Skip to Content (Press Enter)

Developing Women Leadership

An innovative women's leadership initiative is giving a group of Cal State Fullerton students the opportunity to leverage its strengths and promote social change and inclusion.

Cal State Fullerton was one of four campuses in the nation chosen to participate in the BOLD Women's Leadership Network, which supports female cohorts at the junior class level through scholarships and mentoring to help them develop leadership skills and transform themselves and their communities. The other institutions participating are Millbury College in Vermont, Smith College in Massachusetts and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The program is led by female university presidents who have demonstrated a commitment to collaboration, innovation, diversity and inclusion. The nearly $1.3 million award is funded by the Pussycat Foundation, which was established by the late Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.

"BOLD scholars are chosen because they exhibit exceptional leadership abilities, critical thinking skills, a passion for social equity and the ability to facilitate challenging discourse," said Mary Ann Villarreal, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives. "BOLD scholars are dynamic, courageous and thoughtful student leaders who aim to make an impact on this campus, in their community and the world."

The University's first class of BOLD Scholars each receive a $25,000 scholarship for two years to cover tuition fees, room and board. Upon graduation, each scholar is eligible to apply for a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship to fund employment at an organization that embodies BOLD's values.

"I knew I wanted to focus on health care and social justice issues," said health science and sociology major Iman Roberts. "My goal is to continue to grad school and earn a doctorate. What makes the BOLD Scholars program so valuable is that it provides a support system and is dedicated to our personal and professional growth. They focus on change and how we can make our voices heard."

Each BOLD cohort meets weekly with a designated faculty mentor and is responsible for developing a transformational project. The mentor and student group can each apply for a $10,000 award to pursue their project goals.

An additional $10,000 is earmarked for Bridge-Up Scholars, a program to build engagement with first-year freshmen. Current BOLD scholars will mentor these younger students.

To learn more about establishing an endowment fund at Cal State Fullerton, contact Todd Frandsen, interim associate vice president for development, at 657-278-8569 or