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Second Cohort of the Women’s Leadership Academy Completed

University of Central Arkansas (UCA) reported in a news release on Monday that the Women’s Leadership Academy just finished its second cohort with a graduation ceremony at the Willow Event Centre in Conway.

According to the news release, the Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) is committed to empowering, enhancing, and loving women in the area and facilitating their leadership development. The Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) at UCA is behind the academy.

The six-month academy was completed by fifteen women leaders. Following a two-day retreat, the cohort’s members were revealed in December, and sessions started in January. The academy is dedicated to aiding women in expressing their voice, enhancing their leadership potential, and empowering them for a lifetime of leadership. It does this through reaching out to women along a number of life pathways.

Michelle Talley, a lecturer in computer science and engineering at UCA, was honoured with the 2023 Shelley Mehl Empowerment Award during the convocation. The award was created in 2018 to pay tribute to Shelley Mehl, a UCA retiree and WLN founding member.

“I am honored to have been nominated for the Shelley Mehl Empowerment Award,” Talley said, per the news release. “For many years, one of my passions has been working to empower women, particularly young women, by encouraging them to pursue STEM careers. While a great path, STEM careers offer only one means of empowering women. Empowering women is a collaboration, a team effort, with many strategies and many team members. I gratefully accept this award on behalf of all the amazing nominees.”

“WLA has empowered me to continue pursuing future endeavors that promote leadership growth and empower women and youth within this community,” Sherita McGee Kern, associate director of UCA career services and 2023 cohort graduate, said.

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