First Cohort of "The 25" Joins the Bethel Community

The 25, Bethel’s new leadership program to empower female students, officially began during Welcome Week. The first six weeks have been marked by community-building, futuristic thinking, and developing the skills to start the college experience off strong.

By Cherie Suonvieri '15, content specialist

October 07, 2021 | 10:30 a.m.

Student members of The 25

Members of The 25 meet weekly for discussion, community-building, and planning for the months ahead. Photo courtesy of Annika Hillstrom ’24.

Ambitious. Driven. Involved. These are just a few of the words Heather Richards, executive director of The 25, used to describe the program’s first cohort. The four-year program was launched to provide female Bethel students with the resources, connections, and experiences to help them grow as leaders—and in its inaugural year, The 25 is off to a strong start.

Before the semester began, 25 incoming female Bethel students were selected to be part of the program’s first cohort. Since arriving during Welcome Week, the 25 student members have been journeying together through one of their first Bethel courses, Intro to Wellbeing, and they’ve attended regular program meetings to further discuss the topics they’ve encountered in the classroom and consider how to prepare for the years ahead.

"The weekly meetings of The 25 are always a highlight of my week," says business major Emma Tollerud '25. "I’ve appreciated our thought provoking and engaging discussions. We’ve already begun to bond together as a group which will also lead to deeper connections and growth." 

Student members of The 25 at Bethel University

Members of The 25 recently took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and then discussed the role personality plays in choosing a career. Photo courtesy of Annika Hillstrom ’24.

“This is a group of very ambitious and driven young women,” Richards says. “They’re also a very active and involved group. They’re very busy students who care about their future and want to set themselves up for success, whatever field they go into.” And their fields of interest are varied, including business, biology, nursing, biokinetics, and others.  

Students in The 25 will be matched with a mentor who they’ll meet with regularly, a hallmark component of the program. Richards is currently in the process of getting to know the students’ passions and career interests so she can pair them with one of the many Bethel-connected female leaders and innovators who’ve volunteered to support the program as mentors.  

"I cannot wait to start the mentorship process," says Josie Harms '25, who is studying political science and accounting and finance. "It will be so beneficial to learn and grow from someone who has far more experience in leadership than I do." 

Bethel University's first cohort of The 25

The very first cohort of The 25. Photo courtesy of Annika Hillstrom ’24.

Once the program is further under way, Richards says the students will have the opportunity to be on a variety of committees that will help shape the programming for The 25 by planning special events like field trips, guest speaker engagements, workshops, and more. Many of these events will take place next semester, but The 25 will be taking its first off-site field trip later this month.

Overall, Richards says the programming will be shaped by the students and what they need in order to be successful. “People ask about the curriculum or the four-year plan—but it’s not really that kind of program,” Richards says. “It’s about hearing the needs of the students and meeting them where they’re at.”

Kate Osgood '25, who is studing art therapy and psychology, says the adaptability of the program is something she didn't expect, but especially appreciates. "As members, we are hands-on in our programming, in building our community, and our goals and wishes for our cohort and future cohorts," she says. "I feel we are part of shaping the program just as much as the program is shaping us." 

Support The 25.

Through The 25, we’re leveraging the power of women connected to Bethel who have gone before and helped pave the way for female leaders to come. Interested in supporting The 25? Whether you can offer financial support, mentorship, or learning opportunities, we invite you to get in touch.

Learn more