Bouchon and the four other students were selected for the fellowships by the nonprofit organization WomenNC. They will be among other college student presenters at the conference.
WomenNC’s president Anita Sivakumar said other countries are trying to follow the organization’s example by granting fellowships that cover the cost of students attending and presenting at UN meetings.
Bouchon worked with two organizations affiliated with UNC-CH, including Health, Opportunity, Partnerships, Empowerment Project (HOPE) and N.C. Breast Cancer Screening Prevention (NC-BCSP).
The HOPE Project works to combat the high obesity rate of rural women.
And NC-BCSP aims to reduce the diagnosis of late-stage breast and cervical cancer in black women in the state.
Both organizations have had a high success rate in their efforts, and Bouchon said her research shows that the local organizations tactics are feasible on a larger scale.
“The organizations that work in N.C. can work on national and international levels,” Bouchon said.
Nemer and Acharya also found that their research could be applied to local, state and global issues.
Nemer worked with the Elizabeth City chapter of Girls Inc. to research media and how it impacts women’s low participation in science, mathematics and technology careers.
“The media tell us that girls should not be pursuing careers in science and technology, in rural areas especially,” Nemer said.
Acharya researched women’s involvement in politics and worked with an N.C. group called Lillian’s List, which financially supports female candidates running for office.
She said the lack of female representation in politics stems from the few female role models already in government and the need for a network to support women candidates.
“I’m hoping my work inspires women to run for public office,” Acharya said.
Nemer said she and her fellow researchers will offer a different perspective to issues facing women.
“This experience reminded me that college students do have a lot of agency toward issues they’re passionate about,” she said.
Bouchon said she looks forward to the experience at the U.N. conference.
“You can meet thousands of men and women who are interested in equality and want to bring people out of poverty and into a better standard of living,” Bouchon said.