Undergraduate Lands Advisory Role for National Women’s Group
UT Dallas junior Brooke Lopez figured out early on that she wanted a career in politics and sought her first political office at age 18, running for city council in her hometown of Wylie, Texas.
Though she lost her bid, the public affairs and geography major — then a freshman — showed an enthusiasm for politics that proved to be a key factor in her selection to the Student Advisory Council of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), an organization that seeks equity and education for women and girls.
Lopez is the first UT Dallas student selected to the council. She is one of 10 emerging leaders across the country who will help advise AAUW on the needs of college students, organize campus projects and assist with planning the organization’s annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.
“I was shocked,” Lopez recalled thinking when she was selected. “There are so many other amazing women on the board. I’m honored to serve with them.”
Abigail Sara Lewis, vice president for the AAUW’s Campus Leadership Programs, said the applicant pool was highly competitive.
“Brooke, and her leadership on the UT Dallas campus, stood out among undergraduate and graduate students from campuses across the country. UT Dallas should be commended for its role in providing an environment for such a strong leader to thrive,” Lewis said.
Though UT Dallas does not have an AAUW chapter yet, Lopez will work on a project with fellow student Kaylie Hartman to highlight affirmative consent. Together they will co-host the “Consent Country Concert” on April 14. Hartman is the University’s liaison for the It’s On Us campaign, a national initiative that empowers students to help end sexual assault on campuses.
“There are so many other amazing women on the board. I’m honored to serve with them.”
Lopez will tap her experience as a DJ as she helps plan the concert. She is a co-host for Radio UTD’s “Red Dirt Radio Show,” the only college-based radio program to feature a regional genre of country music that blends aspects of rock, blues and folk.
Lopez first learned about AAUW when she applied for a scholarship from the organization while still in high school. She had already been active with IGNITE and Running Start, organizations that seek to build political ambition in young women.
Her interests in juvenile law and gun legislation were spurred at age 15, when one of her friends was murdered. Lopez researched and proposed Nahum’s Law, a bill passed in Texas that states “a person charged as a minor with capital murder may not have their record sealed.”
Though her bid for city council failed, the city of Wylie appointed Lopez as vice chair for the city’s Public Arts Advisory Board.
At UT Dallas, Lopez is actively involved in Delta Zeta, the John Marshall Pre-Law Society and the public affairs student committee. She also has served on the University’s Diversity Committee and the Student Government legislative affairs committee.
She hopes to attend law school and eventually run for office again, with her eyes on the U.S. Senate.
“Running for office is one of the most exhausting things there is, so I would like to serve for at least six years,” Lopez said. “My mom told me she admires that I’m so driven, but she’s also afraid, knowing politics can be brutal. She hopes it doesn’t drag down my spirits.”
For now, her involvement with AAUW is another way to gain national advocacy experience. The organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the U.S. and is active on more than 800 college and university campuses. Its members work to empower women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.
“I’m really excited to represent UT Dallas. Every time we have an accomplishment like this, we get closer to being a school of renown. I’m happy to be part of that,” Lopez said.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].