The Gavel chapter of Mortar Board at Converse will host the 2011 Mortar Board PROBE Symposium on Wednesday, November 9 at 7 pm in Daniel Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. The focus of this year’s symposium is on increasing women’s participation in politics and public policy. Addressing this topic at both the national and international levels are two remarkable and well-versed speakers, Deb Sofield and Dr. Selwa al-Hazzaa.
Dr. Selwa Al-Hazzaa is considered one of the most influential people in the Arab world, as well as a pioneer for Saudi women. Having completed degrees in medicine at both King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, she was one of the first Saudi women to achieve academic and professional success internationally. She is currently an ophthalmologist at King Faisal Specialists Hospital and is head of the ophthalmology department – the hospital’s first female department head ever. In 1998, she was chosen as Woman of the Year by the American Biographical Institute. She was eventually selected by the King of Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Saudi delegation to rectify Saudi Arabia’s internationally-damaged stereotypical image. She currently runs a non-governmental organization called Friends of Saudi Arabia.
Deb Sofield is an award-winning speaker, presenter and executive speech coach. One of Sofield’s passions is helping women succeed in today’s marketplace. Her company WAVE – Women Achieving Victory Every-time is a professional development forum that sponsors seminars and workshops exclusively for women across the nation. Another one of her passions is electing more women to political office. She has developed a campaign school that is designed and targeted to women running for political office in the southeast. Sofield recently won the Order of the Palmetto – the State of South Carolina’s highest honor awarded by the Governor. She has been named one of Greenville’s “Best & Brightest,” GSA Business Journal’s “Most Influential Women in Business,” “Communicator of the Year” by the Association for Women in Communications, and awarded the “Order of the Jessamine” for her outstanding leadership and service to her community.
Mortar Board is the premier national honor society recognizing college seniors for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. Mortar Board’s purpose, in part, is “to advance a spirit of scholarship, to recognize and encourage leadership, and to provide the opportunity for a meaningful exchange of ideas as individuals and as a group.” Membership is synonymous with dedication and success. A select few students on each campus are invited to join the society each year, placing them among the top college scholar-leaders in the U.S.