BOLD Tradition Continues with Fourth Cohort of Scholars

By Casey Verderosa ’07, June 29, 2020
Scholars will confront issues facing marginalized communities.

The BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Ithaca College has accepted 10 new scholars into its fourth cohort. Funded by The Pussycat Foundation, a private foundation established to honor the late Helen Gurley Brown, legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, the BOLD program seeks to empower college women who align with BOLD’s values, have leadership potential, and are committed to social justice.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to empower our young women to be leaders in this world,” said BOLD Program Director Samantha Elebiary. “As our nation experiences a health pandemic and widespread violence in many forms, marginalized communities are being impacted at disproportionate rates. The BOLD scholars are confronting these issues through their work on campus and post-graduation. The fourth cohort will experience a unique start to the 2020-21 academic year, but I am confident that, together, they will be able to build a community that stands unified to address issues of social injustice. I’m excited to welcome this new cohort, and I can’t wait to see the incredible work they will do together.”

“This year’s BOLD scholars are impressive examples of the ways in which intellect, creativity and a deep commitment to social justice can be activated to make change. The world needs to hear bold voices speaking out with compassion and authenticity to show all of us a different path forward, especially now.”

President Shirley M. Collado

Members of BOLD at IC receive scholarships, engage collectively in a transformation project each year, and are eligible to receive fellowship funding toward their post-graduation employment with a nonprofit organization that embodies the values of the program. Transformation projects are the cornerstone of the BOLD program and are focused on creating spaces for discourse on campus related to challenging issues of inequity, focusing on engaging different cross-sections of the campus community.

“With each new BOLD cohort, I find myself continually inspired by the level of talent and drive found within Ithaca College’s women,” said President Shirley M. Collado. “This year’s BOLD scholars are impressive examples of the ways in which intellect, creativity, and a deep commitment to social justice can be activated to make change. The world needs to hear bold voices speaking out with compassion and authenticity to show all of us a different path forward, especially now.”

Two scholars from the new cohort, legal studies major Serah Lawal ’22 and sociology major Jacqueline Laferriere ’22, shared their thoughts about joining the BOLD community.

woman with black shirt

Serah Lawall ’22, legal studies major

Q: What made you want to apply to the BOLD program?

Lawal: It’s rare to find a program like this that is functional and progressive through the work of amazing women. I see the wonderful work that the previous cohorts have done on and off campus. Not only does the BOLD program allow and promote diversity of ideas, it is full of authentic and genuine individuals that allow the program to thrive. This was something that I did not want to miss out on.

Laferriere: I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have admired the program and dreamed about being part of it since I first learned about it as a first-year student. The values of courage, authenticity, and vision that are central to the BOLD program are also central to how I live my life. I wanted a place to grow together with other women leaders and collaborate to create something great on our campus.

Q: How did you feel when you found out you were accepted into the program?

Lawal: For the first week, I still couldn’t believe that I was a BOLD Scholar. It felt so surreal. But after I let it sink in, I felt seen, recognized, and blessed. I also felt eager and excited to get to know the members of my cohort and the rest of the BOLD family. I am looking forward to the work that we will do.

Laferriere: I felt so happy, excited and speechless. I got emotional and teared up a little bit, because I never thought that I would get an opportunity like this. I felt really overwhelmed with emotion thinking about not only what this kind of thing means to me, but also what it means to my family.

woman in front of flower mural

Jacqueline Laferriere  ’22, sociology major

Q: What are you hoping your BOLD experience will be like?

Lawal: I’m hoping that my experience in the program will be empowering and rich. I want the next two years to be full of growth as I strive to be a better me. I hope this program will allow me to experience new things and expose me to ideas and thoughts that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Laferriere: I am hoping to have an experience that shapes who I am still becoming in this world. I hope to learn more from women that have different experiences to share. I also hope that, even though our cohort may be starting out together at an unprecedented time in the world right now, we learn how to make the most out of that and come together in new ways.

The 10 new BOLD scholars making up the program’s fourth cohort are:

  • Cyerra Adams, physics and astronomy major with an art minor
  • Seidy Bobadilla, integrated marketing communications major with minors in Latinx studies and graphic design
  • Sainabou Jallow, biology and mathematics double major
  • Jacqueline Laferriere, sociology major with an education studies minor
  • Serah Lawal, legal studies major with an honors minor
  • Michelle Natal, music education major with a concentration in voice
  • Khangelani Mhlanga, biology major with an honors minor
  • Helen Reyes, anthropology major with minors in education studies and audio production
  • Gabrielle Tola, creative writing major with minors in Latinx studies and vocal performance
  • Jessica Wang, psychology major with an education studies minor