Redefining the Classroom

LSSU hosts Young Women/Strong Leaders Conference April 12

Posted: April 3rd, 2013

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University welcomes young women – including undergraduate and graduate students – to learn from other women about the possibilities and pitfalls of being a working woman in the 21st century during the 2013 Young Women/Strong Leaders conference.

This year’s conference will be held from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12, in LSSU’s Walker Cisler Center. It is being hosted jointly with the Office for Women in Higher Education -- part of the Michigan branch of the American Council on Education -- and Michigan State University.

The conference brings young women together with women already established in their traditional and non-traditional fields for a day of conversations, stories, questions, and mentoring opportunities. The conference encourages young women, through the theme of this year’s conference, to “Write Your Own Story!”

The Young Women, Strong Leaders conference invites students to a day of building networks, and learning how to find and become mentors, with leadership role models from across Michigan.

After registration and a light breakfast, LSSU alumna Patricia L. Caruso will present the keynote address. Caruso, who is a recipient of LSSU’s Outstanding Alumna Award, spent 23 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections, including nine years as a warden and almost eight years as the director of the department while serving as a cabinet member to Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Pat Caruso speaking on campus in 2008

During Caruso’s tenure, the department successfully reduced the prison population by more than 7,500 prisoners, implemented the nationally acclaimed Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative, realized a 33% reduction in recidivism, greatly expanded public and private community partnerships, increased use of electronic monitoring, and closed 14 facilities. She retired from the department in January 2011.

The rest of the day will offer opportunities to attend workshops on topics as diverse as finding a mentor; starting a small business; promoting yourself; investigating career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; plus sessions for women interested in business, health, government, or non-traditional fields. The day includes lunch and health breaks that feature yoga and tai chi.

LSSU President Tony McLain expressed his enthusiastic support for the conference, in part because of his personal connection to its theme. “As the father of two daughters who came of age in a time before young women had good public support for developing into strong leaders, I am especially delighted that Lake State is hosting this conference.”

Registration, which closes April 9, is online only. The conference fee of $25 covers all of the day’s events, including lunch, and snacks.

For more information, contact Prof. Jillena Rose, 906-635-2091, -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315,; John Shibley, 635-2314,; Prof. Jillena Rose, 635-2091,