She was once a student of this university’s diversity program + now she runs it


Jocelyn Wright—director of UNA diversity group PMA
Jocelyn Wright is on a mission to help minority students achieve their career goals. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Jocelyn Wright knows firsthand how difficult it can be to succeed as a minority student, and that’s why she’s on a mission to help the University of North Alabama’s diverse student population.

Read on to learn how Jocelyn went from student to Director of The Presidential Mentors Academy and to discover the scholarship opportunities available for minority students.

This program helps minor students take their education to the next level, all while saving money. (Ben Johnson / Hville Blast)

Meet Jocelyn Wright

Jocelyn talking with a student
Jocelyn loves getting to know the PMA students. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

In just 10 years, Jocelyn has gone from student to Director of UNA’s unique diversity scholarship program—the Presidential Mentors Academy (PMA). In 2013, she walked onto UNA’s campus as a PMA student; in fall of 2023, she will step into the role as the Director of The Presidential Mentors Academy + Diversity Student Recruitment.

Before attending UNA, she learned about PMA through her older sister.

“In 2007, I got introduced to the PMA program when my sister was selected as a PMA student. I enjoyed watching her go through the program and got to spend a lot of time on UNA’s campus before becoming a PMA student myself. Because I have personal experiences with PMA, I’m able to empathize with our minority students who are navigating higher education. I am passionate about helping them overcome obstacles to ensure they’re successful.”

Jocelyn Wright, Director of the Presidential Mentors Academy and Diversity Student Recruitment, UNA

If you’re a minority student, UNA has the resources you need to thrive. Learn more about the scholarships available through PMA today.

University of North Alabama - Fall 2023

Guiding minority students to success

Group of PMA diversity students
The PMA freshman cohort is already on campus and jumping right into the college experience. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

In 1997, Dr. Ernestine Davis—one of UNA’s first female African American professors in the nursing department—saw a need for a program to help minority students be successful. She noticed that many minority students had a lack of interest in higher education, and the ones that did make to the university level struggled to be successful.

With the support of the university president, Dr. Davis started the Presidential Mentors Academy to grant minority students opportunities in leadership, mentorship, career development and campus involvement.

Now, as Jocelyn is stepping into her new role as Director of PMA, she has big goals to continue investing in UNA’s minority students. Her goal is to “create opportunities to put minorities in spaces that they don’t normally occupy,” which include the following:

  • Interviewing for opportunities on campus
  • Preparing resumes for internships + jobs
  • Having the opportunity to study abroad
  • Participating in community service trips
  • Engaging in experiential learning opportunities
  • Mastering practical tasks like budgeting, doing taxes or learning to cook

“Ultimately, I’m just the cheerleader here to help the students forge their paths to success.”

Jocelyn Wright, Director of the Presidential Mentors Academy and Diversity Student Recruitment, UNA
University of North Alabama - Fall 2023

Students mentoring others

PMA students collaborating
Omarie Bartee (right) loves getting to mentor other students. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

For many students, freshman year can be an isolating experience, and it can sometimes take several months to make meaningful connections with other students. Fortunately, UNA’s PMA program masterfully places minority students in community with one another.

“When I first started PMA, I met EJ Powell, the PMA president at the time. I was able to connect with him and ask him questions about campus and the program. I knew EJ was a great resource, but I didn’t realize at the time just how valuable of a connection he would be. Later on during freshman year, I applied for Freshman Forum, and EJ was involved in the interviewing process. He helped me prepare my resume, practice beforehand and overall feel at ease.”

Omarie Bartee, Presidential Mentors Academy Student + Mentor

After successfully completing his freshmen year, Omarie is excited to step into his new role as a PMA mentor.

“When it comes to PMA, no decision is arbitrary. We always put mentors and mentees together not only by similar majors, but also by similar personality types. I can’t wait to step into this new role.”

Omarie Bartee, Presidential Mentors Academy Student + Mentor
University of North Alabama - Fall 2023

Learn more about UNA’s PMA scholarship!

Students walking on campus
The time to take your education to the next level is now. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

If you’re a minority student and considering UNA, you don’t want to miss out on all that PMA has to offer, including:

  • Scholarships
  • Early registration
  • Summer immersion experience
  • Support + opportunity for Study Abroad
  • Extra-curricular + co-curricular events
  • Leadership development
  • Academic advising
  • Coaching + much more.

“PMA places you in a cohort of people like yourself who together foster a better college campus culture.”

Omarie Bartee, Presidential Mentors Academy Student + Mentor

Ready to find a place that feels like home for yourself or your child while also saving money? Check out the scholarship opportunities available through UNA’s Presidential Mentor’s Academy today.

Sponsored by:

University of North Alabama
Lacey Spear
Lacey Spear
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