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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 17, 2003

Annual 'Sister Connection' Conference Set For March 1

The Women's Resource and Action Center at the University of Iowa will present "Building Bridges, Discovering Allies," the fifth annual Sister Connection Conference from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at the Becker Communication Studies Building and the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. The Sister Connection Conference is designed to empower and to connect women students of color at predominately white colleges and universities across academic discipline, ethnic, and economic lines.

Sheba Wheeler, Pulitzer Prize winner and 1996 University of Iowa alumna, will be the keynote speaker. Wheeler's Pulitzer Prize was an award won collectively by the Denver Post's newspaper staff in 2000 for its spot reporting of the tragic shootings at Columbine High School. Wheeler's contribution included firsthand accounts from the scene as well as months of follow-up articles on the victims. Wheeler has amassed a distinguished record as a reporter and mentor. In 1997 she wrote about her experience growing up on welfare; her article, part of a special project on welfare reform, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her keynote remarks at the Sister Connection Conference will address the importance of being mentored and of mentoring others. As she has told many graduates of Iowa's nationally recognized journalism program, "Once you make it over the wall, throw a line back over so others can follow."

Workshops will address a wide spectrum of topics and interests including "Funding Opportunities for Graduate Study," "Striving for Sisterhood: Black/Latina Sororities," "How Women of Color in Academic Settings Participate in Gender Discourse," "Personal Financial Management," and much more. All workshops are interactive sessions in which participants can discuss their individual and shared concerns as women of color on predominantly white campuses.

"We are proud of our efforts in planning this conference and believe that this event enhances the University's commitment to students, particularly women students of color," says Monique DiCarlo, director of the Women's Resource & Action Center. This year marks the first time since its inception that the conference has been primarily student-led. Kavita Narayan, UI undergraduate and co-chair of the conference planning committee said, "There aren't many specific opportunities designed for young women of color. This conference is a great opportunity for women of color to come together to talk about our needs and ideas for the future."

The Sister Connection Conference, presented in celebration of International Women's History Month, is in its fifth year. The conference was created in 1999 by Nadeja Wesley, a former practicum student at the Women's Resource and Action Center. Sister Connection focuses on the leadership skills and holistic development of female students of color, especially those attending or considering attending predominantly white colleges and universities. Participants are expected to come from the Iowa City community, the University of Iowa and from other colleges and universities across Iowa.

The $10.00 fee for the conference includes lunch; some scholarships are available. To register for Sister Connection 2003, or arrange for an accommodation, please call (319) 335-1486 or you can visit the website

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Monique DiCarlo, 319-335-1486, Writer: Linda Kroon.