Nurturing ‘the Next Generation of Women-of-Color Leaders’

Inside SisterMentors, a nonprofit group that mentors girls from low-income families and helps women complete their dissertations.

Shireen K. Lewis is dedicated to increasing the number of minority women who have earned Ph.D.s. As founder of the nonprofit SisterMentors, Ms. Lewis takes a holistic approach, helping minority girls realize and develop their talents. The organization supports these young students from elementary school through college via a robust network of women who know the ins and outs of applying to, getting into, and completing college. Many of the girls are the first generation in their families to pursue higher education. Often they are poor.

Since its founding, in 1997, SisterMentors has helped 62 women in the Washington, D.C., region earn their doctorates, and more than 40 girls go to college. Ms. Lewis, who is also executive director of the umbrella nonprofit EduSeed, is gearing up for SisterMentors’ 20th anniversary, in 2017 — and for helping new generations of girls realize their educational dreams.

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