Meet the 2019 Kansas Participants!

We are so thrilled to welcome this year’s class of Kansas participants to the Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute! This stellar group will work right alongside our international participants this summer for a transformative six weeks. Learn more about each of them below.

Melissa King

Washburn University
Double majoring in Political Science and Mass Media with an emphasis in Public Relations
Satanta, Kansas

My name is Melissa King and I’m from Satanta, Kansas. I’m currently a sophomore at Washburn University double majoring in Political Science and Mass Media with an emphasis in Public Relations. At Washburn, I’m involved in the Leadership Institute, Washburn Student Government Association, and Zeta Tau Alpha. I currently intern in the Kansas Senate. My passions include gender equality, disability rights, and politics. By attending the KWLI, I hope to gain the leadership skills I need to create positive and effective change in my campus community. I’m excited to be able to network with other women leaders and become a better changemaker.

Alexandria Kultgen

Fort Hays State University
Organizational Leadership major
Hays, Kansas

I was born in Wuhan, China and adopted at 9 months old. I grew up in Waco, Texas and then lived overseas in both China and Oman with my mom while in high school. I am a junior at Fort Hays State University. I’m an Organizational Leadership major and my passion truly is leadership; specifically pertaining to women’s rights, human rights, and civil rights. I hope to get to learn more about leadership from my peers and I hope to create fun and meaningful memories while doing so!

Bergen Mauerhan

University of Kansas
Chemistry Major with a Pre-Medicine path
Mankato, Kansas

My name is Bergen Mauerhan, and I’m from a very small town called Mankato in rural north central Kansas! I am currently a freshman Bio Chemistry Major at the University of Kansas on a Pre-Medicine pathway. I am very passionate about healthcare and have recently found a new found passion in leadership studies! I spend most of my time on my studies, but I love spending my free time doing anything and everything with my friends and family. I hope to meet some amazing people and grow my passion and knowledge of leadership through my participation in the KWLI!

Cassandra Roque

Pittsburg State University
Majoring in Integrated Studies with an emphasis In Sustainability, Society, and Resource Management
Westwood, Kansas

Hello! My name is Cassandra Roque I am from Westwood Kansas. I am currently a junior at Pittsburg State University and will hopefully be graduating spring 2020. My major is in Integrated Studies with an emphasis In Sustainability, Society, and Resource Management. As my degree entails, I am interested in the environment and other topics that relate to sustainability. I am also very passionate about diversity and increasing exposure of different cultures in the environments that I am in. I like being involved on my campus and getting to know people. I hold a few leadership positions here at PSU as the president of Hispanics of Today and president of a multicultural interest group for a sorority. I am driven to better my leadership while getting to know other women who are just as determined. KWLI I think will be a great experience for this and I am so excited to gain information from inspiring females that I will have the privilege to get to know.   

Kansas Applications Go Live

We are very excited to begin the application process for our second year of Kansas participants in the KWLI. Our vision has always been to create a world in which women’s leadership is realized to be essential in every thriving community. For the first few years of our grant with the Department of State we had the privilege of working toward that world by elevating the power of women’s voices in communities in other countries. But, we always knew that making that same difference right here at home was ultimately critical to truly fulfilling our vision. What we know from experience is that women from small and rural communities in Kansas face many similar issues as do those in Casablanca, Morocco, New Delhi, India, and even Kabul, Afghanistan. Sure, the context and cultures might differ, but the desire for women to have educational opportunities, access to quality health care (particularly women’s health care), to be free from domestic violence, and free from gender-based discrimination is, in fact, the same. Through the KWLI we provide the opportunity for women in Kansas to unite with women from around the world on the topics that are most important to them. In our program they engage in a curriculum designed to help them tackle those challenges, elevate their voices as women, expand their leadership capacity, develop a powerful and lasting network of support, and change their communities for the better. The application and selection process for Kansas women is designed to mirror the selection of our international participants. Thus, contacts at various Kansas higher education institutions serve as the first round of the process. You can see a listing of our College & University Partners here. You can also find more details, and a copy of the application, at our apply page. Both University Partners and interested applications, can get in touch with our Academic Program Coordinator, Addison Keegan-Harris at (785) 864-8207 or She is the primary contact for the selection process and will be happy to assist you in any way.