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Spelman College and Braven Nonprofit Announce New, Innovative Partnership Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College

Kasia Kalata

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ATLANTA (November 9, 2021) Today, Spelman announced a new, innovative partnership with Braven, a national nonprofit helping promising college students on a path to economic mobility, as part of its Spelman Pathways: Creating Your Path to Life and Career Excellence initiative.

The partnership will offer all Spelman sophomores a two-part career-accelerating experience. Fellows will receive additional support to land a strong first job or enter graduate school.

Spelman has a long legacy of helping Black women achieve what was historically not always possible because of our country’s systemic inequities. This partnership will further that legacy by ensuring Spelman students receive additional support to sharpen and further develop the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to launch careers that maximize their potential.

“The new partnership will provide access to career guidance that Spelman scholars will benefit from for years to come,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman.

“Our goal is to provide students with the competitive edge they need to excel in any field,” said Dr. Campbell. “Through this exciting partnership with Braven our students will enter the job market equipped with the skills necessary to navigate a 21st century workplace and thrive as leaders in a competitive marketplace.”

Venetta Coleman, Ph.D., director of institutional effectiveness and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, said Spelman Pathways aims to prepare students for success as college graduates as they approach and negotiate the world beyond the undergraduate experience.

“The Braven Accelerator will support this effort and create accessible and effective career pathways to jobs in the modern economy,” said Dr. Coleman. ”This partnership will allow us to help ensure that our students graduate with access to jobs that will help launch their careers.”

The Braven experience begins with a credit-bearing course that Spelmanites will take in their sophomore year. Fellows complete weekly online modules on Braven’s online platform and then apply that content through weekly virtual Learning Labs in a cohort of 5-8 peers led by a Leadership Coach.

Fellows will complete assignments to grow their leadership in five professional competencies: operating and managing, problem-solving, working in teams, networking and communicating, and self-driven leading.

Upon completion, Fellows receive additional opportunities to develop leadership and career-readiness skills, engage in an enduring professional network, and stay on track to securing vital internships and jobs. These include the Professional Mentor Program, which provides students a 12-week 1:1 mentor in their desired field as they get closer to the time of the job search, access to Braven’s jobs blast with internship, research assistantship, and job opportunities, and professional development and networking events such as company treks & skill builders.

“The success of Spelman women is a bellwether for the long-term economic success of the Black community and the nation,” said Aimée Eubanks Davis, founder & CEO of Braven. “This partnership will set the stage for incredible impact alongside one of the most storied HBCUs and women’s colleges in the country. As a Black woman, it is never lost on me the potential this partnership has for incredibly talented young women on the path to starting their careers and leadership journeys.”

Leading Braven’s new site is Che Watkins, founding executive director of Braven-Atlanta and Spelman alumna. “Working in partnership with the college that has expanded my horizons is truly a dream come true,” says Watkins. “I am excited to support Spelman students to help prepare and expose them to all of the opportunities available to them. As an Atlanta resident, I know how critical Spelman talent is to the future of our city and nation.

Braven will expose more than 500 Spelman students to the course in Spring 2022, joining a growing network of over 3,700 Braven alumni nationwide. Nationwide, Braven is showing promising results. Both before and during the pandemic, Braven Fellows outpaced their peers nationally in strong job attainment or entrance into graduate school by 22 percentage points within six months of graduation.

For more information about Braven, visit If you’re interested in getting involved, sign up to be a founding Leadership Coach.


About Braven

Founded in 2013, Braven empowers promising, underrepresented young people—first-generation college students, students from low-income backgrounds, and students of color—with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs and graduate school. Braven is embedded within institutions of higher education and partners with employers to build cutting-edge career education into the undergraduate experience for low-income and first-generation college-goers and provides students, who often feel disconnected from campus, with a network of supporters and a sense of belonging. Braven Fellows are persisting in college and achieving exciting levels of internship and job attainment. For more information about Braven or to become a volunteer and/or an employer partner, visit

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 24 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 15th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

For more information, visit Spelman College.


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