Women in Politics: College Edition – Roanoke College

Welcome to Women in Politics: College Edition, where promising women leaders in student government on college and university campuses across the country will be featured on msnbc.com over the course of the year. Evelyn Clark has been nominated by Roanoke College as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics.

As part of a new series at msnbc, “Women of 2014,” these hand-selected women become part of a larger discussion of women candidates and women’s issues on a national level. “Women of 2014” is a home for all women in politics – notably those in some of the year’s most pivotal races – with newsmaker interviews, profiles, photos, a Twitter trail following more than 35 candidates, and deep dives into the key conversations.

From the Ivy Leagues to the Big Ten to liberal arts colleges and beyond, young women are making a difference across the country – meet them here!

Name: Evelyn Clark

School: Roanoke College

Hometown: Martinsville, VA

Concentration: B.A. in political science, minor in French, with a concentration in gender and women’s studies

Dream job: First female governor of Virginia

Class Year: 2015

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What is your biggest challenge as a leader on campus?

I think it’s difficult being a female leader anywhere in the world. There is a certain stigma for women who speak their mind and stand up for their beliefs. It is a complicated balance trying to keep everyone in a group happy, especially at a small school where we cooperate so much with the other political groups.  My greatest challenge would be encouraging other women to get involved and take on leadership positions.

Which female leaders do you draw inspiration from?

I had the incredible opportunity to meet one of my greatest role models, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). She broke so many barriers, as the first woman elected to Congress from Wisconsin. Moreover, she’s the first openly gay person to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. She is a strong advocate for women’s rights and LGBTQ equality. I also love Sen. Baldwin for the fact that she doesn’t let her identity take over her platform. She focuses on so many other issues such as job creation and health care reform, truly speaking to the fact that our genders and sexual identities are not sole defining factors on our morals and values.

What do you think should be President Obama’s No. 1 priority?

As much as I’d like to say equal protection from discrimination for all Americans, I truly believe that we need to do something about our higher education system. A college degree does not guarantee job security in the United States, and students are thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate. It was fascinating explaining the American education system to other students when I studied abroad. We are our country’s future and if we spend our entire lives simply trying to catch up with our student loans, there is not much hope for a thriving economy.

Check out last week’s female leader at University of South Carolina

To nominate an exceptional undergraduate female leader in student government please email Anna Brand at Anna.Brand@nbcuni.com

Student Government

Women in Politics: College Edition -- Roanoke College