Variety of programs aim to make campus a welcoming place for women

BW students discuss the various programs BW has that support women.


Stock photo of BW sign

Female students at BW have made a great effort to cultivate supportive and welcoming spaces where women can come together and help each other in their collegiate and post-college career paths. Such efforts include the newly founded Women of Knowlton Club, which focuses on underrepresented groups within the field of STEM, and a pilot professional development program for sophomore women in collaboration with the David and Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement.   

“[The goal of the Women of Knowlton club is] to take some women who are part of the organization and going to high schools, mostly underfunded high schools, or women-only high schools to help do STEM-based tutoring to encourage girls,” said Kyla Koos, a sophomore physics and applied math double major and the club’s founder.  

Although Koos witnesses a lot of strong female leadership across campus, she sees the importance of having a STEM-based, woman-focused club in a male-dominated field at BW.   

“I have some days where I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do great.’ But then there are some days where there’s a male student in my class or male advisor who’s been like, a little not nice to me recently or degrading, or I’m not doing as well as some of my classmates,” Koos said.  

Koos explained that she sometimes wonders if she should switch her majors, but having female support around her can help build her confidence.   

Woman of Knowlton is not the only new BW program looking to carve out a space for female-identifying students to connect and grow with one another. Sophomore communications studies major Bella Doyle, started a program for sophomore women as her Brain Center fellowship project.  

Sophomore Alyson Hand, an arts management and entrepreneurship major, is participating in the sophomore women’s program. After completing the interview process, Hand was matched up with an alumna and mentor whom she meets with once a month.   

“We have so many strong professors and teachers and other faculty and staff that are willing to help us, and I like to call it girl power,” Hand said. “We all kind of work together even if it’s not even talked about, I think that’s something really special BW has, and I haven’t seen it at a lot of other schools.”  

BW’s faculty and staff also feature many strong female leaders who each play a distinct role on campus. One such leader is Denise Kohn, associate dean of humanities and English professor. In addition to being a strong leader and female role model, she recognizes the significant amount of other faculty and staff who are strong examples of female leadership on campus.  

“I can think of Tamika Rashid, Erica Walker, Susan Van Horst and Beth Heiser in the Conservatory; vice provost Dr. Lisa Henderson and Jill Fisher in social science. I feel really fortunate to work with so many incredible leaders who are women on this campus,” Kohn said.