West Virginia University

06/17/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/16/2024 22:17

WVU assistant professor receives 2024 Thriving Women Program award

Fundamentals of Engineering teaching assistant professor Akua Oppong-Anane is this year's Thriving Women Program award recipient. Oppong-Anane plans to develop a mentorship program for BIPOC and women students in engineering fields (WVU Illustration/Kaley LaQuea).

Akua Oppong-Anane, teaching assistant professor in the Fundamentals of Engineering program, has been recognized as this year's Thriving Women Program award recipient.

Story and graphic illustration by Kaley LaQuea, Communications Specialist

Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Oppong-Anane joined Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in February 2023 with a strong background in chemical and environmental engineering.

Now in its fourth year, the Thriving Women Program offers support to enhance women faculty and staff professional development and community integration. This year the program sought proposals focused on program development for student, staff and faculty well-being, collaboration and engagement. These programs are designed to enhance connections between departments at Statler, within the WVU community and beyond.

Oppong-Anane will receive $2,000 in support to develop and implement a mentoring program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and women student populations enrolled in and graduating from the Statler College majors.

In 2021, just 20% of STEM degrees were earned by BIPOC students. A 2019 survey of first-year college students found that of the 20% to select engineering as their major, women comprised just 4% of the group.

"I believe that mentorship is critical for our students, especially when addressing the challenges that BIPOC and women students face today," Oppong-Anane said. "I envision that this program will provide valuable support and resources to help our BIPOC and women engineering students thrive academically and professionally, contributing to greater persistence and retention of these student populations at WVU."

Research shows that mentorship is one of the most effective ways to enhance student retention from minoritized groups. Oppong-Anane intends to recruit and train other mentors in Statler's academic units to work with BIPOC and women students over the coming year, creating a safe environment where they can find resources and support to enhance their academic success.

Interested faculty and staff can learn more about the program and application process at:



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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