KIPP Alumni Leadership Accelerator
The KIPP Alumni Leadership Accelerator supports and equips extraordinary KIPP alumni leaders with the skills, tools, networks, and peer connections necessary for reaching high-level positions of leadership, influence, and decision-making. The fellowship is a selective, year-long, cohort-based experience which is highly individualized to each fellow’s aspirations. Across the first two cohorts, the 35 fellows represent ten KIPP regions and work across many sectors, including finance, entrepreneurship, non-profit management, policy, law, medicine, the arts, academia, and more.
Meet the Fellows
Dina Asfaha, 2017-18
Dina Asfaha, 2017-18University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
KIPP Bay Area Schools Alumna
Dina M. Asfaha obtained a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies at Barnard College of Columbia University in 2016. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, she not only realized her passion for academia, but also her commitment to helping fellow students from underrepresented backgrounds gain adequate mentorship to be successful in their applications to graduate school. Following undergrad, Dina entered the Master’s program in oral history at Columbia, where she had the opportunity to put into practice accessible academic scholarship. Dina is a new resident of Philadelphia and she is a first-year in the anthropology doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Donnell Bailey, 2017-18
Donnell Bailey, 2017-18Democrats for Education Reform, Program Manager
KIPP New Orleans Schools Alumnus
Donnell K. Bailey works with Democrats for Education Reform-Louisiana as a Program Manager, where he specifically works on grant writing, community outreach, education policy research, and advocacy work. He is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Originally from New Orleans, Donnell began his involvement in public service interning for Former United States Congressman Joseph Cao (R-LA) and working to help organize NOLA’s annual and city-wide Night-Out-Against Crime. He went on to intern for Former United States Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), where he served as a Legislative Aide intern doing data research on NOLA Ed-Reforms. He then became a White House Intern under the Obama Administration in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, where he worked on President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Donnell now resides in New Orleans and serves on the Board of Directors for KIPP New Orleans Schools.
Manny Cabrera, 2017-18
Manny Cabrera, 2017-18Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr, & Smith, Associate Attorney
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumnus
Manny Cabrera is a native Houstonian and alumnus of KIPP Academy, attending from 1996 to 2000. After graduating from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, Manny went on to attend Hofstra University in Long Island, New York majoring in Political Science with a minor in Legal Studies in Business. After college, he returned to Houston and worked for KIPP Houston Public schools for four years as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and Co- Founder. He left to attend law school at South Texas College of Law, receiving his Doctor of Jurisprudence in May 2015. Manny is currently an associate attorney in the Houston office of Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith. He remains involved with KIPP, most recently as a board member of KIPP PALs, a young professionals group that advocates for KIPP Houston Public School. Manny loves spending time with his wife, Jenn, and their son, Charlie.
Atalia Castro, 2017-18
Atalia Castro, 2017-18Star of Hope Women and Family Emergency Center, Manager of Children’s Services
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumna
Atalia was born in Morelia, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at the age of 8. She attended KIPP Academy Middle School in Houston and then went on to the High School for Performing and Visual Arts where her focus was dance and theater. She graduated from HSPVA and went on to pursue a degree in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Dance at Stephen F. Austin State University. In 2014 she began working at Houston’s biggest homeless shelter Star of Hope as the Senior Children’s Service Worker, where she advocated on behalf of children and their families for higher educational opportunities while ensuring they received support and necessary services. In 2015, she was promoted and now manages the children’s programs where she leads a team of 18 to provide childcare services, after school programs, tutoring, and counseling for the children at the shelter. Atalia is currently pursuing a certification in Biblical Counseling from the College of Biblical Studies. She was also the keynote speaker for KSS in 2015 and for the KIPP Houston Annual Dinner in 2017. She enjoys public speaking, especially when she gets an opportunity to be a voice for dreamers and the immigrant community.
Jaciel Castro, 2017-18
Jaciel Castro, 2017-18KIPP San Antonio, Recruitment Manager
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumnus
Jaciel Castro was appointed as Student Regent for The University of Texas System Board of Regents by Governor Greg Abbott for a one-year term that began on June 1, 2017. Jaciel is a student at The University of Texas at San Antonio studying his Master’s of Finance in Real Estate Development and Investments. He is a graduate of The University of Houston, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Structural Engineering Technology and Design (2011) and a Bachelor in Organizational Development (2014). He is also an Engineer in Training through the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Jaciel has spent the past four years working for KIPP San Antonio on community development, including looking for new properties to plant schools, analyzing real estate opportunities and mobilizing every employee at KIPP SA to recruit over 5,600 students for current and opening schools. Jaciel recently celebrated his fourth wedding anniversary with his wife Amanda. His primary daily responsibility outside of graduate school and the U. T. Board of Regents is playing with his son Jonathan and teaching him Spanish.
Wesley Close, 2017-18
Wesley Close, 2017-18Wesleyan University, Assistant Dean of Admissions
KIPP NYC Alumna
After graduating from KIPP Academy in the Bronx, Wesley attended the Horace Mann School where he began to explore two very distinct passions: educational access and linguistics. Following graduation from Wesleyan University in 2015 with a BA in Latin American Studies, Wesley traveled to Arica, Chile where he taught high school English under the Chilean Ministry of Education. With a firmer grasp of the Spanish language and a heightened desire to investigate themes of access in their other manifestations, Wesley has returned to his Connecticut alma mater as the Assistant Dean of Admissions at Wesleyan University while also doing freelance content editing and Spanish-English translation for various international medical institutions in the Caribbean. Wesley hopes to pursue a degree in localization management where he will be able to enter the technology industry and promote less commonly taught languages – particularly languages from indigenous and marginalized cultures.
Melissa Diaz, 2017-18
Melissa Diaz, 2017-18New York City Mayor’s Office, Advisor
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumna
Melissa Diaz grew up in Houston and is an alumna of KIPP Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall, and Columbia University. She has advanced degrees from Hunter College and New York University. Melissa is currently an Advisor in the New York City Mayor’s Office, and previously served as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Research and Media Analysis. Melissa began her career in City government as a Research Analyst in 2013. She has also served as Intergovernmental Liaison at the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), where she built relationships with stakeholders throughout New York and responded to constituent concerns. Melissa previously taught fifth-grade students at KIPP Infinity Middle School in New York City as a Teach for America Corps Member. She kicked off her political career in the 2008 presidential campaign, served as a White House intern in 2012, and is still #WithHer.
Cordelia Elaiho, 2017-18
Cordelia Elaiho, 2017-18Thomas Jefferson University, Masters of Public Health Graduate Student
KIPP NYC Alumna
Cordelia Elaiho thrives in her intersectionality. With a background that traces three continents and her love of both science and the arts, Cordelia desires to aid in forging a bridge between these siloed industries. A graduate of Vassar College with a B.A. in Biology and minor in Africana Studies, she is used to bringing together different groups of people with varying opinions. After Vassar she conducted prostate cancer research, seeking to understand the complexities of cancer and its racial disparities. She is currently receiving her Master’s in Public Health from Thomas Jefferson University, furthering her understanding that everything is and effects health. Her final project surrounds public service announcements about suicide prevention at baseball games in Pennsylvania. After her studies, she desires to continue changing lives through the lens of preventative medicine. In her spare time, Cordelia enjoys dancing, singing in her church choir, and walking through new places.
Erick Espinoza, 2017-18
Erick Espinoza, 2017-18Bazaarvoice, Business Strategy Consultant
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumnus
Erick Espinoza is a class of 2006 KIPP Houston Alumnus. He received his education at Episcopal High School in Houston and went on to attend Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, completing a B.B.A in International Business. Erick has 10 years of experience in the high-tech industry and has held a variety of roles spanning from IT to software development. Erick is now a Software Business Consultant helping companies with their digital strategy. After graduating from St. Edwards, he spent 15 months as an expatriate teaching English in Osaka, Japan. Erick recently graduated from the University of Texas with a Master’s in Science in Technology Commercialization. He enjoys working with startup companies to analyze the commercialization potential of technologies across a range of industries. Aside from his career, he likes to spend his time outdoors traveling, hiking, and playing sports. Erick aims to continue leading and advocating for minorities to join STEM careers through technology literacy and professional development.
Timothy Green, 2017-18
Timothy Green, 2017-18Prince George’s County Police Department, Police Officer
KIPP Baltimore Alumnus
Timothy Green grew up in Baltimore and is an alumnus of KIPP Baltimore, Pride of 2011. He attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute for his freshman year of high school before relocating to Columbia, Maryland where he graduated from Mount Hebron in 2011. After high school, he attended Howard Community College and joined the United States Navy in 2013. He joined the Navy as a Master at Arms (Security Forces) and is currently stationed at the Patuxent Naval Air Station in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland. His job consists of providing security for different military installations, ships, dignitaries, etc. During President Trump’s Inauguration, Timothy was assigned to the newly appointed Sec. of Defense General Mattis to make sure he made it safely to his destinations and surrounding areas. In January 2015, Timothy joined the Prince George’s County Police Department. He started his police career at the District IV Station and after completing his FTO period, he transferred to District VII. Since being at District VII, Timothy has had the privilege of being Officer of the Month numerous times, one of the top producing officers for his district, and making a lot of great friends along the way!
Christopher Johnson, 2017-18
Christopher Johnson, 2017-18KIPP Philadelphia Schools, External Affairs Associate
KIPP Philadelphia Schools Alumnus
Christopher Johnson is a native of Philadelphia, PA. He is a proud alumnus of KIPP Philadelphia’s founding class at KIPP Philadelphia Preparatory Academy. He is also a 2016 graduate of Oakwood University, a historically-black college in Huntsville, Alabama, where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pre-Law with a concentration in Political Science. He has completed internships with Teach For America, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee in Philadelphia. In the Fall of 2016, Christopher worked as a Field Organizer in Cleveland, Ohio for the Hillary Clinton Campaign and Ohio Democratic Party. Christopher currently serves as the External Affairs Associate at KIPP Philadelphia Schools, where he manages the region’s public relations systems, community outreach, and state and local advocacy efforts. Christopher is a young man of faith who is committed to serving his community through organizing, youth mentorship, and educational advocacy. Aside from his typical work responsibilities, he enjoys engaging in political debates, listening to podcasts, and attending live sporting events and music concerts.
Anastasia Jones, 2017-18
Anastasia Jones, 2017-18JPMorgan Chase & Co, Financial Analyst
KIPP Eastern North Carolina Alumna
Anastasia Jones is a native of Virginia and North Carolina. She attended KIPP Gaston College Preparatory in the KIPP ENC region for middle school and high school. She earned her BS in Economics with a concentration in Strategic Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Anastasia works for JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a Financial Analyst supporting the Firmwide Financial Control organization. She continues to give back through her role as a mentor for the Give Something Back Foundation as well as her role as Chapter Leader for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Philadelphia Alumni Chapter.
Chalianna Lopez, 2017-18
Chalianna Lopez, 2017-18KIPP Foundation, Operations Manager
KIPP NYC Alumna
Bronx-native, Chalianna Lopez, has over five years of experience in the events industry and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). Upon graduation from Barnard College of Columbia University, Chalianna interned at the KIPP Foundation’s Events Department where she realized her passion for event planning. Since then, Chalianna has worked with the Foundation on various events from a small retreat with 50 people to their 20th Anniversary celebration with 6,000 people. Her passion for events, people and education led her to work with other non-profit organizations, such as the Character Lab, to create purposeful events.
Siury Mercedes, 2017-18
Siury Mercedes, 2017-18BNP Paribas, Entrepreneur
KIPP NYC Alumna
Siury Mercedes was part of the KIPP NYC Class of 2001, where she graduated Salutatorian. She received her High School Diploma at Hackley School and a B.A in International Business and Management at Dickinson College. Soon after graduating, she moved to Spain and, later, France to improve her language skills. After four years, she went back to school to receive an M.Sc in Finance at the University of Porto, Faculty of Economics. She simultaneously received the Quantitative Techniques for Economics and Management (QTEM) Network Certificate with a specialization module in Finance and Risk Management. QTEM is an international Master’s network that selects outstanding students to further develop their skills in analytical and quantitative techniques to support decision-making in an international context. Siury has now lived in 9 countries and visited over 30, as she strongly believes in pushing past her comfort zone to constantly grow and expand her horizons.
Mariela Meza, 2017-18
Mariela Meza, 2017-18KIPP NYC, Advocacy Associate
KIPP NYC Alumna
After graduating from KIPP Academy Middle School in the Bronx, Mariela attended Emma Willard School, an all-girls boarding school in Troy, New York. After Emma Willard, Mariela studied Art History at Hamilton College, where her passion for working towards social equity grew. During her time at Hamilton, Mariela conducted research with professors focusing on the discrimination of several underserved communities in California and Guatemala. Upon graduation, Mariela joined Teach for America and taught in South Carolina while pursuing her Master’s degree in Education from Francis Marion University. Mariela currently serves as the Advocacy Associate for KIPP NYC where she trains parents, supports staff and engages elected officials on a variety of issues affecting the communities across the eleven KIPP schools in the region. Additionally, Mariela has continued her work with Teach for America as an application reviewer and evaluates applicants on their potential to be effective corps members. She also serves as a committee member for Youth and Education on her local community board. Mariela is the eldest of five KIPPsters in her family and is a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants.
Antonio Miller, 2017-18
Antonio Miller, 2017-18National Public Radio (NPR), Corporate Sponsorship & Development Data Analyst
KIPP New Orleans Schools Alumnus
Antonio joined the KIPP family as a seventh-grader at KIPP McDonogh 15 in New Orleans, LA. Through Konica Minolta Colorful Tomorrow Foundation, Antonio earned a scholarship for Outstanding Proficiency in the Creative Arts, which he used to attend Metairie Park Country Day School. After high school, Antonio attended American University in Washington, DC to study Business Administration with concentrations in Information Systems & Technology and Marketing. There, he participated in New Student Orientation, Student Government, the performing arts, and worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Kogod School of Business. Living in DC, Antonio took advantage of internship and fellowship opportunities in the area. Through roles at National Geographic Channel, Upace, and NPR, Antonio garnered skills in digital platform strategy, UI design, and data analytics. After graduating American University, he started full-time with the NPR Audience Insights team.
Jared Nelson, 2017-18
Jared Nelson, 2017-18State of Louisiana, Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Probation and Parole Officer
KIPP NYC Alumnus
Jared Nelson is member of the second graduating class of KIPP Academy Charter School. He attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, graduating in May 2008 with a B.A. in Government, followed by obtaining his M.P.A. in July 2010 from Southern University and A&M College. He began working in 2011 as a program coordinator for Acadiana CARES, LLC, providing case management services to homeless persons and disabled persons. In 2012, he began working for the State of Louisiana as a Probation and Parole Officer. While in this career, he developed a desire to ensure that the criminal justice system provides equal opportunity to all individuals, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status. As such, he enrolled at the Southern University Law Center, to obtain his Juris Doctorate. Currently, he is a 3L student at the Law Center, set to graduate in May 2018. He resides in Rayne, LA with his lovely wife, Joelle Nixon.
Charles Taylor, 2017-18
Charles Taylor, 2017-18Microsoft Corporation, Program Manager
KIPP Eastern North Carolina Alumnus
Charles has long been passionate about a career in the technology industry. He attended Duke University where he earned degrees in Computer Science, Visual and Media Studies and a Certificate in Information Science and Information Studies. During his time at Duke, he developed an interest in simplifying customer experiences through concentrating on iterative design. Pursuing his passion for technology and design, Charles began his career as part of Liberty Mutual’s Technical Development Program. There, he worked as a Business Analyst where he drove product design and the creation of a formalized rapid prototyping design process. He also spent time as a Technical Lead where he lead a team in their Agile transformation and adoption of continuous integration and continuous development principles. Since joining Microsoft as a Program Manager for Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), Charles has married his experience in product design and Agile software development to develop first-class Agile experiences for customers using VSTS to drive their own software development pipelines. As he looks ahead, Charles is actively seeking opportunities to refine his skills, and grow in his field, with the aspiration of becoming a leader in the tech industry and his community.
Toria Walker, 2017-18
Toria Walker, 2017-18Bioqual Inc, Animal Research Technician
KIPP DC Alumna
Toria Walker is a proud alumna of KIPP DC: KEY Academy located in Washington, DC. Expanding upon the passion for science that she developed at KIPP, she received a B.A. in Neuroscience from Mount Holyoke College in 2015. She has performed research studying the mechanisms of underlying nerve damage and post-treatment regeneration of nerve insulation in a Multiple Sclerosis and an Epilepsy model. In March 2017, she founded the TACKLE Inc. College Readiness Program to aid high school students from the DMV area with SAT test preparation and the college application process. While preparing her application for medical school, she currently works as a research technician performing contract vaccine research trials for diseases such as Zika Virus, Malaria, Rabies, and variant strains of the Flu Virus. Her dream is to become a Neurologist who works with a team of researchers and physicians to develop neuroprosthetic devices that restore motor function to patients with spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative disorders.
Pegi Ylli, 2017-18
Pegi Ylli, 2017-18Columbia University, Masters of Public Administration Graduate Student
KIPP DC Alumna
Pegi Ylli is a proud graduate of KIPP DC: KEY Academy, the first KIPP school in Washington, DC. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and International Affairs from the George Washington University in 2014. Pegi spent the past two years based in Vienna, Austria working as a consultant and operations assistant for the World Bank Office for the Western Balkans. In her role, Pegi worked on complex international development issues, such as regional trade facilitation and country partnership strategies. In August 2017, Pegi began pursuing a Masters of Public Administration degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where she is focusing on International Finance and Economic Policy.
Stanley Aladi, 2016-17
Stanley Aladi, 2016-17Howard University College of Medicine, Medical Student
KIPP NYC Alumnus
Stanley Aladi is a Class of 2006 KIPP NYC alum. He received his high school education at George School in Newtown, PA and went on to attend Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, completing a B.A. in Biology. Stanley has a background in biomedical clinical research as he spent three years working as a research technician at Columbia University. Stanley is currently a fourth year medical student at Howard University College of Medicine and plans to pursue his residency training in internal medicine and eventually a subspecialty fellowship in cardiology or gastroenterology. Stanleys plans to eventually lead a community based practice that fosters to the needs of patients in urban areas who are disproportionally underserved in healthcare.
Derrick Bennett, 2016-17
Derrick Bennett, 2016-17North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks, Financial Bank Examiner
KIPP ENC Alumnus
Derrick Bennett, born and raised in rural eastern North Carolina, is a proud Panther of KIPP ENC where he attributes the foundation of his career. As a Tar Heel, Derrick attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and discovered his passion for Economics and Philosophy. Derrick spent much of his spare time tutoring and mentoring in local area schools and was recognized as an UNC Public Service Scholar. After graduating, he attended East Carolina University and received his MBA, while also working in Branch Banking & Trust Companys Trust Division. Aspiring to grow in the banking industry, Derrick transitioned into regulatory supervision, where he currently serves as a financial bank examiner at the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks, and focuses on capital markets and macro-economic research. Aside from his career, he also enjoys residential construction and recently obtained his North Carolina Building Contractor license to help provide affordable housing to rural underserved communities. Derrick aims to continue leading rural counties through financial literacy and professional development.
Victoria Bennett, 2016-17
Victoria Bennett, 2016-17North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services, Communication Specialist
KIPP ENC Alumna
Victoria is a proud member of the Pride of 2009, the first graduating class from the peanut fields of KIPP Gaston. She was honored to be a member of the prestigious cohorts of both the Robertson Scholars and the Michael & Susan Dell Scholars. She received her BA in Sociology with a minor in Social & Economic Justice from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also received a certificate in Child Policy Research from Duke University. She is a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is currently a Legal Communications Specialist with the NC Department of Health & Human Services. She lives her passion for service every single day, as a member of the KIPP ENC Board of Directors. She is the proud parent of Amaya, an inquisitive and energetic 4-year old. Her approach to her career and her life is simple: “Nihil timendum est.” Fear nothing.
Lorenzo Castillo, 2016-17
Lorenzo Castillo, 2016-17KIPP Foundation, Senior Manager of Strategic Engagement
KIPP Houston Alumnus
After graduating from the very first KIPP School, Lorenzo earned full scholarships to attend boarding school in Connecticut and business school in California. Post college, Lorenzo returned to his hometown to serve as a corps member for Teach for America and taught for 2 years in Houston followed by an additional 2 years in New Orleans. Since then, Lorenzo has gained a variety of experience working with educational startups and non-profit organizations. Currently, Lorenzo serves as the Co-Founder of Education Everytime, Entrepreneur in Residence for PowerMoves, and Coach for Teach for America. When he is not working with teachers or doing business, Lorenzo enjoys running in Central Park with his dog Penelope and spending time with his family in Texas.
Roquel Crutcher, 2016-17
Roquel Crutcher, 2016-17KIPP Foundation, Government Affairs and Policy Associate
KIPP Memphis Alumna
Roquel is an eager mind and she is no stranger to being a leader. From founding her university’s NAACP chapter to changing the universitys discriminatory policies, Roquel dedicates her time to achieving equality. Roquel is a Class of 2016 college graduate who received her BA in Communications, Legal Studies, Economics and Government, as well as a certificate in Politics, Policy and Law from American University. It is from attending KIPP that Roquel noticed her passion in education policy and social justice and through KIPP teachers and administrators that Roquel learned how to use this voice effectively. Roquel has been featured in Washington Post, NBC Washington, and many other publications for her work. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, it comes as no surprise that Roquel loves listening to music and dancing. Roquel was a member of American University’s national award-winning dance team and plans to continue dancing as she navigates full-time employment.
Bianca Hand, 2016-17
Bianca Hand, 2016-17The Walters Art Museum, Gallery Teaching Assistant Handel Choir of Baltimore, Development Associate
KIPP Baltimore Alumna
Bianca Hand graduated from The College of Wooster with a B.A in Archaeology and minors in Art History and French. Since graduation, she has worked within arts administration and development at a number of cultural institutions such as The Walters Art Museum and the Handel Choir of Baltimore. Though she wants to pursue a career in curation and museum administration, her goal is to also help create and implement strategic plans for institutions to develop and maintain culturally diverse staff members through programming, internships, and fellowships.
Erwing Jimenez, 2016-17
Erwing Jimenez, 2016-17Linbeck Group LLC, Superintendent/Project Engineer
KIPP Houston Alumnus
Erwing was born and raised in Houston, TX. At the age of 12 he joined KIPP as a 6th grader. He went on to complete 8th grade and thus complete the program, as KIPP was only a middle school then. For high school Erwing was accepted into Strake Jesuit College Prep, a prestigious all boys catholic school. At Strake, Erwing was part of the football and track team for all 4 years. He was captain of the football and track teams his senior year. Upon graduation, Erwing had a chance to play college football at Whittier College in Whittier, California but decided to attend Texas Tech University to pursue his dream of becoming an Engineer. In May of 2008, Erwing graduated with a Bachelors degree in Construction Engineering. Today, Erwing resides in Cypress, TX with his wife Delia and 2 kids Sarahi Elizabeth (3) and Erwing Alexander (8mo.) Erwin has worked as a Superintendent/ Project Engineer for Linbeck for the past 8 years.
Emeka Kanu, 2016-17
Emeka Kanu, 2016-17Deloitte, Strategy and Operations Consultant
KIPP NYC Alumnus
Emeka Kanu grew up in the Bronx, NY. Through the guidance of his teachers at KIPP Academy Charter School, he earned a scholarship to Milton Academy, a boarding school in Milton, Massachusetts. After Milton, Emeka attended Trinity College where he earned his bachelor of science in economics and started on the varsity wrestling team. Upon graduating from Trinity, Emeka joined Teach For America where he taught mathematics at KIPP Delta Preparatory School in Helena, AR. After completing his two-year commitment with TFA, Emeka consulted for financial institutions for one year prior to pursuing his MBA at Dartmouths Tuck School of Business. Emeka is currently consulting for Deloittes Strategy and Operations team out of Chicago.
Rocio Mendoza, 2016-17
Rocio Mendoza, 2016-17Baker & McKenzie LLP, Oil and Gas Associate
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumna
Rocio Guadalupe Mendoza was born in Mexico City on December 14, 1985 and grew up in Houston, Texas. Rocio attended KIPP Academy in Houston from 1995 to 1999 and went on to attend the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. Rocio sought to continue to expand her academic horizons in a milder climate at Stanford University, where she became interested in pursuing a legal education. In order to confirm her desire, Rocio took a year off to work as a paralegal at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, then attended the University of Texas School of Law and graduated with honors in Rocio is currently an oil and gas associate in the Houston office of Baker & McKenzie LLP. Throughout her journey, Rocio has remained committed to giving back to her community, in particular by remaining involved with KIPP. Rocio has been a member of the KIPP Houston Public Schools executive board since 2012 and was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston.
A’Dorian Murray-ThomasSHE Wins INC, Founder and Executive Director
KIPP New Jersey Alumna
A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is the Founder and Executive Director of SHE Wins Inc., an organization that seeks to create a pipeline of leadership by investing in the development of civic-minded, college and career-ready young women leaders in the city of Newark. A recent graduate of Swarthmore
College, A’Dorian has been honored by the White House and named a “Champion of Change for College Opportunity” for her work. She has also previously been honored by Positive Community Magazine as the winner of the Annual “Community Choice Award” in Education; been named one of Glamour Magazine’s College Women of the Year; and been selected as the youngest fellow in the Black Alliance for Educational Options’ (BAEO) Bailley-Sullivan
Leadership Institute. A’Dorian currently serves as a board Member on the State Farm Youth Advisory Board and an Operations Coordinator at Opportunity Youth Network’s “Re-engagement Center”. Next year, she will be joining the North Jersey Corp of Teach for America as a middle school Social Studies teacher.
George Ramirez, 2016-17
George Ramirez, 2016-17The Loomis Chaffee School, Penn Fellow University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
KIPP NYC Alumnus
George Ramírez is an unapologetic Latinx immigrant Bronxite looking to decolonize and queer the academy. As a Penn Fellow at The Loomis Chaffee School, he has begun to create more equitable classrooms in predominantly white institutions as a physics and mathematics teacher. He studied physics and history at Yale University, where he developed a passion for pop culture and social media in the context of Latinx studies. In his free time, George loves to dance bachata, go hiking, and listen to Bruce Springsteen. Grateful for his past teachers and mentors, George will focus his master’s thesis at the University of Pennsylvania on the way educators can build meaningful relationships with their students. An aspiring academic, George plans to research the ways social media coalesces the identity of Latinx adolescents while being a support system for students of color.
Vanessa Ramirez, 2016-17
Vanessa Ramirez, 2016-17SER-Jobs for Progress, Chief Operating Officer Eight Million Stories, Founder
KIPP Houston Public Schools Alumna
Vanessa Ramirez is a native Houstonian and the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Economics for Business and Management. Her passion for community development and education reform started in 1994 when she became a member of the Knowledge is Power Program as part of KIPPs founding class.
Vanessa Ramirez serves as the Chief Operating Officer for SER-Jobs for Progress, where she supports the development, implementation, and delivery of program goals to fulfill the mission of SER, and the objectives of each of SERs adult and youth programs. Prior to this role, she wore many hats within KIPP Houston Public Schools KIPP Through College department, most recently serving as the Interim Director of the Houston Scholar Program. In this role, she provided an extra layer of support to highly motivated students from KIPP and YES schools from 8th grade through 12th grade to help them make the transition through high school and college. She is also the Founder of Eight Million Stories, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to providing communities of disconnected youth with an effective alternative to incarceration. In this role, she works with system-involved youth to identify their academic and socio-emotional needs and develop them into self-sustaining members of society who will transform our world.
Jerelyn Rodriguez, 2016-17
Jerelyn Rodriguez, 2016-17The Knowledge House, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
KIPP NYC Alumna
Bronx-native Jerelyn Rodriguez co-founded The Knowledge House in 2014, where she serves as Chief Executive Officer. This year she was honored as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Education. Previously, she coordinated STEM after-school programs at Braven, formerly known as Beyond Z, and was the Bronx Field Director for Reshma Saujani’s (Founder of Girls Who Code) 2013 campaign for New York City Public Advocate. In 2011, Jerelyn joined Students for Education Reform (SFER) as the National Program Director. Prior to SFER, Jerelyn worked in the public school system, teaching and designing student programs. She is on the leadership council for South Bronx Rising Together, a founding Datanaut at NASA, a fellow at Camelback Ventures and the New Leaders Council. She sits on the board of the BXL Bronx Business Incubator and the Media Business Incubator at Hostos Community College. Jerelyn has a degree in film studies from Columbia University.
Octavio Sandoval, 2016-17
Octavio Sandoval, 2016-17MIT Sloan School of Management, MBA Student
KIPP NYC Alumnus
Octavio Sandoval grew up in the South Bronx and graduated from Cornell University in 2010. Upon graduation, he was a capital markets analyst for JP Morgan within its Fixed Income Division for two years. From 2012 – 2015, he worked for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Austin Texas where he managed the investment decisions regarding the asset allocation for over $300 million of his clients’ asset . Now, he is at MIT Sloan, hoping to transition into social impact.
Over the summer, he was a summer associate at Credit Suisse within its mergers and acquisitions group. At MIT Sloan, he serves as the VP of Admissions for the Student Senate, and he is the Co-President of the Vintner’s club as well as the VP of finance for the Hispanic Business Club.
Interested in applying to the fellowship?
Our next application cycle will open in May 2018. Please fill out this form if you are interested in receiving an email when the Accelerator application launches.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 13 hours of 1:1 coaching from executive coaches at MLT
- Introductions to leaders and influencers in your career field
- Participation in a 3-day leadership summit with your Accelerator peers
- Access to entrepreneurs and like-minded change agents
- Engagement with the KIPP Foundation Board, KIPP donors and KIPP champions
- Professional development trainings and skill workshops
- Connections to other awesome Accelerator participants and KIPP peers
Applicants from all fields and career stages are encouraged to apply. Across the first two cohorts, fellows represent ten KIPP regions, fourteen career fields, and range in age from 21 to 33. Ideal candidates will possess the following:
- Alumna/us of a KIPP middle or high school
- Extraordinary track record of leadership and professional achievement
- Ambitious goals and a vision to have an outsized impact on others
- Demonstrated persistence in pursuit of career aspirations
- Strong communication abilities
- Bachelor’s Degree preferred
- Commitment to attend all coaching and networking sessions, travel for in-person summits, and participate fully in the other components of the program
- Leadership: a track record of leadership and professional achievement; evidence of potential for further leadership growth
- Vision for Impact: ambitious goals; vision for outsized impact on others and a desire to be world class in your chosen career field
- Clear plan: ability to communicate effectively; demonstrated commitment to doing whatever it takes to reach career and professional goals
- Character: strong personal character; a model for KIPP’s core values; understanding of personal strengths and areas for improvement
- Relevance: the fellowship offerings are relevant to you at this point in your career
Applicants for the second cohort are currently closed. We will reopen applications for the third cohort in May 2018.
Once applications open, you will be asked to submit 1) a resume 2) a letter of interest, and 3) two short recommendations.
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