Melissa Harris-Perry and Elle Launch Mentorship Program

The Anna Julia Cooper Center of Wake Forest University and, the leading online destination for smart, engaging, and stylish perspectives for young women, announced a dynamic partnership that empowers Wake Forest University students to learn journalism skills and shape national conversations.

Five undergraduate students from WFU were chosen to participate in the yearlong program, funded in part by, through a highly competitive process. They are senior Lauren Barber, a psychology major with a social enterprise minor; senior Mankaprr Conteh, a politics and international affairs major with a minor in education; senior Alex Dean, a politics and international affairs major, with minors in interdisciplinary writing and sociology; sophomore Erica Jordan, a politics and international affairs major with American ethnic studies and education minors; and Ann Nguyen, a senior majoring in sociology and studio art.

The Scholars will work closely with Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou presidential chair and editor-at-large of, to create content about women’s issues, with a special focus on women and girls of color. Students will conduct research, produce social media content–including Facebook Live events–and develop a long-term multimedia journalism project. Students will have the opportunity to submit stories for publication in and will meet with top editors at at the website’s New York City headquarters.

The Scholars have already begun their unique learning experience, sitting down with journalist Dave Zirin of The Nation and Olympian John Carlos during a recent Anna Julia Cooper Center event in Winston-Salem. Erica Jordan and Mankaprr Conteh will report on their experience at a Champions of Change event at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Additionally, the group has taken part in an event at Stanford University with singer/songwriter Solange Knowles.

“This is an exciting way to combine my work as a writer and a teacher to mentor the scholars,” Harris-Perry said in a statement. “The program offers a cohort a learning experience, combining the best classroom training with a unique workplace opportunity, at a brand that brings women’s issues to the forefront. These young writers are simply terrific and continually exceed my expectations.”

“Melissa Harris-Perry brings an invaluable perspective to, and working with her to advise the next generation of great female journalists is energizing and important,” said Leah Chernikoff, editorial director of “Mentoring new talent is crucial to making media a more inclusive space. I’m thrilled that Melissa and Wake Forest are bringing these incredible young women to”

Harris-Perry, the 2016 winner of the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism, and Sherri Williams, Anna Julia Cooper Center post-doctoral fellow and award-winning journalist, with a decade of newspaper reporting experience, will also provide students with journalism and storytelling training as part of the program.