Women showing up for women in higher ed

Jan. 24—ASHLAND — A group of ladies gathered to fundraise future educational pathways for women on Monday night with wine, jewelry and empowerment.

Brooke Seasor, the Director of Resource Development at Ashland Community and Technical College said the Women, Wine, Jewels and More event was the fourth of its kind, established to fundraise scholarship funds exclusive to women.

Seasor said the university is seeing an increase in female enrollment, even in programs that have historically been male-dominated.

When it comes to education, especially in male-dominated fields, "it's critical women are provided the same opportunities as everyone else," Seasor said.

Women attending the event filed into The Mill restaurant on Winchester Avenue around 5:30 Monday evening and were welcome to browse a silent auction consisting of jewelry, bags, wine and other goodies — the proceeds go toward the scholarship fund.

Wine was flowing and hors d'oeuvres were plentiful as the women-only event continued on with mingling and conversation.

Seasor said since beginning the mission in 2019, ACTC has been able to provide a $35,000 Community Women's Endowment.

Seasor said she expects growth with the help of similar events and with support from community partners.

Norma Meek — an educator of 50-plus years, a past university consultant and former CEO of Paramount Arts Center — said the event was all about opening doors for local women.

"In Ashland, everyone that wants an education can get one," Meek said. "We will open doors to make it happen."

Meek, undoubtedly dedicated to the enrichment of young minds, has developed a curriculum for ages 2-18 at the YMCA to further reach and remind locals that their education can begin at home in Ashland.

"Whether it's for a career or advancement — you don't have to leave for an education," Meek reiterated.

The affair was put on with the help of 25 sponsoring hostesses, "Jewel of a Guy," (men who donated to the fundraiser) and "Gem of a Business," which partnered a variety of community businesses to further grow funding for women to receive higher education.

Ann Perkins, director of Safe Harbor, a domestic violence shelter in Ashland, was one of the 25 hostesses this year.

Perkins said any event that highlights education and scholarship opportunities was exclusive to women is "just wonderful."

Perkins added, "(ACTC) is the best vehicle in the Tri-State with a huge variety of certifications, degrees or to get your basics."

(606) 326-2652 — mjepling@dailyindependent.com