The sixth annual Women Helping Women event hosted by the Alexandria Campus’ Women’s Retention Program and the Women’s Center was held March 20. This year’s focus was “Embracing Your Power.” More than 50 participants attended the event. The event was co-chaired by Linda Campos and Emily Chiles.
The mentoring program is in its seventh year of existence. With the support of Vice President George Gabriel in the Office of Institutional Research and headed by Dr. Jill Biden and Elizabeth Harrison, the program was developed to ensure that women students over 30 get the support that they need to attain their academic and career goals.
The event started with NOVA Idol’s Jasmine Bryant singing an inspiring acapella rendition of “Rise Up.” Bryant is a NOVA student studying engineering.
Biden, in her welcome address, spoke about why she and Harrison started the Women’s Retention Program back in 2009, and spoke of her own struggles to reach her academic goals. “I took one class per semester while I was raising three children and finally got my doctorate at 57. I know how hard you all work to balance it all.”
Virginia Delegate Charniele Herring (46th District) shared her story of teen homelessness and explained what inspired her passion for helping those less fortunate. Herring stood before the students as an example of tapping into that personal power.
Rachel Martin, Writing Assistance Center director, gave some real-world examples of how to bring an essay to life when she presented a writing workshop that walked participants through crafting a sure-to-win personal essay for transfer applications and scholarships.
Dr. Carolyn Lorente moderated a session with Deb Duncan and Lee Hunter, former NOVA students and Women’s Mentoring Project mentees, who shared their own personal struggles with self-doubt. They encouraged students in the audience to use the resources that NOVA offers such as the Women’s Mentoring Program and look to faculty, staff and most importantly each other for support.
Eileen Farias, educational programs director at the Women’s Center in Vienna, recognized in her seminar that tapping into our personal power may be hard. “For change to occur we have to first recognize that we are uncomfortable.” She engaged the participants in an interactive session that involved thinking through even the most basic things that we have control over.
NOVA-TV was there to record the events and you may view them at the NOVA-TV Video on Demand: