Speakers

Take a look at our QB25 lineup so far! We’ll be adding more exciting speakers shortly.

Michael Sorrell Transformative College President & Fortune 50 World’s Greatest Leader

Ranked with the likes of Tim Cook and Bill and Melinda Gates on Fortune’s 2018 list of the world’s greatest leaders, Michael Sorrell transformed struggling Paul Quinn College in Dallas into one of the most innovative colleges in America. An attorney and former White House staffer, Sorrell brought a bold new vision to Paul Quinn, focusing on academic rigor, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. He also pioneered what he named the “urban work college model,” based on Paul Quinn’s dramatic success. Inspiring, straight-talking, and with a compelling and hopeful story to tell, Sorrell received a standing ovation at SXSW Education for his dynamic delivery and groundbreaking approaches to reinventing the future of American higher education.

When Sorrell took the helm of Paul Quinn in 2007, enrollment had been declining for more than five years and the college was on the verge of being shut down. Today, it is considered a shining model of urban education and most years, has a waiting list. As Fortune noted when naming him to their top 50, “Sorrell quickly set about challenging perceptions, both external and internal, by giving Paul Quinn a bigger vision of itself.” With a rallying cry of “WE Over Me,” and a mission to end poverty, Sorrell led both a movement and a total transformation. He bolstered admissions standards, stepped up recruitment, demolished abandoned campus buildings and, in partnership with PepsiCo, turned the football field into an organic farm that feeds the neighborhood and the Dallas Cowboys. The college was honored as HBCU of the Year, the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year and the HBCU Business Program of the Year and was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. It also became one of only a handful of federally recognized work colleges, a key component of the school’s reality-based educational approach.

Sorrell has received numerous awards and recognition for his civic and educational leadership. He is the only three-time recipient of the HBCU Male President of the Year award and was named one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents. He also received Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and PUSH/Excel’s Education Leadership Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the A. Kenneth Pye Award for Excellence in Education from Duke University’s School of Law. Sorrell received a B.A. from Oberlin, a J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and an Ed.D from the University of Pennsylvania. He was the recipient of a Sloan Foundation Graduate Fellowship, studying as a graduate fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School and Duke. Before taking leadership of Paul Quinn, Sorrell enjoyed a successful career representing professional basketball players, as a public affairs consultant, attorney and as a special assistant in the White House under Bill Clinton.

A talented and energizing presenter, Sorrell has inspired crowds at TEDx, SXSW EDU, The Aspen Institute and Duke University, and numerous other venues with his vision for education, uniting communities and leading through challenges. His memorable speeches often include his formula for success at Paul Quinn College: Preach hope, practice patience, instill resilience, be entrepreneurial in thought and action and, most of all, lead with love.

Sarah Smarsh Author, Educator, Speaker, and Journalist

Sarah Smarsh is an author, educator, speaker, and journalist who focuses on socioeconomic class and rural America. Her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth examines historic economic inequality and tells the story of her upbringing among the working poor on a Kansas farm.

By ninth grade, Sarah attended eight southern-Kansas schools, ranging from a 2,000-student high school to a two-room prairie schoolhouse. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas. Her book, Heartland, has been compared to Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir The Glass Castle and is a perfect companion to Barbara Ehrenreich’s iconic Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. A former English professor and grant-writer for social service agencies, Sarah aims for all of her work to have a backbone of civic responsibility.

Sarah’s reportage and commentary have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and many other publications. Her essays on class and poverty, “Poor Teeth” and “The First Person on Mars,” were both listed as notables in Best American Essays. Sarah recently published a four-part piece in No Depression about Dolly Parton and the working-class feminism found in country music. She is a regular commentator in national media and has spoken on poverty, politics, rural issues, cultural divides and the future of news. Sarah was recently a Fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and will soon launch a much-anticipated podcast about class and rural America.

As a fifth-generation Kansas farm kid, Sarah is a long-time dancer of the Country Two-Step, and she once won a nail-driving contest. She lives in Kansas.

Reid Hoffman Chair of QuestBridge West Coast Advisory Board Partner, Greylock Partners and Co-Founder, LinkedIn

An accomplished entrepreneur and executive, Reid has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses, including LinkedIn and PayPal. He possesses a unique understanding of consumer behavior and the dynamics of viral businesses, as well as deep experience in driving companies from the earliest stages through periods of explosive, “blitzscaling” growth. Ranging from Linkedin to PayPal, from Airbnb to Convoy to Facebook, Reid invests in businesses with network effects and collaborates on building their product ecosystems.

Reid co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service, in 2003. LinkedIn is thriving with more than 500 million members around the world and a diversified revenue model that includes subscriptions, advertising, and software licensing. He led LinkedIn through its first four years and to profitability as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to LinkedIn, Reid served as executive vice president at PayPal, where he was also a founding board member.

Reid is an accomplished investor. He currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Apollo Fusion, Aurora, Coda, Convoy, Entrepreneur First, Gixo, Microsoft, Nauto, Xapo and a few early stage companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Kiva, Endeavor, CZI Biohub and Do Something. Reid is also Chair of the West Coast Advisory Board of QuestBridge. Prior to joining Greylock, he angel invested in many influential Internet companies, including Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, and Zynga.

Reid is the co-author of Blitzscaling and two New York Times best-selling books: The Start-up of You and The Alliance. Reid is the host of the podcast, Masters of Scale.

Reid earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree with distinction in symbolic systems from Stanford University. In 2010 he was the recipient of an SD Forum Visionary Award and named a Henry Crown Fellow by The Aspen Institute. In 2012, he was honored by the Martin Luther King center’s Salute to Greatness Award. Also in 2012, he received the David Packard Medal of Achievement from TechAmerica and an honorary doctor of law from Babson University. In 2017, Reid was appointed as a CBE by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

David Simas Chief Executive Officer, Obama Foundation

David Simas is the Chief Executive Officer of the Obama Foundation. A native of Taunton, Massachusetts, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2007. Simas then joined President Obama’s administration in 2009 as a Deputy Assistant to the President, working with senior advisors David Axelrod and David Plouffe. In 2012, he served as Director of Opinion Research for President Obama’s reelection campaign. Following the reelection, Simas returned to the White House as Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. Simas holds a B.A. in political science from Stonehill College and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. He serves on the national board of directors of OneGoal and lives in Chicago with his wife, Shauna, and their two daughters.

Bill Bradley QuestBridge Board of Directors Managing Director of Allen & Company LLC

Bill Bradley served in the U.S. Senate from 1979-1997 representing the state of New Jersey. In 2000, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Before serving in the Senate, he was an Olympic gold medalist in 1964 and a professional basketball player with the New York Knicks from 1967-1977 during which time they won two NBA championships.

Bradley is the author of six books on American politics, culture, and economy, including Time Present, Time PastThe New American Story, and Values of the Game—all New York Times bestsellers.

Currently, Senator Bradley is a Managing Director of Allen & Company LLC, a member of the board of directors of Starbucks Company, and the host of American Voices, a weekly show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio that highlights the remarkable accomplishments of Americans both famous and unknown.

Rhonda Magee Professor of Law and Author

Rhonda V. Magee (M.A. Sociology, J.D.) is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, and is an internationally-recognized thought and practice leader focused on integrating Mindfulness into Higher Education, Law and Social Justice. A student of a wide variety of Buddhist and other wisdom teachers, including Norman Fischer and Jon Kabat Zinn, she trained as a mindfulness teacher through the Oasis Teacher Training Institute of the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. She teaches Mindfulness-Based Interventions awareness and compassion practices from a range of traditions. A former President of the Board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Professor Magee is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, she recently completed a 2-year term on its Steering Council. She is am member of the Board of Advisors of the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness and the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

Professor Magee is a 1989 graduate, with Distinction, of the University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences, and received both a Master degree in Sociology from UVA’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a Juris Doctorate from the UVA School of Law in 1993.

A Professor of Law for twenty-one years (tenured since 2004), who teaches courses dealing civil actions for personal injury and insurance recovery; courses dealing with race and inequality; and a course she co-created on mindfulness and lawyering, Rhonda is experienced in interpersonal dynamics-informed small group facilitation (supported by training, retreats, and practice through a variety of programs, including Stanford University’s Interpersonal Dynamics Facilitator Program and the Gregory Kramer’s Insight Dialogue). Rhonda’s teaching and writing support compassionate conflict engagement and management; holistic problem-solving to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable and injured; presence-based leadership in a diverse world, and humanizing approaches to education. She sees mindfulness and the allied disciplines as keys to personal, interpersonal and collective transformation in the face of the challenges and opportunities that social change represents.

Ana Rowena McCullough QuestBridge Co-Founder and CEO

Ana Rowena McCullough is Co-Founder and Board Chair of QuestBridge. While an undergraduate at Stanford, she co-founded Quest with Michael McCullough. For this, she received the Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding contributions to education at Stanford. She is Co-Founder and former VP, Content of Shmoop.com, a leading provider of digital curriculum for middle school, high school, and college students. McCullough has also worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, a consulting scientist to the Environmental Defense Fund, and a research associate for Stanford President emeritus Donald Kennedy (also a QuestBridge Board Member). McCullough holds a B.A. from Stanford in Human Biology and a J.D. from Stanford Law School where she focused on environmental and youth law.

Michael McCullough QuestBridge Co-Founder and President

Michael McCullough, M.D. is Founder and President of the Quest Scholars Program (QuestBridge). Prior to creating Quest with Founder and CEO Ana Rowena McCullough, he founded, directed and institutionalized the successful Stanford Medical Youth Science Program from 1987-1989. Michael is an investor and serial entrepreneur in both the non-profit and private sectors (e.g. HeartFlow). He is the co-founder of Headwaters Capital and CHSO (renamed Martis Capital). After attending medical school at UCSF, Michael trained in emergency medicine at Stanford University. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at trauma centers associated with UCSF and Stanford. He also served as an ER physician to the Dalai Lama for U.S. speaking tours.

In his early years, McCullough became the first undergraduate to teach at the Stanford Medical School (Neuroanatomy) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He worked his way through Stanford by teaching and performing stand-up comedy and also attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. In high school, Michael served on the Oregon State Board of Education where he was a co-author for the Oregon Action Plan for Excellence in Education. He has successfully founded several local, regional, and overseas health-related public service projects including Be a Good Doctor, S.C.O.P.E., KaeMe, the Global Leadership Incubator and the Courage Project. Michael was named an Ashoka fellow in 2004 and a Kauffman Fellow in 2009. In addition to his role as President of Quest where he focuses on new initiatives, Michael is the Founder and President of BrainMind.

Terra Terwilliger Founder and Publisher of D&I In Practice

After twenty years in the technology industry at companies like Microsoft, AT&T Wireless, McKinsey and various start-ups, Terra shifted gears and went to Stanford University to explore ways to promote more equity in the work force. At Stanford, she ran the Clayman Institute for Gender Research’s Corporate Program, which fosters partnerships between world-class academics and leading practitioners of D&I to use social science research to create meaningful, sustainable change.

Terra is Founder and Publisher of D&I In Practice, an information service that gives corporate leaders the latest research, best practices, and actionable tools they need to make diversity, equity and inclusion a reality.

After growing up in rural Georgia, Terra attend Stanford University on a need-based scholarship. She holds a BA from Stanford and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Beverly Watson Principal, Watson Strategic Consultants

Beverly is the Director of the Scholars Program at King Philanthropies, where she is responsible for leadership development and community building for all Scholars in the King Scholars programs. She brings over 20 years of leadership experience working in a combination of fields, including international development, education, law and business. As Principal at Watson Strategic Consultants, Beverly also advises entrepreneurial leaders in education, business and non-profit sectors to operationalize strategic initiatives.

Previously, she held leadership positions in educational organizations including: Chief Operating Officer of XQ Institute, a foundation dedicated to transforming high school in the U.S; and VP of Relationship Management of Laureate Education, an international network of universities with over 1 million students across 28 countries. Previously, Beverly was the Founder and CEO of Global Imprints LLC, a company designed to empower communities and individuals to address pressing global issues through meaningful interactions and strategic international exchanges. Beverly’s other career highlights include: Associate Country Director for Mozambique for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States corporation founded in 2004, whose mission is to reduce global poverty through the promotion of sustainable economic growth; Project Development and Finance Associate at the law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP in NY; Director of Schools Division for Achieva.com, an internet start-up that helped high school students in the college application process.

Beverly graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She was a three-time exchange student to Brazil during high school, college and law school. She is fluent in Portuguese.

Sara Jordan-Bloch, PhD Senior Research Scholar and Director of Leadership Research and Programs, Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab

Sara Jordan-Bloch is a sociologist and senior research scholar at the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. She is a core team member of the Voice & Influence program, which empowers men and women to excel professionally and provides them with the knowledge and tools to create organizations where all employees thrive. Jordan-Bloch also leads the Seeds of Change initiative, which aims to provide young women and girls with frameworks, knowledge, and skills to find and strengthen their own voice and to navigate critical transitions such as starting college and entering the workforce. Jordan-Bloch’s scholarly research centers on the intersection of social psychology and education, and current projects include work on: the perception of mattering as a mechanism in teacher-student relationships, the relational context of cohort-based learning, and how gender inequality is experienced and understood during critical transitions for young women. Jordan-Bloch received her B.A. in sociology from Brown University and her Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University.

Bill Pratt Business Professor and Co-Founder of The Money Professors

Bill Pratt is a business professor and co-founder of The Money Professors. Bill speaks on topics related to personal finance on college campuses across the country and is the author of multiple books on personal finance including a textbook: Personal Finance Experience and the popular press book The Graduate’s Guide to Life and Money. Bill was formerly a Vice President at Citigroup and was an economist for the federal government. As a first-gen college student himself, he left the financial industry to focus on helping students become personally and financially successful. He is in the process of relocating from Charlottesville, VA to the South Bend, IN area. He is looking forward to the move, but not looking forward to the 11-hour drive with all four pets!

Ronald Sally Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Project Greer Street

Ronald Sally, a native of the notorious north side of St. Louis, is an accomplished business executive, former professional athlete and attorney, former quarterback and captain of his college football team, and founder of an award-winning educational non-profit organization. He is a former Senior Vice President of CAA ICON, the premier venue development and management firm in the United States and business unit of renowned CAA Sports. CAA ICON’s projects include the Chase Center (new home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors), the new stadium in Las Vegas for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, and Fiserv Forum (home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks). At CAA ICON, Mr. Sally served as Development Executive for the Golden 1 Center (home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings) and the new professional soccer stadium in Nashville, Tennessee for its new MLS franchise, Nashville SC.

Prior to joining CAA ICON, Mr. Sally acquired invaluable experience in the NBA (Denver Nuggets), NHL (Colorado Avalanche), and Arena Football League (Colorado Crush) as a prominent executive in the management and leadership of several sports teams and holding companies. His positions included President of the Colorado Crush, Owner’s Representative and Chief Operating Officer of the Colorado Crush, Senior Vice President of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (business and marketing division of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche), Vice President of the Denver Nuggets, General Counsel for the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and Assistant General Counsel and Director of Business Affairs for the Denver Nuggets.

Prior to his business career, Mr. Sally played professional football in the United States Football League and was a civil litigator with the law firms of Reed & Smith in Los Angeles and Haight, Brown and Bonesteel in Santa Monica, California. A Rhodes Scholarship candidate, Mr. Sally received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University where he was a member of the prestigious Dean’s List along with being a quarterback and captain of the football team. Later, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law where he was a member of the Moot Court Honors Program and a recipient of the Florence Wilson Fellowship. He is the Founder and CEO of Project Greer Street, an award-winning innovative academic enrichment and pipeline program for African-American male students at East High School, an inner-city public high school in Denver, Colorado.

Project Greer Street students have earned admission to more than 50 colleges and universities including Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Duke, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Northwestern, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and many others. The students have also earned more than $5,000,000.00 in scholarships and grants.

For his work on Project Greer Street, Duke University selected him as the recipient of the Beyond Duke Service and Leadership Award and ABC Television named him the recipient of the Everyday Hero Award. In addition, Mr. Sally is the Chief Business Officer of the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy in Denver, the premier competitive youth basketball organization for boys in Colorado. He was also the Creator and Executive Producer of the hit radio show Ajax & Angel that aired on ESPN Radio and took an irreverent look at sports, entertainment, and relationships.

Nico Slate Quest Leadership Alum Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University

Nico Slate participated in Quest Leadership in 1996 while attending a small public high school in the Mojave Desert. A historian who writes on social movements in the United States and India, Nico teaches at Carnegie Mellon University, directs SocialChange101.org, and strives to help low-income students thrive in college.

Isabel Safie QuestBridge Board of Directors, Quest Leadership alum Partner, Best Best & Krieger LLP

Isabel Safie is the child of a single mother who immigrated to the United States from Mexico to ensure a better life for herself and her children. While Isabel was always driven to succeed after witnessing the difficult life that her mother had, she did not think that an education at an elite university was attainable until Quest Scholars (then Stanford Youth Environmental Science Program), came into her life. Isabel attended Stanford University and obtained a B.A in Political Science with a minor in Human Biology, and then went on to law school at UCLA School of Law, needing to be close to her mother who had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, during her final year at Stanford. From that point forward, Isabel became the sole provider for her mother and four younger siblings. When her mother passed away 5 years later, she and her husband took her siblings in and raised them as their own. She is now an equity partner at the law firm of Best Best & Krieger, has been married to her high school sweetheart for almost 15 years and has three beautiful children aged 3, 8 and 11. Her four siblings are all grown up and leading happy lives close to home.

Cameron Sepah Quest Leadership Alum Venture Capitalist

Dr. Cameron Sepah attended the Quest Leadership Program at Stanford University, earned his B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA. Part-time, he serves an as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF Medical School, where he trains psychiatrists, and has a private practice focused on executive coaching of technology CEOs. Full time, he has been an entrepreneur, as Founding Team Member & VP Clinical at Omada Health, a $600M digital therapeutics company that has helped 250,000 people reduce their risk of diabetes & heart disease. He was then Founder & CEO of Actualize, a consumer company that produces nutritionally-complete ketogenic meals, which was acquired by a CPG company. He then joined Trinity Ventures to learn the ropes as an investor, and is now a venture capitalist, through his angel fund Magi Ventures, which invests in consumer-oriented and health tech startups.

Justin Christopher Quest Leadership Alum Strategy and Product Manager at fintech firm Paxos

Justin Christopher is a Strategy and Product Manager at fintech firm Paxos. Prior to Paxos, he held roles in management consulting and tech product management at companies including The Huffington Post and American Express. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his bachelor’s at Stanford University.

Steve Shelton Quest Leadership Alum Entrepreneurial Scientist

Steve Shelton is an entrepreneurial scientist that develops novel energy conversion methods. He started exploring solar energy conversion as an undergraduate at Stanford University before taking a full year to improve his skills as a Fulbright Scholar in the Netherlands. When he returned to the U.S., he completed a doctorate at UC Berkeley to survey the solar energy landscape and build second generation solar cells. Most recently, his experience culminated in the development of a brand new photovoltaic, the polar cell, for sensing and solar energy applications. He founded the startup Ceitta, which operates at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, to bring together a multidisciplinary group of collaborating scientists for this achievement. He uses the technical and interpersonal skills he has developed as a principal investigator to apply creative solutions to emerging technological problems.

Nancy Hill Freelance Consultant

Nancy Hill was the founder and first director of the QuestBridge Scholars Network. A first-generation college student herself, Nancy graduated from Amherst College (AB) and Brown University (AM) long before they partnered with QuestBridge. Prior to working at QuestBridge
from 2008–2013, she served as an academic advisor to Posse and SSS TRiO students. She was inspired to help create a unified core of QuestBridge Scholars and a national network where they could draw strength, inspiration, and friendship from one another.

Nancy now lives in Rhode Island and works as a freelance consultant, doing development projects at Stanford University and a technology company in California. She is passionate about access to education. She served for four years as a director on the Mountain View–Los Altos
High School Foundation Board and has been actively involved as a volunteer in fundraising for programs that benefit young musicians.

Julio Medina QuestBridge Alum, Emory '13 Assistant Professor, Emory University

Julio Medina is an artist from South Central Los Angeles. His work fuses hip-hop vernacular, Latinx social dances, and modern dance, engaging mediums such as movement, film, and text. Medina earned his MFA at UCLA’s Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance. Beforehand, he completed a double B.A. in Dance and Movement Studies as well as Anthropology at Emory University as a QuestBridge Scholar. Medina was a member of Atlanta-based StaibDance Company until 2013. In 2009, Medina founded TrickaNomeTry (TNT) Dance Crew, a hip-hop crew that continues to perform in the Atlanta community. Medina currently dances with David Rousseve/REALITY, set to tour the evening length work Halfway to Dawn until Fall 2019. After serving as full-time faculty in the dance department at California State University, Long Beach, Medina is delighted to return to Emory University to start a new tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in the dance program.

He is a first-generation Chicano raised in South Central Los Angeles. The neighborhood that Julio grew up in, a neglected and ostracized community in the middle of LA’s glamorous geography, and the sacrifices that his parents made by immigrating from Mexico motivated him to educate himself as a means to better the living conditions of him and his family. As a member of a low-income household, his dream and goal was to go to college for free on a scholarship. QuestBridge and Emory University made that a reality for him.

Ricardo Corona QuestBridge Alum, Stanford '12 Founder and Lead Consultant, Emergentist Endeavors

Ricardo Moreno is an innovation explorer and product strategist, leading both a consulting practice focused on circular economy products and a dynamic meditation practice focused on trauma-informed yoga. First in his family to graduate elementary school, Ricardo went on to earn his B.S. in Materials Engineering from Stanford University. After leaving his Aeronautics doctorate, he immersed himself in traditional industries facing disruption. As Corporate Strategy Associate at Flextronics, he launched their Lab IX hardware accelerator and as Technology Principal at Comet Labs, Legend Holding’s US-based venture capital fund,  he led reports assessing the impact of AI in traditional industries.

His current professional and personal pursuits center around organizations that restructure failed systems by adopting circular economy products and meaningful workflows. Ricardo became a certified trauma-informed yoga teacher as a Fellow in the Niroga Institute’s Yoga Teacher Training program, where he worked directly with underserved and LGBTQI youth in Alameda County as a dynamic yoga and meditation facilitator.

 

Javaughn Lawrence QuestBridge Alum, Yale '14 Venture Capital Investor, Eniac Ventures
Javaughn is a Venture Capital investor at Eniac Ventures in San Francisco, where he focuses on machine learning, robotics, space, and deep tech. Prior to Eniac, he worked at Linkedin and Bain & Company. He also founded BotsandAI.com to bring together founders and engineers of AI focused companies. He attended Yale University, where he studied economics and statistics. He grew up in Jamaica and Miami.
Calvin Nguyen QuestBridge Alum, Emory '12 Co-Founder & COO, BrainMind

Calvin Nguyen is cofounder of BrainMind, a platform for funding and building companies with a primary focus on human flourishing in the field of neuroscience. Calvin spent most of his career as a healthcare investor in growth and private equity at Capricorn Healthcare and Genstar Capital. Calvin graduated with honors from Emory University, with a degree in Finance. He grew up in Georgia.

Cody Coleman QuestBridge Alum, MIT '13 Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University

Cody Coleman is a computer science Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University advised by Professors Matei Zaharia and Peter Bailis and is supported by a National Science Foundation Fellowship. As a member of the Stanford DAWN Project, Cody’s research is focused on democratizing machine learning (ML) through tools and infrastructure that enable more than the most well-funded teams to create innovative and impactful systems. Prior to joining Stanford, he completed his B.S. and M.Eng. in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) at MIT, where he was president of the EECS honor society and researched how ML could improve education. Cody was adopted and raised by his maternal grandparents after his father left and mother went to prison. Going to college, let alone at MIT and later Stanford for my Ph.D., seemed nearly impossible growing up, but thanks to some encouragement from his former teachers and the Quest Scholars Program, he thought why not and gave it a try.

Vi Nguyen QuestBridge Alum, Yale '11 Data Scientist, QuestBridge

Vi immigrated to Des Moines, Iowa from Vietnam, with her parents and younger brother. At the age of 10, Vi began translating for her parents as the family navigated America’s English, culture, blue-collar jobs, public housing, and mental health system with plenty of successes and failures. Vi went on to study economics, computer science, and public policy at Yale, and the University of Chicago. She is a QuestBridge Scholar, a Dell Scholar, and an Education Pioneers fellow.

Her career north star revolves around education and data. She co-founded a youth development program in Vietnam in 2009 that still runs today, and jumpstarted alumni communities in Chicago and the Bay Area. After conducting research for the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, Vi went on to analyze textbook costs, budget allocations, and advisor/tutoring usage for executive decisions at the City Colleges of Chicago. Having been guided directly by QuestBridge through the college admissions process many years ago, Vi was excited to come full circle in 2017 to lead QuestBridge’s data science team.

When not immersed in ideas related to data, technology, and students’ thriving, Vi is working on creative family projects—a collection of family recipes with her brother, and a bilingual children’s book with her mom. Thanks to the support of friends, Vi and her mom are bringing their first book to market later this year: Why Toads Rule The Sky, a Vietnamese folktale never before told in English and Vietnamese!

Shellby Fabian QuestBridge Alum, Amherst '14 Talent Associate, Bessemer Venture Partners

Shellby Fabian currently works for Bessemer Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage technology companies. She supports the firm’s portfolio companies on talent acquisition and people operations.

Shellby graduated from Amherst College in 2014 where she designed a major that combined Sociology and Architectural Studies. After college, she worked for an architectural design studio leading business operations and social impact projects.

Outside of work Shellby seeks opportunities to empower others to advance in school and career. At Amherst she was a Peer Career Advisor and a mentor for high school students applying to college. She continues to support high schoolers as a mentor and tutor at College Track in her hometown of San Francisco.

Shawon Jackson QuestBridge Alum, Princeton, '15 MPP/MBA Student, Harvard University and Stanford University

Shawon Jackson is an MPP/MBA student at Harvard Kennedy School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. Before graduate school, Shawon lived in DC and worked with Deloitte, doing consulting for the federal government. He also spent a year in the Dominican Republic with an education non-profit. At Princeton, Shawon was Student Body President and a Quest Liaison.

Viet Nguyen QuestBridge Alum, Brown '17 Executive Director of EdMobilizer

Viet Nguyen is a co-founder and executive director of EdMobilizer, which oversees the 1vyG Conference. He graduated from Brown in 2017, where he successfully advocated for the creation of the First-Gen, Low-income Students Center and the elimination of application fees for low-income students. He then served as president of the student body his senior year and now serves as a voting member on Brown’s Board of Trustees. He is a Fulbright Scholar and was recently named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Education. He is currently an associate consultant at the Bridgespan Group, a non-profit consulting firm, and will be attending Stanford for his MBA in a year.

Daniela Uribe QuestBridge Alum, Stanford '11 Co-Founder and CEO Lazy Bear Tea

Daniela is the cofounder and CEO of Lazy Bear Tea, a social enterprise that upcycles healthy and delicious foods to benefit both people and the environment. She emigrated to the U.S. from Colombia with her mom to begin a new life when she was 12 years old. She found QuestBridge a few years later and was matched to Stanford University through the QuestBridge National College Match program. While at Stanford, she studied International Relations and African Studies, founded a chapter of Nourish International, and traveled around the world. She has worked at various nonprofits across the U.S. and Latin America in areas of conservation, civic engagement, sustainable tourism. Prior to founding Lazy Bear Tea, Daniela worked at FSG, a social impact consulting firm. She is the founder of the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund in Chile and is currently launching an initiative to support the transition to peace in Colombia through tourism and environmental stewardship.

Michael Woods QuestBridge Alum, Vassar '17 Singer-songwriter and Investment Banking Audit Analyst

Michael K. Woods is a New York based singer-songwriter, producer, and Investment Banking Audit Analyst from Sparta, Georgia. He is a member of the GRAMMYs Recording Academy, a Fulbright Summer Institute Award winner, QuestBridge Scholar, National Coca-Cola Scholar, and a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar. He studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) focusing on the intersection of political economy and identity, which served as praxis for his latest music project, “Primal Instinct.” Prior to studying at the LSE, he spent a summer on a Fulbright award conducting independent research on slavery and memory at the University of Bristol.

As an artist, academic, and financial services analyst, he is balancing very distinct worlds. Woods believe that being placed in counterintuitive situations can create deeper understanding of systems at work. He is always looking towards the next adventure. In a music review, SoulTrain notes, “He’s acutely aware of the power the arts have in transmitting the messages of the people, he flatly says, ‘If I’m singing something that has no message, there’s no point.’” Woods holds a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College.

Jochebed Bogunjoko QuestBridge Alum, Williams '16 Senior Investment Analyst at GRID 202 Partners

Jochebed Bogunjoko is a young financial professional with a passion for promoting diversity, practicing inclusion and pursuing social equity through racial justice-oriented investing. Most recently, she was a member of the Investment Group at a large nationally recognized RIA, where she helped lead firm-wide Impact Investing and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (“DEI”) strategy, as well as conducting due diligence on investment vehicles across all asset classes. She has since moved on to opportunities focused on providing investment advisory and financial planning services to those typically underserved by these industries, as well as consulting on DEI at corporations while preparing for the CFA exam and business school applications in the fall.

Jin Kim QuestBridge Alum, Yale '11 Law Clerk, US District Court for Southern District of New York

Jin Kim immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea when he was 13 years old.  Thanks in large part to the opportunities created by QuestBridge, he went on to study economics and political science at Yale University as a first-generation college student.  Although he desired to attend law school right after college, Jin decided to put his personal goals on hold and supported his family financially after his mom was diagnosed with debilitating chronic pulmonary illnesses.  Before law school, he worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and as an internal corporate strategy consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, where he founded the company’s first affinity group for LGBTQ employees.

Jin received his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was on the Board of Student Advisers and a teaching assistant in the First-Year Legal Writing and Research program.  He is currently serving as a law clerk to the Hon. Naomi Reice Buchwald in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Rebecca Abara QuestBridge Alum, Northwestern '14 Technical Program Manager and Agile Coach at Etsy

Rebecca comes with leadership experience across multiple industries and organizations, from her own not-for-profit startup to enterprise giant Procter & Gamble. She is a Staff-level Technical Program Manager and Agile Coach at Etsy. In this role, she is responsible for the lifecycle of program-level initiatives across the organization, most recently focused on organizational transformation in infrastructure engineering. She leverages her prior experience as a consultant at ThoughtWorks to actively partner with leadership and individual contributors to coach them on their work processes and upskill their agile practices. She brings her passion for healthy workplaces into every team she runs, and leverages her background in peer mediation to move projects to success.

Rebecca believes a company is most successful when its employees are at their best both physically and mentally, and founded ‘Honey, You Got This!’, a wellness in the workplace initiative, with the goal of making that health more of a priority. She received her B.S.Ed in Education and Social Policy with a concentration in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University, and is beginning to pursue her Ph.D. Her free time is spent reading through her growing collection of books, traveling through majority-minority countries, tumblring, and exploring her new Oakland neighborhood. You can follow her @beccagotthis on Instagram and Twitter.

Francisco Guzman QuestBridge Alum, Stanford '12 Product Designer, Nuro

Francisco was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the lovely state of New Jersey. He had the opportunity to attend Stanford where he received his undergraduate in Industrial Engineering and his Master’s in Computer Science/Psychology. He currently works as a Product Designer at Nuro, a robotics company that has built a new class of self-driving vehicle designed purely for local goods transportation. Prior to Nuro, he worked at Instacart for a couple of years.

Allie Kerstein QuestBridge Alum, UVA '17 Management Consultant, Accenture

Allie Kerstein is currently a Management Consultant in the Financial Services field working for Accenture in Atlanta, GA. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and is a very proud member of the University of Virginia’s Class of 2015. During her time at UVA, Allie served as the QSN Chapter’s President, Liaison, and Support Chair.

Daniel Flores QuestBridge Alum, Northwestern '14 Growth Projects Associate, Chicago Public Education Fund

Daniel is a Growth Projects Associate at the Chicago Public Education Fund, previously having worked as a management consultant at KPMG. His passion for education stems from experiencing firsthand the challenges of navigating the public education system, having attended Title I schools in San Antonio, Texas, since he immigrated to the United States at 5 years old.

He received his BA from Northwestern in 2014 and a MS from the Kellogg School of Management in 2015.  During his time at NU he founded the nation’s largest low-income/first-generation student advocacy organization and the first collegiate mariachi ensemble in Illinois.

In his free time, Daniel leads the QuestBridge Alumni Club of Chicago, the Latinx Alumni of Northwestern, performs with Mariachi Son de Fuego, and mentors fellow low-income and first-generation students through Chicago Scholars and the Posse Foundation.

Ashley Washington QuestBridge Alum, Brown '17 Founder & CEO, No Closed Roads

Ashley Washington is an author, researcher, and advocate from Macon, GA. Motivated by her personal experiences growing up as a low-income and first-generation student, she started a free tutoring program while in high school for others like her in her community before attending Brown University. A QuestBridge Scholar and a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, Ashley studied biology at Brown on the pre-medical track and continued to be an advocate for access and equity in education. She became a college prep counselor and continued to tutor other students. After graduation in 2017, she returned to Macon and focused on expanding educational resources and opportunities to others. She transformed her high school tutoring program into a 501c3 nonprofit organization, No Closed Roads Inc., that offers free tutoring and college prep services to low-income K-12 students through a network of tutors and college prep counselors.

In addition to being the founder and CEO of No Closed Roads Inc., Ashley serves on the advisory board for a local college, Miller-Motte, is a published literary writer with short stories in the anthology Discover Why I’ve Led You Here, and is a biomedical science researcher while preparing to attend medical school.

Te’auna Patterson QuestBridge Alum, Pomona '18 Human Resources Rotational Program, AIG

After growing up on the east coast and graduating from high school in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Te’auna obtained her undergraduate degree in psychology from Pomona College in May 2018. While at Pomona, she invested her time in a variety of positions on the executive board of Pomona’s QuestBridge chapter. Currently, Te’auna resides in Los Angeles where she works with AIG in their Human Resources Rotational Program. She also serves as the Regional Chair for the Los Angeles Club of the QuestBridge Alumni Association.

Carly Valenzuela QuestBridge Alum, Williams '13 Associate Director of Admission, Haverford College

Carly is a higher education professional committed to college access and success for students from all backgrounds. In her current role as Associate Director of Admission at Haverford College, Carly manages the institution’s QuestBridge partnership, supports on-campus programming, and wears several other hats. She has previously read admission applications for the Coca-Cola Scholarship Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and other organizations that make college affordable and accessible. Before starting her career in college admission, she lived and worked in South Korea with the support of a Fulbright Scholarship. Carly holds a B.A. in History from Williams College and M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan. 

David Akinin QuestBridge Alum, UChicago ‘12 Founder of Atenu Developments and Emanya Capital Group

Originally from Venezuela, David is a developer-entrepreneur, founder of Atenu Developments and Emanya Capital Group.

Through Atenu, David has been building since 2014 in Namibia. Atenu builds privately-funded, affordable housing projects in towns around Africa, providing integral solutions to first-time home buyers. On the health and education fronts, Atenu builds clinics and classroom blocks for underserved populations around the nation, partnered with the Pupkewitz Foundation and Palms for Life Fund. Emanya Capital Group is the private equity arm of his operations, which has a majority stake in FinTech company OperFin, a digital identities and eMortgage processing platform. David is actively engaged in consulting projects for real estate funds and developers in Namibia, Cameroon, Zambia and Nigeria.

Before moving to Namibia, David Akinin worked for Credit Suisse in NYC as an Investment Banker in the Energy industry, and later covering Latin America from Chile and NYC. Previous to CS, he held positions at Google in California, Clarteza in Chicago/Paris, Fundacion Don Juan De Borbon in Madrid, and Rallytel (startup).

Fluent in six languages, Akinin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Chicago, where he was a QuestBridge Scholar. He’s completing a Masters in Philosophy in Inclusive Innovation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, and coursework at Harvard University and Paris VII-Diderot.

Lauren Beard QuestBridge Alum, Penn ‘17 Sociology Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago

Lauren has been involved with QuestBridge for six years and is a current member of the National Alumni Board. With the board, she has focused on developing the alumni podcast series and graduate school application and financial resources. Lauren is also a sociology Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on the role of creative educational interventions in relation to issues like climate change.

Hawa Ahmed QuestBridge Alum, UVA ‘15 Senior Analyst, Advanced Analytics at NCC Media

Hawa Ahmed is a big data enthusiast living and working in New York City. She was born in a refugee camp in Chad, and resettled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her family.

Hawa attended the University of Virginia, and graduated in 2015 with Virginia’s inaugural class of QuestBridge Scholars. At UVA, Hawa worked with the Office of Undergraduate Admission and President’s Office to research reasons behind lagging minority and low-income student enrollment. She also served as the chair of the university’s alcohol and drug abuse prevention group. At graduation, Hawa was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, recognized for her notable character, integrity, and service.

Hawa is a dancer and a cyclist, and had the privilege of biking across the country in 2013.

Linnea Paseiro QuestBridge Alum, Princeton ‘14 Abroad Specialist, AFS-USA

Originally from Northern Arizona, Linnea has worn a number of hats since graduating from Princeton with a degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 2014. She has taught writing to business students at a university in Kazakhstan, recruited students for State Department scholarships in Ukraine, and engaged in public health advocacy in Vietnam. Currently, Linnea works in New York City for a nonprofit that specializes in high school study abroad experiences, though her career-pivoting will continue in the near future! Outside of work, Linnea is an avid traveler, especially if there are foreign weddings involved. She is also actively involved with the Princeton Alumni Schools Committee, the QuestBridge Alumni Association, and the Princeton in Asia Alumni Network.

Nathan Yoo QuestBridge Alum, Princeton ‘18 Academic and Business Director, JP Academy

Nathan currently works in education in Orange County, CA. At Princeton, he majored in Public Policy and was involved in social entrepreneurship, dance, religious activities, and mental health advocacy. As Co-Chair of the Mental Health Initiative, Nathan helped expand mental health programming by organizing a mental health weekend in the fall to supplement the full week of programming in the spring semester and oversaw teams that helped develop a Peer Nightline program. During his tenure, the Mental Health Initiative also launched an online initial appointment scheduling for Princeton’s Counseling & Psychological Services. In his free time, Nathan spends time with his two dogs Mini and Danbi, attends cultural events, and promotes healthy attitudes towards self-care and mental health.

Aileen McGraw QuestBridge Alum, Northwestern ‘15 WeWork Labs Manager, Seattle

Aileen is a Chicago-born, Seattle-based brand, business and community builder. Today she is the Seattle Manager of WeWork Labs, where she works as a business advisor and superconnector to help Seattle startups grow. Previously, she held many marketing roles at Microsoft, spanning emerging tech go-to-market, CEO communications, and product and partner strategy for mixed reality (VR/AR), “the startup within Microsoft.” Her mission is to help people build their economic confidence, and in doing so, grow diversity, equity and inclusion throughout my local economy. Fun fact: her identical twin is a tattoo artist and studio owner (follow @4thgradegoth on Instagram) and has taught her so much about the power research and community have in growing a business. Aileen graduated from Northwestern as a QuestBridge Scholar with a BA in Creative Writing and Communications Studies in 2015. She is and always will be a storyteller. Her words to live by? “There’s no such thing as too spicy.”

Youssef Kalad QuestBridge Alum, UChicago ‘12 Program Director of NYCx

Youssef Kalad serves the City of New York as Program Director of NYCx, the emerging technology & innovation program within the Mayor’s Office of the CTO. In this role Youssef splits his time between policy and hands-on operations, advising on a wide range of technology policy issues and designing practical citywide Challenge experiments to deploy and test emerging technology with the potential to deliver on major City priorities. His focus areas have spanned automation and the future of work, new mobility and autonomous vehicles, clean energy infrastructure, and broadband, among others. Prior to local government, Youssef served stints at Uber, Google, and in management consulting, leading initiatives and small teams in strategy & operations, product planning, and rigorous experimentation while spending time abroad in India and Canada. He has been a Member of or served on the Advisory Board of various organizations in that space, including New Leaders Council, QuestBridge, Year Up, Citizen Schools, the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, and the How Institute for Moral Leadership. He earned a B.A. with Honors in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Chicago.

Davis Nguyen QuestBridge Alum, Yale ‘15 Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

Davis graduated from Yale in 2015 as a QuestBridge Scholar and the first in his family to go to college. Before Yale, Davis grew up in one of the poorest communities in south Atlanta and attended what was called “the worst public-school system in the U.S.” After graduating from Yale, Davis worked at Bain & Company as a management consultant and at Jumpcut, a Y-Combinator education company, where he was the Vice President of Operations. Today, he is the CEO of MyConsultingOffer.org, a company he founded to help students and professionals begin a career in management consulting. Davis and his 26-member team are 100% remote (no physical office) and operate across 5 continents. When Davis isn’t helping aspiring management consultants, he volunteers at and donates to various educational non-profits; competes in the World Championship of Public Speaking where he has placed in the Top 200; and spends time with his family.

Shaina Zafar QuestBridge Scholar, Penn ‘21 Chief Product Officer at JUV Consulting

Shaina Zafar is a 19-year-old rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in International Relations with a minor in Consumer Psychology. She is a first-generation, low-income college student passionate about Asian American issues, gender equity, and emotional intelligence, highlighting intersectionality in her work. At Penn, she is on the Board of Directors for the Pan-Asian American Community House and building out social entrepreneurship opportunities at the university. Most recently, she became the United State of Women Ambassador for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She currently serves as the Chief Product Officer for JUV Consulting, a Generation Z marketing consultancy that works with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and nonprofits to effectively market to Gen Z. Outside of all this, Shaina makes a playlist with exactly 365 songs every year on her birthday and is always tweeting!

Erik Islo QuestBridge Alum, Wesleyan ‘15 Software Engineer, Apple

Erik grew up in Milwaukee, WI and was interested in computers from a young age. He hoped to attend an engineering-focused school, but scholarship considerations landed him at Wesleyan – a liberal arts school. Here, instead of only studying engineering, he had the unique opportunity to combine computer science and sociology majors. Ever since, he’s focused energy both at and away from work on how his identities extend beyond individual experience, mapping them onto larger societal patterns, and working to understand and repair the worst of these. While at Wes, Erik was a QuestBridge Liaison and summer intern. After graduating in 2015, he began as a software engineer at Apple where he still works. He lives in San Francisco and when not working or with friends he enjoys running, reading queer literature, and road trips.

Farrah Bui QuestBridge Alum, Princeton '14 Harvard MBA Student, Insights and Innovation @ Patagonia, Ex-Googler

Farrah spent her career bringing ideas to life at Google in a variety of strategy, operations, and design roles and she is now bringing that experience to the Customer Insights and Innovation team at Patagonia as an intern in Ventura, CA. When she is not rocking out at a concert or throwing pottery in the studio, you can find her in the classroom as an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. Before these roles, Farrah was an undergraduate student at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Public Policy School where her studies focused on environmental policy and global health, and she led initiatives to advance the support and recruitment of first generation students. Despite the cities she has moved to since graduating high school, South Carolina will always be home to where she has returned each summer (since her own delegate year in 2009!) as a senior counselor and staff manager at Palmetto Girls State.

Daniel Nissani QuestBridge Alum, Northwestern ‘14 Board of Trustees Member of the Brooklyn Free School

Daniel Nissani is a graduate student at Cornell Tech, a board of trustees member of the Brooklyn Free School, and Board Chair of the QuestBridge Regional Alumni Club of New York City. He was a Math for America Early Career Fellow, a co-founder of the Northwestern QuestBridge Scholars Network, and a Ryan Scholar at Northwestern University. Daniel is planning to enter the Data for Good movement when he graduates.

Erin Schutte Wadzinski QuestBridge Alum, Yale ‘12 Staff Attorney, Immigrant Law Center

Erin is a staff attorney at Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. Previously, she was the Director of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program. Erin has helped launch an education access and leadership development program for African high school students and has worked for the U.S. State Department and at the United Nations. Erin grew up on her family’s farm in rural Minnesota and was a 2007 QuestBridge College Prep Scholar. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Yale University and her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

David Vasquez QuestBridge Alum, Bowdoin ‘14 Venture Investor at Norwest Venture Partners

David is pursuing his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is currently a Summer Associate at Norwest Venture Partners, where he invests in consumer internet startups. Previously, David was a Manager at AlphaSights, a knowledge search firm, and served as the co-founder of the company’s San Francisco office. During his time at AlphaSights, David grew the office to 27 employees and was one of the top revenue-generating employees in the firm’s history. After leaving AlphaSights, David worked with Dr. Michael McCullough, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greylock Partners, helping him with the launch of RegenMed, a medical device company, and BrainMind. As a first-generation immigrant, David is passionate about education and has been involved in various non-profit organizations, having served as a Junior Board Member and Corporate Sponsorships Chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and currently serving as the Board Chair of the QuestBridge Regional Alumni Club of San Francisco Bay Area.

Yakira Mirabito QuestBridge Alum, Northwestern ‘18 Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. Student, UC Berkeley

Yakira is an incoming graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley and recipient of the Chancellor’s Fellowship. She is passionate about using design theory and methods to reduce unintended biases in engineering products and education.

She holds a B.S. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University, where she was Co-President of QuestBridge Scholars Network and a facilitator for the Women in Leadership cohort. Yakira serves as a mentor to first-generation and low-income college students and women in STEM fields. In her free time, she’s on-snow training for freeskiing events or playing with her German Shepherd rescue named Tina Fey.

Amanda So QuestBridge Alum, Stanford ‘15 Senior ETL Analyst, Nuna Health

Amanda graduated from Stanford University in 2015 with a major in Management Science & Engineering and a minor in Economics. She then spent two years working in a rotational program at Citibank. She is a mentor for both iMentor and the East Bay College Fund, a member of the Stanford Young Alumni Philanthropy Council, and an avid runner. She currently works as a senior ETL analyst at Nuna Health.

Menna Elsayed QuestBridge Alum, Columbia ‘17 Student at UCLA School of Law's Epstein Public Interest Law & Policy Program

Menna Elsayed is an incoming student at UCLA School of Law’s Epstein Public Interest Law & Policy Program. She recently completed a Justice Fellowship at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. She primarily worked in operations for EJI’s Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, dedicated to victims of racial terror lynchings. As an immigrant who grew up believing in the myth of American meritocracy, she is committed to promoting a more truthful narrative that reckons with America’s history and legacy of racial inequality. After law school, she is interested in becoming a public defender. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and French & Francophone Studies from Columbia University in 2017. At Columbia, she was President of Turath, the undergraduate Arab students association, and Service Chair for QuestBridge, coordinating presentations at local public high schools and college admissions essay editing workshops on Columbia’s campus.

Taranjit Singh QuestBridge Alum, MIT ‘18 Quantitative Trader, DRW

Taranjit was born in a small village in Punjab, India and moved to the United States at the age of 14. During his high school years in Queens, NY he was introduced to QuestBridge and thereafter he went on to study at MIT as a QuestBridge Scholar. At MIT, he studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and also served as a treasurer for the QuestBridge Chapter at MIT. Moreover, during his time at MIT, he served as the captain of the MIT Cricket Team. Upon graduation, he joined a Propriety trading firm in Chicago as a Quantitative Trader where he currently trades Equity Options. During his free time, he likes to play cricket and dance Bhangra. Taranjit is enthusiastic about starting an education fund to support young students in his village and provide them with a platform similar to QuestBridge.

Chantel Brown QuestBridge Alum, Brown ‘17 Associate, EY-Parthenon

Chantel is an Associate at EY-Parthenon, a consulting firm based in Boston. Currently at EY-Parthenon she serves a range of clients, primarily within the education sector. Her passions reside at the cornerstone of equity and business-oriented strategy.

Originally from rural North Carolina she went on to receive her Sc.B. from Brown University in Applied Mathematics-Biology. During her time at Brown her primary involvements were with QuestBridge, the First-Gen Low-Income Student Center, and the Rhode Island Department of Education.

During her free time she heads the QuestBridge Alumni Club of Boston and provides mentorship to first-generation and low-income students interested in consulting.

Vidal Anguiano QuestBridge Alum, UChicago ‘15 Data Science Consultant, Accenture

Fusing his love for technology and smarter governance, Vidal is passionate about helping government use data analytics more effectively, ethically, and equitably. He is currently a Data Science Consultant with Accenture serving state and local governments. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as a Management Consultant with Accenture Federal Services where he provided analytics consulting services to federal government agencies.

He is an active participant in Chicago’s thriving civic technology community and an advocate of diversifying Chicago’s growing tech sector. In his spare time, he is teaching himself to play the trumpet, enjoys traveling, and serves as an adviser to Mind+Hand, a technology education non-profit helping young Chicagoans gain new tech skills.

He received a BA (’15) in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago and an MS (’19) in Computational Analysis and Public Policy at the Harris School of Public Policy. During his graduate studies, he was a Mayoral Fellow in the Office of the Mayor of Chicago and a Data Science Intern at CityBase, a leading government technology company.

Natalia Delery QuestBridge Alum, UChicago ‘17 MSW Candidate, Columbia University '20

Natalia Renae Delery hails from Queens, New York and is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Columbia studying Social Enterprise Administration with a concentration in Contemporary Social Issues. As a first-generation and low-income student, she completed her undergraduate degree in Human Development at the University of Chicago. Here, she was President of the QuestBridge chapter and a member of the board for all four years. In addition, she was awarded multiple student leader awards for her outstanding contributions to the campus community and her advocacy for low-income, first-generation, and undocumented students. Post-graduation, she worked for Chicago Public Schools as a Postsecondary Coach at Simeon Career Academy, supporting students of color in reaching their postsecondary goals and helping them secure over $15 million in scholarships and grants. She spent her first year of graduate school at Columbia as a Social Work Intern for Pathways to Graduation – an alternative school program under the NYC Department of Education. She provided individualized support and led socio-emotional learning initiatives for 17-21 year old students from diverse backgrounds.

As an administrative student, her focus is on bettering opportunities and outcomes for people of color through large-scale reform and re-allocation of resources. This summer, Natalia is interning in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to further this goal. She has a drive for uplifting communities, storytelling, and innovation. Outside of school, Natalia is a hip hop dancer and works as an Ambassador for Columbia’s Office of Admissions. As she advances her career, Natalia aspires to combine her passion for sports, the arts, and youth justice.

 

Hyunsu Jung QuestBridge Alum, Vassar ‘18 Consultant, Ernst & Young

Hyunsu is currently a consultant on the Transaction Advisory Services team at Ernst & Young, where he works with clients to complete large mergers & acquisitions projects. Prior to this role, Hyunsu worked at Goldentree Asset Management, a Vassar-alum founded hedge fund. These opportunities enabled him to develop a deeper understanding and passion for financial markets and the drivers of economic growth. With these experiences, he has been working on ways to assist those coming from low-income backgrounds to more effectively participate in passive wealth accumulation.

While at Vassar, Hyunsu majored in International Relations, with concentrations in Economics and Political Science and a geographic focus on the Korean Peninsula. His lifelong goal has been to work on Korean Reunification, and he spent a semester in Seoul working with North Korean students to ease their acclimation to South Korean society and its rigorous education system. Hyunsu grew up in Sacramento, California.

Kimberly Rosa QuestBridge Alum, Swarthmore ‘18 Management Consultant Analyst, Accenture

Kimberly Rosa-Perez is a management consulting analyst at Accenture, a consulting firm providing services in strategy, digital, technology and operations. Prior to beginning her career in DC with Accenture, Kim completed her B.A. in Economics and Spanish at Swarthmore College where she served as QuestBridge Chapter Liaison for two years and competed as a varsity athlete on the Women’s Cross Country and Track team.

Like many other fellow Questies, Kim found out about QuestBridge as a junior in high school and continues to be grateful for the organization that made a top-tier education possible for her. She stays involved with the organization by hosting QB dinners, speaking with students interested in applying to college through QB, and meeting more Questies whenever the opportunity arises.

Adriana Embus Figueroa QuestBridge Alum, Yale ‘17 Financial Analyst

Adriana C. Embus Figueroa is a first-generation Afro-Latina working at the intersection of business, policy, and education. She most currently served as a Financial Analyst at Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc., the largest Latino investment banking firm in the country. There, she focused on providing quantitative banking and quantitative support for the procurement of funds for local, regional and national capital improvement projects. Prior to Ramirez, Adriana worked as a Development Analyst for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, helping daily to secure funding for the more than 10,000 scholarships HSF distributes to Latino students nationwide.

Outside of work, Adriana is a member of the National Gender Justice Task Force through her sorority, Omega Phi Beta Sorority; a member of the Young Alumni Board for 21st Century Leaders; a delegate for the National Alumnae Strategy Task Force for Girls Incorporated; and an active young alumna of the Yale Latino Alumni Association.

Ms. Embus Figueroa graduated with honors from Yale with a B.A. in Ethnicity, Race & Migration and Political Science, and was a QuestBridge Scholar. She is of Colombian & Puerto-Rican descent, and was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia.

Stacy Uchendu QuestBridge Alum, Wesleyan ‘17 Research Assistant, Yale School of Medicine

Stacy Uchendu grew up in Houston,Texas as the youngest of five children in a large Nigerian-American family. Through the QuestBridge College Match, she attended Wesleyan University where she majored in Chemistry and fostered a sustaining interest in the reciprocal influence between science and society. Currently, Stacy is a Research Assistant at Yale School of Medicine. Her work inside and outside the lab revolve around improving health and well-being for marginalized communities and takes many forms such as researching disease mechanisms that disproportionately affect these groups, educating underserved families about nutrition, and advocating for better access to healthcare. She hopes to further her work in this area through pursuing a combined MD-PhD degree.

Aaron Tarnasky QuestBridge Alum, University of Notre Dame ‘16 Medical student at Duke University

Aaron is currently a medical student at Duke University and recently earned a Masters of Public Health in Leadership from the UNC-Chapel Hill. He plans to pursue a residency in internal medicine with an ultimate focus on either oncology or critical care. He is passionate about health systems improvement and ensuring equal access to high-quality medical care for people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.

He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 with a BS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics. While at Notre Dame, Aaron coordinated and led multiple medical mission trips to Central America and spent a summer researching in Cape Town, South Africa. He also was part of a cycling team that rode across America and collectively raised over $1 million for youth cancer awareness and research.

Aaron currently serves as a member of the QuestBridge National Alumni Advisory Board. When not studying or at the hospital, Aaron enjoys riding his bike and recently completed an Ironman 70.3 triathlon race. He also enjoys teaching and mentoring children in the Durham area through the Boys and Girls club and other non-profit groups and camps.

Namir Shah Consultant, Boston Consulting Group

Namir Shah is currently a Consultant at Boston Consulting Group. At BCG, his work has spanned travel and hospitality, public sector work in infrastructure and financial regulation, and retail sector projects. Prior to consulting, he worked on several presidential and state political campaigns, including state policy for Obama for America in 2012 and managing an Iowa legislative election in 2014.

Namir completed his B.A. in Economics and M.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University and MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Stanford, Namir worked with the QuestBridge team on several Quest for Excellence programs, particularly helping to launch the Quest for Excellence New York City Award. Namir grew up in South Jersey, loves all things Philadelphia, and is a credentialed sommelier.

Nordia Savage QuestBridge Alum, Williams ‘10 Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

Born in Jamaica, and raised in Hartford, CT since the age of seven, Nordia has always shown interest in social issues. Taking a vested interest in community development, social justice, and educational inequality, she has organized several research and service projects in Ghana, Jamaica, and Hartford. After earning her Bachelors of Arts in American Studies with concentrations in International Studies and Africana Studies from Williams College, she served in the AmeriCorps Program, Public Allies, where she received a citation from the Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, for her work in the Community Development and Civic Engagement Office at the Hartford Public Library. After serving as a Career Counselor and Workforce Development Specialist at the American Job Center, her dedication to Social Justice and experience in workforce development propelled her to complete her Master of Social Work in Administration at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in May 2015.

Currently, she is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives overseeing the Health CareeRx Academy and Youth Programing at The WorkPlace. As Program Director of the Health CareeRx Academy, she oversees an amazing team and the administration of $4 million in annual grants to assist people in getting access to training and employment in the healthcare field.

Sandy Durosier QuestBridge Alum, Wesleyan ‘13 Area Coordinator

Fun and weird fact: Sandy Athenaise Durosier initials spell “sad”. She was born in Boston, MA and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti until the age of 14 when she moved with her family to Miami, FL and graduated from North Miami Beach Senior High. As a QuestBridge Scholar, Sandy achieved her BA from Wesleyan University in 2013 and majored in Biology with a minor/certificate in creative writing focusing on non-fiction. Sandy worked as a research scientist and concluded her MS from the University of New Haven in 2016 with a thesis: Do the Secreted Factors from MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cells Induce Cancer-related Cachexia during Muscle Cell Differentiation? As a “minority” in the STEM field and a QuestBridge scholar, Sandy understands the importance of opportunity and access to resources and higher education especially amongst low-income, first-gen students. She has worked at Higher Edge as a success advisor before returning to Wesleyan as an Area Coordinator to oversee residential colleges, the Butterfields, provide support, resources, and outreach to students. Sandy continues to be involved in her local community through volunteer projects via her local church and other non-profits. She works part-time at The Bushnell in Hartford to satisfy her love of the arts-dance, theater, and performance. She is approachable and friendly. She enjoys spending quality time with her family members, hanging out with friends, traveling to new places, working out at OTF, cooking, and baking, learning new things, and helping others.

AJ Vielma QuestBridge Alum, Northwestern ‘16 Associate Producer, CNBC's "The Exchange"

AJ is an Associate Producer for CNBC’s “The Exchange” with Kelly Evans, where he pitches stories, books guests and produces live TV segments about the market, geopolitics and other business news of the day. Prior to joining “The Exchange,” he produced for CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and “Closing Bell.” He has also worked on the network’s assignment desk and covered breaking news as a writer for CNBC.com.

He’s passionate about improving financial literacy, particularly in underserved communities, and in addition to his producing role at CNBC, serves as a personal finance correspondent for Telemundo.

His reports air on network affiliates nationwide as part of CNBC’s “Tu Dinero Es Tu Futuro” (Your Money is Your Future) series, which aims to provide tips and advice for managing, growing and protecting your finances. He is also a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

A proud South Texan, AJ grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism with a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. During his time there, he interned with Univision, ABC 7 Chicago, ABC News and CNBC. He was also a founding member of Mariachi Northwestern.

Arianna Trickey QuestBridge Alum, UVA ‘15 3rd Grade Teacher, Richmond Public Schools

Arianna Trickey grew up in the foothills of Northern California. She was a member of the first cohort of QuestBridge Scholars at the University of Virginia where she co-founded the school’s chapter serving as the first Liaison and President. She holds a B.A. in History and an M.T. in Elementary Education from UVA. After graduating, Arianna moved to Richmond, VA where she has since taught third grade for the Richmond Public Schools district at a Title I school. In her first year teaching, she received the Exemplary New Teacher award for her district. Arianna is passionate about creating opportunities for her students and community. In three years, she has fundraised over $20,000 through microgrants on DonorsChoose.org. When she’s not teaching, she’s running after-school enrichment clubs where students learn everything from gardening to publishing to engineering and algebra. This year, she is her school’s Teacher of the Year and will be competing district-wide in the fall.