TRIO Hosts International Women’s Day Panel


Photo of Erika Stowe, Gail Bolson Magnuson (‘84), Laree Schouweiler, Aryn Henning Nichols, and Lisa Lantz at the panel. Photo courtesy of The Getup Facebook Page.

On Wednesday, March 8, the TRIO Achievement Program hosted an International Women’s Day Panel. This panel showcased five female entrepreneurs in the Decorah community and gave them a space to talk about their businesses, and how they got started. Speakers included: Gail Bolson Magnuson (‘84) of Agora Arts, Lisa Lantz from The Getup, local hair stylist Erika Stowe, Aryn Henning Nichols from Inspired Magazine, and Laree Schouweiler from the Driftless Yoga Studio and Festival. 


The event was hosted by TRIO and moderated by Student Achievement and Instructional Specialist Heidi Ludeking and Assistant Professor of Accounting, Economics and Management Alexandra White. The hosts began by discussing how they chose the speakers. 


“We talked about trying to represent different sectors of business,” Ludeking said. “We wanted somebody from food, service, retail, and publishing. We wanted four but it became five, because it was really hard to narrow the scope.” 


The panel was inspired by the desire to celebrate International Women’s Day in an impactful way. Co-host White spoke about her time in Bulgaria and the importance of International Women’s Day overseas. That international enthusiasm inspired the event, and White hopes to translate the same values to Luther College. 


“Last spring I was in Bulgaria for my sabbatical, and I had no idea what a big deal International Women’s Day is in other places,” White said. “I haven’t witnessed us celebrate it much in the U.S., and I’m excited to see us celebrate it in a very intentional way. [In Bulgaria] there  was a feeling in the air of recognizing and focusing on the talents of women in so many ways and for that I’m glad to be part of this.”  


Students of various majors were in attendance. Mariah Hueneke (‘26), an elementary education major, was in attendance for her human geography class assignment.


“Anything [International Women’s Day-related]sparked my interest because I’ve never really celebrated it before,” Hueneke said. “I liked the idea of [the event] being an entrepreneurial panel. I am a small business owner myself and wanted to gain insight and wisdom into how [the panelists] chose to go about their business, and what kind of struggles they faced along the way.” 


The next TRIO event, a financial expertise showcase of Luther Alumni and the Decorah community,, will be on April 20.In the meantime, students are encouraged to stop in the TRIO office as well as reach out to the speakers that were on the panel.