Anna Manocha – Undergraduate Diversity Award
ANNA MANOCHA (’22)
Business Administration major
Anna has advocated for DEI at UNC, on both a personal and organizational level. Anna has personally experienced a lack of DEI at UNC, prompting her to advocate for herself and other students. Anna took action to motivate the deans of the business school to promote DEI training to all professors at the business school. Anna’s efforts have made the business school a more inclusive environment for all students.
In addition, Anna leads several organizations which focus on improving DEI, on campus and abroad. For example, Anna is president of the She’s the First Club, which is an international non-profit that raises money for the education of girls in developing countries. Anna ensures that the UNC chapter raises enough money to support three girls in India and one in Guatemala. In addition to fighting for educational equity abroad, a large part of the club includes advocating for women’s equality everywhere. Anna ensures that during club meetings members can express their concerns about women’s equality on campus, come together to read books, watch TED talks, and engage in thoughtful discussion to educate themselves about women’s issues, etc.
During Anna’s sophomore year, when many of her friends were applying to the business school, she realized that students of color were often unaware of opportunities at the business school and therefore not highly involved prior to applying. These factors–along with the intimidating business school environment–have led to lower admission rates for students of color. To combat these barriers, Anna personally mentored her friends (women of color) who expressed an interest in business.
This year, all of Anna’s mentees received admission to the business school! Anna received the UNC Advancement for Women Award for her mentorship efforts, but she wanted to have an even greater impact so she took on a leadership role in the Allison Mentorship Program (AMP). The AMP offers application readiness support and professional development for low-income and minority students who are interested in applying to the Kenan-Flagler business school. This program historically has a 100% acceptance rate for all mentees, which largely contributes to diversity within the student body at Kenan-Flagler.
In addition, since the AMP’s mentors are not all from minority or low-income populations (unlike the mentees) their mentorship work can serve as a way for them to form a bond with students with who they normally may not have been friends. These connections and friendships help break down barriers between students from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. This network of emotional and professional support, that Anna has worked to create, is invaluable for the mentees. Anna also plans to facilitate implicit bias training for mentors so that they are more knowledgeable about the biases they possess.
In the future, Anna hopes to create similar mentorship programs and networks of students within other professional schools and departments to address educational equity at UNC as a whole.