Women of Walker challenges male-dominated fields


The Appalachian Online

Clare McPherson

Women of Walker is a new College of Business program that caters specifically to developing female students for a male-dominated field.

The program, which students participate in for a semester, was started last year by computer information systems professor Dawn Medlin.

Medlin was assisted in collaboration by Michelle Boisclair and Amy Odom, executive director and program manager of the BB&T Leadership Center, respectively.

Odom said women in the College of Business are heavily outnumbered by men.

“The ratio of females to males in the College of Business in skewed,” Odom said. “One of the deterrences [for women] is that it’s so male-heavy.”

In addition to encouraging females to become business majors, Women of Walker focuses on preparing members for their future careers.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide not only the academic piece but also to provide the professional leadership and career development that they need to refine their soft skills to help them be successful in the businessworld,” Odom said.

The program assigns each member a female professor from the business department, lets them participate in various College of Business events, assists with resume and brand building, and takes a networking trip to businesses in Charlotte.

Sophomore marketing major, Samantha Bender, said she enjoys being a part of Women of Walker because of its hands-on approach.

“We are given business dress critiques, resume-building workshops, mock interviews, luncheons with women CEOs and other potential internship career opportunities,” she said.

Bender said she believes women are becoming increasingly present in the business world, but they are still the minority gender.

“Although respect for women in this field is definitely growing, business is certainly a male-dominated career which can be intimidating for women like myself,” Bender said.

Jerica Adkins, senior computer information systems major and former member of Women of Walker said the experience helped her grow both personally and professionally.

“Women of Walker has prepared me for professional development, as well as personal growth for leadership capabilities,” Adkins said. “I have grown and matured into a woman that is ready for the business world.

Women of Walker hopes to inspire women to be ambitious in their field.

“A changing trend within the College of Business is that now having a female dean and a female chancellor will inspire the female students to pursue their dreams of holding a leadership position,” Odom said.

STORY: Clare McPherson, Intern News Reporter