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Brennan Gould

Brennan Gould

Hometown: Des Moines, IA

high school: Roosevelt High School

college: University of Iowa

MAJOR: Philosophy

Brennan is President and CEO at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. The Foundation is a grantmaker driving positive, sustainable change in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties. She leads the organization to ensure achievement of its mission, financial viability, and long-term growth and stability.

Prior to her 2018 appointment as President and CEO, Brennan led the Foundation’s grant-funded programs to support critical services, advance systems change, and impact community trends. Her work included designing and managing high-impact programs in food insecurity, maternal and infant health disparities, workforce development, greenway trail networks, and public housing redevelopment. She also managed the Heal Charlottesville Fund that is responding to the violence and terrorism of August 11 and 12, 2017.

Prior to joining the Foundation team, Brennan worked as District Liaison to former 5th District Congressman Tom Perriello. In her role with the Congressman’s office, she led an effort to connect local governments, nonprofits, and community leaders in 22 localities with federal resources. She also helped local leaders develop strategic partnerships and programming to build competitiveness in the region.

Brennan graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Iowa. She is a 2001 Ron Brown Scholar and 2001 Davidson Fellow Laureate. She is a 2017 graduate of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and two daughters.

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Caleb Franklin

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

high school: Brentwood

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Social Studies

Caleb is a founder and Managing Partner at Matter Advisors. Caleb currently works in Matter’s Mumbai office representing the company’s clients across the global landscape of media, entertainment, technology and sports. Caleb co-founded Matter in 2017. Previous to this position, Caleb worked for the Creative Artists Agency as the Managing Director for its India operations, representing and packaging opportunities on behalf of leading global companies, brands, and artists for the SAARC region. Caleb graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University.

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Class of 2001

Christopher Khan

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

high school: Gonzaga College High School

college: Northwestern University

MAJOR: Industrial Engineering

GRAD. PROGRAM: Johns Hopkins University (2006, MA)

Christopher Khan graduated from Northwestern University having triple majored in Industrial Engineering, Political Science, and International Studies.  He was also selected for Northwestern’s competitive Undergraduate Leadership Program and completed a concentration in Business Management.  These diverse interests lead him to pursue internship opportunities in the US, UK, and Spain.  Chris also had his share of fun in college—not only was he Northwestern’s mascot, Willie the Wildcat, he was also voted Northwestern’s “Homecoming King” his senior year. 

Upon graduating, Chris started his own consulting firm.  Originally providing strategy consulting services to nonprofits and NGOs in Washington DC, his focus has expanded over the years to include projects in the fields of international development, healthcare economics, and alternative energy.  His work has taken him around the world, and he has written a book, Notes to Self, chronicling the interesting lessons he has learned over his unconventional career thus far.

Chris has also co-founded a microfinance NGO in Kisumu, Kenya.  Working with his team in Kenya, he developed a unique strategy for reducing the costs of administering micro loans to the rural poor.  The organization currently provides thousands of clients with the financial services they need to grow their businesses.

Chris also holds a M.A. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

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Class of 2001

Eleanor Branch

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

high school: St. Francis

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Genetic Engineering

GRAD. PROGRAM: Stanford University (2006, MS)

Throughout high school and college, Eleanor Branch’s overarching goal for her future was to contribute to the world in a positive manner. After starting at Stanford University in the fall of 2001, she quickly realized that addressing the world’s energy issues was what she wanted to pursue. As a result, she tailored her education towards the study of efficiency in the production and use of energy. Her concern for humanity and wish to contribute to the world through providing cleaner, more efficient power and energy services led to an internship at the Rocky Mountain Institute.In this position, Eleanor analyzed utilities’ future power generation mix, the associated economic costs, and carbon emissions in general. She also worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center through Howard University’s GoHFAS program. As a 2006 graduate of Stanford University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Master’s Program, Eleanor Branch has worked as an energy engineer at Newcomb Anderson McCormick in San Francisco. She is currently an MBA candidate in Harvard’s Business School.

Eleanor Branch’s commitment to making the world a better place is also reflected in her actions at the local level. At Stanford, she tutored local disadvantaged middle school students three times a week, as well as volunteered at the local Boys and Girls Club and other education oriented programs. Additionally, Eleanor participated in the planning of an energy efficient, “Green Dorm” that Stanford is building for student housing.

Finally, Eleanor Branch is deeply respectful of cultural differences among people due to her own diverse ethnic background and her experiences abroad. During her sophomore year in high school, she studied for a year in Fukuoka, Japan on a Tsuzuki International Scholarship. She lived with local Japanese students and with others from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, and Brazil. Throughout college she continued to educate herself about other cultures, traveling throughout Latin America.

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Karla Aghedo

Hometown: Tyler, TX

high school: John Tyler

college: Iowa State University

MAJOR: Business Management

GRAD. PROGRAM: University of Virginia School of Law (2010, JD)

Karla J. Aghedo is a practicing attorney in the Washington, DC office of the international corporate law firm, Hogan Lovells US LLP. She focuses her practice on criminal and complex civil litigation with a particular focus on white collar criminal defense and false advertising in the health care sector.

Born in Kansas and raised in Oklahoma and Texas, Karla claims both her Midwestern and Southern roots. During high school at John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas, Karla was elected Class President, played the cello in the orchestra, and was a member of the Debate Team. After graduating as the Salutatorian, Karla attended Iowa State University where she won five Outstanding Attorney awards during her 4-year participation with the Iowa State Mock Trial Team, served as an advisor to the President’s Leadership Class, co-founded an organization called the got ignorance? Campaign Network, and wrote a column for the Iowa State Daily newspaper during her senior year.

In May 2005, Karla graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with Distinction from Iowa State with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in History, with minors in French and Political Science. After graduation she served as the Interim Executive Director of the YWCA of Ames-ISU in Ames, Iowa during the summer of 2005. Later that year, Karla began a year-long Research Fellowship with the Council on African American Affairs in Washington, D.C., followed by an internship with the Ron Brown Scholar Program in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Karla started law school at the University of Virginia School of Law in the fall of 2007, where she helped her Black Law Students Association (BLSA) mock trial team secure the title of Mid-Atlantic Regional Champions and received the Bracewell Best Oralist Award for her first-year appellate oral argument.  During law school, she served as President of Women of Color and as a member of the Editorial and Article Review Boards of the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law.  Upon graduation from law school in May 2010, Karla received the National Association of Women Lawyers Award, which is awarded each year to an outstanding woman in the graduating class.

Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Karla served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Anderson County Criminal District Attorney in Palestine, Texas, where she assisted with felony and misdemeanor prosecutions and managed civil asset forfeiture cases.

Formerly named Karla Hardy, she is married to Osaren Aghedo of Benin City, Nigeria.

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Maris Jones

Hometown: El Cerrito, CA

high school: El Cerrito

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Human Biology

GRAD. PROGRAM: University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine (2009, MD)

As a Stanford University graduate of 2005, and a current medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Maris Jones embraces learning with a fervor exceeded only by her passion for living life to its fullest.

For as long as she can remember, Maris has seized every new opportunity, looking for answers and insight. Maris took the most rigorous courses offered at her high school. During her last year she enrolled in classes at the University of California at Berkeley through the University’s High School Honors Program. She is the recipient of a Brown University Book Award and a National Achievement Scholarship.

At Stanford University, Maris continued to satiate her love of learning by initiating, along with fellow classmates, a current events discussion group entitled “Bursting the Bubble.” The purpose of Bursting the Bubble was to break through Stanford’s comfortable environment and bring news and social issues to students through panel discussions and Q&A sessions led by renowned speakers brought to campus. Additionally, Maris became involved with data collection for the Council on African American Affairs’ first research initiative, concentrating on child healthcare in Oakland, California. Towards the end of her undergraduate years, and as her interest in medicine deepened, Maris worked as a research aide on a longitudinal study of bipolar disorder patients at the Stanford Psychiatry Clinic.

In addition to her intellectual curiosity, Maris has always exhibited genuine concern for others. Having attended both public and private schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, she is sensitive to the needs of all kinds of students, especially those who are usually left to fend for themselves. This awareness led her to become active in helping underprivileged students achieve in a world that may not give them the benefit of the doubt.

While in high school, Maris tutored middle school students and created a website that offered free homework assistance and SAT preparation. In college, Maris still took time to tutor local students and helped out with other worthy community service activities on campus.

Maris is currently a Surgical Resident at the University of Nevada in Reno.

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Morgan Harper

Hometown: Columbus, OH

high school: The Columbus Academy

college: Tufts University

MAJOR: Community Health

GRAD. PROGRAM: Princeton University (MPA); Stanford University School of Law (2007, JD)

Morgan was born at The Ohio State University Hospital. For the first nine months of her life, she lived in a foster home before being adopted and raised on the east side of Columbus (Berwick) by a Columbus Public Schools teacher. Morgan received financial aid to attend Columbus Academy. She developed an intense commitment to fighting inequality after seeing how opportunities open up, no matter your upbringing, once you’re equipped with resources. She later received financial aid with help from the Ron Brown Scholar Program to attend Tufts (BA), Princeton (MA), and Stanford (JD). She spent three years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) protecting consumers against predatory lenders and most recently at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) which invests in communities that have been systematically under-resourced. She cares about nothing more than ending economic segregation—which she believes is systemic. She recently run a campaign for congress in Ohio.

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Robert Brutus

Hometown: Shreveport, LA

high school: Caddo Parish Magnet

college: Princeton University

MAJOR: Anthropoloby

Robert Brutus is described by his peers and teachers at Caddo Parish Magnet School as a “”bright, intellectually curious, and giving young man.”” A member of Mu Alpha Theta, he tutors students in math on a regular basis.

Although Robert is passionate about mathematics, his other academic interests include English, music, and German, in which he is fluent. Because of his high achievement on the National German Examination (he scored in the 99th percentile as a sophomore and in the 98th as a junior), he received the Langenscheidt Award from the American Association for Teachers of German. This award allowed him to study in Germany for four weeks. In his native language, English, Robert is a talented writer whose poetry has been published in two student literary magazines, Seedlings and The Sampler. He says that he has always loved literature. It is not surprising, therefore, that he made a perfect score of 36 on the English ACT. In addition, he is an accomplished pianist whose favorite composer is Chopin.

Robert actively promotes multiculturalism and unity among various racial groups in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. He first became interested in issues of diversity while attending Camp Anytown the summer after tenth grade. Students from different backgrounds came together for a week of discussions and seminars on promoting unity among persons of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Later Robert became a member of the Greater Shreveport Human Relations Committee’s Youth Council and served as chairman of the Martin Luther King Young Musician’s Award Committee. The committee selects a young musician who promotes the ideas expressed in the civil rights leader’s “”I Have a Dream”” speech.

Regardless of where his study of mathematics takes him, Robert plans to continue to strive for understanding and unity among people from disparate backgrounds.

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Sheila Adams

Hometown: Bronx, NY

high school: Choate Rosemary Hall

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Sociology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Columbi a Law School (2011, JD)

The third of six children, Sheila Adams attributes much of her academic success to her family, especially her oldest brother, the first member of the family to attend college, and her parents, who taught her the value of education at an early age. She took the lessons about hard work and perseverance with her when, in ninth grade, she left her family in New York to attend Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut.

There, Sheila excelled academically, earning a place on the Dean’s List every term. It was in student government that she found her niche, however. She served on Student Council from freshman year, holding the office of class president for two terms and vice-president for one. Her teachers describe her as an assertive but diplomatic advocate for her classmates, and an accessible leader. Consequently, Sheila was often tapped for leadership positions, both in and out of the classroom. She was vice-president of the Afro-Latino Student Alliance, captain of varsity track and field, and captain of the step squad. As a dorm prefect, she served as peer counselor to upperclassmen and leader of underclassmen.

Recognition of her academic excellence and leadership has come in the form of awards for “good influence, industry, sound scholarship, and honorable conduct,” and “enthusiasm towards studies and extracurricular activities.” Sheila received the Principal’s Leadership Award and is a National Achievement Finalist. She has also excelled in athletics, participating in cross-country, track and field, and basketball.

Sheila worked for two summers at Henry Street Settlement’s Parents’ Resource Center, providing childcare while parents attended GED classes and tutoring for the GED exams as well. Besides helping to develop her work skills, the experience afforded her the opportunity of contributing to the support of her own family. As a Ron Brown Scholar, Sheila looks forward to finding other ways to give back to her family and community.

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Victor Davis

Victor Davis

Hometown: Washington, DC

high school: Benjamin Banneker

college: Princeton University

MAJOR: Economics

GRAD. PROGRAM: New York University School of Law (2011, JD)

Victor Davis was the first senior in the history of Benjamin Banneker High School to enroll in six Advanced Placement courses, among them calculus, biology, and physics. As a freshman Victor directed a student production of “Merry Wives of Windsor” that was performed at the Folger Shakespeare Library and won acclaim for “most accurate depiction” and “most comical production.”

Clearly, Victor is not afraid to take risks. “He routinely pushes himself beyond what many of his peers consider comfortable academic limits,” says his guidance counselor, “and he gives maximum effort to every assignment.” Consequently, he ranks in the top 3% of his class and has earned numerous awards, including the Dartmouth Book Award and the Discover Card Tribute Award. Victor was named a McDonald’s Black History Maker of Tomorrow and a Commended Student in the National Achievement Scholarship Program. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, the national mathematics honor society.

Victor’s goal is to become a youth counselor and to work with at-risk youth. “As a member of an urban community, I am all too aware of the danger facing young African-Americans,” he says. “We lack responsible role models who look like us, who believe in us.” Victor’s interest in youth work began in tenth grade when he was selected into Project Bridge, a year-long cultural exchange program, and served as youth ambassador to Korea. “It was so gratifying being surrounded by people who helped elevate each other,” he remembers.

The next year Victor worked as a youth facilitator in TASA (Teens Against the Spread of AIDS), and as a youth counselor in TNT (Teens with Negative HIV Test Results). He co-founded and led the Peer Mediation Club at Banneker and served as youth president of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. During this time he also became head volunteer at Children’s Hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases and created a mentoring program for elementary school children. These experiences convinced Victor to choose counseling as a career.

In his free time, Victor likes to play tennis, sing, and read books by Miguel de Unamuno. He enjoys spending time with his nephews who, he says, “make me laugh like no one else can.” The day he became confirmed and officially accepted as a parishioner at his church was an important event for Victor. His ultimate goal in life is to be a good father.

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