Working with people from different countries and cultures can benefit students both personally and professionally by cultivating new perspectives and philosophies. We provide Women of Color, Honor and Ambition (WOCHA) participants with these experiences through the Five Pillars throughout the year. Making these connections as early as possible is crucial. Generally, the ability to travel, meet others, network and greatly expand students’ knowledge in this way is something that happens later in their college years and maybe even after graduation. Having the ability to make such connections is something that students should always aim to take advantage of, no matter their discipline, as otherwise they might not have another chance for several years. This year, the WOCHA’s were able to experience an exciting cultural opportunity by attending a trip to Washington, DC.
Washington, DC is rich in culture, diversity and history. Some of the highlights WOCHA’s visited were the National Museum African American History & Culture, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (American Presidents highlight display), among other visits to museums. One of the most special moments was visiting Starbucks’ first US “signing store,” which embraces the deaf and hard of hearing community. This was a great highlight as we reflect on the diversity of our current WOCHA cohort and RIT. This gave some of the WOCHA’s the opportunity to practice their ASL skills and for our deaf/hard of hearing WOCHA’s an opportunity to educate the hearing WOCHA’s on the deaf experience firsthand. During their time, they had a chance to meet and have dinner and network with several area RIT alumni.
“This trip truly created a wonderful bonding and cultural experience between the cohort and the council members,” shared Dr. Tomicka Wagstaff, Assistant Vice President for Student Access and Success and one of the founding members of WOCHA.