IWC’s International Women’s Day Celebration empowers women, brings organizations together


Alexa Grayson

Many women and femme-focused clubs, including Strong Women Strong Girls, gathered March 6 in the Curry Student Center Ballroom to celebrate International Women’s Day at an event hosted by the Interdisciplinary Women’s Collaborative.

Alexa Grayson, news staff

A feeling of empowerment filled the Curry Student Center Ballroom as the Interdisciplinary Women’s Collaborative, or IWC, hosted its second annual International Women’s Day Celebration on March 6. The celebration featured a myriad of women-led organizations that came together to share the work that they do. 

The IWC was founded in February 2020 to bring women together and foster empowerment across disciplines. Currently, the IWC hosts many events throughout the school year and has many initiatives, including a Menstrual Health and Empowerment task force, Title IX task force, Sorority Betterment task force, Co-op Reform task force and an initiative for increased safety measures for Westin and Sheraton residents. 

The founder of the IWC, Emerson Johnston, a third-year politics, philosophy, and economics major, said this celebration was born when the IWC realized that there was no interdisciplinary celebration of International Women’s Day that was inclusive to everybody. 

“We wanted to create an event that is inclusive for everyone who aligns with the message of International Women’s Day, regardless of gender,” Johnston said. 

Alicia Prainito, a second-year history, culture, and law student, is the executive director and incoming chair of the IWC. 

“I joined the IWC right before my freshman year. I wanted to be involved in a women’s space. Coming from a pretty conservative town, it was very important for me to find my people so I feel like I did,” Prainito said. “My favorite parts are definitely the advocacy.” 

At the event, attendees visited a variety of booths, each led by women-led student organizations on campus. This gave student groups the opportunity to share what they do and how one could get involved. 

At the Her Campus Northeastern booth, Hershey’s kisses and captivating story titles drew a large crowd of attendees. Her Campus has individual college chapters and has a national magazine as well, which is ranked as the “#1 Online magazine for College Women” according to its website. 

The editor-in-chief of Her Campus, Jess Brite, a third-year journalism major, joined Her Campus her first year when she was looking for an outlet for writing that wasn’t as “news-y,” and was more blog-like. Brite said that anyone can write for Her Campus without previous journalism experience, and they can write about any topic that interests them. 

“We like to say our tagline is ‘written by women for women.’ So a lot of our content is targeted towards our female audience. But, of course, we hope everybody reads our content,” Brite said. “We really believe in female empowerment, which is why we do a lot of bonding events and have a lot of fun group activities.” 

For those who are interested in research, the Women’s Research Engagement Network, or WREN, booth had no shortage of stickers or opportunities. WREN was founded by Nicole Page in fall 2020 with the main goal of promoting and celebrating women in research at Northeastern University. WREN actively supports women in research by providing “resources, programming, networking, as well as presentation opportunities” according to its website.

Page, a third-year biochemistry major, said that WREN has an upcoming “Jumpstart” program that is geared towards equipping women with the hard skills they need to find research positions and discover different positions on campus. 

“I saw that there were many women who are interested in research, [but] for a lot of different reasons, hadn’t actually gotten involved in campus yet. … It takes a lot of independent work and effort for a lot of students to find research on campus and search out opportunities,” Page said. “We started as a program to help bridge that gap, and to bridge the gap between faculty and students.”  

For attendees interested in empowering youth specifically, Strong Women Strong Girls and Big Sister Boston were both present for attendees to explore. 

Strong Women Strong Girls, or SWSG, is a student organization committed to fostering positive social change by working to “create cycles of mutual empowerment for girls and women” according to its website. The club holds weekly meetings in addition to volunteering weekly in schools as mentors to foster social-emotional skills and empowerment in young girls. 

Kayla Meisenzahl, a second-year sociology and environmental studies combined major, is a cohort leader for SWSG, which means she supports groups of volunteers or “cohorts” as they volunteer in the classroom. She also leads bonding events and portions of meetings.

“Anytime that you’re around kids, it can [be] really inspiring … just seeing how they are resilient and the next generation of women and just people, in general, are so empowering,” Meisenzahl said. 

Big Sister Boston is another program for girls in Boston Public Schools between the ages of 77 and 15, with the goal of igniting girls’, or “little sisters’,” passion and success through mentorship with their college “big sisters.” 

For attendees interested in business, organizations including Women in Business, Smart Women Securities and Women in Economics provide immense networking opportunities and a supportive group of women.  

Women in Business empowers women at Northeastern through a variety of professional and personal development events and networking opportunities. Kelsey Bohannon, a fourth-year business administration student, joined Women in Business her first year and is now one of the co-presidents of the club.

“I love the community of women empowering each other. A lot of great helpful content from the club helped me get my first co-op,” Bohannon said. “I wanted to get more involved so I joined executive-board.” 

For women interested in cybersecurity, Women in Cybersecurity at Northeastern, or WiCyS, is dedicated to giving women in the field the knowledge they need through talking to mentors and meeting with peers and experts in the field. Sara Takhim, a second-year cybersecurity major, shared that she finds WiCyS to provide a great community for anyone interested in pursuing cyber-security. She also talked about the national conference held by the Women in Cybersecurity organization. 

“We have a national conference every year, and it’s over 8,000 attendees from different universities. We have a bunch of sponsors from the industry,” Takhim said. “Companies like Goldman Sachs, Netflix, all these huge tech companies sponsored the entire organization as a whole.” 

Cynthia El Choueiri, a second-year economics major, is the director of empowerment for the IWC. She puts together many events and workshops with trailblazing women to inspire and empower women attending the events. El Choueiri reflected on her experience attending the International Women’s Day event. 

“I really enjoyed it. I got to chat with a lot of people that I wouldn’t be able to chat to otherwise,” El Choueiri said. “I also got to promote what I was doing too and see if they were interested in coming to some of the meetings that I hold. It was definitely really cool to get the message out about what you’re doing.”

Editor’s note: Jess Brite, editor-in-chief of Her Campus, is a former staff writer for The News.