About The Sunflower Initiative

Women's colleges build strong, confident, independent leaders of tomorrow.

We support their mission and the next generation of young women.

We are the nation’s only independent organization fully dedicated to providing scholarships to students who choose to attend a women’s college. The Sunflower Initiative is uniquely positioned to provide the additional financial support and encouragement young women need to succeed at the college of their choice. Our scholars join an alumnae network of accomplished women and a lifelong connection to our community.

As we enter our second decade, The Sunflower Initiative continues to promote the value of women’s colleges through our members and scholars. We will support women who seek that unique environment where they can find their voices, speak their minds and tell the world. And we'll explore new ways to inspire the next generation of women leaders as they seek their places in the world and prepare to live more abundant lives.

Meet Our Board of Directors

With the exception of one part-time staff member and select specialized resources, The Sunflower Initiative is an all-volunteer organization that ensures careful financial stewardship, maintains low overhead costs and maximizes each financial contribution to directly support our scholarship recipients. Our directors are supported by committees that focus on Finance, Communications, Scholarship, and Development.

Becca Peterson


AB, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, MBA, College of William and Mary Mason School of Business. Graduate certificates in Organization Development and Change Management from Georgetown University and Large-Scale Project Management from American University


Becca is the Senior Director of Sales Operations at SourceAmerica, a nonprofit organization which connects government and corporate customers to a national network of 600+ nonprofit agencies that hire a talented segment of the workforce – people with disabilities. She has a background in IT business consulting and program management.


Board of Trustees, Organization Development Network; mission projects at Fairfax Presbyterian Church; annual surgical brigade for Serving at the Crossroads in La Entrada, Copan, Honduras

“I am honored to serve as the second board president of The Sunflower Initiative. I am passionate about ensuring that the next generation of young women will benefit from the same life-changing experience we all enjoyed.”

Ruth Barnes Kinsolving


AB, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College; JD, University of Florida College of Law


More than 45 years as a commercial real estate lawyer (now retired); Member and former Chair, The Florida Bar Real Property and Trust Law Section; Fellow and former governor of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers; former member Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.


Former member and president of the Athena Society of Tampa Bay; past chair, Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts; former member of advisory board for the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum; past chair, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Cultural Affairs Committee; member, Tampa Bay Committee on Foreign Relations; co-chair, North Florida Society of St. Andrew (gleaning for food banks); Florida Master Gardener.

“Attending a liberal arts women’s college shaped my core beliefs and confidence to pursue careers that encourage women to reach their full personal potential and to treasure the qualities inherent in the female character. Women’s colleges nurture a culture that combines independence and ambition with compassion, courage with patience, confidence with humility, and a passion to help other women recognize and develop their full lives as gifted, grateful and caring members of their communities and societies.”

Nahid Hamzei


AB, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College; CPA


Director of Asset Management; Westmont Hospitality Group. Over 30 years of experience in real estate asset management.


Ronald McDonald House; Habitat for Humanity

“I am privileged to continue serving as the Treasurer of The Sunflower Initiative. I have had the pleasure of witnessing our scholars’ achievements during the past decade. And we shall continue to provide the life-changing experience of a women’s college to our future scholars.”

Margaret McKean


BA, University of California at Berkeley; MA, Harvard University; PhD, University of California at Berkeley


Professor Emerita of Political Science and Research Professor of Environmental Policy in the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. Japan specialist. An original member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Common property, and in 1989, co-founder with others, including Elinor Ostrom — first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics (2009) — the International Association for the Study of the Commons.


Carolina Ballet, Boundary End Archaeology Research Center, Maya Field Workshops, SCOT [Scottish Cultural Organization of the Triangle]

“My two daughters chose to attend Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Smith College, and through their experience I was continually struck by how strong and capable the students at the women’s colleges were, and what a vibrant intellectual atmosphere they provided. I am delighted to support The Sunflower Initiative, to enable more women to benefit from attending a women’s college where they can challenge themselves to the fullest and discover all of their talents and abilities.”

Ellen James Ramsburgh


AB, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College


Homemaker and Community Volunteer


Ann Arbor Historical Commission (past Chair), Ann Arbor Historical Foundation (current President), Allen Creek Greenway Citizens Advisory Commission, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Board of Ann Arbor YMCA

“Through The Sunflower initiative I have been thrilled to learn about the lives and aspirations of these young women while imparting memories and experiences that have served as a strong foundation for my own life. I also relished the opportunity to share with them the ample research demonstrating that the learning environment of a woman’s college provides many women with greater opportunities for intellectual and personal growth than does a coeducational college setting. I look forward to the prospect of keeping the choice of a woman’s college viable for young women of today and tomorrow.”

News + Announcements

Ready to experience what a women’s college has to offer?

You’ll find…

  • an academic community dedicated to building your self-confidence and leadership skills.
  • a place where your opinions are valued and you are encouraged to express them.
  • a supportive environment to prepare you for a more abundant life.

The Sunflower Initiative may help give you the resources to get there.