A VIEW to a Better Future

For the past 10 years, the Villanova Initiative for Engaging Women has been changing lives by opening doors of opportunity for girls entering their first year of high school. Committed to narrowing equity and access gaps that impact female high school students in the Philadelphia School District, the VIEW program -- an outreach initiative of the University’s Center for Access, Success and Achievement -- delivers academic mentoring and developmental resources to help steer those who are underrepresented and first-generation on the path to college and future success.

Nicole Davis, associate director of Retention and Outreach Counseling in the Center for Access, Success and Achievement, has overseen VIEW’s programs from the beginning. She is dedicated to empowering young women to believe in their abilities, achieve their full potential and lead in a positive way. "We live by the motto, 'Changing Lives, One Girl at a Time,’” says Davis. “For my part, that means providing support, mentorship and exposure to intensive programs that prepare young women, not only for success in college, but also in life."

VIEW alumna Nawnora Manosca '19 CLAS attributes the all-female preparatory program for giving her the tools and resources she needed to succeed. “The classes and experiences enabled me to start building confidence and become my own person,” says Manosca, a 2019–2020 Fulbright grant recipient who is now working at VIEW as a training counselor and writing tutor. “I love seeing these young women who carry so much on their shoulders being encouraged to express their creativity, strengthen their own voices and build connections with each other.”

In addition to the community and camaraderie, girls who are accepted into VIEW make a four-year commitment, which gives them access to SAT prep classes; leadership workshops; personal and professional development workshops; a two-week residential program that's academically rigorous with college-level expectations; trips and opportunities for cultural enrichment; and community service.

And with that support system in place, VIEW graduates go on to earn scholarships and attend prestigious colleges, including Villanova.

“There’s so much growth—VIEW definitely changes students for the better,” says Julia Nema ’22 CLAS, VIEW alumna and current program assistant. “After seeing girls arrive timid and shy, they transform into well-spoken, well-written, confident young women who are ready to follow their dreams and take on new challenges. VIEW helps to ensure that no matter your background, no matter your circumstances, you can do whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it.” ◼︎

Did You Know?

In 2020, the four-year graduation rate for CASA students was an impressive 89.23%, far above the national average of 52.8% at private colleges and universities.