New York, NY — Comradery, a safe haven to share, celebrity speakers, and black girl empowerment are the reasons why each year hundreds of young minority girls vie for one of 50 spots in the At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy. The summer enrichment program for 10th and 11th-grade minority girls is in its eighth straight year on the campus. A Weekend Intensive mini-program is held for students in the ninth grade on the campus of Princeton University. Planned speakers returning for 2018 include actress Nicole Ari Parker, scholar Julianne Malveaux, motivational speaker Brandi Harvey, 2016 DNC Chief Leah Daughtry, physician Michele Reed, and plus-size supermodel Liris Crosse.
The Academy focuses on developing strong leaders through academic, social and career components. Girls participate in peer tutoring and small group projects that build lasting bonds. While living in the campus dorm rooms, there are ample opportunities to create meaningful relationships. The curriculum includes critical reading, essay writing, and leadership workshops. The Academy offers a safe place for students to share the challenges of daily personal and school life.
Workshop facilitators include role models from the medical, legal, financial, entertainment, and non-profit fields and have featured Financial guru Tiffany “the Budgetnista” Aliche from The Real show, QVC Inventor Lisa Ascolese, and teen acting phenomenon Eden Duncan Smith. Topics include financial literacy, body image, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, and self-esteem just to name a few.
Academics are intense and tutoring is provided nightly. Teachers include Princeton University and college professors. Equipping students to afford the college of their dreams is discussed in a financial aid boot camp that provides practical search tools. Alumni of the Academy have utilized these techniques to secure college scholarships, including Imani McClendon who attended and graduated from Spelman College after receiving a full scholarship AND $40,000 in aid. In addition to the academics, there are opportunities for fun social activities including a trip to New York to attend a Broadway play.
The two-week boarding Academy is one of the only summer institutes for minority teen girls held on an Ivy League campus. It is the first of its kind to commence at Princeton University. Dahnielle Milton, a 2017 alumnus wrote to her Academy professor, Maco Faniel, “I was in your Critical Reading Course [during] At The Well. As I am taking my classes this school year, I have found that I have improved on my reading skills. For the first time in forever, I am able to read books in a day and actually understand what I am reading because I am using these techniques you have taught me. So I just wanted to thank you for helping me improve and feel more confident. I will continue to use these skills with me throughout my career.” To date, 100% of the Academy alumni have been accepted to college.
Jacqueline Glass, the Academy Founder and Princeton Theological Seminary alumnus states, “The Academy lives out our mission to empower young women locally to become effective leaders globally.” The Princeton University session will be held July 22-August 3, 2018. The Weekend Intensive is scheduled August 3-5, 2018. The application deadline for all programs is March 31, 2018. New for 2018 is a boy’s academy, From the Fire: Leadership Academy for Young Men.