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. Joy Das has been nominated by Wellesley 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: Joy Das
School: Wellesley College
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Concentration: Political Science
Role in Student Government: College Government President
Dream job: Working at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Class year: 2014
What is your biggest challenge as a leader on campus?
Students trust me to represent their opinions and concerns, and I work hard to honor that trust as a leader on campus. Wellesley has an incredibly diverse student body, so trying to give a balanced, accurate, and articulate portrayal of all these perspectives at the same time without alienating anyone is a constant challenge. I’m always worried, what if I am not explaining a point of view correctly, or there’s a perspective I don’t know about? It’s easy to pick a side in any debate, but then you run the risk of silencing part of the population that you represent. After that, you lose the ability to help anyone reach their goals. And if you can’t help other people, what’s the point?
Which female leaders do you draw inspiration from?
This is really cliche, but Hillary Clinton. Not because of what she did after she graduated, but what she did while she was a student. There are a lot of news articles about her accomplishments and commencement speech and such, but I like to summarize her work as, “making sure Wellesley doesn’t fall apart.”
What comes to mind first when you think about important moments in history?
Invention of the printing press. People keep talking about an “information overload.” But then, you remember that before the printing press, the ability to share and receive information was a privilege, and that for a lot of people, information exchange is still a privilege. And then I don’t feel as guilty about the amount of time I spend on e-mails and Facebook.
What do you think should be President Obama’s No. 1 priority?
Giving people a reason to have confidence in our government. I don’t think it should even matter which parties are in power, because once you’re elected, you don’t get to pick and choose the problems you face or the people you serve.
If you could only live off of one form of social media what would it be?
LinkedIn- It may be the only form of social media that makes me feel productive (and the job search is real).
To nominate an exceptional undergraduate female leader in student government please email Anna Brand at Anna.Brand@nbcuni.com