Michelle Obama congratulates 2021 graduates with throwback photo
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Michelle Obama smiling at the camera while wearing a white button up

BY SARAH POLUS, The Hill

Former first lady Michelle Obama shared a look into her past while celebrating the class of 2021 on Instagram Tuesday. Obama posted a throwback photo from one of her previous graduations, in which she’s wearing a traditional graduation hat and robe. In a lengthy post, the former FLOTUS commends this year’s graduating students for overcoming a series of challenges.

“From navigating virtual learning to finding new ways to develop relationships with teachers and classmates—while somehow submitting your assignments on time—you overcame so much this year with grace and humor,” she wrote. She went on to share her experience as a young person transitioning into adulthood.

“I still remember all those questions I kept asking myself. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Can I do this?” she wrote. “Over time, I proved to myself that the answer to all of these questions was ‘yes.'” Because of the unique challenges they endured, this year’s graduates will be better suited to take on additional hardships they may experience, she said.

Click here to read the full article on The Hill.

Asia-Latinos, More Than Allies – Breaking Intersectionality by Activating the Word Inclusion
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Woman in black jacket and pants smiling sitting on stairs

This article originally appeared in the Journal of the Prospanica Center for Social Justice

Has anyone ever given you “the look,” laughed at your accent, or criticized you for the way you mix your adjectives and adverbs?

If so, welcome to the club! Have you been asked if your father catches flies with chopsticks, if you know karate, or to lay low and wait for your turn—also known as “The Asian Ricepaper-ceiling” (referring to the term “Glass-ceiling”)? If so, then welcome to the other club! These examples are just is a small sample of the intersectionality some of us live daily.

The labels we typically use—background, age, gender, religion, interests, and preferences—are helpful when viewed as assets or positive differentiators. However, some people use them as discrimination flags, another excuse to show bias, intolerance, and sometimes even hatred. We can control part of this usage, and there is a part out of our control. To stop the negative impact, we must change our mindset and direct our actions towards real inclusion.

Inclusion is a verb. And the opposite of inclusion is disadvantage.

We’ve all heard in the news and social media that our Asian communities across the country continue to be attacked by intolerant and disrespectful individuals (to name them respectfully). As we know, this is not new! This has been happening for years. We hear about it now because the aggression has become harsher and the lack of action from authorities is more evident. The most recent case I watched was a woman attacked outside a hotel, and the most devastating part was not the action itself but the fact that two guards watched and didn’t do anything. It’s outrageous.

Any attack—verbal or worse—happening to anyone in front of us, regardless of who they are, becomes our issue. When a crime occurs in front of you, and you do nothing, you are an accomplice. The only way to change the current situation is to stand strong, side by side, with our Asian brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances. Let’s activate the word inclusion through these three actions:

• Educate – Research, read, ask, learn about history. Study topics from immigration to culture and traditions to understand who Asian Americans are, which countries they represent, and their contributions to our amazing country. As St. Augustin said in the year 399, “You can only defend what you love, and only love what you know.”

• Unite – Become an ally of other communities, introduce them to others, embrace their cultures, and defend their right to their traditions and beliefs. You can’t achieve this goal from afar; it has to be from within. Participate, hold hands, wear their T-shirt (Note: I am still looking for some Asia-Latinos to help me create a MeetUp or Club in ClubHouse).

• Represent – Get involved in the conversation. Defend someone when you witness injustice. Help develop future leaders and participate in Asian-rights marches. Invite them to your meetings. Be heard by writing articles, speaking on podcasts, raising your hand. In short, activate your good intentions.

I am a proud Asia-Latina! I’m proud of my roots! I’m proud of my ancestry! I resolutely refuse to walk the streets in fear. We need you, Latina, Latino, Hispanic, LatinX, Latin@, to help our Asian communities fight for their rights, their rights for freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. This is not the time to be just an observer or a cheerleader. We need you to step up and lend a hand, speak up and protect each other, take action.

We have done it under the motto, “Si se puede.” We know how to do it. Now it’s our turn to become true allies of the Asian community, and together, stand up, get on, and stay strong.

About Minué Yoshida

Minué Yoshida is a multicultural speaking coach. She is a half Mexican- half Japanese multilingual entrepreneur and author, whose mission is to help people discover who they are, what they are capable of, embrace their powers with bravery, and leave an impact in the world. Through her coaching and consulting services, both in Fortune 100 Companies and her International Consulting Business, she enables those who are ready to get to the next level, whether this is breaking the glass ceiling at the top or launching their own businesses. Minué is the Co-Founder of Yoshida Academy for Leadership Skills, Excellence and Personal Transformation, expanding their services to a wide audience in the USA and Worldwide. www.yoshidaconsulting.com

IOScholarships Provides Free Access to STEM Scholarships
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Recent graduates tossing caps in the air

IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students recently announced the launch of its search engine website. The technology has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships.

IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Continual increases in tuition and fees have pushed the cost of college education beyond the means of most minority and underrepresented students. Even though STEM occupations have outpaced all other job growth, African Americans represent only 9% of STEM workers, while Hispanics comprise only 7% of all STEM workers.

“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more and more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships. “Students should think about finding scholarships like it’s a part time job.”

The majority of the scholarships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IOScholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and also posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities.

IOSSCholarships promo poster with diverse students in the background

In addition to providing scholarships, the new IOScholarships website introduces a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com or for weekly STEM scholarships email maria.fernanda@ioscholarships.com.

A Jane of all Trades: Tiffany Haddish Helps Foster Children
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Woman smiling at the camera

Actress, comedian, producer, and author Tiffany Haddish is a Jane of all Trades, and now she’s ready for her biggest new project: education. Launched for the first time in January, Haddish partnered up with organization Ready to Succeed in creating the SheReady Internship, a program designed to help young adults prepare for adulthood. The program is specifically for a group that is close to Haddish’s heart: foster children.

Growing up in the foster care system herself, Haddish founded the SheReady Foundation to help provide foster children with all of the necessary resources they need to succeed. This will now include young adults who grew up in the system in the age range of 18–25. Those chosen for the internship will be rewarded a plethora of tools designed to prepare them for the next step in their educational and career journeys. Along with a job, participants will have access to paid internship, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The cost of work-related finances, such as transportation, will also be covered by the organization.

The program promises that even those who do not get accepted into the program will receive the “consolidation prize” of career event access and professional training.

Through programs such as this, Haddish not only desires to help young adults who were in a similar situation to her own but to also aid in fostering more diversity in various workplaces.

“I believe that children that come from different cultures deserve a chance to work in the industry,” Haddish told The Hollywood Reporter, “and I would like people that look like me to be able to represent me too in the industry.”

Besides being a part of the foster care system, applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25, eligible to work legally in the United States, and attending college. Currently, the program is exclusive to California residents, the birthplace of both the organizations.

For additional information and resources, feel free to visit https://readytosucceedla.org/she-ready/

Sources: Ready to Succeed and the Hollywood Reporter

Letter From the Publisher – Professional WOMAN’s Magazine
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PWM cover Tracee Ellis Ross, Editors Kat C. and Tawanah R. with Mona Lisa Faris-publisher

It’s 2021, it’s Spring, and don’t you feel like we can finally take a breath of fresh air? Although we still have a long road ahead of us in getting the pandemic under control and healing our nation, there’s more optimism; a renewed sense of spirit and hope. We are turning a corner for the better and changes are happening!

We have had our own share of changes here at Professional WOMAN’s Magazine (PWM). We have brought Tawanah Reeves-Ligon onboard as Editor of PWM. Ligon is a Southern gal from Atlanta, Georgia, currently residing in South Carolina — quite a way from our California base — and has over nine of years of experience in writing and editing, working with magazines, blogs as well as on poetry and novels.

We have also promoted Kat Castagnoli to Managing Editor. Castagnoli, who has been with PWM for almost two years now, will oversee all editorial for the publication. Her goal is to keep it fresh and modern; chock full of relevant content for today’s 21st century woman.

Take this issue’s cover story on Tracee Ellis Ross. Actor, director, producer, philanthropist, fashion icon, social activist and entrepreneur are just a few of the titles this female powerhouse holds. Ross urges others to own their power and to never to accept status-quo. “It takes a lot of courage to advocate for yourself,” she says. “As a woman, and as a Black woman, advocating for yourself is actually a form of resistance. It is how each of us push the world, to make sure that the real estate matches the reality of who we are and what we deserve.” Read more about Ross’ inspiring story here.

Looking for that ever-elusive thing we call “balance?” Find out more here. If you’re job searching right now, check out eight ways to boost your confidence just minutes before your interview (page 32), as well as how to stay optimistic while searching for a job here. If you’re looking to refresh your workforce, check out the unconventional ways some companies are finding superstar talent here.

We here at PWM are refreshed and ready to help you reach your goals in 2021 and beyond!

~ Mona Lisa Faris

Publisher, Professional WOMAN’s Magazine

Apple celebrates Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day
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Graphic of women working with technology for Women’s Day

For Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Apple is further amplifying female voices that drive culture and change by bringing to the forefront untold stories, exclusive content, and curated collections across all of its services. Available beginning in March, these offerings celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of all women who accelerate the conversation around gender equality.

Customers can learn new skills from female creators with virtual Today at Apple sessions, join the Apple Fitness+ community for inspiring workouts on International Women’s Day, or listen to an all-new show on Apple Podcasts from ABC News, featuring never-before-released audio from former first lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson. Here is a look at all of the experiences customers can enjoy in March and beyond.

App Store
Apple celebrates women who challenge themselves to create new paths and ways of working, sharing their knowledge and experiences for others to follow in their footsteps. Customers can read about female developers in exclusive interviews, or browse the curated Apps Made by Women Collection. Additionally, the App Store will feature an App of the Day and Game of the Day from a woman creator during the month of March, and, with Apple Arcade, showcase a collection of games starring powerful female characters.

Apple Music
Apple Music is highlighting women who are leaders in their field, breaking records, topping charts, and inspiring others through their work, advocacy, and influence within pop culture and beyond. Apple Music listeners can enjoy a diverse range of “Visionary Women” curated playlists from artists and influencers from all over the world. Apple Music will also showcase four original content short films, and Apple Music radio and Apple Music TV will feature incredible female voices, stories, and musicianship for a full 24 hours, back to back, on March 8.

Apple Books
Apple Books is celebrating everywhere with country-specific collections that feature women’s voices and elevate their contributions to every field. Customers can find a selection of biographies and memoirs that highlight trailblazers, along with collections that spotlight literary icons and exciting newcomers in fiction — including women who are rewriting the rules in every genre, from Romance to Science Fiction. Customers can also explore recommended great books and audiobooks that unearth stories of remarkable women during extraordinary times, share empowering wisdom, and explore vital intersectional feminist perspectives.

Read the full article at Apple.

Why Women Are Turning Away From MBAs
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Asian woman standing on stairs wearing a grey suit

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, business school applications are booming. MBA providers have been grappling with record numbers and increasing class sizes to accommodate a rush of executives seeking to improve their management credentials.

However, the gender divide persists. Demand among men for MBA places has been much stronger than among women, raising concerns that years of progress towards greater inclusion in business education is at risk of regressing.

(Image Credit – Financial Times)

The Forté Foundation, which lobbies for gender equality in education, found last year that the proportion of women enrolled in MBAs at their 52 member schools remained unchanged compared with 2019. Although almost half of schools managed to break the 40 per cent barrier in 2020, improvements in female representation across the membership had stalled. Female enrolment in full-time business programmes had been inching up in recent years as admissions teams promoted female alumni, and schools offered scholarships specifically for women and targeted sectors where women hold more of the management roles.

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Female enrolment in full-time business programmes had been inching up in recent years as admissions teams promoted female alumni, and schools offered scholarships specifically for women and targeted sectors where women hold more of the management roles.

When Forté was formed in 2001, it calculated that less than 28 per cent of MBA students in the US were women. A third of full-time MBA students at member schools were women in the autumn of 2013 and that rose to nearly 39 per cent of the group in 2019.

“There is a concern that the progress that has been made will go into reverse,” Elissa Sangster, Forté’s chief executive, says. “Concern has been higher among women about returning to full-time study during a pandemic, given that the jobs market may be far harder after graduation,” she says. The financial risk is often the biggest factor for female MBA applicants, she adds, and suggests the most effective change schools can make is cutting the price tag for those considering a return to formal education.

Read the full article at Financial Times.

Meet Amanda Gorman, who made history as youngest inaugural poet
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Amanda Gorman stands behind podium smiling with two fingers pointing up while reading her poem

By Tamar Lapin

Originally posted on the New York Post.

Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Harvard graduate from California, made US history on Wednesday as the youngest person ever chosen to write a poem for a presidential inauguration.

The Los Angeles native captivated viewers during President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony with her moving rendition of “The Hill We Climb,” a work about unity, healing and perseverance.

“When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” Gorman began her inaugural poem.

She continued: “And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”

Mindful of the past, Gorman honored previous inaugural poet Maya Angelou by wearing a ring with a caged bird — a tribute to the writer’s classic memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted Winfrey, a close friend of the late writer.

Gorman replied: “Thank you! I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in.”

“Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before.”

So how did Gorman get here? At just 16, she was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and her first poetry book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” was released a year later in 2015.

In 2017, she became the country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

Gorman, who graduated in May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology, has read for official occasions before.

Having seen perform at the Library of Congress, First Lady Jill Biden asked Gorman late last month to write something to recite on Wednesday.

Gorman had completed a little more than half the work on Jan. 6, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an effort to stop Biden’s win from being certified.

“That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem,” Gorman told The Associated Press last week.

She referenced the deadly riot in her work, saying: “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.”

“And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”

Gorman also found commonality with Joe Biden, as both her and the president battled speech impediments.

“Writing my poems on the page wasn’t enough for me,” she told “CBS This Morning.”

“I had to give them breath, and life, I had to perform them as I am. That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”

Read the full article on the New York Post

The Future of College Recruitment Depends on Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
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By Casey Welch

Over the past year, colleges have struggled to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, between the pressure to move entire degree programs online and the question of how best to connect with potential students in the absence of traditional events like college fairs and campus tours.

The obstacles faced by institutions of higher education have only increased over the years, and even when students can safely return to campus, it’s clear that colleges will be left with a critical, unsolved problem: how to prioritize diversity and inclusion and reflect those values in their recruitment practices.

According to a recent survey, 25% of Gen Zers decided not to apply for a college because they feared being treated unfairly due to their gender, ethnic or racial identity. Many are speaking from personal experience: Over three-quarters of respondents said they had witnessed discrimination in school and over half have experienced it themselves.

Colleges already experiencing a decline in enrollment can course correct through simple adjustments to how they prioritize and reflect the fundamental values of diversity and inclusion in their recruitment practices. This change will have a significant impact, not just on application and enrollment numbers, but on their long-term relevance as institutions of higher education.

Recruiting the next generation of college students, therefore, will require a shift in focus and a strategy that prioritizes a diverse campus culture, where all will feel welcome and appreciated for their differences, instead of ostracized. Recruitment practices are the ideal place for colleges to begin making the importance of diversity and inclusion clear, especially since prospective students are actively looking for the motivation behind initiatives that promote these values, and not just proof of their implementation.
Prioritizing diversity begins by ensuring that college recruiters reflect the background and identity of the students they’re hoping to attract. Almost two-thirds of students indicated that they would be more likely to apply to a college where the recruiter shares their racial or ethnic identity.

The next step toward inclusion is for colleges to be aware of what, exactly, Gen Zers include within that concept. For these future students, diversity and inclusion don’t stop with respect for racial or ethnic differences, they must also include an understanding of the importance of gender pronouns.

The majority of students emphatically agree that recruiters should ask for their preferred gender pronouns, but only a fraction have ever had a recruiter pose that question. Including this question would be a simple change to the existing process, but it’s one notable place where recruiters are missing the mark and missing out on potential candidates.

Colleges that have already undertaken initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion need to communicate the results of those efforts more effectively, such as through statistics and student testimonials that speak to the authentic impact of these changes over time. Respondents also highlighted a few other ways colleges can increase awareness of their dedication to these ideals, including drawing attention to programs or classes that promote diversity and a demonstrated commitment to social justice. Considering how important these criteria are to prospective students, putting in the work to implement these changes will be ineffective in attracting new students if there’s no visibility of their impact.
Simply advertising these changes isn’t enough, however. Colleges should clearly communicate how they plan to continue working toward a more diverse and inclusive environment, as well as why those changes are important. Prospective students are taking a harder look not only at the success of these initiatives but also the motivation behind their implementation, in their consideration of where to apply.

Changing the look and language of recruitment is an easy switch, but it’s also a powerful one that will have a lasting impact on the future of college enrollment. Gen Z is placing a heavier emphasis on these distinctions than any prior generation, and colleges need to start doing so as well in response.

The next generation of college students is looking for more than an idyllic campus and an exhaustive list of course options; they’re looking for a safe environment that reflects who they are and the future they hope to create. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion and reflecting those values in their recruitment practices, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to actively welcome a diverse community of students and ensure their continued relevance.

School of Rock owners around the world are making an impact in their communities
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group of diverse music students in school playing guitars and drums

School of Rock owners around the world are making an impact in their communities through the power of music education. And you can too.

You may already know School of Rock from the movie, but we’re so much more. We’re innovators in the world of music education.

We understand what it takes to inspire kids, change lives, and help you succeed as a music school.

Recognized by Entrepreneur, Forbes and Franchise Business Review as one of the top franchises in the world, School of Rock enables you to mix business with pleasure by owning a rock and roll hub in your city.

You’ll be able to offer structure, guidance, education and entertainment to the lives of children and adults through the power of music. And you will own a successful business on top of it all.

Become a School of Rock owner and experience our unique franchising approach.

Find out more here.

An HBCU grad galvanized voters in Georgia and another one is making history as vice president-elect
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Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams side by side headshots, both smiling

Before Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams broke barriers in the country’s political landscape, they thrived at historically Black colleges and universities.

Students and alumni from HBCUs around the country are celebrating the vice president-elect’s success, hoping it will change the misconceptions around the institutions’ quality of education and graduates’ social mobility.

Harris, a Howard University alumna, has regularly credited her education and even referred to it when she accepted the Democratic party’s vice presidential nomination.

“When you attend an HBCU, there’s nothing you can’t do,” Harris tweeted last month.

But she’s only one of several female politicians and activists who have become trailblazers, years after attending HBCUs. Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, attended Spelman College in Atlanta and Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta Mayor and a surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign, went to Florida A&M University.

Cori Bush, a Harris-Stowe State University alumna, became the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

“This is certainly symbolic of the great possibilities that can happen in America,” Elwood Robinson, chancellor for Winston-Salem State University, told CNN affiliate WXII.

There’s more than 100 HBCUs across the country, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Most of them were formed after the Civil War to provide educational opportunities for newly freed slaves.

While they represent about 3% of the higher education institutions, at least 17% of bachelor’s degrees by African Americans are earned at HBCUs, according to the United Negro College Fund, a Washington-based national group that awards college scholarships and supports HBCUs.

It should not be a surprise that HBCUs students and alumni, like Harris and Abrams, are at the forefront of politics and social justice, said Robert Stephens, founder of the HBCU collective, an advocacy group aiming to increase support of Black higher education institutions.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021