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May 4, 2016

UMass Boston Launches Fellowship Program to Advance Women’s Public Leadership

  • Boston

Patricia McGovern, a former six-term state senator, and Jackie Jenkins-Scott, the outgoing president of Wheelock College, are members of the first cohort in a new UMass Boston fellowship program focused on women’s public leadership.

The Fellowship Program for Distinguished Public Service Leaders seeks to build a bridge between generations of women in public leadership and prepare the next generation of leaders, with a particular emphasis on advancing the leadership of women of color. The fellowship is based in the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy (CWPPP) at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston.

The four women in the initial cohort will be in residence for two years, giving public lectures, participating in mentoring programs, and contributing their stories to the center’s new Women’s Public Leadership Archive.  

“This fellowship program is part of the center’s long-term commitment to building the pipeline of women leaders in politics, policymaking, and the nonprofit sector,” said CWPPP Director Ann Bookman. “This program takes an innovative, intergenerational approach to expanding women’s roles in public service.”

The first fellows were recognized Tuesday at a ceremony in the UMass Boston Campus Center.

Patricia McGovern, who served six terms in the Massachusetts State Senate and was the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Committee on Ways and Means, was named the first Betty Taymor Fellow. This endowed fellowship was established in honor of Betty Taymor, a lifelong political activist and the founder of the nationally recognized graduate certificate program in gender, leadership, and public policy located in CWPPP. The Taymor fellowship is for “a woman who, through both elected and appointed leadership, has had a significant impact on the residents and communities of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

The inaugural cohort of fellows also includes:

Jackie Jenkins-Scott, community leader, public health advocate, and innovative administrator, who will step down this summer as the 13th president of Wheelock College. From 1983-2004, Jenkins-Scott served as president and CEO of the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, which has become a national model for integrated, comprehensive health and human services delivery to vulnerable and low-income communities.

Maria Elena Letona ’99, advocate, organizer, and leader in the nonprofit sector, is executive director of Neighbor to Neighbor, where she works to achieve economic and environmental justice for low-income individuals and communities of color. A native of El Salvador, Letona previously served as director of Centro Presente and was co-founder of the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities. She holds a PhD in public policy from UMass Boston.

Dolores Mitchell served in the administrations of seven governors and provided dynamic leadership from 1987-2016 as executive director of the Group Insurance Commission, the agency that administers life, health, disability, dental and vision insurance for state employees. Her extensive board roles have included professional and community organizations on the state and national levels, such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the National Quality Forum.

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