Women lead all three branches of UCF SGA Senate
All three branches of UCF SGA's Senate are led by women — and this is only the second time in the Senate's history that it's happened.
The 48th Student Senate's executive branch is led by Student Body President Cait Zona, the legislative branch is led by Speaker of the Senate Meghan Kircher and Taylor Scimeca spearheads the judicial branch as chief justice.
"It's honestly amazing," Zona said. "I'm the third female president — I was only the second female Speaker."
Before being elected as president last spring and taking in 64 percent of more than 7,000 total votes, Zona served as Speaker of the Senate from October 2014 through April 2015, when Kircher was elected as the new Speaker.
The women's pattern of leadership and ambition doesn't stop at SGA. Speaker Kircher is the president of the Panhellenic Council, overseeing UCF's 12 National Panhellenic Conference sororities. And in November, President Zona was voted to serve as the first college student on the board of directors of local nonprofit IDignity, an organization that helps disadvantaged locals attain identification and become self-sufficient.
And before either women, Jaclyn Graham served as the Senate's first female Speaker from October 2013 through April 2014.
Graham was a member of UCF's Tri Delta sorority, and Zona and Kircher, who are both current members of the sorority, mentioned looking up to Graham as a role model and inspiration.
"I think that Tri Delta brings a lot of unique experiences into a person's life … I was not Greek at all my freshman year — I joined Volunteer UCF, and then I joined Senate," Zona said. "And there were two women who inspired me to go Greek and they were both Tri Delta: Sheridan Kushner was a senator and so was Jaclyn Graham, and they were both in leadership positions on the executive board of Senate and … watching them be very wholesome women made me want to go Greek."
Kircher said she first became involved in SGA because of Zona's encouragement, and the two are close friends outside of their leadership positions.
"I think it's good that in student government women have a voice, and even though at the national level, we're still working toward getting there, I think it's a great thing that in our generation there's lots of women who are stepping up and taking leadership roles, and people are electing them and wanting them to lead," Kircher said, remembering how far she's come from her first Senate meeting two years ago when she felt like a "deer in headlights," afraid to try to write a bill or even raise a hand to voice her opinions.
But despite all three female speakers stemming from Tri Delta, Kircher echoed Zona's thoughts on SGA being open to leaders beyond those in Greek life.
"SGA has a lot of great leaders who are Greek, but you don't have to be Greek to be in SGA like in so many other schools … luckily our student government is much more diverse than that," Kircher said.
Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_ or email her at NadaH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.