Local high school girls were given the opportunity to participate in the 11th annual Young Women’s Real World Conference Nov. 5 on campus at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
The conference, which offers advice on how to construct a path toward a successful future, hosted more than 30 local girls.
Many of the girls had never stepped foot on campus prior to this conference, and had not seriously considered education after high school.
Carol Loats, a retired history and women’s studies professor, founded the event and brought it to CSU-Pueblo’s campus in 2004. At the time, she hoped to inspire and direct the girls toward decisions that would impact their future in a positive way.
Loats continues to be surprised and delighted with the conference’s annual growth and improvement.
“We don’t get to see how the conference affects each girl after we meet but we always get a lot of positive feedback from the community. We look at that feedback every year and always try to improve,” Loats said.
She acknowledged that not all of the girls who attend the conference want to be there, but she feels that those who don’t are the ones who gain the most by attending.
“Some of them come in from the courts, only attending in exchange for lower court costs or fees. I find that those girls are the ones who are impacted the most,” she said.
The conference also benefits the university and its students. All of the conference coaches are students at CSU-Pueblo. Each one is chosen through a recruitment process that Loats designed herself.
After initially learning of the organization through presentations in class, female students were able to apply to be a conference coach and were selected with an interview process.
“We did not create this organization for the university, but I think it is a very logical thing (for CSU-Pueblo) because it creates collaboration with the community that other things, like football, don’t touch,” Loats said.