Lorene Kelley is a visionary civic leader whose impact, even as a student, is far-reaching. Her efforts are bringing awareness of barriers that women, particularly women of color, face when running for office. She has been active at the state level as a participant in Propel Ohio 2018 and in NEW Leadership Ohio 2019. A history major interested in leadership and politics, Lorene won a Presidential Research Award to develop materials for a biography of former Ohio State Senator and Muskingum University President Dr. Samuel Speck. She is the founder of the Women in Progressive Politics Club, an organization created to support and connect students and local woman in positions of power, and to encourage women to run for office. Currently Lorene is a key partner in organizing a virtual conference to engage students across five campuses on issues of institutional racism, the racial wealth gap, and housing justice in urban areas. As a capstone to her commitment to civil service, she is an intern with Mayor Jennifer Lyle of New Concord, Ohio.
Muskingum has fostered a sense of civic engagement in part due to my coursework in history, student organizations, experiences, and faculty relationships. Since my first year, I worked on several voter campaigns. I believe that all voices should be lifted in politics and that the barrier that people of color and women face in running for office should be addressed. During my second year, I saw a need to bring attention to gender inequality in politics and women’s issues at Muskingum. I took the initiative to establish the Women in Progressive Politics Club in the 2020 fall term. The organization is dedicated to bringing attention to women’s issues and barriers women face in running for office, and empowering women running for office. As an example of how these essential goals were pursued I worked with local women candidates to host a Listening Session on campus. The event provided a space to uplift students’ voices in the political process and brought awareness to the barriers that these candidates face in rural Ohio. I serve in other leadership capacities on campus and serve the community as a John Glenn and Annie Public Service Fellow and Intern with the Village of New Concord.