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. Paniz Rezaeerod has been nominated to represent Sewanee: The University of the South by a DICK JONES COMMUNICATIONS Media Strategist 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.
Name: Paniz Rezaeerod
School: Sewanee: The University of the South
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Major/Concentration: Politics (History, Women's & Gender Studies)
Dream Job: Working in a Democratic congressional fundraising firm
Class Year: 2015
What is your biggest challenge as a leader on campus?
Mobilizing and igniting political efficacy to the rest of the members on campus is one of my biggest challenges as a leader. Sometimes it becomes easy to lose oneself in their own world with classes or sports, but there is another world out there beyond the confines of our own campus that we should be involved in. Regardless of our individual histories, socioeconomic backgrounds, or racial and ethnic identities, it is our government that every citizen in this nation shares in common with one another -- that's something to care about.
Which female leaders do you draw inspiration from?
I am deeply inspired by Terri Sewell, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
What comes to mind first when you think about important moments in history?
What immediately comes to my mind is the Civil Rights era. I have had an interesting experience as an Iranian, female dual citizen raised in the thick of the Bible Belt in the public education system.
What do you think should be President Obama’s No. 1 priority?
It's difficult to pinpoint one issue and prioritize it above all the rest, but I feel quite passionately about gender equality. It is 2014 -- why are we still quarreling over rights for women that were guaranteed and instilled to men decades ago? I think it's important to acknowledge the many compartments that would fall under this broad notion of "women's rights," but I think we should start with the pay rate and addressing the income disparity between men and women.
Check out last week’s female leader at Lane College and see all student leaders featured here
To nominate an exceptional undergraduate female leader in student government please email Anna Brand at Anna.Brand@nbcuni.com