WXXI AM News

WOCHA Aims To Help Underrepresented Women On And Off Campus

Oct 13, 2015

WOCHA was established by nine RIT faculty members and includes eight students.

Rochester Institute of Technology has a new networking and mentorship program for women. It's called Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition -- or WOCHA.

The program is designed to create a peer network and other support structures to help women throughout their education, and also prepare them to enter the workforce.

Stephanie Paredes is the Manager of Multicultural Programs at RIT. She says they wanted to create a year-long program to help women of all different backgrounds.

"The women that we have right now in our first class come from a very diverse background, not just personally but also academically. We have a really good group of eight women right now that are engineers, accountants, in graphic design, in media, so it's pretty diverse."

Roughly 70% of the students at RIT are male. Paredes says creating a network of women in fields where they are already typically in the minority could improve success rates.

WOCHA will include monthly workshops, focusing on areas of professional development like financial literacy and leadership skills.

The program is modeled after MOCHA, RIT's support program for men of color on campus.