Frequently Asked Questions

1.      What is Aya, Inc.?

Aya, Incorporated inspires young minority women to pursue their professional dreams and to propel in their careers. The young women who participate in the program are given the tools to succeed through mentorship and specialized workshops that focus on entrepreneurship, leadership, and professional development.


2.      How does Aya, Inc. achieve its mission?

Our intergenerational approach connects high schools students to college student, and college students to young professionals, all whom will participate in mentorship and leadership training. During their first semester in the program, the college students attend seven workshops and are mentored by young professionals in their field of interest. In their second semester, they are empowered to serve as mentors to high school students. The high school students that are selected to participate in the program also engage in seven workshops. Simultaneously, the next round of college students is trained each semester.


3.      What does Aya mean?

Aya is a West African word and Adinkra symbol for “fern” which is a plant that grows in difficult and rocky places. It symbolizes fearlessness, perseverance, and independence. Traditionally, kings would wear the Aya symbol; individuals who wear it are thought to show qualities of toughness and are viewed as defiant. Our organization gives young women the opportunity to embody all it’s the qualities. We are supporting the young women in our program to become strong leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs who will be successful despite the difficulties of being young, African American and female. “Aya” both connects them to their West African culture and also challenges them to be steadfast as they move closer to their goals.


4.      Why does Aya focus only on women of color?

Aya, Inc. was created because only a fraction of minority women are leaders within their industries. Aya, Inc. developed out of the idea that adequate training would lead more women to pursue professional leadership opportunities, negotiate their salaries, start a business, or engage in public service as an elected official. We instill a sense of confidence in young women by offering workshops that introduce them to the many issues they will face as they progress in their careers, connecting them to women who will serve as mentors for them, and then to young women to whom they will serve as mentors.


5.      Where is Aya, Inc. based?

Aya, Inc. is based in Washington, DC.We plan to expand to Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Maryland over the next five years.


6.      I am a young professional who is interested in mentoring a college student. How can I get involved?

Unfortunately, our deadline to volunteer with the Spring 2016 cohort has passed but we invite you to stay up to date on our upcoming opportunities by clicking here. The applications for the Fall 2016 cohort will be available in June 2016.


7.       I am a female Howard University student who is interested in being mentored and serving as a mentor in this program. How do I get involved?

Unfortunately, our deadline to volunteer with the Spring 2016 cohort has passed but we invite you to stay up to date on our upcoming opportunities by clicking here. The applications for the Fall 2016 cohort will be available in June 2016.


8.       I am a female high school student who is interested in being mentored in this program. How do I get involved?

We are looking for female high school students who live or attend school in Southeast, Washington DC and want to be part of the program as a mentees. As a mentee, you will be paired with a female student at Howard University who will attend the workshop sessions with you and work with you after each session to reinforce the topics that were covered. You will also be required to attend six of the seven workshop sessions. Your mentor pairing will be based on academic and professional interest. After the program concludes, we invite you to continue to engage in the program and with your mentor. To learn more about the criteria and to apply, please click here.


9.       I don’t want to participate in the program as a mentor or mentee but I would like to volunteer. How would I sign up to help?

We are always looking for volunteer for the program. Volunteer responsibilities include set up and breakdown assistance, transportation assistance, and community service events. To sign up as a volunteer, please click here.


10.   What are the age groups of the mentors and mentees?

Most of the high school students and college students are juniors or seniors. This is to ensure a wide gap between both groups. The young professionals should be between the ages of 25-35 and should have at least 2 years of work experience.


11.   How long is the program?

The program spans one year for the college students and one semester for high school students. High school students are engaged after the program through community events such as the Queens Summit, College Tours and Back to School events.


12.   How can I make a tax deductible donation to Aya, Inc.?

You can make your tax deductible donation using this link.


13.   Are the students who participate in the program evaluated?

High school and college students that participate in the program will complete a pre and post survey to evaluate their expectations as well as the program impact.


14.   How can I become a partner with Aya, Inc.?

We believe that in order to truly impact our community, we have to work with others and we welcome the opportunity to partner with you. Please reach out to us by email if you are interested in a partnership.


15.   How does Aya, Inc. engage their alumni network and Washington DC community?

Aya, Inc. engages alumni and the Washington DC community in a number of ways.


Beyond the Basics
Our webinar series “Beyond the Basics: Propelling into the Next Level of Professional, Entrepreneurial, and Leadership Development” includes a number of virtual workshops on more advanced topics such as work/life balance, financial literacy, and understanding debt. Alumni and members of the community can participate at any time.


Queens Summit
Aya, Inc. hosts a girls summit at two high schools in Southeast, Washington DC each year. The theme of the 2016 girls summit is “Pathways to Purpose”.


Community Service
Aya, Inc. supports and partners with a number of community and Howard University campus organizations throughout the year to participate in community service events. In the past, we have assisted with
Back to School events and Feed the Homeless projects in Southeast, Washington, DC and Freshman Move in at Howard University.