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.
Applications for the 2022-2023 Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition program closed on Wednesday, March 2, at 2 p.m. (CST).
Within the online application, students were asked to respond to the following prompts:
- Discuss an event that has had a significant impact on your life and/or your academics? (300 word minimum)
Within the context of the five foundational pillars of WOCHA (ambition, achievement, integrity, service, health and wellness) please respond to the following prompts: (300 word minimum)
- Why do you want to be in the WOCHA program?
- How would the WOCHA program benefit you?
- How would your participation benefit the WOCHA program?
Additionally, students were asked to
- Upload a cover letter and resume (as a single Word document or PDF)
- Send the online reference form to be completed on your behalf by one faculty or staff member (MU preferred, but not required): https://bit.ly/facstaffreference
Applicants are encouraged to write and review their responses to the two essay questions, as well as their cover letter and resume, prior to beginning the online application.
The WOCHA program seeks to provide personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership development to undergraduate students enrolled at Mizzou.
WOCHA participants will achieve academic excellence, graduate from college, and be empowered to become successful leaders in their respective careers and communities. Participants will be actively engaged in the Mizzou community, and will forever be committed to achieving in every phase of human endeavor.
- 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.
- Be an undergraduate who identifies as a woman between the second and fifth academic years of study.
- Have a GPA of 2.5 (minimum) or 2.75 (preferred).
If accepted into the program, applicants must pledge to attend no less than 80% of WOCHA workshops, activities and events.
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
- Health and Wellness
Mentorship and support are key drivers of success. 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 participant to have an additional layer of support to in order to access university resources.
Fourteen students are slated to participate in the WOCHA program for the 2021-22 academic year. For 2021-22, WOCHA will provide three sophomores, nine juniors and two seniors with personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership support. Academic concentration areas for the cohort include:
- Civil Engineering
- Public Health
- Social Work
- Strategic Communication
The average G.P.A. for the cohort prior to the start of the 2021-22 academic year is 3.5.
“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 a program 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?
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 participants 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 student participants.
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.
To learn how you can support WOCHA, please contact Velma Buckner, associate director for access and outreach programming, at firstname.lastname@example.org.