Leader of D.C. Nonprofit Honored by College for Distinguished Achievement

WASHINGTON, DC—Dr. Shireen Lewis, Executive Director of EduSeed and Founder of EduSeed’s SisterMentors program, was honored by Douglass College on April 13, 2005, for her outstanding contribution to the education and mentoring of women and girls of color. Douglass College is a college for women at Rutgers University. Dr. Lewis was inducted into The Douglass Society, the highest honor Douglass College gives to its most distinguished graduates. In honoring Dr. Lewis, the Dean of Douglass College and the Douglass Associate Alumnae identified her as a role model for future generations of women.

As an undergraduate at Douglass, Dr. Lewis graduated with high honors in French and Spanish and was Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year. After Douglass, Dr. Lewis obtained a law degree from the University of Virginia. She later earned her Ph.D. in French Literature from Duke University.

Dr. Lewis’ distinguished career has included more than 20 years of mentoring and coaching women and girls, dating back to her work as an educator in her native Trinidad and Tobago. As founder of EduSeed’s SisterMentors program in 1997, Dr. Lewis developed a program that boasts the graduation of 34 women of color Ph.D.s and successful mentoring of over 55 girls of color from the Washington, D.C. area schools, while raising funds to further enhance and expand the services offered by SisterMentors.

“Dr. Lewis’ vision, service and leadership in the community has been tremendous. The results of her unfailing dedication and commitment to women’s and girls’ education is evident in SisterMentors’ success,” remarked Montina Cole, Chair of EduSeed’s Board of Directors.

SisterMentors women and girls are African American, Latina, Asian American, Native American and women and girls who are immigrants. SisterMentors’ women doctoral candidates mentor and support disadvantaged Washington, D.C. area girls of color in middle and high schools. The women serve as role models who have achieved academic success despite the odds. Statistics show that at least 50 percent of women doctoral students of color fail to get the doctorate. Likewise, many girls of color drop out of school at an early age for reasons ranging from poverty to pregnancy and the inability to see how school is relevant to their lives.

“EduSeed’s SisterMentors program has a ‘lift as we climb’ philosophy,” Cole stated. “I truly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives.”