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Growing up female is subject of conference

Girlhood confrence
GIRL TALK: First-year students (left to right) Cristal Pimentel, Julianny Lahoz and Queen Bond will be panelists at the Women's Studies Program's annual conference on Oct. 6.
Photo submitted

Cristal Pimentel '11 (Undeclared) believes that sharing her story can help other young women.

Pimentel and her friends - and fellow New Paltz students - Queen Bond '11 (Undeclared) and Julianny Lahoz '11 (Undeclared) will talk about being the first members of their families to attend college at the Women's Studies Program's 28th annual conference, "Girlhood: The Challenge and Promise of Growing Up Female," on Oct. 6.

The focus of the conference is to discuss the trials, tribulations and triumphs of being a young woman in modern society and throughout history.

"People should know about the many things that happen in this world, so they won't feel alone," said Pimentel.

Bond, Lahoz and Pimentel will join panelists Courtney Martin, journalist and author of "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body," and Mary Roodkowsky, senior adviser to UNICEF, for the plenary.

Heather Hewett (English, Women's Studies), coordinator of the Women's Studies Program at New Paltz, believes that the story of how Pimental, Bond and Lahoz worked together to graduate from the High School of International Business and Finance in New York City in June will start a lively discussion.

"We're looking to reach a good mix of people, including students, activists, social workers, parents and teachers and to start a dialogue about the important issues facing young women," said Hewett.

The conference will address such issues as leadership, health, solidarity and education. Hewett says the event is open to "girls and those interested in girlhood," which includes men and women of all ages.

Pimentel, Lahoz and Bond, who began their first year at New Paltz in August as part of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), are excited to participate.

"No one has ever asked me to do such a thing before," said Lahoz. "Now that I have an opportunity to share my story with people, I don't want to miss a chance."

Bond added, "I'm honored to share my experiences."

Hewett says young women are encouraged to attend the event. Local school students, as well as SUNY New Paltz students, are invited to attend the conference free of charge. The cost for all other attendees is $40 at the door.

In addition to the keynote discussion, there will be three break-out sessions where a variety of workshops will be held. Workshops scheduled for the day include: "Building Girls' Strong Voices," "Interventions for 'At-Risk' Girls," and "The Girl Scouts and Political Identity." "Feminist Coloring Bookmaking Workshop" and "Leadership Development for High School Girls" are suitable for women under the age of 18.

The event is sponsored by the Women's Studies Program, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Fine and Performing Arts, Department of Educational Studies, Center for International Programs, Campus Auxiliary Services and Mid-Hudson Teacher Center.

The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Lecture Center, Coykendall Science Building and the Humanities Building.

For more information, call x2975 visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/wmnstudies.