San Jacinto College students attend prestigious NEW Leadership Texas program

06.07.2018 | By Melissa Trevizo

HOUSTON, Texas - San Jacinto College North Campus students Anthonia Okolie and Fernanda Olvera were chosen to attend the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s NEW Leadership Texas program this summer.

NEW Leadership is a national nonpartisan program developed by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University to address the underrepresentation of women in American politics. There are NEW Leadership programs in 25 states, and the program has been at UT since 2012.

“I applied late, not expecting to actually be chosen,” Okolie said. “I’m truly honored to attend the program amongst other young women who are interested in public policy.”

Both students applied for the program at the urging of their speech/communications professor, Monica Yancey.

“Professor Yancey made an announcement in class about the program, and it piqued my interest,” said Olvera. “I had almost forgotten about it when she emailed me, Anthonia and a couple of other students encouraging us to apply. She even wrote us letters of recommendation. Without her, this wouldn’t be happening.”

Okolie, a life science major with goals to become a pharmacist, doesn’t necessary plan to run for office later in life, but intends to be involved in other ways.

“Where I’m from in Nigeria, as well as other parts of Africa, the democracies aren’t really functional,” Okolie said. “Coming to the U.S. with preconceived expectations, it’s not really how I thought it would be. I think if I can get involved and effect change, I would love to do that in the future.”

Olvera, a business administration major, shares similar sentiments.

“I just turned 18, and I haven’t had a chance to vote yet,” Olvera said. “I feel like there are so many things going on in politics today that I don’t agree with. If I can have even a small part in changing things, it will feel great.”

The two San Jacinto College students will join 36 other women from across the state this month at UT. 

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each year benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.