Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy strives for female empowerment


Skyline students from the Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy strike a pose on a trip to South Africa.

The Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy help women build bonds of sisterhood and encourage female empowerment.

The Women’s Mentorship and Leadership Academy or WMLA, is a program here at Skyline College that supports, motivates, teaches, and gives dozens of women a place to belong.

The academy’s goal is to impart knowledge on how to reach goals, whether they be educational, career, personal, or financial.

Professor Danielle Powell, the program coordinator, is a dedicated woman who wants to help in every single way. She has and will always put all of her effort into the academy.

“This is my heart, this program,” Professor Powell said.

Her hope is that the women develop healthy interpersonal and intercultural communication skills. As a result of this, her students are constantly learning new things, due to the introduction of fresh concepts each semester, to ensure that the program doesn’t get repetitive.

The program focuses on two types of growth, personal and professional. Personal goals are the focus in the fall and professional goals during the spring. Students in community college often stay for different amounts of time each semester, so WMLA puts in a lot of effort to help each person learn specific skills.

“The program helped me find myself, and learning who I was helped me break out of my shell,” Bianca Morales, a student in the academy said.

“I learned what resources are on campus and how they can help me,” Olivia Yancey, another student in the Academy said.

This past summer, students from WMLA and other schools went on a trip to South Africa to learn about the culture, for a very busy two-and-a-half-weeks. They raised money by holding fundraisers and applying to scholarships. This trip was considered a course, so it wasn’t all fun and games.

Not only did the students get to see historical places but they also participated in projects with children and adults throughout the trip. They visited children at hospitals, read to children, and went on a safari in Cape Town.

Sometimes students are too shy, and the beauty of WMLA is that they bring the resources to you.

Guest speakers motivate and help students get acquainted with what Skyline has to offer.

Previously, the program brought a freelance photographer to do a project with the students. They wore clothing that was representative of their culture and then they were photographed. For the grand end-of-the-semester celebration, to the students’ surprise, the academy had all of the photos blown up. It became an exhibition called, “I AM HER”. The students were shocked to see themselves in this light.

The academy often teams up with various programs here at Skyline, such as Calworks and the learning center. The learning center has held workshops that help participants with targeted personal statements for CSU and UC applications.

Recently, WMLA hosted a free event for women who were in transitional homes, here at Skyline. Recipients were able to go to a motivational workshop, have a spa day courtesy of the cosmetology department and were treated to lunch. It was an enlightening experience for the students who volunteered and for the women. Students and teachers who were part of this event were able to help change someone’s life for the better through the service of others and the women were shown that they are not alone.

The academy is focused, flexible and dedicated wholly on the students. Participants are also able to give feedback to the coordinator and heads to help improve the program.

WLMA will start to meet September 20th, every Wednesday from 3:15-5:30 in building 4, room 4-274.

This article has been updated to correct grammatical errors.