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Step Up expands to new Schools!

Step Up on Campus has launched in 31 schools across the country for the fall semester! We have new and returning schools and fellows in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Nashville and New York. Step Up on Campus is an in-person, after school program that offers specialized career exploration programming for high school girls. This curriculum, developed by Step Up, will use a social emotional learning lens to help girls explore career interests, gain exposure to various industries, and begin to build a career path.

Do you know a high school that may be interested in bringing Step Up to their campus? Please contact the Director of Community Engagement, Maya Menon, at


2023 Fellows Training

Fellow Highlights

Name: Jonica Witherspoon

School: Ogden International High School

Role: Professional School Counselor

Years at School: 10 years

SU: Why do you think Step Up on Campus is a good fit for Ogden?

JW: This program is a great fit for our school because our kids are always looking for activities to be involved in afterschool. Our school population is made up of students that live all over Chicago, which can make it difficult for students to build real connections with each other. Having this program allows students to meet other students they normally would not talk to. It also allows me a chance to form connections with students that normally would not seek out the help of the counselor. 

SU: Why did you decide to become a fellow?

JW: My colleague Dara Davis began Step Up on our campus just last school year and she did such an amazing job that we needed a second fellow. This year I am excited to help her build the program so we can serve even more young people.

SU: How did you recruit students for the program?

JW: As a team, Dara and I setup a table at the activities fair that all students 9-12 were invited to. We had some of the young ladies that participated last year to help us recruit new students for this year. Of course we decorated our table to draw attention to ourselves, and candy definitely helped too.

SU: What are you most looking forward to as a fellow this semester?

JW: I am looking forward to having fun with the students. I am hopeful that I can have such an impact on these students that they can add me to their trusted list of adults that they feel comfortable talking to in times of need.

SU: Anything else you want to share with our school partners around the country? 

Thank you for all the hardwork you all are putting in as educators. We are making a difference even if sometimes it doesn't feel that way.

Name:Lara Dababneh

School: Chicago Academy High School.

Role: Junior and Senior Math Teacher.

Years at School: 2 years

SU: Why do you think Step Up on Campus is a good fit for Chicago Academy?

LD: Step Up on Campus is a great fit for Chicago Academy because it will help support our female students in discovering themselves, their interests, and potential post secondary plans. Our school is a small community school with a diverse student body of people of all different backgrounds. Step Up is a good way for our girls to be able to connect with one another on similar interests and struggles they’ve had, form bonds with each other, and help step up into the best versions of themselves.

SU: Why did you decide to become a fellow?

LD: I decided to become a fellow because looking back, I did not have a person in my high school who I could look up to as a role model. I want to be a role model for our female identifying students. I want to be there as someone who has both career and life experiences that I can share in hopes that it will help guide them to make their own choices in life. In a society that constantly is telling women how they should behave, how they should look, and is full of pressure, I want to show them that their voice of reason and their self confidence is what matters most.


SU: How did you recruit students for the program?

LD: I recruited students for the program by reaching out to one student I am close to to become the teen ambassador. This teen ambassador then helped recruit other students. I also posted flyers on our school website and helped spread the word in all my classes by making announcements about Step Up.

SU: What are you most looking forward to as a fellow this semester?

LD: I am most looking forward to building relationships with my girls and helping them discover their true potential.

Spread the Word!

Is there someone at your school who would like to receive these monthly updates from Step Up? Contact Director of Community Engagement, Maya Menon at

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