanings associated with it. As a communication student I was primarily interested in the social construction of the word itself and asked myself what the public’s perception of the word was. By definition feminism is the political, economic and social equality of men and women, but my research on perceptions, by both men and women, told a different, more negative, story. It was then that my passion for women’s leadership surged even further forward. I continue to keep it as an area of interest and a priority to make a difference in the movement towards equality, making this position with IWL a perfect fit for me. I knew from the moment I read the first page of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In that something had to be done and that I was one of the people with the drive and enthusiasm to do so.

And here I am! I am here to not only be a resource and support agent for IWL, but also to take control, take a stand, and take a step forward towards redefining the role of women in leadership. I also hopefully am here to inspire and empower other women to do the same. As Steve Jobs once said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”