Chemical Engineering junior Prashasti Rayamajhi was among the 25 campus undergraduates who were selected as 2019 UMass Women into Leadership (UWiL) fellows, chosen from an application pool of more than 100 hopefuls. UWiL is a competitive leadership training and professional development program that prepares students from the UMass flagship university for public leadership after graduation. Rayamajhi was chosen in large part because of her numerous volunteer service activities for UMass and the surrounding community.
By introducing student fellows to public leaders and providing opportunities for them to see first-hand the benefits of public service, UWiL provides models and pathways into leadership for young people—all while helping to address the gender gap in politics and creating a pipeline from public education into public service.
Rayamajhi founded the Delta Kappa Delta (service) Sorority in 2016 and has been a member since then, working as the events coordinator in 2016 and 2017, and the treasurer from 2018 until now. She is also a member of the Red Cross Society at UMass Amherst and the UMass Women into Leadership organization.
Rayamajhi has worked as a volunteer for Shelter Homes, the Amherst Survival Center, the Friends of Children organization, various marathons for charity, the Be the Change Cleaning Highway group, Chabad House, the Special Olympics, a craft’s fair, and, as she says, “many more experiences with volunteering where the focus is giving back to the community and helping kids who are at risk of being abused.”
Throughout the spring semester, UWiL fellows will receive individual mentoring from professionals in the public sector, participate in a series of workshops and seminars around leadership development, and receive targeted professional support, including resume reviews, mock interview practice, free business cards, and AAUW salary negotiation training. After completing the program, fellows are eligible for scholarships to support unpaid or low-paying internships in the public sector.
Currently in its fifth year, UWiL is supported largely by alumni donations. It was the recipient of a 2016 Zuckerberg Prize from the UMass President’s Office and has received two grants from Women for UMass. Graduates from the UWiL program have gone on to a variety of positions with local and state governments, non-profits, and NGOs, and they have entered a range of graduate programs. (January 2019)