By Gabriela Flis and Theresa Evans
With the future of women in mind, Rider alumna and former basketball star Michele Powers, ‘84, created the Powers Family Endowed Scholarship to benefit female business students in need of financial help.
“I hope it gives women the opportunity to go to college,” said Powers. “I just want to make sure one point of the criteria is [that it goes to] somebody that has some financial need. I was fortunate enough that I wasn’t in that category when I came here. Between my parents, my athletics and academics, I didn’t have that need, but I want to make sure people don’t have that as a barrier going to school.”
Powers intends for the scholarship to grow and eventually cover the full cost of Rider tuition. Through her bond of $50,000 and $25,000 from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, her employer, a total of $75,000 will be given to a College of Business Administration student (CBA), allowing them to pursue their dreams of being a female leader.
“It will start with a freshman,” Powers stated. “It is an endowed scholarship so it will take a few years to build up to become a full scholarship, so, in the next couple of years, we will be giving out the first one.”
Female students in the CBA who are involved with Rider’s Women’s Leadership Council are eligible for the scholarship.
“Growing up in the business world, my mentors were usually men,” Powers said. “So I love doing things like this. We mentor female students, junior and seniors, and it’s fun to to give back in that kind of way.”
Powers believes in bettering the world and encouraging female students to become leaders, CEOs and business founders.
“There are many more females in leadership roles than there were back when I first started, but there are still not enough,” said Powers. “If you look at CEOs of companies, particularly Fortune 500 companies, women on boards are few, so that’s where we have to keep working. But, as we continue to have more female leaders in business, that certainly helps the pipeline.”
Dinah Rabinovich, a freshman marketing major, acknowledged that there is a need for female business majors within CBA.
“The opportunities for females in the workplace have definitely opened up more than in past years, but it is still not as equal as one would hope them to be in 2018,” said Rabinovich. “This scholarship offers an incentive for women to try and pursue a business major they may have not thought of before because of the stereotype that only men [work] in the business industry.”
Powers credits her parents, both Rider alum, for influencing her to create the scholarship.
“For me, endowing the scholarship in a family way was really important,” she said. “As a female in business, where there is not a lot of females at the senior level with me, it is also more important to do this.”