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Women, Politics, and Activism

Melissia Mason
As we continue to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Emma Willard School is partnering with The Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College to hold a virtual symposium on “Women, Politics, and Activism” on Thursday, September 24 (7:00 p.m. EDT via Zoom). Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ’84 will deliver a keynote address, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Benita Zahn of NewsChannel 13 featuring the following notable women in local and regional politics and activism.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ’84 began her career as a lawyer and then, inspired by the work of her mother and grandmother, decided to pursue a path of public service. She began her time as a public servant when she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 and then became a senator in 2009. Kirsten has worked on a number of issues, including authoring the STOCK Act, fighting for paid family leave, and advocating for military justice reform. Prior to her elected service, Kirsten served as special counsel to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC. In 2011, she launched the Off the Sidelines organization to encourage women and girls to make their voices heard on the issues they care about.

Alice Green, PhD GP’21 is executive director of the Center for Law and Justice, a civil rights organization she founded in 1985. She has a doctorate in criminal justice and master’s degrees in education, social work, and criminology. Dr. Green began her career as a secondary school teacher and social worker, and is now an adjunct professor at the University at Albany. She has spent many years advocating for youth and family services, community organizing, and writing and lecturing on racism and criminal justice. Alice is on the board of directors of the New York State Defenders Association, the Vice President of Senior Hope, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Capital District Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. 

Parker Hamilton Poling ’95 currently serves as the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. She previously served as Chief of Staff to Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee, Assistant to the Director of Media Affairs in the George W. Bush White House, and Communications Coordinator on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Parker is a graduate of Brown University and George Washington University Law School.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan is in her second term as Albany, New York’s 75th mayor, leading with a commitment to equity and responsive government that includes diverse community voices. Prior to being elected mayor, Kathy served a four-year term as Albany’s Treasurer. Kathy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University. After a five-year career in communications, Kathy attended Albany Law School. Before serving in elected office, Kathy was the vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of a publicly-traded medical device manufacturer. 

Kathy Jimino served in local and state government for her entire career culminating in a sixteen-year tenure as Rensselaer County Executive. Prior to serving as County Executive, Kathy worked for the New York State Senate Finance Committee, the City of Troy and the Rensselaer County information technology department. Kathy has a bachelor’s degree from Siena College and a master’s degree from SUNY Empire State College.  She retired from public service in 2017 and currently serves on the boards of St. Peter’s Health Partners, the Commission on Economic Opportunity, the Arc of Rensselaer County, and WMHT.  

New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy represents the City of Albany and the Towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland, and New Scotland, advocating for job creation, environmental conservation, and quality education. Pat currently serves on the Board of Directors of the UAlbany Center for Women in Government & Civil Society. Prior to coming to Albany, Pat served in public service roles in Chicago and Washington, DC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in public administration from University of Illinois at Chicago.

We are excited to welcome this distinguished panel of speakers to highlight the role of women in politics and activism. “It is such an honor to have a timely and thoughtful event that highlights our present need for women’s activism, honors the suffrage movement from our past, and reconnects Russell Sage College and Emma Willard School,” said Emma Willard’s Head of School Jenny Rao. “As one of our earliest benefactors and visionaries, Olivia Slocum Sage imagined just such a partnership.”

“Russell Sage and Emma Willard share a profound connection to promoting gender equity and opportunities for women. We hope partnering on this remarkable event will lead to an ongoing annual collaboration that honors our intertwined histories and promotes social justice,” said Russell Sage College President Christopher Ames.

The program, which is part of The Women’s Institute’s multi-event series Deeds Not Words: Women’s Political Past, Present and Future, is free and open to the public. Please register here.
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    • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ’84

    • Alice Green, PhD GP’21 - Executive Director of the Center for Law and Justice

    • Parker Hamilton Poling ‘95 - Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee

    • Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan

    • Kathy Jimino - former Rensselaer County Executive

    • New York State Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy

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