Bennett School Receives Fellowship for Alumnae-Scholar Mentorship Venture

Bennett College CommencementBennett School GraduationBecause the pandemic carries on, Bennett School, an traditionally Black, liberal arts school for ladies, has been decided on as a 2022 Steelcase Social Innovation Fellow to expand a mentorship venture amongst scholars and alumnae longing for group and enhance of their careers.

“Bennett has a historical past of sisterhood, and we would have liked to beef up that somewhat,” stated Joan Williams, Bennett’s director of library products and services and some of the venture’s group leaders. “Particularly with the pandemic and folks being so separated, we would have liked to re-spark that sisterhood, to convey the circle of relatives again in combination. As a result of that’s roughly the way in which we’re right here on campus: a circle of relatives.”

As certainly one of ten fellows selected this 12 months, Bennett joins a cohort of establishments and organizations that may obtain coaching and enhance over 4 months for a venture. Fellows’ initiatives are interested by enhance techniques for college kids who’re transitioning to raised schooling or a occupation. Steelcase, an international furnishings, structure, and generation corporate, helps the fellowship.

“Welcoming our new cohort of Social Innovation Fellows is a privilege and a excitement,” stated Adam Weiler, social innovation supervisor at Steelcase, in a press free up. “We’re extremely joyful to enhance this thrilling team of educators and changemakers who convey a mix of robust concepts and problem-solving ability to one of the vital maximum necessary fairness problems in schooling of our time.”

In October 2021, Bennett joined Steelcase’s Fairness in Training Problem, which integrated a chain of open innovation workshops. Members had been requested to formulate concepts on how they are able to take on obstacles to a top quality schooling thru reimagining pupil enhance techniques. Williams and her group at Bennett envisioned development a mentorship program for college kids and alumnae, together with younger alumnae simply beginning their careers. They titled the venture “Reimagining Scholar and Alumni Relationships.”

“We would like our scholars to enter the task market figuring out they have got folks at the back of them as they traverse any demanding situations,” stated Williams. “As a result of we as Black ladies — and as ladies duration — need to maintain many demanding situations. The glass ceiling has now not damaged but.”

Bennett submitted this concept from the Fairness in Training Problem to a panel of trade mavens to be thought to be for the fellowship. As a brand new fellow this 12 months, Bennett will now have get admission to to digital workshops and visitor lectures to troubleshoot any demanding situations that can get up within the early phases of bringing this venture to existence.

Williams stated that a number of alumnae and scholars have already voiced pleasure to her and her colleagues over the venture’s chances. Due to digital assembly generation, Williams additionally wired that “no one shall be unnoticed” who needs to be a mentee or mentor.

“The truth that everyone has been so separated has helped us get this concept off the bottom,” she stated. “Some scholars began right here within the pandemic and feature now not totally skilled the true sisterhood of Bennett. We would like them to have extra of a connection. If we construct and maintain this venture, I feel it is going to most effective develop. And it is going to be a wonderful journey.”

Rebecca Kelliher may also be reached at

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