Spark Logo

What is Spark? 

The mission of the SPARK program is to assist self-identified undergraduate women of color in their transitions into and through Carolina, and to enhance the overall success of women of color on campus by creating a supportive community and providing opportunities for leadership and self-discovery.  Each October, the newly selected first-year cohort of Spark women attend an offsite retreat led by the program advisor and the Spark student leadership. 

The SPARK program learning outcomes aim to assist women of color in coping with their transition to UNC. As a result of participating in the SPARK program, participants will be able to:  

  • Explore a variety of educational and career paths through exposure to campus and community resources 
  • Build a personal and professional support network of peers, UNC alumni, faculty, and staff
  • Identify strategies to assist in their transition into and through Carolina specifically as women of color
  • Demonstrate healthy and sustainable relationships with other women of color across campus. 
  • Navigate and cope with the challenges and stressors associated with being a woman of color at a Predominately White Institution and the larger world beyond Carolina 

Questions? Email

Spark cohort

Spark First-year Retreat

As a result of attending the Spark Retreat, participants will:

  • Reflect on the role of their own social identities and how they shape their thoughts and actions.
  •  Explore the diverse perspectives of other women of color to support meaningful engagement across cultural and interpersonal contexts.
  • Examine complex issues, ideas, and events facing women of color.
  • Develop wellness-related knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors that promote individual growth in the face of adversity.
  • Foster healthy and sustainable relationships with other women of color across campus.


The 2021 Spark Retreat will take place on October 9-10, 2021. 

Interested in attending? Apply to join Spark:

Applications open: September 9, 2021 | Deadline: September 16, 2021 Deadline extended to September 23, 2021

First Year Cohort

The primary focus of the first year is identity exploration and community building. Participants will do this primarily through their involvement in the SPARK Retreat. 

Are you interested in joining the class of 2025 cohort of Spark women? Apply on Heel Life between September 9 - 16, 2021:

Second Year Cohort

The primary focus of this year is professional development. Participants will engage in an etiquette dinner and a variety of networking opportunities.

Third Year Cohort

The primary focus of this year is community engagement. Participants will reflect on the role of self in impacting others and society as they learn more about the values and intersecting identities they hold, and how they influence the everyday lives of themselves and others.

Fourth Year Cohort

The primary focus of this year is making meaning of the college experience in preparation for life after college.