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Salem Receives Grant for College-Access Mentoring Program

Salem Leadership Connection will provide first-generation and low-income girls in the Triad, as well as girls from diverse types of backgrounds, with information that would compel them to consider attending college because the presenters would be young women close to them in age and from similar diverse backgrounds. Anthony Locklear,...

Salem Leadership Connection will provide first-generation and low-income girls in the Triad, as well as girls from diverse types of backgrounds, with information that would compel them to consider attending college because the presenters would be young women close to them in age and from similar diverse backgrounds.

Anthony Locklear, director of College Access programs at NCICU, says 18 private colleges and universities in the state out of 22 who applied received the funding; Salem is the only institution in Winston-Salem to receive a grant. The funds have been distributed to independent colleges to help build a network throughout the state of ways to improve college access for key groups, he added.

Salem’s program will operate during spring semester 2010 both on- and off-campus. Sixteen current students at Salem will be selected and trained as facilitators; they will then visit 16 girls’ organizations in the area, as well as help organize a leadership training workshop on campus in the spring.

Krispin Barr, dean of students at Salem, says she foresees benefits for Salem students as well as for the selected groups to whom they present material. “This program will provide yet another opportunity for Salem women to enhance their own leadership skills and learn new ways of communicating,” she says.

The Salem Leadership Connection was designed by the Dean of Students’ Office, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid and the Office of Undergraduate Education at Salem, and will be facilitated by Esther Gonzalez, Salem’s director of career development, internships and international student services.

Gonzalez says that the 16 students chosen as Leadership Connection facilitators will be attending an overnight training retreat on January 15-16, where they will be divided into groups of four to prepare their presentations to the young women. “The high number of students applying to be facilitators shows how much our students want to be involved in this community project,” she explains.

Salem students, faculty and staff will also be involved in the spring on-campus leadership training program, which will feature Ronda Zelezny-Green as the keynote speaker. A graduate of the class of 2005 at Salem, she is coordinator of multicultural services and youth leadership programs at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA.

While the grant is funding the Salem Leadership Connection through spring 2010 -- providing a graduate assistant for the program, food and lodging for the overnight retreat, materials and a stipend for the facilitators -- Salem hopes that the predicted success of the Connection will lead to it becoming a part of regular community service for the entire campus.