College of Arts and Humanities

‘PAWE’ Power: These Students Are Empowering Women, Building Futures at Clemson


An idea in a women’s leadership class has transformed into an effort to promote empowerment across the Clemson University campus.

People Advancing Women’s Empowerment (PAWE) group president Paige Schickling said the coalition was born from a course tasked with building an organization from the ground up. A set of students proposed a women’s leadership club, which developed into opening the group to all of campus.

“This is a way to get people to know each other in our major, but we’ve expanded that original mission immensely,” said Schickling, a double major in women’s leadership and psychology. “We want to give women seeking leadership a place to grow.”

Schickling added that campus awareness about the women’s leadership program is growing. There is also the opportunity for students not on the interdisciplinary studies track to add women’s leadership as a minor, or even as a double major.

“I think it’s essential to highlight the women who deserve to have their voices uplifted and heard,” vice president Avery Robinson said. “I’m ecstatic to be part of this group. We are making new connections and reaching people we haven’t met.”

Outreach director and women’s leadership major Kyra Toskos said alumni have contacted the group to help it grow and share their own life experiences. She added that she was thankful to be in a program that taught her how to negotiate a salary and deliver an elevator pitch.

“They care about our program, and we have had the luxury of interviewing them and seeing their professional experiences,” Toskos said. “We’ve connected with so many different women leaders, CEOs and professors with different backgrounds.”

Making it official

A group of People Advancing Women’s Empowerment members pose for a picture in front of Sikes Hall.
Pictured, from left to right, are Jackie Mills, Madeline Brown, Avery Robinson, Paige Schickling, Kyra Toskos, Madison Hough and Jeah Isaac.

PAWE was recognized as an official University club this semester and intends to hold three types of meetings. One, which has already started, is a speaking series of women in leadership roles. The second focuses on professional networking events with other women’s organizations on campus.

Finally, PAWE intends to give back to the community by collaborating with area service organizations. Jeah Isaac, a double major in women’s leadership and political science, said each student has different strengths that grow through service.

“We don’t want to wait to give back to the Clemson community,” she said. “We want to use these tools we’re learning and spread them to other people. Having people in one setting and working together will help us improve on our weaknesses. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

How to join women’s leadership club

Any Clemson student can join PAWE. Those interested should message its social media page.

“We want everybody who wants to be involved to be involved,” Schickling said. “We are growing and trying to get our name out.”

“Everybody is welcome to join; this is a gender-inclusive club,” Robinson added. “It’s a club that highlights women in positions of power, not a women’s exclusive club. If you’re a person who loves a woman or would like to get to know the women of this campus better, this is a great place to start.”

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