UM students graduate Leading Edge Institute

Published 2:53 pm Tuesday, February 11, 2014

By GINNY COOPER / Staff writer

MONTEVALLO—University of Montevallo students Emily Pennington and Laura Beth Askelson are graduating from the Leading Edge Institute Saturday, March 1.






The Leading Edge Institute is a “dynamic nine-month leadership program dedicated to working with college women across the state of Alabama to change the face of leadership,” according to their website.

The institute works to inspire, prepare and empower women in Alabama to lead the state to a better future.

Emily Pennington, a 24-year-old married mother of two, is a non-traditional college student majoring in biology at the University of Montevallo. Pennington recognized a lack of support for non-traditional students through her own college experience and talking with other student parents.

“I never categorized myself as a leader,” Pennington said. “Through the Leading Edge Institute I have been able to do things I never thought I could do. I was able to advocate for student parents on campus.

For her leadership action project, Pennington is advocating for other student parents by spreading awareness on campus and meeting with club leaders and university administrators.

Laura Beth Askelson is a senior at the University of Montevallo majoring in political science and history, with a minor in pre law. She plans to become a lawyer or politician following graduation.

“I was able to learn from a lot of women in leadership positions through the Leading Edge Institute,” Askelson said. “It’s amazing how much women on campus and women in the program help other women along.”

Askelson founded a Montevallo chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success for her leadership action project, and the group currently has 350 members.

“This program taught me to just do it. Get it done,” Askelson said.