Women on the Way: Helping Women Succeed in College

Women on the Way
Women on the Way  Contact Us
Applications accepted

July 1 - Aug. 31 and
Dec. 1 - Jan. 31

Women on the Way (WOW) is a resource and support center developed to help women succeed in college. Many women trying to enter or return to college face time and resource challenges. In addition to meeting some basic needs for members, WOW offers opportunities for leadership, friendship and community service.

To Become a Member Students Must

  • Be currently enrolled at SPC
  • Complete My Learning Plan
 YouTubeABC Action News ' Positively TampaBay recently featured Women on the Way.
Watch Positively Tampa Bay: Women on the Way on YouTube.

Women aiming for success

Our services empower adult learners to achieve academic, professional and personal success. Active members can:

  • Be eligible to apply for WOW scholarships after one term as an SPC student
  • Receive help planning your class schedule
  • Receive clothing and toiletries as available
  • Learn from weekly Lunch Bunch workshops on practical topics
  • Participate in the Textbook Lending Library
  • Access a list of resources and referral information (tutoring, housing, shelters)
  • Join the Positive Directions Association (PDA) Club to add to your college experience

Services are available to students on every campus. Based on the Clearwater Campus, our facilities include a lounge where students can study, relax, unwind, make friends and share experiences. SPC Midtown also has a Women on the Way Resource Center.

Women on the Way History: Empowering women to succeed since 1981

St. Petersburg College launched its Women on the Way (WOW) program in 1981 as a resource and support center for women, who were entering college in larger numbers than ever before in the history of the United States. The goal was to provide women – many of them the first in their families to attend college – with the skills and resources to be successful in an academic setting.

The effort was spearheaded by Dr. Vilma Zalupski, the college’s first female Provost (Clearwater Campus); Bobbie Hinson, Career Center Director; and Maria Edmonds, a psychology instructor who later became an Associate Provost. Edmonds was WOW’s first coordinator.

In its first year, 15 women joined WOW. The program was originally housed in the old Social Sciences building on the Clearwater Campus. It was moved to the Natural Science Building in the late 2000s. 

The first years were instrumental in growing the program and garnering community support. The Clearwater Women’s Club was the first civic group to adopt the program and it continues to support WOW today. Today, WOW enjoys the support of many community and business partners throughout Pinellas County, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Pinellas Opportunity Council, Inc. (POC), and Soroptimist International of Pinellas County.

In the early years, the Positive Directions Association (PDA) Club was founded to encourage personal growth of WOW members through fundraising, community involvement and social enhancement.

Also early on, WOW began its tradition of hosting an annual appreciation luncheon to honor the contributions of community partners and recognize the students’ achievements. This annual appreciation luncheon still takes place today.

Services provided by WOW include: scholarship assistance; workshops and seminars on topics such as time management, parenting, and success strategies; a Textbook Lending Library; and access to additional resources and referral information for social services.

The program also provides scholarships – administered by the St. Petersburg College Foundation - to students who demonstrate financial need, and runs a boutique to provide women with appropriate clothing, toiletries and small household items. 

In 2005, WOW was named a finalist for the Governor’s Peace at Home Award for its efforts to help female victims of domestic violence achieve success in their lives.

While WOW students receive services at other campuses, the program remains headquartered at the Clearwater Campus.

In June 2015, the SPC Board of Trustees approved a campus-wide expansion to: the Women on the Way Resource Center at the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center in St. Petersburg (Fall 2015); the Seminole Campus (Spring 2016); and the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus (Fall 2016); and the Tarpon Springs Campus (Spring 2017). The intent is to provide students the services that they need on the campuses where they attend their classes.

Today, more than 300 women college-wide participate in WOW programs. WOW participants struggle with balancing the responsibilities of home, children, work, and college classes.  WOW is here to provide motivation and resources to help the students successfully become college graduates and achieve self-sufficiency through education.

St. Petersburg College continues to support these “Women on the Way” as they pursue academic, professional, and personal success.