Students, Staff, and Partners
October 31, 2018, marked my first full year of working at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia as a Research Data Specialist at the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. It is in this role that I hold the responsibility of managing the data for patients who are on clinical trials for various cancer types. This experience has granted me an abundance of opportunity and has challenged me endlessly. I am forever grateful for the support and encouragement the cohort continues to provide. You have been part of my journey since becoming a Gates Millennium Scholar in to 2011, graduating from Howard University in 2015, and now, employed at my first job. It is your consistent and continual support that has made my journey into adulthood much easier. Brianna M., BS Biology Howard University
Tyra (sophomore) is a member of our Atlanta-area Cohort and serves as a ‘10th Grade Discussion Leader.’ Tyra has a 3.9 GPA and plans to study entrepreneurship. Her top college choices are the University of Southern California; Stanford; and Harvard. Her leadership and activities include Salem Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir; Captain: Jackrabbit Track Club; Collins Hill Varsity Girls Basketball; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Board Member: Salem Missionary Baptist Robotics Club; Co-president: College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board; Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project (DCDP); Founder of the Harvard DCDP Entrepreneurial Workshop; Collins Hill Academic Team; Collins Hill Black Student Union; Collins Hill Debate Club; Collins Hill Distributive Education Club; Collins Hill Leadership Team; and Collins Hill Key Club. Tyra G., Collins Hill High School (GA)
Marcus (senior) is a member of our Pinellas County Schools Cohort and serves on our Youth Leadership Board. Marcus is a First Generation student from Haiti who plans to study business. His top college choice is Northeastern University. His leadership and community service activities include: Vice-president: 5000 Role Models of St. Petersburg; Event Coordinator: Sanctification Haitian Baptist Church; Outreach Clothing Partner: Sanctification Haitian Baptist Church Missions to Haiti; President: Marcus Reading, Math and Special Projects Tutoring; and the 100 Plates Coordinator: Feed The Homeless of St. Petersburg Florida. Marcus O., Northeast Academy of Finance (FL)
Nina (senior) is a member of our Atlanta-area Cohort and serves as our ‘Technology Director.’ Nina is a First Generation student who learned how to fly an airplane before learning how to drive a car and will enter college with her private pilot’s license. Her top college choices are Northeastern University; Middle Tennessee; and Middle Georgia State. Her career aspirations include becoming a commercial pilot. Her list of accomplishments include: College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board; Girl Scouts Silver Award Recipient and Gold Award candidate; Founder of the ‘Little Did You Know Club’; Vice-president: Cobb Youth NAACP; Varsity Tennis; and Communications Secretary: Turner Chapel AME Church Young People’s Division. Nina S., McEachern High School (GA)
Thuong (senior) is a member of our Guilford County Schools First Generation Student Ambassadors Cohort and serves on our Youth Leadership Board. Thuong is a First Generation student from Vietnam who has a 4.34 GPA and is ranked #2 in her class. Her top college choices are the University of North Carolina-Greensboro Honors College; Duke; and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her leadership and community service activities include College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board; Teacher Assistant: Youth Group at Vietnamese Baptist Church; Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA); National Honor Society; The Academy at Smith - Diversity Fair; Eagle Book Society; Toastmasters International - Greensboro Gavel Club; National Technical Honor Society; Student Government Association; Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA); Volunteer Club; and Anime Club. Thuong D., The Academy at Smith (NC)
Sydney S., (junior) is a member of our World Victory International Christian Center Cohort and serves as a Co-president of our WVICC College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board. Sydney has a 4.0 GPA, is ranked #1 in her class, and plans to study business. Sydney’s top college choices are: Wake Forest; the University of Richmond; and George Washington University. Her leadership and activities include Staff Editor: School Yearbook; Founder and Chief Student Officer: WVICC Education Ministry; Financial Chair: WVICC Youth Council; Service Learning Ambassador President; Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council; National Honor Society; President: EMC-GTCC American Heart Association Heart; Chase Club; Visual Media Staff: WVICC Media; Treasurer: Student Council; and Sophomore Representative: Student Council. Sydney S., The Early College at GTCC (NC)
Sydney B., (junior) is a member of our World Victory International Christian Center Cohort and serves as a Co-president of our WVICC College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board. Sydney has a 4.5 GPA and plans to study biomedical engineering. Sydney’s top college choices are: University of Texas at Austin; MIT; and North Carolina State University. Her leadership and activities include Founder and Operations Manager for sKriBe Designs Etsy Shop; Youth Leader: Audio/Visual Team - WVICC; Superintendent’s Advisory Council - Guilford County Schools; Founder: Heart Chasers; Communications Manager: World Victory International Christian Center (WVICC); Youth President: Early/Middle College at GTCC Greensboro PTSA; National Honor Society; and serves on the Superintendent’s Council for WFMY News 2. Sydney B., The Early College at GTCC (NC)
Corey (senior) is a member of our Florence County School District 3 Cohort. Corey has a 3.95 GPA, is ranked #21 in his class, and plans to major in biology. Corey’s top college choices are the Claflin University Honors College; Morehouse College; and Hampton University. His list of leadership and activities include Academic Challenge Team; Lake City Blue Guard Marching Band; Varsity Track and Field; National Beta Club; Student Government Association; Varsity Soccer; Eastern District Band; Dramatic Coffee Beans; National Honor Society; and Junior Marshal. Corey W., Lake City Early College High School (SC)
Giovana (senior) is a member of our Pinellas County Schools Cohort who plans to attend college to study finance and international business. Her top college choice is the University of North Florida. Her list of leadership and activities include National Achievers Society; Delta Sigma Theta Gems; Student Scheduling; National Honor Society; Student Government Association Senior Class President; Student Government Association Junior Class President; and Parliamentarian: Jack and Jill Sun Coast Chapter. Giovana C., St. Petersburg Collegiate High School (FL)
Kamille (senior) is a member of our Guilford County Schools First Generation Ambassadors Cohort. Kamille has a 3.96 GPA, is ranked #21 in her class, and plans to study business management. Her top college choices are Claflin University Honors College; University of North Carolina-Greensboro; and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Her leadership and activities include Co-president College Planning Cohort Youth Leadership Board; National Society of Black Engineers; National Honor Society; and the National Technical Honor Society. Kamille T., James B. Dudley High School (NC)
Alana (senior) is a member of our Florence County School District 3 Cohort. She has a 4.6 GPA, is ranked #1 in her class, and aspires to become a registered nurse. Her top college choices are Lander University; Charleston Southern University; and Newberry College. Her leadership and activities include Captain: Varsity Girls Volleyball; Co-Captain: Varsity Cheerleading; Student Ambassador: New Tech Program; Student Body President: Government Association; Vice President: Lake City High School Ensemble; Secretary: National Beta Club; The Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Tri-M Music Honor Society; Junior Marshal; and the National Honor Society;. Alana F., Lake City Early College High School
Mychal-David Wynn is well equipped for his multifaceted role at our foundation. A graduate of Amherst College with a BA in English, he is a brilliant writer and artist and has professional experience developing online curricula. He maintains our website, works hands-on with students, reviews essays, and is continually reviewing our curriculum and tracking student outcomes.
Mychal-David Wynn, BA English, Amherst College
Born and raised in New York City, Karen McCord, PsyD., is a retired professor having taught Psychology, Social Science, and Ethnic Studies at Solano Community College (SCC), City College of San Francisco and American River College. She has a Doctorate Degree in Psychology, a Master's Degree in Counseling, a Bachelor's Degree in Human Relations and Organizational Behavior, and an Associate’s Degree in Ethnic Studies. Dr. McCord is our primary liaison with community college students and working to expanding career and pathways into 4-year institutions.
Karen McCord, PsyD, College Professor
Rev. Don Ezell is the Executive Pastor of the Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Georgia. In 2013, Rev. Don, while serving as the Youth Pastor, was part of the initial team of volunteers who piloted our first faith- and community-based partnership in our College Planning Cohort Program. That amazing cohort group, amassed over $2.5 million in scholarships, and included a Gates Millennium Scholar and Posse Foundation Scholar. Most of the students in that first cohort have since graduated from college on time and debt free.
Rev. Don Ezell, Executive Pastor, Turner Chapel AME Church
Mrs. Laura Hickson is the visionary Superintendent of Florence County School District 3 (SC) who believes in our work. Our partnership with FCSD3, now in its fourth year, has resulted in students who have been selected as Gates Millennium Scholars, Torch Scholars, and Meyerhoff Scholars. Students have been offered full scholarships to such schools as Northeastern University, Bates College, Hamilton College, and the Claflin University Honors College.
Laura Hickson, EdS., Superintendent of Schools
Bishop Adrian Starks is the Founder/Executive Pastor of the World Victory International Christian Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. Bishop and his wife, Shandi Starks, have embraced our cohort program and have ensured that students in their church and throughout the surrounding community have access to college planning and are exposed to scholarship opportunities. Carmen Starks is one of the youth leaders in our WVICC 9 - 12th grade cohort.
Bishop Adrian Starks, World Victory Christian Center
Mary Thomas, Ed.D., is the Director of the State, Private and Federal Accountability Office for the Austin Independent School District. Dr. Thomas has hosted College Planning Boot Camps for rising middle school and high school students during each summer for the past 4 years. Students have entered middle school and high school focused on leadership, service, and academic performance.
Mary Thomas, Ed.D., Director of the State, Private and Federal Accountability Office for the Austin Independent School District.
Lewis Brinson, Ed.D., is the Minority Achievement Officer in Pinellas County Schools who is working to close achievement gaps and expand college access for all students, particularly those from underrepresented groups. Dr. Brinson has brought our summer College Planning Boot Camp for rising high school juniors and seniors into the district and is working to expose rising high school students to our curriculum as part of developing comprehensive 4-year high school plans. Our partnership, now in its first year, is focused on inspiring intrinsically motivated learners and raising the consciousness of students and families to conceptualize their college-planning efforts within an wholistic context of leadership, service, and academic performance.
Lewis Brinson, Ed.D., Minority Achievement Officer
Rashall Hightower-Stickel is the Director of Student Equity at Antelope Valley College and Operations Pastor at Living Word Worship Center. Mrs. Hightower-Stickel is a visionary who has embraced our program for supporting the college and career aspirations of California’s Community College students as they pursue transfer agreements with the Cal State System and HBCU partners.
Rashall Hightower-Stickel is the Director of Student Equity at Antelope Valley College
Benjamin Kriesch, principal of the Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Michigan notes, ‘Our first College Planning Boot Camp was a leap of faith. I honestly did not know how our middle grades students would respond. Wow! Their work ethic, goals, and parent presentation were awesome. Through their example, they have set the tone for our entire school and now all of the teachers are on board. College Planning is no longer something that we talk about, it is who we are. Two of the rising 9th grade students who moved on to high school have reached out to Mr. and Mrs. Wynn to proudly share their first semester experiences in high school. Mallory B., notes, ‘I had a great first semester. I was the only person in my grade to receive a medal for making the Dean’s List.’ Gracen S., also off to a great start, notes, ‘Because of you, and the summer college planning boot camp, I turned from a straight C+, B student to a straight A student. I was also a starting wide receiver for one of the best high schools in the county.’.
Benjamin Kriesch, principal of the Paragon Charter Academy
Ms. Sylvia Greenwood is the Military Family College Readiness Specialist for the Judson Independent School District. She is responsible for facilitating military-connected student peer-support groups for transitional, academic and behavioral support; and college readiness post-secondary planning cohorts with military-connected students. Ms. Greenwood has hosted College Planning Boot Camps for Judson ISD rising 9th graders over the past 3 years. ‘The summer boot camps have made a huge difference in the lives of our students. I continually receive updates from students and parents on how well students are doing in high school and how intentional students are in pursuing the academic, leadership, and community service goals they established during the boot camp.’ Sylvia Greenwood, Military Family College Readiness Specialist
Doug Lucas is the ASA Guide Right facilitator for the Alpharetta-Smyrna Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Through our partnership, Mr. Lucas and Rev. Don Ezell have spearheaded the first ASA Guide Right College Planning Cohort for young men of color in grades 9 - 12.
Doug Lucas, Alpharetta-Smyrna Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Pastor Dexter McCree is connected to the youth of St. Petersburg, Florida and serves in an important support role for the Pinellas County Schools College Planning Cohort. Pastor McCree is intentional in his efforts to inspire and encourage students to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
Pastor Dexter McCree, High Profile Motivational Services, Inc.
Ms. Kristal Martinez is our liaison with Florence County School District 3 (SC). She is a Spanish Language Teacher at Lake City High School; Foreign Language Department Chair; Spanish Translator; and the Varsity Girls Soccer Coach. Ms. Martinez is responsible for editing student’s college and scholarship essays; recommending college pathways for first generation college students; guiding students in researching career and college majors; assisting students in completing college and scholarship applications; and assisting students in navigating college websites and communicating with financial aid officers and college admissions personnel.
Kristal Martinez, BS in English and Spanish Education, Bloomsburg University