CWC Leadership Scholars Program

Our cohort-based Leadership Scholars Program develops diverse, thoughtful, civically-responsible, women-identified leaders who thrive at DU and beyond. Our program harnesses the open and supportive environment that is the legacy of the Colorado Women’s College.

Program highlights include:

  • scholarship

    Academic, community and financial support for up to 15 incoming undergraduate women who identify as first-generation college students and/or students of color

  • scholarship

    Up to $5,500 in scholarship funds for students with financial need 

  • community

    Community-based learning and problem solving across all four years of the program

  • workshops

    Workshops and mentoring opportunities to develop workplace readiness and leadership skills

  • leadership

    A 24-credit leadership minor

  • check

    Numerous Scholars-specific events each quarter, including retreats in fall and winter, and engagement with CWC alumnae and networks

How to Apply

The CWC Leadership Scholars Program welcomes women-identified undergraduates with a desire to join our community and work as change leaders. Special consideration is given to first-generation college students and those from underrepresented backgrounds at DU, as well as those who demonstrate unmet financial need. All applicants must be entering their first year as a DU undergraduate student for the 2021-2022 academic year to be eligible for the program. 

Apply Now


women sitting in row at presentation

Our Vision for the Program

As a community of strong, diverse women, we're not just able to lead—we must in order to establish a more equitable world. The CWC Leadership Scholars program vision is to:

  • Provide a space for cultivating powerful, diverse voices for leadership 

  • Recognize, acknowledge and seek to remove barriers to leadership

  • Activate and support Scholars to use their voice, disrupt injustice and empower themselves and others for positive personal and community change 

  • Continue the spirited, disruptive legacy of Colorado Women’s College 

  • Develop graduates committed to equity, who work to be active leaders and change makers in their communities

46 In the 2019-2020 school year, there are 46 women-identified students in the program. 100% are from Colorado.

100% All CWC Leadership Scholars are first-generation college students and/or women of color

96% Participants in the CWC Leadership Scholars program have a three-year 96% retention rate in the program and at DU over all cohorts.

women focusing in class

Purpose and Passion

The CWC Leadership Scholars program admits applicants who identify as women and who are first-generation college students, from underrepresented communities, or both.

Our focus on an affinity group cohort comes from research that tells us that students’ gender and racial/ethnic identity influence their experiences, persistence and success in college, particularly at a Predominately White Institution (PWI). Additional findings in our research include:

  • While both men and women may benefit from a leadership minor, women especially may find value in learning in a gender-specific affinity group that allows them to overcome barriers of inequality which are known to inhibit learning (Carli & Eagly, 2007; Haber Curran & Tillapaugh, 2017). 

  • It is important to offer programming that helps first generation and underrepresented students transition into and feel included within (Guthrie, Bertrand Jones, & Osteen, 2016; Jones & Abes, 2013). 

Leadership development focusing on women from diverse backgrounds allows for a classroom environment that is a brave, yet safe space. The CWC Leadership Scholars program creates a unique ecosystem for participants to create strong, lasting relationships, articulate experiences with others who share similar identities, and develop leadership capabilities that empower and enrich participants’ personal and professional lives.