REDDING, Calif.–Simpson University senior Isabel Harris will be a guest speaker at a virtual International Women’s Day celebration organized by eight groups in her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo.
The March 6 event is themed “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future,” and Harris will be one of three featured speakers. The event is open to everyone.
“This is a huge honor to be selected for, and I am so excited to be able to share a speech on what it means to be a young woman in leadership,” she said. “I am passionate about empowering women around the globe to better themselves and take control of their own journeys.”
As a senior in high school in 2018, Harris won a Young Woman in Public Affairs scholarship from the Zonta Club of the Pikes Peak Area in Colorado Springs. Zonta is one of the organizations putting on the March 6 event.
“We voted unanimously to give Isabel the scholarship in 2018,” club chair Lynette Jones said. “We were so very impressed with the incredible work that she had completed both locally and internationally to help women and girls at such a young age.”
A profile that ran in May 2018 in The Colorado Springs Gazette talks about outreach and service opportunities Harris volunteered for in high school, including serving two months in Texas after Hurricane Ike and volunteering with Make-A-Wish Foundation and a local food drive. She has also served on mission trips to India and Mozambique to help impoverished women and children.
After receiving the Zonta Club scholarship, Harris entered Simpson University, where she decided to double-major in political science and cross-cultural studies and continued her commitment to outreach and service. She has participated in anti-human trafficking marches in Redding and Chico and worked with Redding homeless community development and outreach. This past year she did grant research and writing for ONETrack International, a nonprofit that seeks to address the global orphan crisis.
When the committee for the International Women’s Day event decided to have three speakers representing viewpoints and the work of women from different generations – past, present and future – Jones immediately thought of Harris.
“Isabel impressed the entire planning committee,” Jones said. “We are thrilled that she accepted our invitation to speak and can’t wait to find out what she shares about her generation of women, how they define Generation Equality, and what great efforts they are making to help us attain this goal.”
Harris said she chose Simpson University because she wanted to attend a smaller Christian college on the West Coast. She earned a presidential scholarship and has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average during her time at the university, where she has earned recognition for her academic excellence and leadership. She received the 2018-19 Rotary Honor to Youth Award for making “the highest contribution to service and their community during the student’s tenure at the university thus far.”
During last year’s Student Research Symposium, Harris’s team won Best Undergraduate Presentation – and accolades from Redding City Council member Kristen Schreder – for “The Dignity Project,” which offered a comprehensive look at the problem of homelessness in Shasta County.
This past fall, Harris was interviewed by local TV news station KRCR for a story about the importance of voting. She was quoted as saying, “I think it’s super empowering for young people to have their voice matter and have a say at what is going on. I also believe that it adds a sense of responsibility and accountability. We, as young people, have a say in what happens.”
The theme of “Using Your Voice & Why It Matters” was also the focus of an online Courageous Conversations forum on campus last fall in which Harris participated, along with Dr. John Ayabe, history professor, and Sarah Jobson, Associate Dean of Campus Life.
Harris was recently featured in the Feb. 8 issue of The Slate, Simpson’s student newspaper. In addition to her studies, she represents Commuter Relations as part of student government, serves as a student admissions counselor, and helps lead the Outdoor Adventure Club. She loves the outdoors and enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking whenever she can.
After graduation this spring, Harris plans to attend law school to study international law. She has been offered admission to the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, University of Oregon School of Law, and Lewis and Clark Law School, but has not decided yet where to go. She would like to work in the justice field, specifically working among women in vulnerable populations.
Harris said she is looking forward to participating in the International Women’s Day forum, and she hopes members of the North State and Simpson University communities will consider registering to attend.
“I will be representing what the theme means from the ‘future perspective’ – how we as women of the future are supposed to go about navigating our own identities and the path toward equity and representation,” she said. “To be asked to speak at an event like this for International Women’s Day really does mean the world.”
Learn more and register for the International Women’s Day event at www.iwd-coloradosprings.org.
Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu.