Promoting Excellence and Reinforcing Success in Student Transitions

The PERSIST Program is a cohort program for students who have selected a leadership gateway other than the Ida B. Wells Gateway. PERSIST (Promoting Excellence and Reinforcing Success in Student Transitions) scholars are encouraged to make useful connections by participating in programming sponsored by the Office of inclusive Excellence.

PERSIST provides students with support designed to maximize their impact on the Mary Baldwin University campus and the broader community. PERSIST scholars will be embraced by the Ubuntu Mentoring Program and be enrolled in a general education course first semester taught by Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence. PERSIST Scholars are eligible to seek membership into the Ida B. Wells Society.

PERSIST Scholars will work with Ida B. Wells Gateway members to sponsor the Annual Kwanzaa Celebration


In addition to the students already selected as members of the third PERSIST cohort, all African-American first-years are invited to participate in the program. Students who fully engage in PERSIST activities during the first semester will be invited to formally join the program by enrolling in the second semester course Legacy & Tradition [INT 177].



During the first year, PERSIST scholars (also known as PERSISTas) will meet in Harambee activities, where they will develop a plan for reaching their educational goals. They will learn to identify their skills, values, and experiences, and understand how their unique presence adds value to the Mary Baldwin experience. These new students will make a commitment to diversity programming by
serving as student ambassadors for Inclusive Excellence.

Year Two: SERVE


Acceptance into the Ida B. Wells (IBW) Living Learning Community will expose second-year PERSIST scholars to the world of service through leadership. As a part of the IBW residential community, students will explore what it means to be a global citizen. IBW residents will practice leadership through work as Ubuntu Mentors and PERSIST staff members, and they will facilitate the work of the African-American Student Recruitment Council. Members will enroll in Community Service [PHIL 140] and will be expected to complete 20 hours of community service to enhance the college environment

Year Three: LEAD

Lead - Crissie Monet Watkins '05

During their junior year, PERSIST scholars will continue to meet monthly and to establish themselves as highly involved campus and classroom leaders. They will work with the African-American Alumni Network to plan and execute the Sankofa Leadership Conference, an annual event designed to consider the past and to imagine the future for African-American students at Mary Baldwin.


Year Four: LIVE


The senior year co-curriculum for PERSIST scholars will focus on preparing students for life after Mary Baldwin. Students will receive individualized career and professional coaching and learn how to navigate the job and graduate school application process. Participants will also be trained in personal financial management and living independently.

Cohort 1
Imani Adams
Rasheeda Bradley
Tiana Branch
Jazmine L. Brooks
Atiyah Cash
Ciara Dacosta-Reyes
Leilani Jackson
Aliyah McIntosh
Tralen Neal
Koren Grace Okpodu

Cohort 2
Taina Accime
Justavis Brooks
Lauren Early
Briarna Givens
Jaliah Graves
Rashadea Hale
Kayla Hewlett
Aaleyah Joe
Emarii Lopes
Khabirah Matthews
La Shae Wade
Mikayla Waters Crittenton

Cohort #3
Megan Edwards
Daesha Hordge
Tevanah Charlemagne
Norah Moturi
Deja Slaughter
Tyla Kelley
Ashley Sampson

Student Staff
Ubuntu Mentoring Chair, Academic Support,,Academic Support, Social Chair, Ubuntu Mentors and Sistafriends

Andrea Cornett-Scott

About the Director
Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott, associate vice president for inclusive excellence, has served Mary Baldwin in her current role and as director/dean of African-American and Multicultural Affairs for 21 years. She has demonstrated expertise in student retention, development, and engagement. She is committed to helping students become their best selves inside and outside of the class room. Rev. Cornett- Scott is a member of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. or 540-887-7270