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Class of 1997

Terence Carter

Hometown: Chevy Chase, MD

high school: Georgetown Day School

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Afro-American Studies

Terence Carter served as Senior Vice President and Head of Drama Development at Fox Broadcasting Company prior to joining Westbook Studios.

While at Fox, Carter oversaw the development and first seasons of THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, TOUCH starring Kiefer Sutherland, “Terra Nova”, “Alcatraz”, “The Mob Doctor”, “The Finder”, “Human Target”, “The Chicago Code”, “The Good Guys”, and “Lone Star”. In addition, Carter worked on the first season of the network’s Golden Globe Award-winning series, GLEE, that season’s No. 1 scripted program with originals among Adults 18-49.

In 2011, Carter received the honor of being profiled in Variety’s “New Leaders” edition. In 2009, he was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Generation: Top 35 Executives Under 35.”

Prior to joining FBC in 2009, Carter served as Head of Drama Programming for NBC and Universal Media Studios. In that position, Carter oversaw development and current programming for the network and the studio sides. While at NBC, Carter developed several critical and ratings hits such as “Parenthood,” “Southland,” “Kings,” “Knight Rider,” “Trauma,” “Mercy,” “The Philanthropist,” and “Fear Itself.” Prior to joining NBC’s Drama team, Carter served as Director of Comedy Development at the network for two years. During this time he managed the development of such series as “20 Good Years” and “The IT Crowd.”

Before joining NBC, Carter served as a Head of Development at Tonic Films, a successful production company specializing in genre films, until 2005. While there he oversaw the development of 2007’s “Borderland” and “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever.” Prior to his time at Tonic Films, Carter served as a Partner at TruEntertainment, an independent production company, since 2002. Previously, he worked under Mark Canton at Artists Production Group and in the Motion Picture Talent Department at Artists Management Group.

Carter began his career in entertainment working as an intern at “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and Scott Rudin Productions. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he studied Afro-American Studies with a focus in film and media.

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Class of 1997

Yolanda Covington-Ward

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

high school: Strath Haven HS

college: Brown University

MAJOR: Afro-American Studies

GRAD. PROGRAM: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (2008, PhD)

In the ninth grade, Yolanda Covington left behind a combative neighborhood in the South Bronx for “A Better Chance Program” (ABC) at Strath Haven High School in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Her determination to give back to the school made a lasting impression on her peers and teachers. Her high school counselor marvels “it is as though she’s lived another life, knows what it’s all about and has come back for a second time to show others how it should be done.” To broaden her academic experience, Yolanda attended Villanova University’s Summer Scholars program in math and science. She later presented her work to the National Science Foundation. The following summer she was selected to participate in the LEAD program at the University of Pennsylvania where she was introduced to business as a career and visited corporations in the Mid-Atlantic States.

Beyond the classroom, Yolanda was active in band, the Harlem Dance Theatre, the Delaware County Leadership Collaborative, and the Human Relations Council. A natural champion of removing social barriers, she says that her most rewarding experience grew out of her four-year commitment to TOVA productions, a performance group founded to effect social change through the arts. “TOVA was special,” she says, “because the actors were ordinary people telling their own stories.” According to the director at TOVA, “Yolanda became an extremely positive role model for young men and women across the Delaware Valley.”

Yolanda graduated from Brown University with honors majoring in Afro-American Studies. She has studied in Ghana and conducted ethnographic research on dance in Panama. She was a member and co-director of the best dance company on campus, “Fusion Dance Company.” Currently, Yolanda is a second year graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She was the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, as well as the Rackham Merit Fellowship from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she dances with Bichini Bia Congo, a Congolese Dance Company. In the words of one admirer, “Yolanda is clearly one of America’s future leaders.”

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Class of 1997

John Burton

Hometown: Miami, FL

high school: Palmetto HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: History and Literature

GRAD. PROGRAM: Stanford Graduate School of Business (2012, MBA)

John Burton is the Founder and CEO of Citizen Strong, an organization that trains everyday citizens to do political opposition research and then deploys that research to impact federal and state elections.

John was one of the first 20 staffers hired onto Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and he continued on that once-in-a-lifetime roller coaster, joining the Transition team, then working directly for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during the financial crisis.

After this, John spent five years at J.P. Morgan, rising to Vice President and Chief of Staff before returning to the political arena in the wake of the 2016 election – first, as Co-Founder of Daily Action, empowering over 200,000 Americans to make daily phone calls to elected officials, and then in 2018, as Founder of Citizen Strong.

Locally, John has served as Treasurer of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, where he led a $10 million expansion that was the first of its kind in the nation to be funded primarily through federal tax credits. In his free time, he’s writing a memoir to be published by Little, Brown in 2022, eating too much ice cream and watching old episodes of Scandal but not in that order.

John graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and holds an M.B.A. from Stanford.

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Class of 1997

Jordan Brewer

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

high school: Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

college: MIT

MAJOR: Computer Science

GRAD. PROGRAM: MIT – Computer Science (2002, MS)

A graduate of the Center for Enriched Studies in Los Angeles, California, Jordan Brewer made his mark early in science. As a member of the Academic Decathlon Team, he collected two medals, three conference awards and the highest team score for his school. He was a member of the school’s National Science Bowl Team and was honored by Bank of America and by Angel City Links Achiever Program for academic excellence. Jordan served as one of the vice presidents of his senior class and as a member of the California Scholarship Federation. His academic merit earned him scholarships from the Council of Black Administrators. Jordan graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 2002 and currently resides in San Diego.

After graduation, Jordan worked as a Software Engineer at Hewlett Packard, and Intuit.  Currently he is a Software Architect at PayPal.

In his spare time, he enjoys contributing to service organizations and playing tennis, volleyball, softball and practices playing the piano.

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Class of 1997

Kelly Cross

Hometown: Beckley, WV

high school: Woodrow Wilson HS

college: Princeton University

MAJOR: German

GRAD. PROGRAM: University of Virginia School of Law (2005, JD)

Kelly Cross is committed to opening the markets of the world to those who have long been denied access to them.

During his undergraduate years at Princeton, Kelly was a leader in many facets of campus life. He served three years as his class’s senator on the Undergraduate Student Government, was a co-founder and treasurer of the university’s first branch of the NAACP, and organized many of the community service projects of the university’s service organization, Community House. He was also a varsity member and junior varsity captain of the Princeton University Rugby Football Club.

Kelly majored in Germanic Languages and Literatures as an undergraduate, focusing on contemporary German culture and politics. His senior thesis explored the relationship between the modern German state’s need for protection and its individual citizens’ right to free speech. Kelly also minored in French literature, focusing on 18th and 19th century artistic movements.

In addition to his time at Princeton, Kelly has studied at Berlin’s Freie Universitaet, Munich’s Goethe Institut, and Georgetown University. Currently, Kelly is in his second year at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Class of 1997

Marco Ellis

Hometown: Manassas, VA

high school: MacArthur HS

college: University of Virginia

MAJOR: Biochemistry

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Medical School (2005, MD)

Marco Ellis, M.D. was selected to the inaugural class of Ron Brown Scholars in 1997. The Scholarship program, funded by the charitable donations of the CAP Foundation, annually selects the top 20 graduating African-American high school students. He applied the $40,000 award towards tuition at the University of Virginia. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biochemistry. His most prized achievement was living on the university’s historical Lawn, a prestigious honor given to selected graduating seniors. Marco spent his summers in college conducting biomedical research which refined his initial interests in medicine. He completed internships at the Institute of Human Gene Therapy in Philadelphia, PA and the Picower Institute in Long Island, NY.

Marco then enrolled in medical school at Harvard University where he concentrated his studies in general surgery and academic medicine. He has continued his studies at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He is chief resident in the Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. He has also completed a research fellowship in craniofacial surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago.  His clinical interest is in reconstruction of the facial skeleton. In the future, he plans to participate in medical missions to developing countries in Asia and Africa.

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Megan Donovan-Davis

Megan Donovan-Davis

Hometown: Washington, DC

high school: Dunbar HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Economics

Meg is a seasoned veteran of the retail space in both fashion and home with more than 15 years experience in brick and mortar stores and e-commerce. Her journey has taken her from traditional buying and merchandising roles to sourcing and product design across more than 7 countries for some of the top names in the industry including Saks 5th Avenue, Pottery Barn and ZGallerie. Currently Meg serves as Senior Director of Product Development and Sourcing at Modsy. She is incharge of the product direction, vendors and overall assortment for the on-line Interior Design Service.

In just over 2 years, Meg created merchandising at Modsy and leveraged her expertise and broad connections in the furniture industry to set the vision and build the direct vendor marketplace from the ground-up. A true start-up within a start-up, the direct vendor marketplace has increased margin for the company 3x and now realizes nearly $24 million a year. Meg holds a BA in Economics from Harvard and spends her spare time cooking, hiking, practicing yoga and learning new languages.

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Class of 1997

Michael Billings

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

high school: Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School

college: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

MAJOR: Economics

GRAD. PROGRAM: University of Utah David Eccles School of Businesss (2002. MS)

Mr. Billings is a Vice President at FPA. He joined the firm in 2011 as an analyst for the FPA Multi-Advisor Strategy. Prior to joining FPA, he was a consulting Investment Analyst at Dougan & Associates, a single family office in Salt Lake City, UT. Previously, he gained direct investment experience at Coatue Management; a New York based hedge fund. He began his career at the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Since 2005, on a volunteer basis, he has represented President Clinton and the Foundation as official advance on 4 continents, over 15 U.S. States and in 6 of 13 Canadian Provinces and Territories.

Mr. Billings earned a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (2002) and a MS in Finance from the University of Utah (2008). He was selected as a member of the inaugural Ron Brown scholar program class in 1997.

A native of Salt Lake City, UT, he enjoys skiing at Alta, hiking throughout Utah, stand-up paddle boarding off the California coast.  He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA (Venice, CA) and his hometown of Salt Lake City, UT.

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Class of 1997

Myia Alston

Hometown: Washington, DC

high school: Benjamin Banneker HS

college: George Washington University

MAJOR: Electronic Media

GRAD. PROGRAM: Syracuse University (2002, MA)

Myia Alston has endured more personal hardship in her 20 years than most people experience in a lifetime. Facing poverty and overcoming the temptations of the streets have helped her develop great internal resources. Born in Washington, D.C., Myia graduated fourth in her class at the prestigious Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, where she was recognized with awards for academic excellence and honored for her accomplishments in journalism. As a ninth grader, Myia was introduced to television media as an intern at Channel 28, the public school’s cable access station. For four years, she served as director, producer, talk show host, and reporter. In the summer of her junior year, Myia studied journalism for five weeks in the National High School Institute at Northwestern University.

In recognition of her journalistic ability, C-SPAN offered Myia a five-year internship in its Media Careers for Minorities Program, which she is completing while she earns her undergraduate degree in Electronic Media at George Washington University. This past year she produced vignettes that aired during C-SPAN’s American Presidents Tour; she also field-produced several LIVE events. Myia hopes to be a producer for network television and develop programming for at-risk children.

Myia’s decision to attend college in Washington, D.C. came about when she heard GWU’s president express regret that many of the city’s most talented students were recruited to other top-tier colleges. Although it was a tough choice (she was accepted by Yale, Middlebury and others), she is confident in her decision.

Myia doesn’t spend all of her time in Washington. Last year she studied Spanish and anthropology in Spain in a summer program sponsored by Syracuse University (the photo above was taken in Menorca). During the spring semester of 2000 she studied media at the University of Westminster in London.

Myia serves as a board member for the Peter N.G. Schwartz Foundation, which implements values programs in elementary schools and donates funds to underprivileged college-bound students (she was previously a recipient). Myia’s goal is to “live as a testament to children from similar backgrounds so they will understand that they can make it too.”

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Class of 1997

J. Paulson Tuffet

Hometown: Miami, FL

high school: Coral Gables HS

college: University of Pennsylvania

MAJOR: Economics and Political Science

GRAD. PROGRAM: Georgetown University School of Law (2012 – JD)

Paulson Tuffet’s parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti with dreams of the opportunities their new life would hold. From an early age his parents instilled in him that he could and would succeed. Paulson attended Coral Gables High School in Miami, a magnet school known for excellence in academics. There he chose to pursue the broad-based International Baccalaureate Program. The co-chair of the English Department described him as a “Renaissance man for the next century,” and another teacher thought him “a young man who will never settle for less than his personal best.”

At Coral Gables, Paulson’s talent for writing and journalism blossomed. He was able to use these talents to advocate for social change. As editor-in-chief of the school’s acclaimed newspaper, Highlights, he is remembered for his insightful commentary. He developed his journalism interests further as an intern for the Associated Press and the Miami Herald.

Always ready to give back, Paulson served as president of the 500 Role Models of Excellence, a mentoring program for African-American young men, president of True Believers, a church group, and president of the Heritage Club, a multicultural group promoting understanding on this diverse campus, where seventy nationalities were represented. This young man’s achievements were duly recognized; the National Science Merit Award, Brown University Book award, Advanced Placement Scholar Award, first place in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Journalism Award.

Now enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, Paulson has served as president and social director of the Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He is a member of the Dessalines Haitian Student Association, the Black Student League, and the mentoring program. In the University’s “Start on Success Scholarship Program” he is an ethnographer and mentor to local high school students. Paulson intends to major in urban studies and economics. ” I feel honored to serve as an ambassador for Ron Brown’s dreams and aspirations of personal success, excellence and affluence for his race. I will commit myself in life to uphold the honor of being a Ron Brown Scholar.”

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