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“Project Grow” Program Partners with Indiana University to Provide Female College Students with Mentoring and Professional Development Opportunities



Samantha Burke
Pass the Torch for Women Foundation

Elizabeth Blevins
Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs
Bryan Hall Room 108
107 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
(812) 855-9772 / (812) 360-3631


“Project Grow” Program Partners with Indiana University to Provide Female College Students with
Mentoring and Professional Development Opportunities


September 12th, 2017 – Indianapolis, Ind. – Project Grow, a program offered by the Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, is addressing barriers women face in graduating from college and advancing into a career. The program pairs female 21stst Century Scholars at Indiana University with mentors nationwide, and offers curriculum-based leadership skills training. The year-long program launched in September 2015, with funding support from Strada Education Network, at Ivy Tech Community College and Marian University, with 100 student participants. In its second year, University of Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, and IUPUI have joined the Project Grow program to add more students to the foundation’s vision of a world where all women are equitably represented at all levels of leadership in business and government. Click here to watch the inspiring video of the Foundation’s work in the community.

For the 2017-2018 academic year, Pass the Torch for Women Foundation has partnered with Indiana University Bloomington 21st Century Scholars Program to launch a program to engage female students who are looking to grow, both personally and professionally. An orientation is to set to take place on September 13,, 2017, from 5-7 p.m. on campus with guest speakers and a reception.

“This partnership was designed to provide a much needed element within our program. We are building initiatives and developing partnerships that will make our students more competitive in the job market. For our students to be mentored by professional women from a variety of career paths, benefit from the professional development workshops provided by the Project Grow team, and attend, as a cohort, large-scale networking events in Indianapolis is an invaluable experience for Scholars in their junior or senior year,” said Vincent E. Isom, Director of Indiana University Bloomington’s 21st Century Scholars Program.

Project Grow seeks to pair college women with mentors to help advise them through the challenges of succeeding in school, work and life. The program also includes several curriculum-based leadership skills training modules that connect the students to business professionals. Modules and workshops for Indiana University include: “Building Blocks of Mentoring,” “Grow Your Network and Expand Your Career,” “Building Confidence and Navigating Your Career,” and “Professional Networking Etiquette.” All classes will be offered on the IU Bloomington campus and throughout the school year, students will be traveling to Indianapolis to participate in the 2017 Pass the Torch for Women Netwalk and International Women’s Day Breakfast.

“Project Grow tackles the barriers of women rising to top decision-making levels just as they are beginning their career paths,” said Samantha Burke, National Program Director for Pass the Torch for Women Foundation. “Our partnership with Indiana University is particularly unique, allowing us to encourage these women to complete their college education, successfully transition to the workplace, and to develop communication and leadership skills. By providing our participants with access to mentors, we are giving them a jumpstart on creating a network of supporters, which is a critical factor in growing their careers.”


About Project Grow: Students participating in Project Grow have access to the Pass the Torch for Women Foundation’s rolodex of impressive mentors, with up to four different mentors over the course of a year. In addition, four leadership skills building modules will also be taught to allow students the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Project Grow’s curriculum was created to help participants identify gaps in their mentoring plans, build leadership skills, and gain access to highly qualified mentors.

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About Pass the Torch for Women Foundation (PTTFW): With their peers being in the minority within top decision-making levels, how do women create the connections that allow them to grow as leaders? How do they gain the skills and support to move up the ranks? The Pass the Torch for Women Foundation is addressing this issue in a unique and powerful way. We are creating a community of women and men committed to supporting women throughout their career lifecycles, from college students to emerging leaders to top executives.  This community comes together to provide mentoring, networking and professional development to help women reach their full potential.

To learn more about how you can volunteer as a mentor and/or financially support the work of the Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, please visit


About Indiana University’s 21st Century Scholars Program: The IU 21st Century Scholars Program, a unit within the Indiana University Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion (OVPDI) and the Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA). OVPDEMA states that diversity and inclusion are at the heart of its mission to provide broad access to its outstanding educational opportunities for students and career opportunities for faculty and staff. OVPDEMA is committed to the belief that a place of higher learning and opportunity requires the presence of a supportive environment that nourishes, promotes, and fosters inclusion and diversity. OVPDEMA’s goal is to promote a supportive and inclusive environment where faculty, staff, students, and others can do, as was often stated by former IU President Herman Wells, “their best work.”

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