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Lizbeth Benacquisto

SW Florida

Lizbeth Benacquisto named honorary chair at Million Women Mentors

Organization aims to advance women and girls in STEM fields.

Million Women Mentors named state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican, as its first honorary state chair.

The Florida chapter for the organization announced the move based on Benacquisto’s support of science, technology, engineering and math education.

The organization exists to encourage women and young girls in pursuing careers and professional advancement in STEM fields.

Kathleen Schofield, Million Women Mentors-Florida chair, praised Benacquisto as a leader capable of spreading the organization’s mission within the Sunshine State. Schofield also serves as executive director for Jacksonville-based STEM2 Hub.

For Benacquisto’s part, she said she was thrilled to accept the honorary appointment.

“I’m honored to serve as Honorary Florida Chair for MWM and look forward to continuing to work alongside Million Women Mentors to support young women in the pursuit of STEM careers,” Benacquisto said.

“I am proud of the work we have done in the Sunshine State to promote STEM and our latest initiative to recruit and retain computer science teachers across Florida. I look forward to helping build even greater opportunities for young women to find success in STEM fields.”

Bencquisto right now is finishing up her final term in the Florida Senate. She currently serves as Rules Chair, a position she held under both Senate President Bill Galvano and former President Joe Negron.

She served as Senate Republican Leader from 2012 through 2014.

She’s previously been named the Person of the Year from Gulfshore Life Magazine, Boys and Girls Club of Lee County Children’s Advocate of the Year and PACE Center for Girls’ Senator of the Year.

Benacquisto has also been part of major efforts like fighting for the rights of young girls forced into child marriages. A law she championed in 2018 has since become a national template.

The Florida chapter for Million Women Mentors has set a goal of signing up at least 5,000 STEM mentors in the state.

Term limits prohibit Benacquisto from seeking another term in 2020.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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