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Black-Eyed Susans honor female leaders


The Black-Eyed Susans are determined to leave a significant impression across the campus and the surrounding community.

The Black-Eyed Susans is a women’s leadership honorary at Southern Miss that was founded in 2017. It is  the only organization at USM solely for women and their advancements. 

All 26 members were nominated based on their previous campus involvement. 

Member Selma Newbill, junior politicial science and English major, has been recognized as a role model across campus due to her involvement with the Sexual Assault Prevention Ambassadors. 

“Receiving the acceptance letter telling me that I was to be initiated as a Black Eyed Susan this past fall meant to me that I was becoming one of the women I looked up to for so long,” Newbill said, “Partnering with existing state coalitions and nonprofits to identify gaps in services and legislation, this collaborative effort would work to increase survivor rights’ awareness, facilitate access to multi-disciplinary survivor service sites, and create and lobby for policies and legislation to standardize survivors’ access to care.”

Newbill said she dreamed of being a Black-Eyed Susan her freshman year.

“The women in this organization have always been the upperclassmen women on campus that I aspired to be, and as a young woman who wanted to make a difference on USM’s campus, I aspired to be like them – to be one of them.”

The Black-Eyed Susans acknowledge the female mentors that came before them. Morgan Schwartz, senior public relations major, is the president of The Black-Eyed Susans. 

“With membership comes the expectation that you show that encouragement to other women and show them that they are so much more capable than what they think of themselves,” Schwartz said. “I think that’s really awesome that that’s something we can do.”

Schwartz credits two women for inspiring her to reach her goals.

“Dr. Cindy Blackwell is my advisor, and she is an incredible woman. She reminds me of my worth. She pushes me to go for things I wouldn’t normally do and has shown me the value of academic success,” Schwartz said. “My other mentor is my boss in Res Life, Meg Freeman. She encourages me daily and is there for me in everything. She has taught me a lot about myself, and pushes me to be the best version of myself at all times.”

The group is in the process of planning more events to encourage female students and gain a bigger following on social media. 

“We want to get people involved and interested in what the organization is trying to do,”Julia Brechtel, senior psychology major and vice president of public relations for the organization said. 

Follow The Black-Eyed Susans on Instagram at @usmblackeyedsusans

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Black-Eyed Susans honor female leaders