2013 Scholar Profiles

Zachary Egger
Zachary was ranked first in his class at Soddy Daisy High School (Soddy Daisy, TN) a top-tier comprehensive school in rural Hamilton County. With an inherent enthusiasm for learning, Zachary is a self-taught computer programmer and coder, something he says was sparked by a keen interest in how computers work ‘at the core.’ Zac took from his own time to help a variety of people in his community—from delivering meals to his great-aunt, to serving as the “go-to repair guy” for his teachers’ computers. His mathematics instructor also noted that his neighbors in class often turned to him for assistance with their own work. A member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society, Zac also spent time volunteering at the Soddy Daisy Food Bank. He is currently a junior and a member of the sailing club.
Jennifer Hernandez
There is no need to dress up Jennifer’s intellectual prowess: she was not only ranked first in her class at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (BCSM) in Bronx, NY, a reform-driven and highly competitive school, but her GPA (99.51 un-weighted) was the second highest in the school’s seven-year history. Jennifer also had the highest New York State Regents exam score of any student in BCSM’s history. Outside of school, Jennifer spent time volunteering at the Christadora-Manice Education Center, through which she participated in a clean-up of the Bronx River, and at the Children’s Garden at New York’s Botanical Garden. Jennifer also excels in applying the sciences towards creative ends: she won first place in the Women’s Engineering competition at Columbia University in 2012. She is a self-taught pianist and guitar player. Known by teachers for her kindness and modesty, Jennifer tutored other students in preparation for their Regents exams.  As a first-generation college student, Jennifer  appreciates having the support and collegiality of faculty and fellow students in the Dartmouth Emerging Engineers program.
Payton Kaar
As a student at Northeast High School (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Payton crafted a scientific research paper extraordinary in its sophistication, “The Comparative Effects of Antifouling Paint and Sharklet on Aquatic Vertebrates.” In addition, she won third place at the Broward County Science Fair in 2011, placed second in 2012, and spoke at the Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium at the University of Florida. Alongside 13 other students, Payton worked on the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam to create a water filtration station to serve third world countries. Payton was ranked first in her class of 460 students at Northeast High, a time consuming feat in itself, though she always finds the time to serve her community as well. She volunteered at elementary and middle schools, completed the Anti-Defamation League’s three-day training workshop to prevent bullying, and served as vice president of Northeast High’s Key Club and historian for the Psychology Club.  At the University of Miami, she is majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Art.
Jilisa McCullough
Enrolled at J.R. Masterman School (Philadelphia, PA) since the fifth grade, Jilisa took a full load of AP classes while maintaining a straight-A record. Just as impressive are Jilisa’s accomplishments in music and dance. She is a trained violin player; she took part in her school’s choir as well as the all-city school choir; and she is a gifted dancer who received several dance scholarships to train with a prestigious pre-professional junior dance company. As a junior at Carnegie Mellon, she is preparing for a career in international business, with concentrations in math and language. She has served as a choreographer for Dancers’ Symposium, teacher and trainer for Infra Dance Company, member of the consulting and communications committees in the Undergraduate Marketing Organization, and executive board member of SPIRIT dance. She also participated in a semster-long study-abroad program in Madrid.
Isabelle Morris
As the first junior-year student to be elected team captain of the rowing team at H.B. Plant High School (Tampa, FL), Isabelle was highly regarded by teachers and peers alike. This bright and thoughtful student excelled in every measure of academic achievement. She took many Advanced Placement and achieved top scores on each exam, Isabelle also scored in the impressive 99th percentile in both writing and critical reading on her PSAT exam. To add to these achievements, Isabelle is a talented violin player, having served for three years as a concert master for her school’s orchestra, played in the All-County Orchestra, and participated in county-wide competitions. At Stanford, Isabelle is working toward a career in psychology research.
Richard Otis
Richard’s superior drive, intellect, and love for history have already taken him to other parts of the world. As part of a high school project at Rivendell Academy (Orford, NH), the Normandy Sacrifice for Freedom Program chose Richard as a member of a very select group to take an extended tour of Washington, D.C. and Normandy, France. Math and science are other areas where Richard excels. Boasting a strong leadership record, Richard taught Suicide Prevention classes, served as Rivendell’s student body representative, and attended the New England Student Leadership Conference. When asked what makes a great leader, Richard emphasized the importance of motivating and relating to one’s peers, communicating effectively, and being ‘able to take joy in the accomplishments of others.’ Richard is a member of the junior class at RPI.  He participates in three clubs—Rocketry Society, Design-Build-Fly, and the Outing Club--and hopes to become an aeronautical engineer for one of the country’s leading firms.
Amanda Stewart
Amanda is an avid reader known for being persevering and compassionate, and for demonstrating, as a mentor says, a “true love for learning.” With such inherent enjoyment of her work, it is no wonder that Amanda’s academic record is impeccable: she graduated from Soddy Daisy High School (Soddy Daisy, TN) with a 4.0 un-weighted GPA and achieved a very impressive composite score on her ACT exam. Additionally, Amanda logged over three hundred hours of volunteering at Erlanger Hospital, the Creative Discovery Museum, the Nature Center, the Daisy Nursing Home and the Tennessee Aquarium. In high school, Amanda was a member of Beta Club, a service club, along with Key Club, and Future Business Leaders of America, for which she has attended state and regional competitions. Amanda is also a committed athlete, having served as a respected player on the soccer team at Soddy Daisy. A mechanical engineer major at Georgia Tech, she participates in Engineers for a Sustainable World and serves in the Student Alumni Association. She also participated in a semester-long study abroad program in Lorraine, France.
Gina Sullivan
Gina attended J.R. Masterman School (Philadelphia, PA), a magnet school for high achievers which has long maintained the highest public school test scores—by a wide margin—in the state of Pennsylvania. Gina took Masterman’s maximum allotment for AP courses and still maintained a straight-A record. Committed to her extra-curricular activities, Gina played on Masterman’s varsity softball team and volunteered at The Giving Tree, the Philadelphia Marathon, and the Philadelphia Zoo. She also assisted a teacher and students in a middle school science program as part of a mentorship initiative led by the Environmental Protection Agency, and she participated in a historical exhibition competition for Philadelphia’s National History Day, winning herself and her peers second and third place, respectively, in local and state competitions. As an energetic participant in the Future Business Leaders of America club, she laid the foundation for her studies in international relations and French at Pomona College. Gina spent her junior year abroad: fall semester in Freiburg, Germany and spring semester in Paris, France.
Isabelle Tersio
As an individual who admittedly finds great value in ‘doing small things for people all the time,’ it was not surprising to learn that Isabelle was widely admired as both a student and classmate at Boca Raton Community High School (Boca Raton, FL). Isabelle maintained a rigorous academic curriculum; she passed many Advanced Placement exams; and she was a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Math Honor Society, the Science Olympiad Team, and Interact (a service club, part of Rotary International). She particularly enjoyed Biology because she is fascinated by the metabolic processes taking place in the body, especially on the cellular level. Her goal is to become a pediatric surgeon. Born in Haiti, Isabelle moved to the US at the age of three. She dreams of one day building a hospital in Haiti for Doctors without Borders to ensure a higher quality of medical care on the island. Her weekends were spent volunteering at a hospital, playing basketball for her school team, and serving as a basketball coach for Special Needs students.  As a Benjamin Franklin Scholar at UPenn, she engages deeply in the liberal arts and sciences through special course offerings and under the close guidance of faculty and advisors. At Penn, Isabelle also continues to perform community service, including MedX and StudentsCare, and taking the EMT course to become certified and is a member of the Medical Emergency Response Team.
Sean Vennett
Sean Vennett is passionate about science and exploration, as evidenced by the thirty-eight merit badges he has earned as a Boy Scout. In fact, Sean is on his way to earning the prestigious Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America, an organization of which he has been a member since the first grade. At Jefferson High School (Tampa, FL), a magnet school to which students must apply for enrollment, Sean’s extraordinary academic record included a full load of AP courses, a high GPA, and very high PSAT and SAT scores. Outside of his curricular achievements, Sean enjoys the experience of academic competitions: he is a two-time county and state finalist for competitions by the DECA, an international marketing and entrepreneurial association for students; he participated in the Science Brain Bowl, a quiz event for the sciences; and he was a District Competitor for mathematics honors society Mu Alpha Theta. In addition, Sean served as a mentor at the Lavoy Exceptional Center, a special education school in the Hillsborough School District. At Auburn University, he serves as chapter president of his fraternity and member of the intramural football and soccer teams.

2012 Scholar Profiles

Natalie Antunez
Natalie’s teachers at Hialeah High School (Hialeah, FL) pointed to her impressive maturity, her deep reserve of self-understanding, and her high degree of empathy. She is articulate, academically accomplished (she took six Advanced Placement courses and achieved the highest score of 5 on each), loves the music of the ‘80s and the “old rock” bands, believes in the work of human rights organizations, and helps to raise funds for a number of charitable projects. She is learning American Sign Language to minimize language barriers with a member of her extended family. Natalie at once sums up her accomplishments and her considerable potential: “I favor the thrill of a challenge.” Natalie is a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar, a College Board award based on PSAT scores in the junior year. As a junior at Harvard University, she has academic concentrations in English and sociology, she is a member of a sorority and treasurer of Latinas Unidas de Harvard, and she has participated in a community service project on an urban farm in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Her desire to travel abroad and experience other cultures remains strong: using funds provided by one of Harvard’s endowed programs, she traveled to Peru for a week and also studied Spanish language and culture in Barcelona and Madrid.  She is a Peer Advising Fellow for incoming freshmen.
Johana Barxha
Few teenagers understand the hardships and the opportunities associated with the “American Dream” as well as Johana, who came to America from Albania, with her family, at the age of five. She is highly motivated and adept at self-teaching: she learned English by watching the Discovery and History channels on television with her father, she spent the summer following her sophomore year reading and learning quantum physics, and she is teaching herself Italian as a third language. While demonstrating excellence in every subject at J. R. Masterman High School (Philadelphia, PA), her deepest academic affection was for math and science; Johana was a member of her school’s first Robotics team, describing it as “a great outlet for my love of engineering.” She is also musical (she played first flute in her school’s orchestra) and athletic (she was a member of the badminton and tennis teams), and she gives generously of her time to help tutor classmates and younger students. At UPenn, she is focused on a major in economics and a minor in consumer psychology, and she is involved with On Campus Recruiting as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters. For the fall 2016 semester, she studied in Milan, Italy.
Spencer Dunleavy
As Johana’s classmate at J. R. Masterman High School (Philadelphia, PA), the most highly ranked school in the Philadelphia School District, Spencer earned only A grades for his entire school career while taking the most challenging courses. Even with such evidence of academic success, however, Spencer’s overwhelming quality is his unwavering commitment to serve others. He arrived early at school each day to provide tutoring through the “Ninth Grade Initiative.” He also met with older and younger students at lunch and even during weekends to help support their academic success. He explains that he “loves to see someone else succeed” and that it gives him a great feeling to watch others achieve success they did not think possible. His talents, moreover, are not limited to the classroom or service projects; he also was elected captain of the school’s soccer team in his junior year. He is now following through on his dream  to pursue a degree in chemistry on his way to medical school. At Harvard, he worked with the Red Cross and served as co-director of CPR/First Aid/AED training for the college.  He also worked in the Psychology Research lab, served as a peer study leader for the Introduction to Chemistry course, assisted a physician at a homeless shelter clinic, helped to manage a nonprofit (Raise Uganda Now), and participated in intramural sports. Spencer is a 2017 Rhodes Scholar; following graduation, he will pursue two master's degrees at Oxford University.
Chelsea Jerome
A straight-A student and member of the National Honor Society at Hazen Union High School (Hardwick, VT), Chelsea took the college preparatory and honor courses offered at her rural school in the Northeast Kingdom, an area nestled between the Green Mountains and the Connecticut River. In high school, Chelsea had a special affinity for fiction writing. Describing her creative work as imaginative and technically exacting, her high school English teacher commented that she “exhibits both a willingness to take adventuresome risks in craft and an unusually perceptive grasp of human psychology.” Her poem, “The Sky Exhales,” appeared in the Green Mountain Trading Post, a publication featuring original writing in the North Country. Chelsea balanced her rigorous academic program with numerous volunteer activities which reflect her deep-rooted sense of personal responsibility to others. She served as a mentor in an eleventh-grade school program, an aide at a local nursing home, and a library assistant. She also wa a member of her school’s soccer and track & field teams as well as its Varsity Club. At Middlebury, she is majoring in Psychology and held a research assistant position, working with a member of the faculty to conduct family interviews in selected sites around the country.  For the spring 2016 semester, she studied abroad at the University of Sydney.
Ambar Peralta
Ambar performed exceptionally well on her PSATs and the [New York State] Regents’ exams as well as in her honors and Advanced Placement classes at Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (Bronx, NY). She is a well-rounded scholar and excels in all subjects, although she shows a particular gift for writing. She is also a talented artist whose work was featured in two exhibitions held at Lehman College. In addition to her serious academic commitment and artistry, Ambar was deeply involved in her school and community. She was treasurer of the Junior Class, a member of the National Honor Society and the Science National Honor Society, and she tutored struggling students at the nearby Eagle Academy. Most notably, she participated in the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity program (SEO), an academic enrichment program hosted by a Wall Street firm. Ambar was selected for SEO among students citywide, and she was given the additional honor of being one of two Gear Up scholars who took classes at Harvard University during the summer between her sophomore and junior years. At Dartmouth, she has taken advanced courses in Japanese language and culture, leading to a study-abroad experience in Chiba, Japan—the first country she has visited outside of her home in Dominican Republic.

2011 Scholar Profiles

Walee Ahmed
Walee emigrated from Bangladesh with his family in 2009, taking up residency in Queens, New York.  With an eye toward his goal of becoming a geneticist and clinical researcher, Walee was in the premedical program at Hillcrest High School (Queens, NY).  He earned college credits through the "College Now" program, and was selected for membership in the National Honor Society. Walee describes success as the ability to help, motivate, and inspire others; he performed more than 100 hours of volunteer service at Queens Medical Center and enjoyed helping his peers with their homework. In his free time, he also enjoys researching quantum physics, competing at chess, and playing the guitar. At Hunter, he majored in Psychology and Mathematics, and participated in a laboratory research group investigating the effects of oral methamphetamine on mice. He also served as music director and vice president of the college radio station, providing him with dual opportunities for music curation and daily operations.
Matthew Heinichen
Matthew maintained excellent grades in the most rigorous courses at Signal Mountain High School (Signal Mountain, TN) and participated in varsity cross country and the YMCA Youth Leadership Program, all while working part-time to help supplement his family’s resources. He has a deeply loving relationship with his younger brother, whose heart condition has required numerous surgeries, and with whom Matthew spent time each evening before doing his homework. He received awards including the International Baccalaureate "risk taker," for which he was nominated by Signal Mountain's faculty for his "ability to approach unfamiliar and uncertain situations with courage and forethought, for his independent spirit, bravery, and his ability to articulate and defend his beliefs." Matthew majored in civil engineering at UIUC's School of Engineering.
Kassandra Hopkins
Located in the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine, Vinalhaven School (Vinalhaven, ME) is a tiny school - Kassandra was one of just 14 students in her graduating class. Wishing to expand beyond the opportunities available in Vinalhaven, Kassandra researched and applied to attend a semester at Coastal Studies for Girls, a unique residential school for girls interested in the sciences. A peer mentor, tutor, and leader, she was a founding member of the ACCESS Team, a group of youth volunteers who worked to transform her town's arts and recreation center into a student-run Internet coffee shop and business training center. Kassandra worked as a babysitter, helped care for her younger siblings, and was involved in numerous extracurricular and community activities. At Amherst, she majored in Psychology and took other courses to preapre for a career in medicine. While she was a member of Amherst College Emergency Medical Services, she served as treasurer of the Campus Activities Board, provided mentoring for early learners in Reader for Reader,  participated in the Women’s Soccer Club, and worked as a peer tutor for a statistics class in the Psychology Department.  She studied in Italy during the fall semester of her senior year.
Emtithal Mahmoud
Born in the Darfur region of the Sudan, Emtithal ("Emi") is the oldest of five children whom she cared for after high school while her mother attended Thomas Jefferson University. At J.R. Masterman School (Philadelphia, PA), she excelled in science, participated in the Bridges to Regenerative Biology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and received first-place awards for her poetry. A committed young leader and advocate for the people of her native region, Emi began sharing her writings about the Darfur conflict as a middle-school student, and has since conducted presentations across Philadelphia, spoken at national rallies with the Darfur Alert Coalition and Save Darfur, and discussed the issue with members of Congress. Emi's goal is to use her talents to improve the lives of others - she plans to become a doctor, earning an M.D. and a Ph.D. in order to both conduct research and treat patients. A Biology major at Yale, she won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship, a national competition for performance poetry.  She also published her first book of poems and signed a three-year book contract with a New York-based publishing house. For a summer program in Nepal, she interviewed patients, prepared educational materials, spoke with health professionals and media personnel, and collected epidemiological data.  She was selected by the BBC as one of the 100 Most Inspirational Women in 2015.
Alexandria Oviatt
Ranked first in her class of more than 200 students at Red Bank High School (Chattanooga, TN), Alexandria was the only eighth grader to accept the challenge of going to her local high school campus to take the PSAT. Her teachers described her as hard-working and selfless - though somewhat introverted in person, Alexandria frequently texted her English teacher to suggest a question or idea that might foster class discussion or aid a struggling student. "She’s amazing that way," her teacher wrote. "Alexandria spends her time sending me links to help other students learn; most students don't care that much about their own learning, let alone other students' learning." Alexandria was a member of the Principal's Advisory Council, the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), and was the co-founder of her school's first book club. At Barnard, she was a chemistry major who completed a senior thesis and provided a professor with research support in his lab.  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Vanderbilt University.

2010 Scholar Profiles

Heirl He
Ranked #12 in her graduating class of 562 at Central High School (Philadelphia, PA), where her curriculum included both honors and advanced placement classes, Heirl He was involved in school and community activities. She played tennis competitively, and contributed significantly to her school’s citywide championship. Respectful of her cultural heritage, Heirl served as a Big Sister with the Cambodian Association and shared her knowledge of the Cambodian culture with children of transnational adoptions. She was also active in Central’s Asian Student Association, promoting knowledge of cultural traditions among her peers. At the Wharton School of Business, she majored in Marketing and Communications, joined Wharton Women, and participated in the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) Culture Show.  After graduation, she moved to Austin, Texas to work in the Demand Programs at IBM.
Elia Lopez
Elia was ranked #3 in a graduating class of 811 students at Edinburg North High School (Edinburg, TX), with a weighted GPA of 103.8. Outside the classroom, Elia was a well-rounded and active athlete, extracurricular club member, and volunteer. In summer 2010, she participated in a program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for talented high school students who are interested in studying and exploring careers in science and engineering. At Brown, Elia majored in Education and Anthropology. She volunteered weekly at a local elementary school to assist low-income ESL students, served as a teaching assistant in A COURSE ON Adolescent Psychology, and participated in a summer teaching internship with Uncommon Schools in Troy, New York.  She accepted a post-college teaching position at Troy Prep, a high-performing not-for-profit school that is committed to preparing low-income students to enter, succeed in, and graduate from college.
Karina Melendez
Karina, an honor roll student, was ranked second in her class at the Bronx School of Law and Finance (New York, NY) where she was a member of her school’s Law Academy and mock trial team, and served as captain of the moot court team. Her academic achievements and activities are only one facet of this extraordinary and resilient young woman: Karina is known not only for her gratitude toward those who have helped her to overcome numerous hardships, but also for her constant willingness to share her gifts and help others. Karina is a senior at Columbia University who is working on her credentials for a career as a high school teacher of history and social studies. She served as the recruitment chair for Casa Latina, which is a housing complex on campus.
Katie "Brooke" Reed
Brooke maintained a high class rank and GPA while taking the most challenging curriculum available at Red Bank High School (Chattanooga, TN).  She also engaged in a host of activities—from the softball team to the newspaper, from the cheerleading squad to student government—and volunteered at Red Bank Elementary School with students in the CDC special-education classroom. One of Brooke’s recommenders wrote of her: "Brooke’s extraordinary personality and selflessness make her chosen career of teaching a perfect match." At Clemson, she majored in chemistry and pursued a degree in teaching, volunteered with the service team at CRU, and joined the National Science Teachers Association affiliate program.  Today, she is married and teaches chemistry and physical sciences at Bearden High School in Knoxville, TN.
Vanessa Zamy
Vanessa Zamy flourished in the college preparatory environment at Boston Latin Academy (Boston, MA), placing herself at the top of its class of 2011. In 2009, she was one of 20 students selected among hundreds of applicants for Northeastern University’s Young Scholars Program, which offers future scientists and engineers an opportunity for hands-on experience. Vanessa’s drive and motivation also are evident in her community service work: she served as a mentor in the Boston Public Library’s Homework Assistance Program and served lunch and visited with residents each week at the Kit Clark Senior Center. At Stanford, Vanessa created a combined degree program in Management Science and Engineering, Financial and Decision Engineering.  An avid traveler, she participated in a 3-week overseas seminar in India, a 7-day Arts Immersion Spring Break trip to New York City, and a study abroad program in Paris during the fall term of her senior year.  She spent the summer following her junior year at Goodwill Industries International as a Customer Relationship Manager intern and, in 2015, participated in the Italia Innovation Program which provided her with mentoring by world-class managers, innovators, and leading faculty in areas including Design Thinking, Business Innovation, and Corporate Law. In 2014-15, she received a National Society of Black Engineers scholarship. She is a Strategy and Operations Business Analyst at Deloitte.

2009 Scholar Profiles

Camila Diaz
When Camila began her high school education at Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (Bronx, NY), she had been homeschooled for a full year and needed to catch up to her ninth grade peers. By her junior year, Camila ranked third in her class of 116. In addition to taking AP and honors courses, she attended the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Program in Manhattan, a rigorous academic enrichment program that offers college-level curricula. She also dedicated time to peer tutoring and mentoring and served on her student government council. At Wellesley, Camila participated in a six-week study-abroad program in Barcelona between semesters, took a credit-bearing course in Financial Theory at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, served on the Wellesley College Budget Advisory Committee, and was active in college government as a Senator and a member of the Student Organization Funding Committee.  Following graduation, Camila joined Citigroup as an analyst in its Sales & Trading program.
Lydia Ducharme
At Hazen Union High School (Hardwick, VT), Lydia was known for her self-motivation and community-mindedness. One of her recommenders wrote of Lydia, "She talks of possibly becoming a high school chemistry teacher, and I can think of no better role model to put before the next generation of learners." A natural leader, Lydia was Student Council President, played three varsity-level sports, sang in a local choir, played in the band, volunteered in her school and community, and worked part-time, all while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. At Boston College, Lydia continued with her volunteer activities as a Student Admission’s Greeter and an active member of Strong Women Strong Girls.  During her junior year, she studied abroad for a semester at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.  With a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and a minor in General Education, Lydia received post-college training as a Match Teacher Resident and Match Corps Tutor in the Teacher Residency Program of Boston Public Schools, followed by an appointment as Operations and Special Projects Coordinator of Community Charter School of Cambridge.
Juan Hernandez
A model student while attending John H. Reagan Senior High School (Houston, TX), Juan consistently made academic honor roll, won the school and regional science fairs in 2007 and 2009, received a TAKS Commendation (for performance on the state-mandated tests), and was a Project GRAD Texas Scholar. He dedicated his free time to helping those who are less fortunate: at Communities in Schools (CIS), he tutored second- and third-grade students in math, and he also volunteered at the Open Door Mission in nearby Harrisburg. A sociology major at Rice, he volunteered at both the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees and Habitat for Humanity.  He is currently enrolled in the Master’s in Public Health program at the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is serving on The Board, a leadership and management student organization, and as a student associate of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Asdy Wan
At Philadelphia’s J.R. Masterman School, which is ranked among the top 60 high schools in the U.S., Asdy took advanced placement classes, earning straight A’s throughout her high school career. With a view toward her career plans, Asdy participated in accounting programs for high school students, including programs offered by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the National Association of Black Accountants. As a member of School for Schools, Asdy helped raise money to build schools in Uganda. She was treasurer of the Asian Teen Union and tutored fifth grade students after school. At the Wharton School of Business, she majored in Marketing and Operations Management, and held internships at Ann Inc. and Li & Fung.  Formerly an order management specialist at west elm, she is currently sales assistant for home & hospitality for Global Brands Group (a member of Fung Group).
Faith Zeng
A graduate of Boston Latin School (Boston, MA), Faith is described by her teachers and members of her community as intellectually curious, bright, generous, focused, and resilient. An accomplished artist, she is also a creative writer, an exceptional student, and a volunteer in both her school and her community. At Boston Latin, she was a volunteer tutor with younger students in math and Latin; outside of school she has volunteered for the Homework Assistant Program and worked at a library with elementary school age children. At SCAD, she became proficient in texturing/shading, lighting, modeling and other facets of graphics art.  She also spent a term  studying in Hong Kong. During the study abroad program, she engaged in volunteer work at an orphanage in nearby in Kanchanaburi (Thailand) by helping out with the children and designing business and marketing publications for the school.  Following graduation, she accepted an internship at CG Textures in Portland, OR.  She is currently a freelance CG artist for Ingenuity Studios Inc., a Los Angeles-based firm which creates moving images for film, television, and advertising.

2008 Scholar Profiles

Chevon Boone
Chevon grew up in tiny Garysburg, North Carolina (population 1,000), attended KIPP Pride High School (Gaston, NC) and came to Philadelphia in August 2009 to attend the University of Pennsylvania. While adjusting to her new life in a large city, Chevon enjoyed focusing both on academic pursuits, with a major in Health & Societies, and on some of Penn’s extracurricular activities, of which the highlights for her were the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir and its freshman year concert. She served as a peer counselor in the same pre-freshman program that helped to orient her to the university. Chevon volunteered her time by serving dinner at a local homeless shelter and described the experience as “life altering.” After graduation, Chevon joined Teach for America with a placement at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark (NJ). She passed her teacher certification test in January 2013 and received a master’s of arts in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education, a master’s degree program training district and charter public teachers.  She was a member of the founding faculty for KIPP DC: Valor Academy Middle School where she currently teaches 5th grade English-Language Arts.
Joivonnah Childs
A graduate of Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (Bronx, NY), Joivonnah is also an alumna of  the Wharton School of Business where she majored in Marketing and minored in Japanese Studies. She participated in the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association, joined the marketing and freshman liaison committees, and for three years made an impressive presentation each spring to the next college-going cohort of Leonore Annenberg Scholars. She joined a community service organization called Stitch for Kids that crochets and knits blankets and hats for the Children’s Hospital.  Joivonnah is a Marketing Analyst with the Digital Customer Solutions Team at Pepsi Co.
Areej Hassan
Areej arrived in the U.S. with her family from the Sudan (by way of Egypt) at the age of nine. She knew no English. Eight years later, she graduated as the valedictorian of her class from Northeast High School in Philadelphia. She holds a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University where she assisted a professor of Arabic with research for a new book and served as a tutor for middle school students in nearby Trenton. In the spring of her junior year, she studied abroad at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. By the end of her study abroad program, Areej had written two lengthy research papers entirely in Arabic and received a “Superior” rating on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ Oral Proficiency Interview. She also interned at the Witherspoon Institute (in Princeton, NJ), working for the director of the Islam and Civil Society Project and helping to prepare for the “Quran in the Modern World” seminar held at the Princeton Theological Seminary in July 2012.  She is currently director of media and research for the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom and research associate at the Zephyr Institute in Palo Alto, CA.  CIRF engages in research, education, media, and advocacy at the intersection of Islam and religious freedom. She is the author of “Religious Freedom: Arguments from Islam” and other publications.
Candace Hensley
A graduate of Boston Latin School (Boston, MA), Candace also graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a double major in English and Philosophy. Candace was selected for a John William Ward Public Service Fellowship during the summer before her senior year of high school, and she worked for the Fellowship program as coordinator for the Summer 2009 Fellows and their Sponsors. She also held a Discovering Justice internship at the Moakley Courthouse, and was hired for another summer internship at the Peabody-Essex Museum. Her work for Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf during the Discovering Justice internship and again the following summer, together with her experience as a John William Ward Fellow, reinforced her desire to pursue a legal career. Candace has served on the Board of the Ward Fellowship. She is currently enrolled at Harvard Law School, Class of 2018.
Shiyah Trotman
A graduate of Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice (Brooklyn, NY), Shiyah was a budding filmmaker at the University of Chicago when he joined the on-campus film group FireEscape Films, the Organization of Black Students, the campus literary magazine, and Rhythmic Bodies in Motion.  During his junior year, he studied abroad in both London and Paris. As a senior, he worked with the Black Student Organization on its Cultural Show. Shiyah was a listener services associate at New York Public Radio, and participated in training internships at Democracy Now! Productions, Resonance Interactive Corp., Tribeca Film Institute, and Soze Productions.  He is currently a teaching artist at Reelworks, offering film analysis classes in Brownsville, Brooklyn and Harlem middle schools.  He initiated and oversaw ‘Reelwork’s ReelBros’, a program designed to create an open and safe space for young men of color. He customized and co-authored semester-wide unit outlines and day-to-day lesson plans for the program.