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Thea Bowman Institute logo. (Credit: Alverno College)

Alverno College launched an academic and leadership program for Black women, the college announced in a press release on Wednesday.

The Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership features a rigorous leadership development program aimed at preparing students for professional roles in chase of social change and service, according to the release.

Using a cohort-based model, the institute provides participants with alumnae mentors and a dedicated advisor. It also offers networking and guaranteed internship opportunities, the release outlined.

The institute includes a full-tuition scholarship. Nine students have already been accepted.

“Thea Bowman Scholars will play a powerful role in demanding and creating permanent, systemic societal change,” Joseph Foy, Ph.D., vice president for Academic Affairs at Alverno, said. “Already they’re inspiring others as they develop mobile apps to help individuals in mental health crisis connect with experts, offer restorative justice training from Harvard to the Milwaukee Police Department and help provide art education through the Boys & Girls Club and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.”

The institute looks for applicants who have a record of academic achievement, are committed to graduating in four years and are students who will become “change agents” in professional fields throughout the Milwaukee community, according to the press release.

The Thea Bowman Institute aligns with Alverno’s mission to educate a diverse student body whom reflect the community, according to the release. The institute stems from a call to the Alverno community to respond to racial injustice with action.

Alverno President Andrea Lee, IHM, set sights on a program that not only provides higher education accessibility but also innovative leadership and mentoring opportunities for Black women.

Ronett Jacobs, M.Ed., the institute’s director and Alverno alumna, praised the establishment of a program like this for women.

“The time is now, and the place is Alverno, for this Institute to flourish and attract Milwaukee’s best, brightest and most committed Black women seeking to experience the power of an Alverno education,” Jacobs said. “Thea Bowman Scholars are women who know, ‘I was sent here to do something great, and I’m determined to do that.’”

The institute was named for Franciscan Thea Bowman, a Catholic sister who was a teacher and scholar educated in Wisconsin. Bowman made many contributions to the ministry of the Catholic Church.

Scholarships for the Institute are renewed based on high academic performance and engagement. Any students interested in applying can contact Alexis Carter, MSM, SHRM-CP, assistant director of Admissions for high school recruitment. More information on eligibility and applying can be found at alverno.edu/bowman.

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