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BOLD Scholars Class of 2020

The inaugural class of BOLD Scholars, the Class of 2020

The first class of seven BOLD Scholars graduated from Saint Rose in May 2020 — a hundred years after The College of Saint Rose opened its doors to provide educational access and opportunity to women. In many ways, the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network is exactly what the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet had in mind when they founded the institution. The program teaches students who identify as women how to cultivate leadership skills and make a real difference in their communities, supporting the College’s mission to help the dear neighbor.

In the spring of 2019, Saint Rose inducted its first cohort of BOLD Scholars. The following year, seven additional students joined the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, bringing the total up to 14. The application process is competitive — these students are evaluated based on their academic standing, leadership abilities and experience, critical thinking skills, passion for social equity and inclusive leadership, and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively.

“Since I was in high school, I wanted to see more women in diverse roles in the music industry,” said Belinda Ligotino, a Class of 2020 BOLD Scholar and music industry major, in a past interview. “The BOLD funding provided me with the opportunity to intern with the international nonprofit organization Women In Music, which works to advance equality, diversity, and opportunities for women and individuals in the music industry.”

Yolanda Caldwell is the director of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network and Women’s Leadership Institute as well as the College’s chief diversity officer. Under Caldwell’s direction, the BOLD scholars receive mentorship and professional development, participate in conferences and retreats that enrich their experience, and meet women leaders in multiple industries and agencies that are impacting social issues and making a global impact.

“It is humbling to have the opportunity to serve as a resource and a reminder to each scholar that with intentional and dedicated work efforts, they are enough to accomplish their purpose in life,” said Caldwell. 

“The inspiration and funder for the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, Helen Gurley Brown said to ‘work with the raw material you have, namely you, and never let up.’ We never let up, the scholars have accepted the challenge of investing in themselves through personal leadership development, career mentorship, and peer-to-peer mentoring to develop their own perspective about their future. I hope that the experience they have is transformative and gives them the ability to have a career, engage in their community, and exist in balance with their home lives,” she added.

The senior scholars live and learn together in the BOLD house, which was made possible by a $1.2 million gift by Michelle Cuozzo Borisenok, a 1980 graduate of Saint Rose and member of the board of trustees, and her husband, Walt. Named the Michelle Cuozzo Borisenok ’80 House, it is also home to the Women’s Leadership Institute at Saint Rose. 

“My time at Saint Rose had a profound impact on my life. I was a first-generation college student, who transferred to Saint Rose and commuted from my home in Troy,” said Borisenok in a previous interview about her contribution. “Simply attending Saint Rose was achieving a dream. Many great women leaders shaped my experiences, and I am excited to help the College celebrate its centennial with such a special endeavor.”

In April 2018, Saint Rose announced that it had received $1.1 million from The Pussycat Foundation – $100,000 for a Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant awarded to former Saint Rose President Carolyn J. Stefanco as a way to “champion women of superior accomplishment” and $1 million to establish the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Saint Rose. In 2020, another $1.2 million was awarded by The Pussycat Foundation to support 14 new scholars and the mission of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network. Saint Rose is one of six colleges across the country in the network.

Meet the women behind the network:

BOLD Scholars 2020

Arianna Paul (BOLD Fellow), communications
Janay Salter (BOLD Fellow), interdisciplinary: education/ political science
Belinda Ligotino (BOLD Fellow), music industry
Essence Coxum, social work
Marissa Isabella, accounting
Hellen Jumo, chemistry, minor in biology
Nia Brown (BOLD Fellow), biology

BOLD Scholars 2021
Isabelle Rulison, political science, minor philosophy
McKenzie LeVan, childhood special education
Jheivonnia Johnson, accounting and business administration
Gabrielle Saintilma, criminal justice
Juliana Castrillon, music industry
Julissa Manzanet, communications sciences and disorders
Hannah Deetz, English and communications

Learn more about our BOLD Scholars and the Bold Women’s Leadership Network here.

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