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Class of 1998

Tiffany Griswell

Hometown: Columbia, NC

high school: Columbia

college: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

MAJOR: Business Administration (with honors)

GRAD. PROGRAM: UCLA Law School (2010, JD)

Tiffany Griswell grew up in Columbia, North Carolina where she graduated as valedictorian from Columbia High School in 1998. She received a B.S. in Business Administration with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002. From there, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she worked for several years in commercial banking at SunTrust Bank, Inc. as an Assistant Vice President. She then pursued further education at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, California where she earned her Juris Doctorate in May 2010. She still resides in Los Angeles working for the U.S. Department of Labor. Tiffany continues to place an emphasis on community service as she has throughout her life. She volunteers her time working at neighborhood reading programs for elementary school students and at the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, a Christian-based shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness.

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Class of 1998

Traci Burch

Hometown: Bear, DE

high school: Mount Pleasant

college: Princeton University

MAJOR: Politics

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard University (2007, PhD)

Originally a resident of Macon, Georgia, Traci Burch moved to Claymont, Delaware and attended Mount Pleasant High School. She excelled in all subjects, ranking in the top one percent of her class. A member of the Business Professionals of America Organization, she was recruited by MBNA Bank for their summer internship program and worked in the consumer deposits division.

Starting in 1998, Traci was hard at work at Princeton University where she majored in politics. Active in debate, mock trial, moot court, and the Princeton Model Congress, she was a member of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, the umbrella organization for these activities. One summer she studied and did research in Yale University’s Department of Political Science. This internship was sponsored by the Leadership Alliance.

Despite her rigorous schedule, Traci found time to tutor a high school junior each week. She imagined that “in ten years I’ll probably still be in school, especially if I decide to go to law school and get a doctorate in politics.” Her personal credo is “be optimistic. ” With this positive perspective, Traci, as her high school guidance counselor stated, “is prepared for any challenges her future holds.”

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Class of 1998

Aaliyah Williams

Hometown: Tulsa, OK

high school: Union HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Psychology

Aaliyah Williams is a producer and creative strategist who lives to bridge the gap between the digital and TV landscapes.  Crafting innovative short form scripted and unscripted formats that engage audiences is her specialty; when she tells you a 5 minute story, she’ll have you hooked within 30 seconds flat. 

After producing the award-winning short film The Young and Evil (a 2009 Sundance Official Selection), Aaliyah developed and produced Buppies, a dramedy web series that was purchased by BET, garnered a CoverGirl Queen Collection sponsorship, thrilled over 2 million viewers, and was a Webby Honoree. 

Aaliyah has created branded content for Fox Digital Studio and AOL. Most recently, Ms. Williams ran the content division of Russell Simmons’ YouTube channel, All Def Digital. While there she conceived and produced comedy, music, and pop-culture series that amassed over 54 million views and sustained 280,000 subscribers.

After living, breathing, and nimbly navigating the YouTube landscape for the better part of two years, Aaliyah founded Just A Rebel, Inc., a digital production company and creative strategy company.  Just A Rebel advises clients on how to leverage the power of YouTube and emerging multi-platform distribution channels to reach  audiences, and works on behalf of clients to produce compelling content experiences.   Current projects include crafting and executing the social media for the documentary on YouTube sensation, Lilly Singh aka iiSuperwomanii’s 2015 world tour – A TRIP TO UNICORN ISLAND;  and producing premium web shows for multicultural media startup, MACRO.

Aaliyah is a member of the International Academy of Web Television, a Sundance Creative Producers Fellow, and a Film Independent Project:Involve alum. She attended Harvard (had a fabulous time), was raised in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and is living proof that these states do indeed exist outside of John Steinbeck novels. Running fuels her creative zen, so if you catch her while she is marathon training in Santa Monica or powering up and down various stairs in the greater Los Angeles area, do stop and say hello; she’ll probably have some ideas about your digital presence to share.

www.justarebelproductions.com

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Class of 1998

Antonia Henry

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

high school: City HS

college: University of Michigan

MAJOR: Microbiology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Medical School (2006, MD); Harvard School of Public Health (2011, MPH)

Antonia Henry, MD, MPH is a Colorectal Surgeon from the RBS class of 1998. This August, she will join the staff of Metro Health – University of Michigan in Grand Rapids, MI as Associate Chief Clinical Officer. She is returning to her hometown after 7 years as on active duty in the US Navy. As a Commander, her last post was directing the endoscopy center at Naval Medical Center San Diego. After graduating from the University of Michigan (Microbiology), she earned her MD and MPH at Harvard. She completed General Surgery residency and fellowship in Colorectal Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  While in the Navy, she served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier, and in Kandahar, Afghanistan as Director of Surgical Services at the NATO Multinational Medical Unit. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

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Class of 1998

Jennifer Banner-Sobers

Hometown: New York, NY

high school: Bronx HS of Science

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Government

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

Jennifer graduated from University of Virginia law school in May 2005 and is currently working for a law firm in New York. Though she is excited to be back in her hometown after being away at school for 7 years, she absolutely loved Charlottesville, Virginia and will miss it tremendously.

While in law school, Jennifer performed numerous hours of pro bono work and received special recognition for her service at graduation. But, she did not see it as a chore or something to do for credit, she loves making a difference in her community and will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of others throughout her career.

Jen is so grateful to the Ron Brown Scholar organization for playing such a large role in making her dreams a reality. THANKS!

At the Bronx High School of Science in New York City, Jennifer Banner realized that it was through the study of law and government that she could make a positive difference in the lives of others. She became the founder and president of the pre-law society, an elected member of the senior advisory council, and president of her school’s National Honor Society. She was also president of the Junior Engineering Technological Society (JETS) and competed in the New York City Math Fair, where she earned gold and silver medals.

During the summer of her junior year in high school Jennifer, chosen from among 300 applicants, interned with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. As a senior she completed an internship with the Legal Aid Society. There she attended trials and assisted in serving subpoenas, researching and analyzing cases. These internships strengthened her resolve to pursue the study of law.

Jennifer attended Harvard University where she served on the Undergraduate Council and the Undergraduate Advisory Council for students who are majoring in government. She was active in the Mock Security Council and a community action committee called the Institute of Politics.

Jennifer made a difference in the community as director of College Choice, which offers college advising to high school students in poor areas of Boston. She visited the elderly through Boston Senior Home Care and found time to volunteer at the Small Claims Court Advisory Service, a student-run organization dedicated to helping those with limited resources in small civil disputes.

Returning to New York City during the summer months for internships, Jennifer has worked at the Legal Aid Society, the United States Mission to the United Nations, and Debevoise & Plimpton law firm.

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Class of 1998

Leah Hodge-Hobson

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

high school: Stanton College Prep

college: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

MAJOR: Accounting

GRAD. PROGRAM: Stanford Graduate School of Business (2006, MBA)

Leah is the only child of an only child from Mississippi and the oldest boy of twelve from Georgia. She grew up in Jacksonville, FL and graduated from Stanton College Preparatory School in 1998. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of Business with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Hispanic Studies. While at Penn, she was a part of the gospel choir and The Inspiration, an a cappella group. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Leah served as Vice President and acted as the only undergraduate on the Sorority’s Regional Standards committee. During her summers, Leah held internships with First Union National Bank and J.P. Morgan as a part of INROADS and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO).

After graduating from Penn, she moved to London to work for J.P. Morgan Chase as an Analyst in its Investment Bank. By the end of her three years in London, Leah had traveled to over 20 countries. Her most treasured accomplishment is the Millennium Volunteer “Award for Excellence”, given by the UK’s Secretary of State for Education and Skills, in recognition of over 200 hours in weekly visits with an elderly British woman through the Dorcas Befriending Scheme in Islington. After being promoted to Associate in 2005, Leah chose to pursue her MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and was named a Charles P. Bonini Fellow, a full-tuition award. She spent one year in Global and U.S. marketing with Eli Lilly in Indianapolis in order to fulfill the fellowship. From 2005 to 2007 Leah served as President of the Ron Brown Alumni Association and Chair for the Council on African American Affairs.

After graduating from business school in June 2008 Leah moved to Chicago, IL to join Erickson Retirement Communities as Associate Executive Director.

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Class of 1998

Maleka Donaldson Gramling

Hometown: Columbus, OH

high school: Columbus Alter HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Biology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Graduate School of Education (2001, EdM)

Maleka Donaldson Gramling is a 2002 graduate of Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. Along with academics, while in college she dedicated herself to several organizations: the Kuumba Singers, Sisters of Kuumba, Eliot House An Evening with Champions, Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship, and ’02 Steppers. Since graduation, she worked at the Boston Consulting Group, and currently is serving in a year long fellowship at the Council on African American Affairs. Also, she was recently married to Jonathan M. Gramling, who she met while in the Kuumba Singers at Harvard.

In her senior year at Columbus Alternative High School, Maleka Donaldson was a valedictorian, National Achievement Scholar, Senior Class President, Secretary/Treasurer of Student Senate, National Honor Society board member, and a leader in her church youth group.

“Throughout my college experience, it has been a real challenge to find balance between academics, extracurricular activities, social life, spiritual life and personal time,” Maleka says. “The scholarship made my college experience better because it decreased financial stresses and allowed me the time to focus on my search for that delicate balance. I am so appreciative of the CAP Foundation for supporting me and helping me to create and reach for higher goals than I had ever imagined.”

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Class of 1998

Melanie Goins

Hometown: Midlothian, VA

high school: Governors School for Government and International Studies

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Social Studies

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Law School (2007, JD)

Melanie Forbes traveled several hours each day to attend the prestigious Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond. There she was a natural leader in Student Council, the school orchestra, the National Honor Society and the Debate Team. Under her direction, the Debate Team reached new success at the local, state, and regional levels. In 1998, Melanie was the regional Lincoln-Douglas Debate Champion. A National Achievement Finalist and recipient of the Harvard University Book Award, she volunteered for Jack and Jill of America, a mother and child service organization.

One faculty advisor noticed that “her ability to work with others in an open-minded, flexible and dependable fashion is the trademark of her success.” As the liaison between the Governor’s School and the Thomas Jefferson High School, which shared a cramped building where tension was high and differences were accentuated, Melanie exemplified the Governor’s School’s vision of “students who seek to serve their community, who are tolerant, endowed with strong character and who understand and celebrate diversity in the global community for the 21st century.”

Melanie graduated from Harvard University with a degree in social studies. She was a member of the Sports and News Departments at the Harvard Radio Station and also worked in the office of Sports Information and Media Relations for the Department of Athletics. Melanie was a coxswain for Radcliffe’s crew team. She sang in Kuumba, Harvard’s gospel choir, and served on the Executive Board of this organization.

In one of many efforts to give back to her community, Melanie worked as an assistant teacher in an enrichment program in the Richmond city schools during the summer of 1999. One summer she interned at the Ronald H. Brown Foundation, helping to organize a major golf tournament fundraiser in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

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Class of 1998

Shirley Delaleu

Hometown: Elmont, NY

high school: Commack HS

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Human Biology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Mount Sanai Medical School (2008, MD-MPH)

A National Achievement Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, and salutatorian of her senior class, Shirley Delaleu was voted “most scholastic” by her peers at Commack High School on Long Island, New York. It was not all academics for Shirley, however. She enjoyed acting in theatre productions and writing for the school paper and literary magazine. She served as secretary of the National Honor Society and as an executive for the International Cultural Society. One of Shirley’s former teachers believes that “she leads through example and earns the respect and admiration of her peers; she’ll make a name for herself in whatever she chooses.”

Shirley attended Stanford University where she was a human biology major with a concentration in comparative health and healing systems. Her intellectual interests include national and international health policy. She pursued these interests through her positions as Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Stanford Women’s Community Center, peer health educator in her dorm, teaches at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, and counselor at the peer counseling center. After her first year at Stanford, she was selected to mentor a group of African American freshman in the University’s Partners for Academic Excellence Program. During college, Shirley also studied in the Stanford in Washington program, for which she interned at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center; and later at Oxford, where she studied European health care.

After college, Shirley served as a Presdiential Intern at the American Red Cross’ National Headquarters, where she studied the issues behind mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Later she worked as a research fellow at the think tank, the Council on African-American Affairs. In 2003, Shirley enrolled in the MD/MPH program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. During medical school, she developed her interest in global health, traveling to Nigeria, Belize, Cuba, and Argentina for different service projects. She also spearheaded many of the World AIDS Day events at Mount Sinai and led several different student groups.

Shirley attributes her tenacity in life to having three older brothers. She claims, “I had to be strong and vocal just to be heard.”

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Class of 1998

Tomeka Suber

Hometown: Greensboro, NC

high school: Parkland HS

college: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

MAJOR: Chemistry

GRAD. PROGRAM: Johns Hopkins Medical School (2010, MD. PhD)

Tomeka Suber’s strengths and interests lie in the sciences and in community service. Tomeka spent much of her high school career working with her local chapter of the March of Dimes Chain Reaction Council to raise funds for the fight against infant mortality. Her leadership skills are matched by her academic excellence. Not only was she a National Merit Scholar and valedictorian of her class at Parkland High School, but she was also senior class president and executive officer of the Student Leadership Council. These honors and endeavors earned her the Ron Brown Scholarship as well as the Joseph E. Pogue Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As a Dean’s List student at UNC, Tomeka majored in Chemistry (Biochemistry track) and participated in a variety of research projects. She completed research programs at Duke Medical Center, Princeton University, and Harvard Medical School. She also completed honors thesis research in genetics at UNC, and in November 2000 she participated in the National Minority Research Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Tomeka regularly volunteered at UNC’s Gynecologic Oncology clinic. She strived to improve the lives of African-American students as an active member of the Black Student Movement, which advocates against racial intolerance and discrimination. She served on the Black Cultural Center Advisory Board and planned programs that facilitated discussion among all students in the university community. In addition, Tomeka coordinated recruiting efforts for the Minority Student Recruitment Program and served as a minority advisor to freshmen. She also served on the UNC Undergraduate Honor Court and the University Hearings Board, stressing the importance of academic integrity in the university community.

In 2002, she graduated with Honors in Chemistry and a minor in African-American Studies. She earned Phi Beta Kappa membership and was selected as a Senior Marshal for her class. Currently, Tomeka is a student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in a dual degree MD/PhD Program.

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