Mentoring program helps women build connections


Photo courtesy of Pam Hopson

Women Unlocked meets weekly every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Multicultural Center.

Ta’Meia Burleigh said coming to the university as a new student can be difficult. Students are entering adulthood and everything is new, which can be scary.  

The junior biology major said she wanted a place where she could share her experiences in a non-judgemental environment during her freshman year of college.

“When I came to campus I was looking for something and I found it in Women Unlocked,” Burleigh said.

She said Women Unlocked is a mentoring program and a safe haven to learn more about what it means to be a woman in a male dominated world, by connecting with other women on campus and building opportunities with each other.

The group meets weekly on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Multicultural Center.

Executive director of the Multicultural Center, Pam Hopson said it was always her intent during the forming of the Multicultural Center to have a mentoring group for students on campus. 

She said discussions for starting a women’s mentoring program began during a Black and Brown Summit meeting and had a soft launch in spring 2015.

Hopson said she and the students host discussions and write journals based off readings in “The Woman Code” by Sophia Nelson. Hopson heard the author speak during a summer conference in 2015 and realized just how much this mentoring group was needed on campus.

The group discusses ways to be successful not just in academic studies, but throughout their lives. 

“Many times during the conversation we will find that there is someone in that room who has had a similar experience,” Hopson said. “When we’re able to have those deep conversations…then people are able to open up and share some things that others might be able to benefit from.”

Hopson said the program is set up to help new students understand their newfound freedom and how to navigate through college. Hopson also focuses on how students can be their best selves and making sure they know their value and self worth.

“I’m hoping that one of the takeaways will be that they are confident of who they are in their own skin, with however they self identify,” Hopson said. “That they know without a doubt that they belong here and they have a right to be here. There are no limitations with regards to being able to achieve anything.”

Hopson said the group is able to help students build strong foundations in their self value and has made a lasting impression on past students so Women Unlocked has begun a new chapter. 

Women who have already gone through the mentoring program who still want to meet as a group will be joining the new Women’s Unlocked members once a month, to help mentor and discuss.

Burleigh said this provides a way for new members to ask questions from women who have already lived through the experience of coming to college as a new adult.
You just have a set of girls that respect one another and help each other and build on their relationships with each other,” Burleigh said. “It’s like having mentors in each other. We all look out for each other and I really enjoy that.”

Burleigh said the group has become like a sisterhood, where the women can give each other guidance on things beyond academics and steer each other in the right direction.

“It’s hard to find people that you respect and trust,” she said. “That’s one good thing about the club that I really enjoy.”