Meg Nadeau, of South China, who attends Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, was in Orono June 2-7 for Maine NEW Leadership, a six-day, nonpartisan public leadership institute provided at no cost to college women from a wide range of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and educational backgrounds and academic majors. Sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, the program helps participants develop confidence, learn leadership skills, and build networks that empower them to become civic and political leaders.

Twenty-eight emerging Maine leaders representing 15 different higher education institutions were selected through a competitive application process for this intensive, high-level training. Participants came from the seven University of Maine System campuses, four Maine community colleges, and Maine private colleges. Several were international students studying in Maine.

The NEW Leadership program originated at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In 2009, the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center launched NEW Leadership in Maine, and 216 students have graduated from the program in its first eight years. It is the only statewide leadership program in Maine for college women. There are currently 20 colleges and universities in the national NEW Leadership network. A recent national survey of NEW Leadership alumnae in 15 different states, including Maine, confirmed that the program has been successful in inspiring the vast majority of alumnae to participate in politics, educating them about the political process, and increasing their overall confidence and skills.