WLU’s Women of Color Initiative Mentoring Group celebrate women’s history month with a tea party

Last Thursday, West Liberty University’s Women of Color Initiative Mentoring Group hosted a tea party, their first official event, to learn more about the new group. Hosted in the R. Emmett Boyle Conference Center in the ASRC, the event also celebrated Women’s History Month, and all students were welcome to attend. Food, tea, games, prizes and a chance to receive a $550 scholarship from the generous members of the Black Girl Joy Challenge were all offered at the event, with the main focus being on women and their journeys toward finding their voice.

The Women of Color Initiative Mentoring Group is in its first year of establishment and its purpose is to provide mentorship and support for the women of color at West Liberty University, Black Girl Magic participation, scholarship opportunities, global community building, study groups, community service projects, etiquette 101 workshops and social events. The group’s seven pillars are academic success, graduate school preparation, career readiness, cultivating leadership skills, building global communities, networking and establishing an identity.

The group is led by Dr. Monique Leslie Akassi, a new addition to West Liberty’s faculty. Dr. Akassi, Interim Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives, is proud of the diversity West Liberty has on campus. “I’ve had an incredible experience thus far at West Liberty University in the role of DEI and Strategic Initiatives. West Liberty University is ranked as #8 in the state of West Virginia as most diverse among all institutions of higher education. We are proud to have 71 international students from 35 countries; and we are continuing to grow at a rapid speed with an increase in women pursuing higher education,” Akassi said.

“One of our main goals currently in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is to focus on the inclusion component and making sure that everyone is welcomed with a sense of belonging,” Akassi said. Akassi has a background in the DEI field, as she previously worked at Howard University, located in Washington, DC as a full-time faculty member and adjunct professor at The George Washington University in Washington DC. She has completed postdoctoral studies, earning certificates in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University.

This is not the only event the group plans to host for Women’s History Month. On Monday, March 28, Professor Pia Jordan will join the DEI station over Zoom to discuss “her mother’s experience as a Tuskegee Airmen Nurse within the military in Tuskegee, Ala. during the 1940s,” Akassi said. She added, “In 2022 women have shattered so many glass ceilings, and it’s beautiful to witness at West Liberty University how much support women have.”

To learn more or get involved with the group, contact Dr. Akassi at [email protected]