Texas Women’s University, in partnership with the Boone Family Foundation, Cecelia & Garrett Boone Donor Advised Fund of the Dallas Women’s Foundation and the Embrey Family Foundation became the ninth fellowship to join our Public Voices Thought Leadership Project from June 2012 through June 2013. The only fellowship to combine faculty fellows with nonprofit leaders (grantees of the Boone and Embrey foundations), its success has been remarkable. During the fellowship period, 19 fellows produced 105 concrete pieces of thought leadership including published op-eds in major outlets ranging from CNN to The Guardian to The Dallas Morning News, as well as many radio and TV appearances. Collectively, TWU Public Voices fellows far exceeded the stated targets of the fellowship, with a success rate of over 500%.
The program garnered successes early and continued until its completion. The first op-ed, written by Ellen Magnis, ran in the international outlet The Guardian just four days after the fellowship launched in June 2012. Because of her op-ed, Ellen was invited and took part in a live Q&A discussion with feminist author Naomi Wolf on The Guardian’s website. Five days later, Katie Pedigo’s op-ed about the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was published in the Dallas Morning News. Just two days after Katie’s op-ed ran, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison signed on as cosponsor of the bill.
Anna Clark published soon after the launch of the fellowship program and went on to write a total of 9 op-eds in major outlets including The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Al Jazeera. Anna was asked to speak at a Senate hearing on a bill that would end the sale of shark fins in Texas. Joy Strickland’s open letter to President Obama on U.S. drug policy led the opinion page of CNN last November and started a conversation with almost 500 comments on the op-ed itself and was “liked” on Facebook over 1100 times.
TWU fellows have written about everything from immigration and gun control to education and the environment. They have shaped public opinion, public policy, and each other. Over the course of the program, fellows investigated how and why their knowledge and experience matters, grappled with their right and responsibly to shape history, and used their voices to change the world.