April 29, 2019 Melissa Lamar

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Tunxis Community College in Farmington celebrated the conclusion of its first “Launch Your Leadership Journey,” an experiential leadership development program for female students, at a graduation ceremony on April 26.

During spring semester, the 13 students who were chosen attended a series of Saturday workshops that covered a number of leadership topics, were assigned female mentors to provide guidance to them during the program, and participated in small teams to plan and execute a social action project.

“After four successful cohorts of the program at Asnuntuck, we are thrilled that we were able to replicate this leadership development program at Tunxis.  The generous support we received from the Aurora Foundation allowed us the ability to not only bring this program to a second college, but to customize it to the needs and interests of Tunxis students.  The results were amazing. The students who participated in this program demonstrated impressive personal growth in a very short period of time. We look forward to continuing this program at these two colleges and hope to expand it to others in the near future,” said Eileen Peltier, dean of workforce development and continuing education at Asnuntuck and Tunxis Community Colleges, who leads the program at both colleges.

The students honored are listed below by town of residence:


Isabella Boisvert


Samantha Czarnecki

Jessica Higginson-Calabro

Alizha Sanchez

Aubrey Strong

New Britain

Samia Ameur

Rimaz Bashir

Amanda Medina

Sonia Akosua Nkansah


Samantha Nunes


Angelica Soto


Vraja Gandhi


Clara Hemingway

Their four team projects included creating a printed brochure for Tunxis students that includes the group’s interviews of struggling addicts in recovery as a way to help others; a STEM project in which a team presented information on career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math to 55 girls at Chippens Hill Middle School; interviews with senior citizens in a local assisted living facility about their life stories to increase awareness for the generation born between 1924 and 1945; and a project that focused on creating opportunities to improve Tunxis students’ lives by providing positive sayings around the college to encourage positive self-esteem and confidence.

The program is funded by a $10,000 grant from the Aurora Women and Girls Foundation, and is also sponsored in part by Highland Park Market of Farmington.

To be selected for the semester-length program, Tunxis students must submit an application which includes a minimum GPA requirement, a written statement that explains why they want to develop leadership abilities, and attend an interview.

From fine arts, health, and technology to business and advanced manufacturing programs, Tunxis Community College offers more than 70 associate degrees and certificates, providing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare students for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs and employment in areas with industry need. Tunxis is located at the junction of Routes 6 and 177 in Farmington.

The Aurora Foundation is the only women and girls fund exclusively focused on the needs of women and girls in Greater Hartford, and it is currently the only free-standing foundation in Connecticut focused solely on supporting groups that serve women and girls. Aurora’s goal through its grant making is to empower more women to complete their college education, enabling them to better their lives and those of their families.

Since 2004, the Foundation has provided more than $550,000 in grants to programs in the region that supported 4,100 women and girls in Greater Harford.