#WomenWednesday: Meet India!

   Yasha Spriha is studying English Literature. Yasha is a liberal individual who believes in equality and justice. She is very passionate about women’s literature in specific. Her personal interests include reading, writing, and listening to music. Yasha loves to have conversations and believes in the power of words. India is a secular country according to Yasha, there are several religions coexisting within its national boundaries. As a Hindu Indian woman, her mission is to develop inter-communal relationships and create equality in the Indian society. Yasha believes that the KWLI is an opportunity of a lifetime. She hopes that her time with the KWLI will give her the opportunity to discover new dimensions of her personality and identity. She hopes to create a safer and more respectful environment for women. Her favorite quote is “I am not bird; and no net ensures me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” By Charlotte Bronte.

Sampriti Mukherjee is a third year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Social Sciences with a specialization in Economic, Political Science, and Sociology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad. Sampriti is passionate about gender rights and eliminating all forms of gender violence, providing better health and sanitation opportunities to women as well as ensuring equality to people of all genders and sexual orientation. She considers herself an ambivert and loves to play violin. Sampriti says the KWLI has been “nothing short of a dream come true.” Sampriti hopes to break away from her cocoon and learn to get out of her comfort zone. Moreover, she hopes she can take the skills she has learned during her time with the KWLI and help empower the women in her local community so that they can live healthier, productive and more enriched lives. Her favorite movie is Forrest Gump featuring Tom Hanks, and the reason for that is because this movie taught her about perseverance and to love herself for whom she is.

Saudamini Gupta is studying law with a specialization in constitutional and governance laws. She is a secular person and believes in the power of women. Saudamini enjoys having meaningful conversations about issues related to different communities. She says that India has a reservation policy for making underprivileged classes to be at par for with the privileged classes socially, economically, politically, and educationally. Saudamini hopes to develop as a human and become more sensitive to others. She is excited to apply the concepts of adaptive leadership to her projects back in India. Her favorite quote is “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” by Mahatama Gandhi.

Aprajita Verma is a Social Science major, specializing in International Relations, Economics, and History. Aprajita strongly supports intersectional feminism and human rights. She sees herself as an active listener and likes to engage in meaningful discussions. Some of her hobbies include reading non-fiction books, listening to music, and playing chess. She says that India remains as one of the few liberal democratic countries that has maintained an open door policy for refugees, migrants, the stateless, and displaced people. Through the KWLI she hopes to deconstruct the idea of leadership and develop a holistic understanding of the dynamic concept of adaptive leadership. She believes that this program has been an insightful journey towards the realization that leadership is a process we must engage in it with all our heart, mind, and soul. Aprajita’s favorite quote is “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong in the world.” By Paul Farmer.

#WomenWednesday: Meet Mongolia!


Ichinkhorloo Khosbayar (Oko) is studying International Relations, and was a part of AIESEC for almost two years and got the opportunity to go to Thailand for six weeks! She says Mongolia is known because of famous people such as Genghis Khan, but there is more to Mongolia than just that; they have their own unique tradition, culture, and language. Oko says today (June 29th) is actually an important day for Mongolians because they have parliament elections to elect new representatives for the next 4 years. During her time at KWLI, Oko hopes to meet new people and learn about their history and culture, and gain public speaking skills. Oko would also like to learn about each woman’s contribution to society! Her favorite movie is “7 Pounds” and her favorite quote is “rise and shine!”

Khulan Givaasuren is a senior at the National University of Mongolia studying International Journalism. She is excited to spend her time with such encouraging women and thinks it will be a great opportunity for self-development. Khulan believes that the KWLI will help her a create a tight network between the women from across the globe! She also believes that the KWLI will help guide her to find some solutions to the bigger issues facing the women in Mongolia. Khulan hopes to learn about the culture and traditions in the United States. Her favorite movie is “127 Hours” and her favorite song is “Ain’t Your Mama” by Jennifer Lopez.

Bujinlkham Bandikhuu studies The University of Finance and Economics majoring in Business Economics. Bujnlkham enjoys TedTalks, photography, Russian literature, hiking, and meditating! She says that Mongolia is one of the developing countries in the world with a sky that is ocean blue, which is why it is known as The Land of The Blue Sky. Bujinlkham hopes to enhance her leadership skills through KWLI and develop her network of professional acquaintances and make new friends along the way. Her favorite quote is “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” by Lao Tzu.

Tungalag Adiya is a senior in college studying at the University of Finance and Economics and is majoring in accounting. Her interest in accounting started when she took a math class in high school and fell in love with numbers! She believes that numbers reflect thousands of words without needing any translation, and her goal is to become a skilled accountant and contribute to her country’s value as much as possible. Tungalag says that Mongolia is a large landlocked country between Russia and China and that the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, means “red hero” in English. Tungalag hopes to learn from the other women at KWLI. She wants to learn about all the cultures and countries and knows that KWLI will open her eyes to the vast world around her. Her favorite quote is is by Winston Churchill and he states: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Meet the 2018 Kansas Participants!

We are so thrilled to welcome this year’s class of Kansas participants to the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute! This stellar group will work right alongside our international participants this summer for a transformative six weeks. Learn more about each of them below.

Kali Chatmon

Pittsburg State University
Majoring in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies
Bonner Springs, KS

Hello! My name is Kali Chatmon. I am a sophomore at Pittsburg State University. My major is Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Here at Pitt I am the President of Black Student Association and a Resident Assistant in the campus dorms. I am originally from Kansas City, KS but I have spent a majority of my life here in Bonner Springs, KS! Coming from and attending College in a small town has sparked a passion for Diversity inside of me. More specifically, I have a passion for diversity in leadership. I hope to see political offices of all kinds become more diverse and I plan to be at the forefronts of this change! Here at KWLI, I hope to gain insight and knowledge that I can use to strengthen my leadership skills, while passing down to others what I have learned.

Kelli Forrest

Washburn University
Majoring in Respiratory Therapy and Health Administration with a minor in Communication
Manhattan, KS

I am Kelli Forrest I am a committed respiratory therapist majoring at Washburn University. I will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in health administration, an associate degree in respiratory therapy, and minor in communication. I am originally from Manhattan, Ks but that does not restrict me from my enjoyment of traveling and meeting new people. A little bit about me is I am pretty much an open book, and I am very approachable. My passion involves tons of different things such as art, music, communication in health care, volunteering, and women’s rights. I believe in participating in the KWLI will help me improve my leadership skills and expand my knowledge on women’s issues in other economies. Also, words can’t explain how excited I am about this experience of a life time, and I can’t wait to meet my fellow KWLI sisters.

Caroline Hwang

University of Kansas
Majoring in Community Health, Exercise Science, or Interdisciplinary Computing with a minor in Leadership Studies
Manhattan, KS

Hello! My name is Caroline Hwang and I am from Manhattan, Kansas. I lived in Taiwan for 8 years during my elementary school and middle school years, where my experiences contributed to my perspectives and values now. I am a freshman at the University of Kansas, and I am currently still deciding on a major between Community Health, Exercise Science, and Interdisciplinary Computing. I also plan to minor in Leadership and am on the pre-med track. I am most passionate about helping people feel better both physically and mentally, which is why I would like to become a family doctor- so I can turn my passions into actions and help all ages of individuals. I am also very interested in coding, which is the reason I am fascinated by the power of technology and like to imagine how it will transform our future. Furthermore, I love traveling, making new friends, learning new skills, and strive to make positive changes in the world. From participating in the KWLI program, I hope to learn how to be a wonderful leader who is powerful but can also lead people to follow with their hearts. I believe leadership is very important because a good leader can bring positive changes to the world while also influencing many others to use their strengths to create more positive movements. 🙂

Emily Kondziola

Bethel College
Majoring in Communication Arts and Peace and Conflict Studies
Newton, KS

Hello! My name is Emily Kondziola, and I am a junior at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. North Newton is also my hometown! I am double majoring in Communication Arts and Peace and Conflict Studies.

My entire life I have cared deeply about gender equality and problems faced by women. When I came to Bethel, I realized I also care about peace and nonviolent ideology. My hope is that by participating in the KWLI, I will learn to reconcile these two things through thoughtful and inclusive leadership that strives to make tangible change, while at the same time, meeting some really awesome women from around the world that share a similar passion. I believe women are the best actors to create an environment where other women excel – and I hope being in the KWLI will help me capture the essence of that environment.

In the long term, I hope to be a lawyer, or work for the UN.

Isabel Rosales

Colby Community College
Pre-Med major
Colby, KS

Hi, I am Isabel Rosales and I was born and raised in Colby, KS. I attend Colby Community College where I will be a sophomore in the fall. I am currently a Pre-Med major. I am most passionate about my family and friends. I was raised in a very close family. The reason I would like to become a doctor is that my dad has inspired me. His health is not that great, so with his support I knew that was the calling for me. Being the student government president at C.C.C., the thing I hope to get out of participating in KWLI is the courage and confidence to lead C.C.C. as well as reflect on my community. Living in Colby, KS, being from a small town, the impact that youth brings to the town is huge. I volunteer at many activities around our town and participate in blood drives and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, by experiencing this program, it will help me gain knowledge in how to make a positive impact on our community and school. KWLI will help me find my true self and be able to make my mark on Colby and rural Kansas.

Melissa Tovar

Washburn University
Majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Legal Studies
Wichita, KS

My name is Melissa Tovar and I was born and raised in Wichita Kansas. I am a first-generation college student and I am a proud daughter of an immigrant. I am currently a junior at Washburn University and I am majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in legal studies. In the future, I want to go to law school and become an immigration lawyer, and work at a non-profit clinic to help low-income immigrants. At Washburn University, I hold many leadership positions and I am extremely involved on my campus. Currently I am the president of HALO (Hispanic American Leadership Organization), Founder of Washburn’s first-generation organization, a LINC Bonner scholar, a senator at Washburn Student Government Association, as well as serving on our Diversity council. I also work as a student recruitment, student programmer for Washburn University Diversity and Inclusion Office.

I am extremely passionate about helping at risk children by helping them find a better path and attend college. I come from a single mother of six and I was an at risk kid, and I want to be the role model to those kids showing them that if I can do it, so can they. As a kid, I entered college readiness programs that gave me the opportunity to not only attend college but also receive a full scholarship.

I believe that attending the KWLI, I will not only develop my leadership skills but it will allow me to take what I learned back to my university. I want to develop and become a better leader and advocate for people who look like me. Through KWLI, I want to expand my knowledge, develop my skills, network and educate others. I am so excited to see where this amazing program is going to take me!