University News | events

Missouri Girls State Brings Young Women to UCM for Weeklong Leadership Event

By Jeff Murphy, June 21, 2019

Missouri Girls State at UCM

WARRENSBURG, MO – High school girls from across the state will converge on the University of Central Missouri campus the week beginning Sunday, June 23, to participate in American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Missouri Girls State.

This annual event at UCM includes about 800 young women who have completed their junior year of high school. They are chosen to participate by both their schools and the ALA members who work with schools to select participants who display good leadership characteristics.

During the weeklong interactive leadership program, participants will learn more about how government and representative democracy works on three levels. They will actually create a simulated government, and will elect Girls State members to serve as public officials for local, county and state offices. The experience includes learning about the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

Also during the week, there will be a number of guest speakers who will share insights into government and other issues that will help enhance the overall Girls State learning experience. Scheduled speakers include:

  • Col. Michele Hovland, U.S. Army (Retired)
  • Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe
  • Katie Jo Wheeler, Deputy Director of Missouri Department of Natural Resources
  • Kristin Bechard, Chief Financial Officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway
  • Bryan Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of the Veterans Community Project
  • Commissioner Margie Vandeven, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • The Honorable Jalilah Otto, Circuit Judge for the 16th Circuit Court of Missouri

Throughout the week, ALA Missouri Girls State participants will be immersed in the creation of political parties, including platforms; in the development and the responsibility of running a city, county and state government; in the creation of an economy as entrepreneurs; and in the responsibility of reporting the news as members of the press through working on the program's newspaper made in cooperation with the Columbia Tribune and television broadcast made in cooperation with KMOS.

At the city level, the participants will create and enforce ordinances, and create and manage a city budget. County officials will be responsible for creating and managing a county budget, and will be tasked with developing and executing a state fair. State officials will include an elected bicameral legislature and an elected executive branch, both modeling Missouri state government. The participants will also create a court system that models Missouri's judicial branch, with trial judges being elected and the seven-member Supreme Court being selected using a modified version of the Nonpartisan Court Plan, commonly known across the country as the Missouri Plan. Other events in the week include a recreation night, a talent show, and band and choir performances.

Learn more by going to


  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linkedin
  • instagram