Spotlight on Leadership

Welcome to the leadership spotlight, a regular feature that showcases university and community leaders whose work supports the Institute for Women's Leadership’s mission to advance women’s leadership locally and globally through pioneering research, innovative programming and collaborative engagement.

These innovative leaders are the embodiment of the IWL’s vision to challenge the barriers to the advancement of women, while embracing intersectionality, as the IWL seeks to reduce inequities across institutional structures. We hope you enjoy getting to know some of our spotlighted leaders.

IWL is delighted to accept ongoing nominations for leaders!


Women in Charge

The following women have been featured in WIN's Women in Charge Spotlight.  WIN's mini-series: Women in Charge: Student Spotlight features women leaders making an impact on campus, highlighting real women making real change at Marquette.  Check out the past featured student leaders below and read more about what they do!

November 24: Lexi Harwick

Intern and Research Fellow for New Horizons

 lexi headshot

How did you get involved with New Horizons?

I am a senior majoring in Social Welfare & Justice and Psychology, and in some of my courses, I have learned about trauma. I am also a member of Alpha Chi Omega, whose philanthropy is domestic violence awareness. I knew I would be spending the summer of 2020 in my hometown, La Crosse, WI, and I was seeking opportunities to apply and make contact with course concepts. I received a fellowship from the Center for Peacemaking to complete an unpaid internship with New Horizons, and I received a research fellowship from the Honors Program to interview advocates at New Horizons.

What is your mission or goal through your studies or internships?

With my internship, my goal was to establish genuine connections within the La Crosse community, amplify silenced voices and widen my own perspective in regards to violence, whether it be direct (in the case of domestic abuse—financial, spiritual, emotional, physical, etc.) or structural. As a legal assistant, I directly worked with survivors of domestic abuse, and I interviewed service providers to better understand how the rural location of La Crosse/Trempealeau Counties impacts their ability to aid and advocate for survivors.

How do you hope to carry that on after Marquette?

I will always carry with me the stories and lessons shared with me while at New Horizons. After I graduate, I plan to attend law school, and family law is one area of practice I am considering.

November 24: Sophia Olson and Autumn Kuehn

Co-Presidents of Marquette Women in Business (WIB)

 autumn headshotsophia olson headshot


How did you get involved with Women in Business?

We both joined Women in Business (WIB) our freshman year and both immediately fell in love with the energy in the room from the very first meeting. It was such a welcoming environment – everyone was so kind and made it easy to form connections with new people, especially as an underclassmen. We felt seen, heard, and appreciated.

What is your mission or goal through WIB here at Marquette?

Our mission with WIB is to empower our fellow female business students with the tools and mindsets they need to grow within our male-dominated workforce. Though we may be a minority, it is our mission to ensure that our voices are heard and inspire within our future positions as leaders. We also hope to provide a space where female students can create relationships with each other, as well as potential employers.

How do you hope to carry that on after Marquette?

We hope that we can continue to provide a support system to our female colleagues, helping them believe that they can do whatever they set their mind to. Failures will come, but we must use these setbacks to push us forward to help us thrive within our environments. We, also, would just love to continue to empower the women around us, because empowered women empower women. The more strong, intelligent women we can have in the workplace who feel seen, heard, and respected as a colleague, the better.


November 8: Dana Sharqawi

President of the Marquette Muslim Student Association (MSA)

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How did you get involved with the MSA?

I have been an active member of the MSA since I was a freshman, and I originally joined to find a comfortable and safe community here on campus. It wasn’t until my sophomore year, however, that I officially became a part of the board as the marketing chair. I eventually wanted to be president, and this prior experience left me equipped with a plethora of skills that prepared me to take on this huge role.

What is your mission or goal through the MSA here at Marquette?

My greatest mission is to leave the future generations of Muslim students here at Marquette with the resources and confidence to stand up for what they believe in. When you make up less than one percent of the population here on campus, it is difficult to feel like you fit in and have that sense of belonging. MSA provides that safe space that Muslim students need in order to grow spiritually, academically, and professionally.

How do you hope to carry that on after Marquette?

The future of MSA is in the best hands. The generations before me have implemented the tools and established a foundation for the generations after me to succeed and become better and grow. I simply hope to help strengthen and build on what’s already been established, as well as pave the way for the new generations to come with the help of my team!


October 25: Sarah Hayden

Biomedical Engineering & Biomechanics, Marquette 2023

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How are you involved on campus?

On campus I am involved in many different organizations. Currently, I am the President of Alpha Omega Epsilon (professional STEM sorority), a researcher in the Neuromotor Control Lab, President of Global Health Technologies, Business Development Representative for MassVaxx, Board Chair of Student Conduct Board, mentor in Society of Women Engineers, member of Alpha Eta Mu Beta (Biomedical Engineering Honor Society), member of Order of Omega (Greek Honor Society), Program Intern for Sorority and Fraternity Life in the Center for Leadership Service and Involvement, and volunteer at Aurora Sinai in the Emergency Department.

What is your mission or goal through your leadership here at Marquette?

Throughout my leadership roles at Marquette, my main goal is to help others. That is also my personal mission outside of my leadership roles. I believe that if I have the tools and capability to help others or improve their quality of life, I should take the responsibility to help them grow their own set of skills. I really enjoy serving the Marquette community, and I hope my dedication and time leaves an impact.

How do you hope to carry that on after Marquette?

I am currently enrolled in the Accelerate Master’s Degree program for Biomechanics where I am researching in the Neuromotor Control Lab on campus. After Marquette, I plan to enter the biomedical engineering industry to develop medical devices to improve the quality of life for all.


October 7: Addy Donahue & Chloe Harris:

Co-presidents of Women & Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE)

addy donahue  chloe harris

How did you get involved in WYSE?

Both of us saw WYSE at O-Fest in the quad our freshman year and fell in love with its mission. We both had strong empowering women in our lives and wanted to continue having those relationships coming into Marquette University.  

What is your mission or goal through WYSE here at Marquette?

To provide the resources and support to middle school girls through a one on one mentorship program that focusing on topics that aren’t discussed in the classroom such mental health, healthy relationships, self love/care, sex education, nutrition, and positive forms of communication. By mentoring these young women we hope to empower them for high school and experiences beyond! 

How do you hope to carry that on after Marquette?

After four years of being in this group made up of empowering women, and both being a part of STEM programs, we hope to carry our experiences to both our professional and personal worlds. #Girlpower