About the Project

West Point Women is undertaking an exciting book project with West Point Press in 2026 as part of the 50 year celebration of the admission of women to the United States Military Academy.

This book will be the story of West Point women in their own words and voices, from our very first pioneers in the Class of 1980 through current women cadets and the Class of 2026. The Board of West Point Women felt it was imperative that this project be overseen by one of our own, as it will focus on the experiences of West Point women. We are pleased that Leslie Lewis ’85, PhD, whose scholarly research has focused on West Point women, will be spearheading this book project.

There is not just one “West Point woman” experience. There are many experiences from well over 6,000 women who attended the Academy between 1976 and today. From within those many experiences will emerge some common themes but, more importantly, a record of the perseverance, resilience, spirit, and service of West Point women.

About the Author

Leslie Lewis is a 1985 graduate of USMA with a BS in International Relations and Soviet Area Studies. She was the first woman Marshall Scholar from West Point and earned a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford.

Lewis served as an active-duty Military Intelligence Army officer toward the end of the Cold War. Following her military service, she was a full-time Army wife and stay-at-home mom before returning to school to earn a master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She then served as a Research and Instruction Librarian at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for 10 years.

Lewis earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Clemson University. She currently holds a Lecturer position in Educational and Organizational Leadership Development in the College of Education at Clemson and works and teaches in Clemson’s Honors College. Her area of research is women and leadership in the military, with an emphasis on West Point women and leadership. Her dissertation focused on the leader identity development of women at West Point. Lewis has published on her research in scholarly journals and has taught classes, led workshops, and presented on her research at the local, regional, state, national, and international levels. She continues to pursue her scholarship on women and leadership with a focus on women leaders at West Point.

Contact Leslie at wpw50book@gmail.com

We want to hear from you!

If you are interested in potentially sharing your story, please complete the survey below. Anyone who indicates in the initial survey that they are interested in sharing more stories via survey will receive an email from the book editor, Dr. Leslie Lewis ’85 (wpw50book@gmail.com), with additional story prompts and links.

These follow-on links will allow you to share your stories of what it was like being a woman at West Point not only so we may leave a record but also to provide lessons learned, a guiding light, and encouragement for our future West Point sisters.

You may have only one story to share – or you may have many. We will also be interviewing women from across the decades. If you want to be considered for an interview, you will be able to indicate that in the survey.

Photo Submission

Please check back soon! We will post on Facebook and send an email via Sallyport when we are ready to accept photos.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I submit a story, will that guarantee it appears in the book?

No. We anticipate receiving a lot of stories, far more than we can possibly include in this one book. We will include as many stories as we can, as well as quotes from stories, in this book. We will also use stories to identify themes, topics and issues. There also may be some cases where we develop a composite of several stories that are very similar.It is also possible that other ways to share women’s stories will arise from this project (e.g., sharing stories via a section on the West Point Women website).

If I indicate that I want to be considered for an interview, does that mean I will be interviewed?

No. We are planning to interview 100-140 women from across all the decades that women have been at West Point. We want to have good representation by decade and by race/ethnicity so we can have good representation of experiences and types of experiences in the book.We may also be interviewing women about a particular topic/event/theme and potentially interviewing some women about a particular story they shared, so there will be other opportunities to be interviewed for the book. If you indicate that you are interested in being potentially interviewed in the initial survey, that will help us know that you would be open to being interviewed for the book.

I was not a star cadet at West Point. I am not sure anyone would be interested in my stories.

Everyone has a story, and it is important for all of us to tell our stories about West Point. You navigated West Point as a woman between 1976 and 2006, and we want to hear YOUR stories. What was it like for you? What did you experience? What did you learn/take away? What would you like women who are considering going to West Point or serving in the military to know? What tips or advice do you have for them? Women’s stories and voices often go unheard, and that is definitely true for many West Point women. Now is the opportunity to share your stories about West Point.

I am not a general, a CEO, or a renowned leader in any field. What do I have to offer?

This book project is an opportunity for ALL West Point women to tell their stories. What you do matters and makes a difference in our world each and every day. Please tell us YOUR story. How did West Point inform who you are in the Army and after, if you are no longer in military service? How did it inform who you are as a parent? A volunteer? A community member? A citizen? A leader? Please tell us so we can share your experience, wisdom, and lessons learned with others.

I have a lot of stories to share. How can I do that?

You can begin to share your stories in the initial survey. In that survey, you can also indicate you would like to share more stories via survey and/or, potentially, in an interview. If you say yes to sharing more via survey, we will send you an email with links to share more stories. If you say yes to an interview, we will consider you as a potential interviewee as we select representatives from across the decades.

What if I think of another story after I have submitted the survey?

You can complete the surveys as many times as you like. Most of us do not sit around thinking about our West Point days. Once you start thinking about them, though, and submit a story or two, it is not uncommon to think of more stories or more information you want to add to a story. Since your responses will have your name, contact info, class year, and other demographic info, we will be able to link the responses of any surveys you submit.

Why do we have to submit our name and contact info in the survey?

First of all, we need to be able to verify that you are a West Point woman, and that the story(ies) submitted are from you. We will use your name and class year to confirm this. Secondly, in most cases, stories (or quotes from stories) used in the book will be attributed with name and class year. So, we want to make sure we have your name the way you want it formatted for the book. Thirdly, we need your preferred contact info in case we need additional information or need to clarify anything in a story you submitted. We also need your preferred contact info, if you indicated you are interested in a) sharing more stories via survey (we will email you with info on how to submit additional stories) or b) potentially being interviewed for the book.

Why are you using women’s names and class year to give attribution to stories or quotes in the book?

This book is a way to celebrate the first 50 years of women at West Point through the stories of actual WPW. We want to share our stories openly, whenever we can. There are instances where stories/quotes will be anonymous. We will anonymize stories about traumatizing experiences (e.g., sexual assault). At most, we will attribute these stories by decade (e.g., a woman from the 1990s), but we will work with each woman to ensure a level of comfort in sharing their story.

What if I really don’t want to share my stories with my name attached to them?

If you do not feel comfortable sharing a story or stories with your name attached to them, let us know when you submit them (or after!). We will look at this issue on a case-by-case basis, as we are able. We will not share a story with your name, if you ask that your name not be used. If we really want to include your story in the book, we will do so anonymously. Your stories are important, and even if we decide not to use them in the book, they will still be helpful for identifying themes, topics, or issues important to West Point women’s experiences.

What if I want to share my stories, but I don’t want any of them to appear in the book?

That is fine. Just let us know that when you share your story (or afterwards, if you decide later you don’t want your stories to be included in the book). It may be helpful to you to tell or write down your stories about West Point, especially if you have never done so before. Just the telling can be cathartic. We will honor your request not to include a story or stories in the book, if you tell us that when you submit your stories or early in the process; we will not be able to remove a story from the book once it goes to publication. Even if you do not want a story included in the book, it can still help us identify themes, topics, or issues important to West Point women’s experiences.

My story isn’t about sexual assault (or anything necessarily traumatizing), but I don’t want my name associated with my story. What can I do?

If you indicate that you do not wish to share your name with a particular story -- for whatever reason – in a survey or interview, AND we want to use your story in the book, we will reach out to you and talk with you more about why you want the story to be anonymous. We will make decisions on a case-by-case basis. We may decide to use your story in an anonymous way, or we may decide not to include your story in the book.

What if I share a story in a survey or interview and then decide I don’t want that story to be shared in the book?

Participation in the surveys and interviews is totally voluntary. If you submit a story or stories and later decide you don’t want it/them to be considered for the book, then you can email us at wpw50@gmail.com, and we will reach out to you to discuss further. If you do not want your story(ies) to appear in the book, we will remove them from consideration. We can honor this up to the point in the writing/publication process where it will be too late to remove a story from the book.

I am a woman who attended West Point but did not graduate. Can I still submit a story?

Yes, absolutely! Any woman who was admitted to West Point between 1976 and 2026 and who at least completed the oath of affirmation on R-Day is eligible to contribute stories to this project.

I am a current woman cadet. Can I contribute stories to this book project?

We are waiting to hear back definitively from West Point on this, but our hope is that women cadets will have the opportunity to complete surveys designed specifically for them and that we will be able to interview 10-20 women cadets as well. Women cadets who belong to the WPW Facebook page can certainly complete the surveys posted there as well. 

I have a question that is not covered in any of the FAQs. What should I do?

If you have a question that is not addressed in the FAQs, you can always email us at wpw50@gmail.com, and we will respond to you.

I have photos I think might be good for the book. What do I need to do to get them to you?

We will have more information on this soon!