Young Women’s Leadership Institute

An engaging, hands-on experience created to empower young women in their everyday lives.

Two students, one with long blonde hair and wearing glasses, the other with dark hair, are smiling as they pose in front of the Lincoln Memorial for a school democracy program.
  • Date

    July 15 - 20, 2024
  • Duration

    6 Days
  • Location

    Georgetown University
  • Cost

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Young Women's Leadership Institute will be offered as a specialized learning track within the inaugural JSA National Convention hosted at Georgetown University from July 15 - 20, 2024. Stay tuned for more details!

About the Program

The Young Women's Leadership Institute (YWLI) is a one-week residential summer program, also offered virtually.

Junior State of America (JSA) believes leadership is a skill that can be learned and nurtured through instruction, self-reflection, and practice. At YWLI, students will learn about the history of women’s leadership in the United States, gain direct experience in community organizing and action planning, and understand the opportunities they have to be leaders in their communities.

YWLI students will hear directly from women who are currently leading on critical issues in our country. Past speakers and presenters include: Ambassador Susan Rice; Senator Amy Klobuchar; Mayor London Breed; Dr. Brooke Rios, Executive Director of New Los Angeles Charter Schools; Dr. Kelley Le, author and climate science activist; Dr. Marie Peoples, Deputy County Manager, Coconino County; Deputy Chief Drennon Lindsey of the Oakland Police Department; Amanda Litman, Co-Founder of Run for Something!; Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett.

Who Should Attend?

The material is designed for high school girls in 9th-12th grade. The youngest group who can sign up for this experience are incoming 9th graders.

2023 Confirmed Speakers

Claudia Tobar
Claudia Tobar

Claudia Tobar, Ph.D. is Chief Innovation and Outreach officer at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. She teaches in the undergraduate department of education and is editor-in-chief of Para el Aula magazine. She is also director of Lupini, Community Children's Library. Learn more about Claudia Tobar.

Laura Brink Pisinski
Laura Brink Pisinski

Laura Brink Pisinsk is Vice President of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management at Simmons University. Primarily focused on efforts to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the campus physical plant through real estate deployment, facility renovation and utilization and institutional master planning, she also maintains significant relationships with key donors and University volunteers. In addition, Ms. Brink Pisinski led the Simmons University COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. Learn more about Laura Brink Pisinski.

Katrina Mulligan
Katrina M. Mulligan

Katrina M. Mulligan was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC), a portfolio that included special operations, irregular warfare, counterterrorism, counter-narcotics, and information operations policy issues. She also assisted the Assistant Secretary of Defense for SOLIC on oversight of special operations peculiar administrative matters on behalf of the Secretary. Learn more about Katrina Mulligan.

Bella Gomez

Bella Gomez is a rising sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis. As a graduate of the Fall 2020 YWLI cohort, she co-founded Empowering Environmental Education, a non-profit creating climate science and environmental education curriculum for under-resourced public school districts. Bella actively engages in the St. Louis community, working in WashU's undergraduate admissions office and securing over $100,000 in funding for various non-profits through grant writing.

Felicity Rodriguez
Felicity Rodriguez

Felicity Rodriguez is a student at Duke University, currently studying public policy. With a strong interest in social justice and environmental issues, she spends her free time running, playing sports, enjoying the beach, and spending time with friends.

Nancy Chavez-Jacobo
Nancy Chavez-Jacobo

Nancy Chavez-Jacobo will start her biomedical engineering studies at the University of California, Irvine this fall. Her passion for cancer research and commitment to giving back to her community drive her ambitions. She gained valuable leadership and teamwork skills from the JSA YWLI program in 2022. Nancy is excited about becoming a woman in STEM and making a positive impact in the medical field.

Key Takeaways
  • Meet inspiring women leaders
  • Implement community activism projects
  • Learn how to be a leader in your community
  • Make friends with students who share your interests

Goals & Outcomes

Students who attend Young Women’s Leadership Institute will:


Be better equipped to participate in government at the national, state, and local levels


Be able to lead and participate in civil conversations with people from different backgrounds and perspectives


Learn and demonstrate effective 21st-century leadership skills


Be ready to address current and future political, economic, and social issues facing the world


Be better suited to succeed in secondary and post-secondary education environments


Develop and hone essential critical thinking skills

  • This institute has helped me feel like I can make an impact in my community. I have been inspired to take action. I feel more confident and that my voice as a young woman is important.

  • Participating in this institute was an incredible step in my leadership journey. I pushed myself to grow, made lasting connections with my classmates, and learned more than I expected. It was an incredible experience.

  • I learned more about what women in the world face, and how they might overcome their problems. The amazing young women that I got to know this summer taught me a lot to know for when I leave my tiny island and explore the bigger parts of the world. By taking this class, I’ve gained confidence and knowledge. I believe in myself MORE, and I want to be brave—take risks.


Have questions?

How do I apply to JSA Summer Programs?

Do I need to be a member of JSA to attend Summer Experiences?

Are transcripts or letters of recommendation required for Summer Programs?

What is included in my tuition?

Are scholarships available for Summer Experiences?

Do I need to be vaccinated to attend in-person events?

How can I contact someone with questions?

View all FAQs