"In one word, what does Ms President US mean to you?"
Hersha Chauhan - 2018 Ms President US Ridgefield
“I think it would be growth because, as a participant, I grew a lot. I entered as an eighth grader that was not very confident in sharing my own ideas, and even just within one session, one month, one year, you could track that progress for me. And not to speak for every other participant, but I know, as a mentor, I saw that growth from September to when the campaigns [in terms of] building a passion for something. So, I think Ms President [US] would be all about growth—whether you learn one thing or 100 things every year—regardless, you learned something. I think even if you do [the program for] five years I think each year I could say I learned something and grew as a person.”
“I will say empowering as a mentor because to have women sitting ahead of you [...] [and] to be able to like see [their career paths] as a reality instead of a far away thought that you're like, ‘Oh in a perfect world this is what will happen to me.’ It’s more like ‘This is her current reality; this is what she did to get herself there,’ so I felt like that was really empowering. It’s also really empowering to be able to have a voice in something. Especially in school and stuff, if you don't agree with something, you're not asked about it. [They’re] not like, ‘Did you like how I did this?’ or ‘What do you think I could change about this?’ I think [at] most schools you have your course evaluations, but you don't actually feel like [your responses are] meaningful [...], so I think [providing feedback to Ms President US] felt really empowering. Also, being able to be an older kid, especially considering I have an older sister, being able to like sit with younger girls who are extremely competent and intelligent and just listen to them and what they had to say and what they want to like fix about the world—I feel like you always leave feeling like ‘Everyone in this room wants to make a difference in some aspect of what they're passionate about,’ and so I think it's just great to be able to focus that energy into one thing such as Ms President [US] and be able to walk away knowing that you had an active role in the whole process of it."
Hear from our alumnae
“Participating in Ms President US is more than just learning about the government. It’s finding your voice, learning how to be confident, learning how to speak because you are going to have to speak in whatever you do.”
“Ms President US presented a really nice opportunity to have my thoughts heard. It was super inspiring to hear all the women come in and speak to you and think that one day I could grow up and be like them. The election was very, very thrilling - you get up on the stage, everybody is looking at you, you can hear yourself speaking through the microphone - it was very fun! It was definitely an amazing experience.One main thing this program has taught me was to not be scared - don’t be scared to put yourself out there.”
“I thought it would be cool to meet people and learn about the government because at the start, I didn’t know anything. You could learn about all the different leaders and ask them questions about their experiences”