IC Welcomes Second Cohort of BOLD Scholars

By Dan Verderosa, March 1, 2019
$1.15 million in new funding from The Pussycat Foundation will support the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Ithaca College through 2021.

Ithaca College is welcoming its second cohort of scholars in the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, a pioneering program cultivating courageous leadership and career success in young women during the college years and beyond. The college’s newest BOLD scholars are Calissa Brown, Diana Castillo, Audrianna Evelyn, Ashae Forsythe, Kelly Madden, Clare Nowalk and Breana Nieves Vergara.

The seven scholars will receive annual scholarships of up to $27,500 each for educational expenses during their junior and senior years of college. During the program, they will receive scholarship assistance; experience faculty, staff and alumni mentorship, community-building and networking opportunities, and leadership development; and will collaborate to produce a transformation project that effects positive change and fosters a culture of engagement and inclusion.

The BOLD initiative is funded by The Pussycat Foundation, a private foundation established to honor the late Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. In the spirit of Gurley Brown, the BOLD program seeks to equip young women to be innovative agents of change in their chosen field or industry. Ithaca College recently received $1.15 million from The Pussycat Foundation to provide funding for the BOLD program through May 2021. This grant will support two additional cohorts of scholars through their junior and senior years on campus.

“It has been thrilling to watch our first cohort of BOLD scholars grow as leaders and engage our community through innovative, inclusive programs and initiatives, and I am looking forward to seeing what our second cohort of talented and fearless women will accomplish in the months ahead,” said Shirley M. Collado, president of Ithaca College. “I am incredibly grateful to The Pussycat Foundation for continuing to support the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Ithaca College.”

Young women sitting

The inaugural and second cohorts of BOLD scholars, as well as the Bridge-Up scholars, attend a special reception dinner at Casita del Polaris in Ithaca in January. (Photo by Stetson Doggett/Ithaca College)

Through a comprehensive review process, the second cohort of scholars were chosen from more than 65 applicants for their exceptional leadership abilities, critical thinking skills, passion for building community and ability to facilitate challenging discourse.

Ithaca native Kelly Madden ’20 says she was overcome with joy when she got the call about being named one of the college’s newest BOLD scholars. “I’m just really honored to be a part of it,” she said. “Every day I remind myself that I’m a part of it.”

Madden became interested in the program after talking with some friends who belong to the inaugural BOLD cohort at the college. She’s most interested in the intergenerational mentoring the program provides.

“It opens up a lot of opportunities to better myself while helping better others in my community,” Madden said.

Diana Castillo ’20 is most excited about working on the transformation project that is one of the hallmarks of the BOLD program. She looks forward to seeing how the diverse cohort of Scholars can bring their different strengths and passions to bear on the project.

“We’re all very different,” said Castillo. “On campus we’re involved in different initiatives and different organizations, so I’m excited to see how that will come together.”

Samantha Bobbe, who started as the college’s BOLD program director in November 2018, will lead the program’s second cohort along with Nancy Pringle, executive vice president and the administrative lead for the BOLD program at IC. Bobbe previously served as the residence director for the Lower Terraces in the Department of Residential Life and Judicial Affairs.

Inaugural Cohort Engages Students of Color in Mental Health Dialogue

The inaugural cohort at Ithaca College is in the midst of their transformation project, “Engaging Mental Health in People of Color,” or EMPOC.

The mission of EMPOC is to use dialogue to challenge mental health stigmas that affect students of color.

“As BOLD scholars we want to acknowledge, validate and normalize the relationships that students of color have with mental health on Ithaca College’s campus and beyond,” said Candace Cross ’19. “Together we will create a supportive network and community that encourages mental health support for students of color.”

The scholars held a kickoff event for the project in fall 2018, featuring an interactive discussion facilitated by local social worker Tynesha Wright-Lindo. A second event focused on the importance of self-care and featured a question-and-answer session with Rita Bunatal, a 2016 Ithaca College graduate and founder of Malaika Apparel.

“This event was powerful because a lot of time people of color are advocates, and their very existence is political,” said Cross. “Every day is a fight against racism and discrimination, and the self-preserving act of self-care gets neglected even though it should not.”

The scholars are also providing mentorship to a group of 14 Bridge-Up scholars — a group of sophomore women chosen to attend BOLD conferences and workshops. The Bridge-Up Scholars also received a one-time, $10,000 scholarship.

About BOLD

In addition to Ithaca College, the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network includes the University of Connecticut; Colby Sawyer College; the College of Saint Rose; Middlebury College; and Rutgers University — Newark.

Subsequent BOLD scholars at each institution will work with their cohort and BOLD director on leadership, career, and personal development with the support of relevant campus offices and resources.

Upon graduation, BOLD scholars will have the opportunity to apply for a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship for up to $40,000, which provides funding for their first year of employment with an organization that embodies the values of BOLD.

Learn more about BOLD

For more information about the Ithaca College BOLD program or to learn how to become involved, contact Samantha Bobbe.