The Evans Project focuses on honing the leadership skills of college and university students in seven southeastern states. The Reese|Brooks|Gilbert Initiative, specifically, is a two-year leadership program that targets young women seeking bachelor’s degrees, who are often overlooked, for any number of reasons, for chances to lead on campus. Our goal is to support these young women through their undergraduate journeys because we know that, for many, it is the first real journey in autonomy and young adulthood. And for Black girls especially, the journey can be tedious and often overwhelming.
About the Fellowship
Introduction to the Reese|Brooks|Gilbert Initiative year requires mandatory participation in a 10-day in-person all inclusive session in July, followed by a 3-day in-person session between the fall and spring semesters. The summer session includes an intensive cultural learning tour that gives young women opportunities for experiential learning; to build a support network with peers; and to consider the lives of Black women in communities and cities different from their own. Traveling across the southeast, young women have an opportunity to actively engage, interrogate and analyze the history and future in cities and towns of significance, like New Orleans, Louisiana; Montgomery, Alabama; Savannah, Georgia; and other sites of significance. The winter gathering, likewise, is a time to check in, reconnect with peers and reground in self-reflection, work, scholarship of Black feminism and sisterhood. Through workshops during the in-persons, and other interactive leadership development activities, participants will focus on sharpening self-awareness, autonomy and negotiation skills, among other things. During retreats, participants meet and engage with Black women who are professionals in their respective fields who will serve as mentors throughout the fellowship year.
Young women who are full-time students and will have enough credit hours to be classified as sophomores and juniors by the end of spring semester 2021 are eligible to apply for this opportunity. There is no minimum GPA requirement. Students who are social science, education, women’s studies or business majors are especially encouraged to apply, although all majors are welcomed. Finally, applicants should be committed to Black girls and women and have an interest in reproductive justice, Black liberation, womanism, feminism and/or advocacy.