Winston-Salem State University commits to empowering women in sports

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Jocelyn Mills is grateful for the sports scholarship that allowed her to play volleyball at Winston-Salem State University.

“It really helped me and my family because a burden was lifted. I was able to play the game that I loved, while also getting my education,” Mills said.

Mills and other female athletes at Winston-Salem State University are participating in an event to promote sports scholarships for college women.

It’s a fundraiser inspired by the countrywide celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, which is held in February.

The organizers of this recognition day say one goal is to promote the expansion of sports opportunities in schools for girls.

At Winston-Salem State University, roughly 30 percent of the university’s student athlete population is female.

The fundraiser is at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Grand Pavilion Ballroom at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Winston-Salem.

Guest speakers will share their stories of how sports and scholarships played a role in their success.

The goal is to raise $40,000 to help provide scholarships to current and future female athletes at Winston-Salem State University.

Right now, the majority of scholarship money for athletes comes from student fees, followed by fundraisers.

The event is called "She’s Got It Covered – A Classy Hat Affair." Organizers are expecting more than 400 guests to arrive in flashy hats.

The Director of Athletics, Tonia Walker, says the hat theme is for fun.

“You're going to see lots of beautiful hats in different colors, in different types of styles. The hats will add lots of personality to a room full of women,” Walker said.

Mills supports women going after sports scholarships. She says playing at the college level opens doors to play professionally.

For those not going the professional route, Mills says women still have the opportunity to play a sport they enjoy while exploring career paths, without financial burdens.

Mills is graduating in December 2017. She’s majoring in mass communications and wants to work in television news.

“I do think that being in sports is preparing me for my career after sports.”

In 2015, Mills was on the only winning championship team for women’s volleyball at Winston-Salem State University.