Why do some states, such as Pennsylvania, have a dearth of women legislators, while neighboring Maryland demonstrates a high percentage of women participating in the state legislature? This research was prompted by first hand observation, personal experience and conversations with experts in the field of political science.What makes the rate of women’s participation in the legislatures of neighboring states so different? Culture? Age? Career decisions of parents and siblings? Participation, as a student, in either secondary or post secondary student governance? This qualitative research seeks to make a connection between how women make knowledge regarding their lived experiences and their decision to run for, and win, seats in the state legislatures of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Their stories are varied, intense and frequently, but not always, reflecting external political climate influences. Analyzed in a manner that identifies and explores various, emerging themes of frustration with the political system, influences of parents and struggles with competing societal messages regarding the roles of women.