Marshall’s First Women Professional’s Symposium


Lucy Bell, Student Reporter

Many college students are unaware of the career opportunities around them, prompting one university professor to organize a panel of city professionals to share their experiences climbing the ladder. 

  Dr. Hilary Brewster hosted a panel of female CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs from the city of Huntington at the first biannual Women Professionals Symposium on Nov. 15. Alys Smith, the new first lady of Marshall University, moderated the event. 

  “When I teach Women’s Studies 101, I bring in representatives from different non-profit groups who do work with women,” Brewster said. “And my students will say, ‘I’ve lived here for four years, and I did not know that this was a thing,’ and this is my mini version of providing a solution.” 

 Brewster, the director of the women’s, gender and sexualities studies department, wanted to find a way for Smith to be involved in the event especially given Smith’s previous work with non-profits. 

 “I knew that Alys was the kind of person who wanted to be active on campus,” Brewster said. “I know that she cares about women’s issues, especially women’s professional issues, so I figured this kind of event was a great way to get her involved.”

  As this symposium focused more on students with business majors, the panel discussed topics ranging from their experiences working in male-dominated fields to the paths they took to overcome the challenges presented in starting their own companies.

  Brewster plans to cycle through the various majors on campus and make the panels at future events even more inclusive. 

  “Even though the language that we used to title this event says it’s the Women Professionals Symposium–as an advocate for intersectionality–in the future, I will be seeking out folks who are nonbinary or transgender to serve on these panels,” Brewster said.