On October 17, 13 students were formally inducted into Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) Mentoring Program at the Manassas Campus. Twenty were accepted into the program (those not in attendance had prior commitments). Led by English Professor Chalet Jean-Baptiste, Student Life Coordinator Marcie Schreibman and Campus and Community Relations Specialist Ramunda Young, WISE officially kicked off its year at the Manassas Campus.
The guest speaker was Elizabeth White. She is an international leader, author, speaker and women’s advocate. She conducted a TED Talk in April which now has almost 120,000 views. The talk, titled “55 and Faking Normal,” is also the title of her new book. She was recently selected to conduct a three-part PBS special.
Three years ago, Jean-Baptiste started the Manassas Minority Mentoring program with 30 mentees and mentors from community leaders, entrepreneurs, industry professionals and Manassas Campus faculty and staff. William Gary, retired vice president of workforce development, was even one of the enthusiastic mentors and raved about the program. The successful coed program was renamed RISE last year which stood for Recognize Ignite Serve and Empowers the leader within. In 2017, due to the excitement of Student Services Specialist Frank DeLeon (Pathway to the Baccalaureate), who wanted to create a MAN UP program on campus, they agreed to create WISE for the women so that the Minority Mentoring Program would continue to serve both genders.
In the spring semester, Jean-Baptiste reached out to Dean Michael Turner and conducted a meeting with several members of the mentoring program including Provost Molly Lynch. Additionally, they met with Tykesha Myrick and determined how to incorporate the principles of WISE into the program. Both the Manassas Campus’ WISE and MAN UP programs are primarily the same as the programs on the Woodbridge Campus.
Throughout the previous three years, this combination of external and internal mentorship has been very successful and the connection and support to the community have been overwhelming. With the enthusiastic support of Lynch, Dean of Students Mark Kidd, Vice President George Gabriel and other faculty, both MAN UP and WISE are poised to be two wonderful additions to the Manassas Campus.
For more information, you can email the three Manassas WISE co-chairs directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.