Occupation: Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
College(s); Hampton University (BA, Biology); Columbia University, School of Business (MBA, Finance and Strategy); Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (MA, International Business and Environtmental Policy)
Hometown: New York, NY
Number of years with College Summit: 3 years and counting
What does College Summit mean to you?
This may sound corny or trite to some people, but for me, it really is about the opportunity to give back to my community. I grew up in the South Bronx and so my early experiences are not that different from many of the Peer Leaders in the program.
In the summers, I played handball against empty walls, ran through the sprinklers trying to keep cool, and ate Italian ices that made my tongue red. In the winter time, I counted the apartments with Christmas lights in the windows, and went ice-skating at Wollman Rink.
Every day after school, I would go into the bodega to buy a bag of BonTon chips and a pineapple soda. And when I sat down to do my homework, I dreamed of going to Vassar College. As a kid growing up in the South Bronx, Vassar represented some far-off place, where everything was serene and quiet, where there was green grass and trees. A place where education was important, where it was cool to be smart, and girls where ruled supreme!
Fast forward 20 years and I’m still that girl from the South Bronx. Only now, I fully understand how advantageous – and cool – it is to be smart. How many opportunities have come my way because education was a force in my life. How blessed I was to have a Mother and a sister and a sister-in-law, who bragged about how smart I was, to anyone that would listen. How lucky I was to have teachers that were invested in me, my future and my success.
It is the aggregate of these experiences and the faith that so many had in me that makes giving back to other kids a cornerstone of my commitment to College Summit. To me, College Summit represents a chance to equalize the educational opportunities for every Peer Leader that grew up like me.
What first prompted you to volunteer with College Summit?
I heard about the organization from a friend, when I first moved back to Washington, DC in 2007. After reading the profiles of some of the Peer Leaders, I saw a little piece of me in each one. I knew that I wanted to help them achieve their educational goals, just like someone had decided that they wanted to help me achieve mine.
What about your first experience caused you to come back?
The Peer Leaders are so motivated, so spirited, so clear, about how education will help them to reach their goals. Again and again, they inspire me – and remind me – how important it is to hold steadfast to your dreams.
What would you tell a potential volunteer to encourage them to commit one weekend this summer to College Summit?
It will ABSOLUTELY change your life! You will leave at the end of the weekend feeling completely drained and exhausted, physically and emotionally. However, you will feel fulfilled in a way that is nearly impossible to duplicate. You will feel empowered because you have empowered and inspired the Peer Leaders to achieve one of their greatest dreams.
Summer Workshops - Every summer, College Summit hosts four-day residential workshops for rising high school seniors on college campuses across the country. Volunteers work with 4-5 students during the course of this workshop, helping them to craft personal statements for college admissions.
One-day opportunities - College Summit provides several models for corporate partners to offer skill-based volunteering opportunities. These one day events for students focus on college/career exploration, job shadowing and coaching.
Pro Bono Help/Facilities - Are you a PR or marketing guru? Writer? Event planner? We could use your help!
Advocacy - Become an advocate for college access on the local, state, or national level. Host a party to promote College Summit, spread the word to friends, or join our mailing list.
Contact Laura Larimer at (646) 783-6154 for details on any of these opportunities.
Central Park East
CPE HS has been a consistently engaging and results-producing partner for the past 3 years
Bennett Lieberman, Principal and Joanna Nowlan, CS Coordinator
Don Cheadle College Summit Founding Spokesman
Learn more about College Summit by watching this informational video.
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