Tag Archives: leadership
If you, like me, have come to look forward to Maegan Vazquez’s “Young Politica” columns on Heartfeldt, you are going to miss her interesting take on the world through the students’ lens. During the past two semesters that she has interned for me, it has been my pleasure to see her grow and her writing develop.
Enjoy her last column here. I told her I predict we’ll be reading her in the Washington Post in a few years.
Today, airsoft rifles closely resembling AK-47s were found in the dorm room of a New York University student, according to the New York Post. The psychology student, Bernard Goal, 20, allegedly assembled and sold them for up to $500 each.
The story may not have been at the top of my radar (nor on the radar of the New York Post a few weeks ago, but in a post-Boston Marathon and post-MIT shootout world, I have become hyperaware of all things ammunition on campus—especially when that campus is my own.
As a member of the media, it would be naive of me to cite this as a reason for stricter gun laws on campus. Even I know that when in search for stories, a journalist often writes about what is most concerning to their audience at that moment in time. Right now, almost anything guns is a-go.
Up until recent events, campus gun laws were not an issue I was concerned with; mainly because my college doesn’t have a real campus. Rather, students take classes in buildings scattered across lower-Manhattan.
Posted in Leadership, Media, Politics, Power, Young Politica
Tagged gun laws, gun violence prevention, guns on campus, leadership, politics, power, women in politics
Monday night I attended the bipartisan Women’s Campaign Fund’s annual “Parties of Your Choice“.
As always, they begin with a raucous reception at Christie’s for several hundred guests, after which we all scatter around town for intimate dinners in beautiful homes. At each party, there are several WCF-endorsed candidates or elected officials who tell their tales and make their pitches.
Here are a few photos I took during the evening, which was peppered with chants of “Change the players. Change the game.”
Posted in Activism, Leadership, Politics, Power, Women & Politics, Women's History
Tagged leadership, No Excuses, politics, power, women, women in politics
Sally Jewell is a one-woman powerhouse. The REI CEO has just been approved by a bipartisan United States Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 19-3, according to the New York Times. Her next stop—a full review by the U.S. Senate.
“She is going to give each member of this committee her ear and her expertise that comes from having managed to pack a host of professional careers – petroleum engineer, C.E.O. and banker, to name just a few – into just one lifetime,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, told the committee.
Jewell’s diverse experience has made her a unique contender for the job. In comparison to her possible predecessor, former Senator Ken Salazar, Jewell has no government experience. However, just as Salazar made a historic impact by becoming one of the first Hispanics to earn a spot in the Senate, Jewell’s confirmation would make her the second woman to hold the Interior Secretary position.
An avid environmentalist these days, Jewell, 56, is not afraid to say that she started off as a petroleum engineer for Mobil Oil. Her range of experience provides her with a widened perspective. She has worked as a foreman for drill crews, an investment banker, and is now the CEO of a highly successful outdoor sports corporation. She’s a Jane of all trades—a banker, a boardroom member, and a mountain climber. She takes heed to both economic fronts and conservation efforts.
“She knows the link between conservation and good jobs,” President Obama said during Jewell’s nomination earlier this month. “She knows that there is no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress.”
Posted in Leadership, Politics, Power, Women & Politics, Women & Work, Women's History
Tagged leadership, Obama Cabinet, power, Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, women in politics, women's history, Women's History Month
In my last column, I wrote about how the sequester could deeply impact students of all ages—by cutting education jobs, programs like Head Start, food stamps, and limiting financial aid. Well, once again, kids trying to get an education are at risk of being undercut by the federal government.
The interest rate of new federally subsidized Stafford loans will revert to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent. The rate subsidized loans, which go to low-income households, was supposed to rise to 6.8 percent back in June 2012, but the rate’s expiration was postponed for a year. This year’s extension lasts until June 30, 2013. If Congress does not act to change the rules or extend the loan rate expiration date, an estimated 7.4 million college students will be affected.
Note that each year the date to change the rate is extended, the federal government loses out on about $6 billion in revenue. But students don’t necessarily have to be the ones paying the price. If there would have been more oversight on the financial aid process, the federal government could have prevented a loss of $200 million in federal student aid fraud since 2009.
What’s a good solution? Rather than postponing the expiration again, the House Education and the Workforce Committee argued that Congress should reevaluate their rate-setting process for all government-issued college loans.
FoxNews.com reports that the Department of Education has also been sending out letters to inform Direct PLUS Loan borrowers that their fees are being raised as a direct result of the automatic budget cuts (or the sequester) that happened after the federal government could not come to a fiscal agreement. Fees for loans issued after March 1, 2013, will have an adjusted loan rate fee—from 4.0 percent to 4.204 percent.
Students are taking more and more hits, but at least they’re putting up a fight.
Posted in Economy, Leadership, Politics, Power, Young Politica
Tagged leadership, power, sequester, Stafford Loans, Student Loan, Subsidized loans, women
Once again, we’ve waited until the last minute to try and fix our fiscal problems. This time, it’s the sequester that will go into effect on March 1st unless Congress acts.
If the sequester goes into effect, about one trillion dollars of federal spending will get cut—half of the cuts going towards defense ($42.7 billion). These cuts may cause furloughs in defense sectors (military, airport security) and other cuts may leave many teachers out of jobs.
About $3 billion of sequester cuts will go towards education. According to the National Education Association the sequester will result in:
- Services cut or eliminated for millions of students.
- Funding for children living in poverty, special education, and Head Start slashed by billions.
- Ballooning class sizes.
- Elimination of after-school programs.
- Decimation of programs for our most vulnerable—homeless students, English language learners, and high-poverty, struggling schools.
- Slashing of financial aid for college students.
- Loss of tens of thousands of education jobs—at early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels.
However, the education cuts can be made smarter in a smarter way.
Last week, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would allow employees to discuss their salary information without the fear of companies pursuing legal action against them.
The bill is on its third try. In a 2010 senate vote, the bill failed to get any Republican support, even by the female Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who all voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
According to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Fair Pay Act will:
• Amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, race or national origin;
• Require employers to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions;
• Prohibit companies from reducing other employees’ wages to achieve pay equity;
• Require public disclosure of employer job categories and pay scales, without requiring specific information on individual employees; and
• Allow payment of different wages under a seniority system, merit system, or system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
The bill makes perfect sense—give all female workers a chance to see what their equal male counterparts are earning, and see if it matches up without getting sued by employers. In an economy where women earn some 33% less than males, why wouldn’t politicians see this as a good measure for ensuring equal rights?
Posted in Leadership, Women & Politics, Women & Work, Women's Rights, Young Politica
Tagged female college graduates, gender equality, leadership, Lily Ledbetter Act, Paycheck Fairness, Paycheck Fairness Act, women
In your junior high science classes, how many female scientific pioneers were in your textbook? I doubt more that there were more than a handful. In freshmen geometry class, did you learn about any famous female mathematicians? Probably not. I did not know about Sally Ride until I graduated from high school and even today, I could not tell you about any legendary female mathematicians. Pioneering women have been historically absent from all school subjects, not just science and mathematics, since the dawn of the schoolhouse.
Even these days, when more women are going to college than men in this country, there is still a lack of women entering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career fields. The reasons for the interest gap are complicated, according to Christi Corbett, senior researcher for for the American Association of University of Women.
“The direction of scientific inquiry is influenced by the people doing the work,” Corbett told me over the phone. Women comprise of about only 20% of the bachelor’s degrees in STEM-related fields. One can concur that women must then only make about 20% of the decisions in, say, scientific research.
Corbett helped compile Why So Few?—a comprehensive report that tries to solve why so few women are entering STEM fields.
Internships are awesome. They look great on a resume and they help you hone your craft with real-world experience. As a journalism student, I’ve heard the same advice many times: “Do as many internships as you can.” So I have done internships, both paid and unpaid, for the sake of gaining some experience while I’m still in school.
Within my school and other universities across the nation, it seems like full-time, unpaid internships are a common practice. For many, these unpaid internships are taken at the cost of relocating away from school (e.g. taking a summer internship in NYC) and/or paying for extra school credit. See, that’s a loophole, folks. As long as it is labeled as ‘educational’, an employer does not have to pay its intern. In reality, paying interns is not about thriving, really; it’s about surviving. Many times, a student is not even reimbursed for housing, food, or transportation.
But there’s a group going against the current, telling students to resist unpaid work. #PayGenY, an initiative sponsored by She Negotiates Consulting and Training, argues that most unpaid internships are illegal.
“We have a very simple lesson: influence for-profit employers, university and professional schools to pay interns,” Victoria Pynchon, co-founder of She Negotiates, said.
Posted in Leadership, Politics, Power, Women & Work, Women's Rights, Young Politica
Tagged educational internship, interns, internship, leadership, power, unpaid internship, women, work life balance
For now, it seems that the fiscal cliff crisis has been temporarily adverted. The Senate and House approved the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which has prevented old budgeting from sending the country hurtling down the Fiscal Cliff.
But don’t get too excited. The battle isn’t over and in some ways it’s just beginning. The new deal, which is designed to keep our economy from another recession, increases taxing on the wealthy but has temporarily halted many changes in government spending.
In further detail, here’s what some of the new bill entails:
- Tax rates will increase for taxpayers with incomes higher than $450,000
- Changes in estate taxing was adverted
- Middle class has an extension on stimulus tax cuts
- Capital gains taxes increase to 20% for high earners
- Some estimates say the deal will provide bout $600 B in revenue over the next 10 years.
However, there’s been no real agreement on what should be done about government spending cuts.
Posted in Leadership, Politics, Power, Women & Politics, Young Politica
Tagged Gloria Feldt, leadership, politics, power, women, you, youth voters
“I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” – Alice Paul, suffragist and author of the still-not-ratified Equal Rights Amendment.
Alice Paul had a singular mission, from which she never strayed: women’s full and unequivocal equality.
Today, on what would be her 128th birthday, I sing her praises and birthday wishes for at least three reasons.
First, She lived her principles—“wore the shirt” as in Power Tool #6. Interestingly, though today most of the opposition to women’s equality comes from the fundamentalist denominations of many major religions, Paul credits her religious upbringing for her deep convictions about the righteousness of women’s suffrage and women’s equality in general.