Women of Color, Honor and Ambition (WOCHA)

Group of WOCHA members gathers in the Jesse rotunda to take a group photo.

The Women of Color, Honor and Ambition (WOCHA) program is a one-year initiative open to all undergraduate students who identify as women between their second and fifth academic years of study. The program, which is specifically designed through the lens of students of color, aims to positively impact academic efforts and develop successful leaders of tomorrow.

Selected students will participate in a series of monthly workshops offered by faculty, staff and community leaders. These workshops will provide personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership support.

Mission

The WOCHA program seeks to provide personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership development to undergraduate women enrolled at Mizzou.

Vision

WOCHA participants will achieve academic excellence, graduate from college, and be empowered to become successful leaders in their respective careers and communities. These women will be actively engaged in the Mizzou community, and will forever be committed to achieving in every phase of human endeavor.

Program Goals

  • Increase the retention rates of women of color.
  • Foster a sense of community among participants.
  • Support and challenge women of color to achieve academic excellence.
  • Develop an increased awareness surrounding academic support mechanisms, business acumen, professional attire, etiquette and various social activities.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant must:

  • Be an undergraduate woman between the second and fifth academic years of study.
  • Have a GPA of 2.5 (minimum) or 2.75 (preferred).
  • Make a personal commitment to both attendance and academic excellence.
  • Submit a personal statement of 500 words or less regarding the importance of WOCHA’s foundational pillars to personal, professional and academic goals.

OR

  • Submit a letter of recommendation written on the applicant’s behalf. This letter should address the applicant’s academic performance, leadership ability, service, and interest in personal/professional development.
  • Complete the online application.

Personal Commitments

Attendance

If accepted into the program, applicants must pledge to attend no less than 75% of WOCHA workshops, activities and events.

3.0 Pledge

If accepted into the program, applicants must pledge to strive for a 3.0 GPA or better during their year of participation.

The Five Pillars of WOCHA

  • Achievement
  • Ambition
  • Health and Wellness
  • Integrity
  • Service

Program Engagement

Mentorship and support are key drivers of success, yet women can have a harder time finding mentors, especially ones with influence. In the WOCHA program, each participant is partnered with either an external or internal mentor. The external mentor is one within or close to the field in which the participant has an area of interest. The internal mentor provides an opportunity for each woman to have an additional layer of support to in order to access university resources.

2019-20 Cohort

Twenty-four students are slated to participate in the WOCHA program for the 2019-20 academic year. This is exciting news for the division, as the number of students served through WOCHA has nearly doubled in size compared to the 2018-19 cohort. The 2018-19 cohort, made up of 13 students, served as the inaugural group for WOCHA and was instrumental in laying the foundation for new and ongoing program efforts.

For 2019-20, WOCHA will provide five sophomores, 12 juniors and seven seniors with personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership support. The average GPA of the cohort is 3.34. Academic concentration areas for the cohort include:

  • Biology
  • Black Studies
  • Business Management
  • Food Science
  • Health Science
  • International Studies
  • Journalism
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Natural Resources
  • Nursing
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Radiography
  • Spanish
  • Sociology
  • Textile & Apparel Management

2019-20 Partners

Program Contact

To learn how you can support WOCHA, please contact Morgan McAboy-Young, associate director for access and outreach programming, at mcaboyyoungm@missouri.edu.

Participant Feedback

“The WOCHA program was one of the highlights of my college experience. Through this program, I was able to create friendships, develop professional skills, and participate in networking. More importantly, I was able to build community with a group of dedicated and driven young women. From apple picking to etiquette class and escape rooms, this experience was invaluable.” — Alana R.

“What initially piqued my interest about WOCHA were its pillars: achievement, ambition, health and wellness, integrity, and service. To come across an organization that focuses on such important factors and that’s tailored to women of color was exactly what I needed. As a WOCHA woman, I learned and I grew. This was truly an experience I’ll forever be grateful for.” — Jasmine-Kay J.

“WOCHA was an amazing experience for me and definitely was a highlight for my Mizzou experience. I loved getting to know all the other women in the cohort as well as all the advisors cheering in your corner. Overall positive experience and glad I was a part of it!” — Angela M.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can students gain from WOCHA?
  • What will participation in the program cost students?
  • How does WOCHA benefit the MU community?

What can students gain from WOCHA?

WOCHA is dedicated to providing the tools necessary for the development of successful leaders. This initiative will create an environment dedicated to growth and leadership by providing mentorship and life changing experiences, with the goal of equipping participants with the necessary tools for personal, professional and academic success.

Through the monthly workshops, students will develop a set of core competencies. These competencies include ambition (e.g., perseverance and career ambition), achievement (e.g., priority setting and time management), integrity (e.g., ethics and values), service and health and wellness (e.g., work/life balance and conflict management).

Beyond skill development, students will gain a cohort of peers and receive mentorship from various community leaders. WOCHA members who complete the program and meet the programmatic goals will receive a tailored suit, blouse, and matching accessories to commemorate their achievement.

What will participation in the program cost students?

In an effort to ensure equitable and inclusive membership throughout the university, WOCHA membership will come at no cost to the student.

How does WOCHA benefit the MU community?

WOCHA will work to increase access and success for historically underrepresented/underserved populations. This outcome aligns with the Inclusive Excellence Framework, an initiative designed to help the university incorporate diversity efforts into core functions. In doing so, students are better served by the educational benefits of diversity.

In the short term, WOCHA benefits the campus and the broader community as participants engage in campus and community service. In the long term, participants will use the skills and values they developed throughout the program to positively impact their respective careers and communities.