Jennifer Godoski, deputy director of the New Jersey Division on Women and a 1999 College alumna, urged female students to explore the political world in a speech March 8.
The “Women in Politics” lecture was presented by the women’s and gender studies (WGS) program “to get exposure about women’s potential roles in politics,” according to Melissa Fowler, graduate assistant for WGS.
Godoski has held many positions in government and most recently planned Gov. Jon Corzine’s inauguration ceremony. Godoski began her career with unpaid internships and worked at Trenton’s State Street offices.
“Decisions are made by those who chow up,” Godoski said, quoting the popular television show “The West Wing.” She said that New Jersey has a low number of women in politics, and the only way to change that is through involvement. “Each of you has the opportunity to be active in your own way,” she said.
Another speaker, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, who has been both an employer and friend to Godoski, reported that New Jersey ranks 31st in female representation.
Watson-Coleman said it has been a very rewarding experience working in politics and that more women should step up to the opportunity.
“Politics plays a role in your life.” she said. “It is everywhere.”
Godoski pointed out that college is the best time to make relationships with friends and professors. Godoski spoke of her close relationship with Ann Marie Nicolosi, professor of WGS.
She also noted that it is OK for a student not to know what he or she wants to pursue. “I changed my major plenty of times,” Godoski, who ultimately settled on political science and WGS, said. She added she is not done exploring yet, and plans to continue her career in politics.
In the open forum that followed, students asked about the struggles for women in politics. “I work in a man’s world, unfortunately,” Watson-Coleman said.
“I was empowered a little,” Lauren Maull, freshman business administration major, said. “I’m not that interested in going into politics, but some of the things they said were encouraging.”
“I’m proud of where I’ve gotten to,” Godoski said.