HerStory: The life behind women in leadership

Mac Anderson begins their presentation on HerStory

Story by Leah Ash, Culture Editor

Photos courtesy of Leah Ash

The HerStory speaker has returned to Aquinas. Taking place every second Thursday of the month at the Moose, the series is a way to learn more about the lives of women in leadership here at Aquinas. The Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity director Alicia Lloyd and assistant director Mallory Miller brought the idea to our school from their time at Grand Valley State University. 

Together, Lloyd and Miller approached Amy Dunham Strand and the Women’s Studies Department to recreate the series here. Together, the HerStory speaker series was created so that students had the opportunity to learn about women and how they got to where they are today. Strand said that the program lets students “get to know people as people.”

Once a year, the speaker for HerStory is a student. This past October 7th, Aquinas senior Mac Anderson told their story at The Moose. They stood on stage and talked about their experiences growing up, how their childhood shaped who they are, and how they have grown. 

“It was such an honor to be chosen, as only one student presents a HerStory lecture each year,” Anderson said.

However, professional presentations come with expectations and anxiety. After seeing inspirational speakers like our Catholic sisters and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Anderson said that they have kept “one nugget of wisdom” from each HerStory speaker that she has attended, and hoped that her presentation would inspire the same thought and reflection that she had after other presenters. 

Their presentation was split into four main parts: their roots, their moments of hurt, their moments of love, and their growth. Their story was a journey, taking us to this moment in time: how they became a senior at Aquinas studying history and women’s studies, working in the library, and the little things that fill their daily lives. 

Mac Anderson answers lightning round questions from CDI&E Assistant Director Mallory Miller to finish off the presentation.

Watching Mac Anderson share their story was a sight to behold. They stood tall and proud, baring their journey, including the toughest moments of their lives, with the audience in front of them. Their personality shone, making lots of witty comments that brought laughter to the audience.

Their HerStory inspired me. I started thinking about my own life, and how my experiences have shaped me. Just thinking about it felt intense, and I am amazed that Anderson was able to share that with a group of people. I plan on trying to go to as many of the HerStory events as possible because I think it is a valuable experience. Not only do you get an inside look to learn more about people as people, but it inspires valuable introspection on one’s own life.