On November 14, Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) announced a new program aimed at supporting minority students as they work towards their educational and career goals – the Minority Initiative on Leadership and Excellence (MILE) program.
The MILE program was created with the intent of improving the college experience for minority students. The program will offer transformative learning excursions, one-on-one mentorship, service projects, leadership development seminars, networking opportunities and resources for academic and professional growth. MILE students will be encouraged to take an active role in shaping the future of their college by participating in curriculum review sessions and providing ongoing feedback on methods of promoting an inclusive campus environment.
"In order for our students to succeed, they need support," stated Senate President Steve Sweeney. "This scholarship initiative will provide that support to qualified students of color so that they get the opportunities to thrive in a higher education community. I am gratified that the Foundation at RCGC has started this scholarship that will help promote cultural diversity on this campus."
A primary goal of the MILE program will be establishing a dedicated community of support for minority students. Participants in the program will be organized into cohorts and encouraged to become a resource for one another. Every student will be assigned a mentor who has been trained for the rigors of the program and matched based on commonalities with the student. MILE participants will be prepared to take on peer mentorship responsibilities themselves as the program progresses, with each cohort assisting the students who join the following year.
"MILE is an effort in collaboration," said Educational Opportunity Fund Program Administrator YaVanca Brooks. "Our corporate and academic sponsors will provide financial advantages to MILE participants, while our program staff works to offer resources for academic and professional growth and our mentors provide one-on-one support customized to the needs of each student. With MILE, we have created an entire community dedicated to the success of our minority students."
All students participating in the MILE program will begin their college experience with a four-day Summer Institute program, sponsored by the Educational Opportunity Fund, that serves not only to acquaint them with the campus and the resources available to them, but also offers guidance on how to make their first semester a successful one. As part of the Summer Institute, students hear from motivational speakers, engage in team-building exercises and participate in a series of workshops designed to make their transition to full-time college life a smooth one.
"This program is focused on supporting minority individuals as they work to complete their educational and career goals," remarked Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger. "This program is not only a financial scholarship, it also include mentoring, service projects, leadership development seminars and networking opportunities."
MILE is open to minority students in good academic standing who are enrolled full-time in a matriculated degree program at Rowan College at Gloucester County. Fifteen students will be accepted into the program each year and provided with a $250 book scholarship for both the fall and spring semesters of their first and second year, courtesy of Barnes and Noble. Program participants will have their graduation fee waived by the RCGC Board of Trustees, and Rowan University will offer five $1,000 transfer scholarships annually to participants choosing to transfer to the university to continue their post-secondary education. Program supplies will be provided thanks to a donation from the Rowan College Foundation at Gloucester County.
"The goal of RCGC is to be accessible to all county residents who desire to attend college and advance their academic career," stated Freeholder Lyman Barns, Liaison to Education. "Through this scholarship program we can increase the diversity of our student body and therefore broaden the range of cultural and intellectual diversity in higher education."
For more information on the Minority Initiative on Leadership and Excellence, please see
Rowan College at Gloucester County is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.