Kopenhaver Center launches affiliate and hosts “100 Years of Speaking through the Ballot: Women and Political Communication”


Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, founder and executive director of CARTA’s Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication (Kopenhaver Center), is known as a trailblazer in the communication realm. She is a nationally known authority and researcher on the First Amendment and the student press, and a mentor to many a professional in the communication industry.

Kopenhaver, working with the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts at New Jersey’s Rowan University (her alma mater) opened a satellite center addressing professional opportunities and challenges for women in communication.

“With the inauguration of the affiliate (center at Rowan), we have the opportunity to spread the influence of our work and our mission to another university and to another geographical area,” said Kopenhaver.

The Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University works collaboratively across its campuses and throughout the country to foster advancements for women working in all fields of communication, both in academia and in industry.

“The benefit to our (FIU) students is immense,” Kopenhaver added. “They will be able to collaborate with students from another university very much like FIU, and work and network with students from Rowan. This expands the scope of our work and our goals.”

The plan is create a cooperative partnership involving co-sponsoring workshops and other activities with the center at Rowan, its faculty and its students with the hopes of bringing them to Miami for the Kopenhaver Center’s national conference in 2021. The collaboration hopes to explore a variety of concerns to women such as gender and pay inequity in communication.

“We want to raise awareness to these issues, to expose young women to role models who are successful in their fields and to provide

networking events,” said Julie Haynes, a professor of communication studies and women & gender studies at Rowan, who will head the new center.

In celebration of the partnership and the opening of its affiliate center, CARTA’s Kopenhaver Center co-sponsored “100 Years of Speaking through the Ballot: Women and Political Communication” on Wednesday, October 14 via Zoom.

The program featured E. Michele Ramsey, associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State – Berks, who discussed her research on women’s suffrage and political cartoons; and Heather Simmons, Rowan director of business outreach and a Gloucester County freeholder.

“The virtual workshop… was (vital) to students in letting them see what has happened in the 100 years since women were given the right to vote,” stated Kopenhaver. “It reinforced the importance of women’s opinions at the ballot box, and gave everyone the opportunity to hear from someone running for office as to what being a part of the government means to women.”

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