When Sheryl Sandberg is Your Mentor: Scholarship Winners Reach College Milestone

ByThe 74

Four years ago, Sheryl Sandberg and Rob Goldberg funded a scholarship program meant to free high-achieving first-generation college students from everyday financial burdens while giving them the type of mentorship that can launch careers.

Sandberg, who stepped down earlier this month as the longtime chief operating officer of Meta, Facebook’s parent company; and Goldberg, founder and CEO of Fresno Unlimited, took the mentorship aspect seriously. Both assumed that role themselves for two students in the inaugural 30-member scholarship class that became the first to graduate college last month.

“I am so hopeful about the impact these students will have in the world and am confident they will build a brighter future for us all,” Sandberg told The 74 via email this month.

The Goldberg scholarship was created to honor Dave Goldberg — Sandberg’s husband and Rob Goldberg’s brother — who died in 2015 at age 47. Dave Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey, was close with KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth, and all the scholarship recipients are alumni of the charter school network, which predominantly serves low-income students of color.

Sandberg’s mentee was Maleah Densby, a Duke University graduate who struggled with veering from her long-determined plan of being a pre-med major and eventually, a doctor. Floundering at first in her hardcore STEM classes, Densby, a top student, credited Sandberg with helping her to see that her grades did not define her or her dreams.

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