February 22, 2021, Heather Noman
Last Wednesday, 13 students had the opportunity to participate in a sit-down session with Nancy Bocskor. She is known nationally and internationally for being a “Democracy Coach” and a servant to the community. In addition, Ms. Bocskor is a board member of an organization known as Running Start, which encourages young women to run for office, aspire to executive positions, or otherwise gain a “seat at the table.”
The 13 of us were thrilled to sit down with Ms. Bocskor and pick her brain on the many things that interest us. Of note, early in her professional career, she worked with Newt Gingrich, who would later become Speaker of the House. By the time she was in her mid-20s, she was his Legislative Director. She stressed the importance of taking risks, something that we, as women, might not have been socialized to do. But sometimes getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to take opportunities, something she did when moving from Ohio to Washington, DC.
Bocskor’s involvement in politics extends to the non-profit world, where she is active on many boards. One of those is Running Start, which provides funding (with the help of Walmart) to young women for interning in Washington, DC. This semester-long program pairs female students with women in Congress (House and Senate), and provides leadership workshops on Fridays. Over the years, SHSU has had three students picked for this program, including two in the same year–the only time in the program’s history that two students have been selected from the same University.
Anne Jamarik and Megan Chapa: Running Start DC Fellows
Ms. Bocskor suggested we apply to the program, as well–something we are looking into, with our newfound tolerance of risk!
One of the biggest takeaways from our meeting with Nancy Bocskor came from Shaylee Ritter’s questions. “How do you make yourself stand out from the rest?” and “how do you make personal connections with someone you barely know?” Bockskor’s response was to be engaged in the conversation, which will allow students to ask interesting questions. The more engaged you are, the deeper you’ll be able to think about the topics. The deeper you are thinking, the more likely you are to ask new questions. These questions will allow you to connect with the professional, while also providing you with interesting information.
Bocskor’s perspective was valuable because there isn’t a faculty member on SHSU’s campus with her background. We were able to get more of a practitioner’s perspective, while also just getting practical life advice. Many thanks to Ms. Bocskor for returning to SHSU to help out young women!