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. Monali Haldankar has been nominated by University of Louisville 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: Monali Haldankar
School: University of Louisville
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Concentration: B.A. in Biology and B.S. in Psychological and Brain Sciences
Role in Student Government: President
Dream job: Pediatric Dentist
Class year: 2015
What is your biggest challenge as a leader on campus?
Balancing the duty of representing student interests with feasibility and administrative and financial constraints. We as students always want better and faster, but sometimes certain goals and wants aren't the most logical or feasible. At the same time, the amount of input and direction we receive from students not involved in student government is little to none. When unpopular decisions or initiatives are taken on, the blame always falls on student leaders who are trying to help the campus community.
Which female leaders do you draw inspiration from?
Marie Curie. Growing up submersed in science, her research is notable not only for its content but for way she paved for other women interested in the sciences. To win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Physics is no easy feat, and she did it in the early 1900's. She lived and ironically also died by her research. She was so dedicated and I hope to be that passionate about something one day.
What comes to mind first when you think about important moments in history?
For me, in 1972 the Title IX of the Education Amendments which prohibited sex discrimination in schools. It's important and now seems like common sense but when it was brought up, it was highly controversial.
What do you think should be President Obama’s No. 1 priority?
Education, from curbing the rising student debt to reforming all levels of higher education. Something needs to be done soon because the systems now have so many inefficiencies and we are slowly but surely losing out in intelligence to almost every other world power. Without reform, student debt will continue to dwarf all credit card debt in the U.S. and our country's young people (the future of this country) will not only be in debt up to their ears, but will also not have the same quality of education of other countries. I believe we won't be competitive if something major doesn't happen in my lifetime.
What's your favorite rainy day activity?
My favorite rainy day activity is nothing out of the ordinary, I love making some tomato soup and grilled cheese while watching Miss Congeniality or a Harry Potter Marathon.
Follow Monali Haldankar on Twitter @itsmonali and check out last week’s female leader at Wiley College
To nominate an exceptional undergraduate female leader in student government please email Anna Brand at Anna.Brand@nbcuni.com