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Daren Miller

Daren Miller

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL

high school: St. Petersburg High School

college: Duke University

MAJOR: International Business

Faced with adversity at the immature age of five years old, Daren gained a sense determination and self motivation early in life. He was challenged academically and had to prove that he could perform at an advanced level. Sensing a wide scope of abilities, Daren went beyond academic expectations and rose to the top in all of his classes. This sense of determination and self motivation has been the source of Daren’s success so far. As Daren entered into high school in the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High School, the barriers to success became more evident than ever. Entering the program with only two African American males, it wasn’t often he was surrounded by peers like himself. Nevertheless, due to the feeling his parents instilled in him that education always had to come first, Daren never allowed the issue to block his success. A colorblind and culturally accepting view of life has led to his involvement in both school and his community. Daren is involved in numerous school activities. He has been an active member of the Interact Service Club, and Spectrum Multicultural Club for four years. He has been voted president of his class for four consecutive years. As president of his class he helps plan multiple activities for the school and the community. One of his biggest and proudest achievements was amassing over $20,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims, through a school-wide fundraiser. Due to achievements in school, he has been asked to speak at many orientations for incoming students as a source of encouragement. Daren has also been appointed to be the International Baccalaureate student representative at international conferences under the Florida League of IB Schools. He was awarded for his leaderships skills by receiving the Kodak Young Leadership Award in 2006.

While Daren remains active in many school organizations, he never loses focuses from his academics. He has remained in the top 1% of his class through the duration of his high school career. Daren belongs to the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Rho Kappa (Social Studies Honor Society), Science Honor Society, English Honor Society, and the Spanish Honor Society. He has been recognized for his academic achievement by Ebony Scholars under Pinellas County School, National Honor Roll, All American Scholar, and was awarded the 2008 “Making the Grade” award by St. Petersburg Florida City Council. In addition to Daren’s activities in school, he is known for activism in the community. He is on the Youth Advisory Committee under Pinellas County Board of Commissioners, where he worked on a Voter Registration Bill for the Florida State Legislator. He is also a member of the 4-H Youth Development Grant Board, under the Juvenile Welfare Board. He has been elected as the Vice President of the Ebony Scholars Academic Club in 2006, and held the position as President in 2007-2008 Daren also hold the position as President of the NAACP Youth Council of St. Petersburg.

Daren looks forward to venturing into the next phase of his life hoping to continue to make an impact in his community. He sees his horizons as endless and knows that his sense of determination and self-motivation will continue to lead him towards success.

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Derrick Asiedu

Hometown: Nanuet, NY

high school: Spring Valley High School

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Philosophy

As an individual whose life has taught him lessons in the value of perseverance and free thought, Derrick tries to incorporate these ideals into both his thoughts and his actions. This Bronx native and Rockland County resident believes that resolve carries more weight than equivocation, that results reaffirm resolve, and that both resolve and results are integral in the functioning of everyday society. With these ideals governing his life, Derrick desires to give back to the country which has given much to him in the way of freedom and opportunity to pursue the American Dream. This is the driving influence behind his pursuit of a career in which he can effect change on a large scale. To that end, Derrick hopes to use his status as a Ron Brown Scholar to help others through a comprehensive education on financial solvency. The specific choice of hoping to help others through an education in finance is not a surprising one considering Derrick’s background and experiences. The motives behind the choice become more evident after considering that throughout his life, he has witnessed how people suffer under the brunt of poverty and observed the victimization of the uneducated as well as the inequalities inherent under the status quo.

But educating the masses on financial responsibility is not the only thing that Derrick hopes to bring to the table. His involvement in a Sony sponsored community service program that he co-founded, dubbed “Microbotics Engineering,” is a testament to his commitment to giving back. Through this program he has endeavored to give a guiding hand to help kids who otherwise might go academically astray get on the right track for success, by exciting in them an interest in cerebral pursuits. He hopes to mitigate whatever balm he can to the ills of society with whatever talents he has, and to him, Microbotics is a godsend, allowing him to interact directly with others to offer a positive influence.

On a larger scale, he is also an active orator and debater who enjoys offering and considering multiple viewpoints with an emphasis on logic, soundness of reasoning, and clear discourse. Through his various pursuits and endeavors, he hopes that he can do his part to ensure that more of us can have an equal starting point in pursuit of the American Dream.

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Dora Duru

Hometown: Lynwood, CA

high school: California Academy of Math & Sciences

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: International Relations

Though her life goals have changed over the years, one thing has always remained constant: her desire to improve her society for herself and for future generations. She understands that diligence and perseverance pave the way to achieving success. Serving as a lead attorney for her mock trial team since the 7th grade, she has grown in her role as a public speaker and a student leader. She is currently an attorney on the Stanford Mock Trial team. Despite numerous activities, Dora has always excelled in school, not once losing sight of her ambitions.

Many events in her life have led to the culmination of her dream to help others. Engaging in world-delegation projects to discuss solutions to global problems, Dora has learned to broaden her view of the world. More importantly, Dora has been active in her community. In 2005, she raised money to benefit leukemia patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 2009, she volunteered at the Alliance for Children’s Rights to help provide financial and educational services to children in foster care. One of her most meaningful community activities has been her service to Facing History and Ourselves, a non-profit organization that helped her to redefine her responsibility to society. As an intern and student speaker for Facing History, Dora has participated in community conversations to help educate others about important issues.

Dora’s experiences have molded her into the activist that she is today. Dora serves as one of the Education Coordinators for Stanford STAND, a national student-run anti-genocide coalition. Through awareness, advocacy, and fundraising, her club speaks up for the victims of genocide when no one else will. This past school quarter, STAND raised nearly $7,000 to benefit the Darfur Stoves Project, which provides fuel-efficient stoves to persons in internally displaced camps in Darfur. Although Dora has begun mobilizing her student body, she is far from reaching that goal. Getting people excited around a cause – excited about the prospect of helping others – is a quality that she hopes to develop as a member of the Ron Brown community. Dora’s life experiences have provided her with the tools she will need to improve her community and world. Finally, Dora dreams to change the way the world responds to international crises, but she is not sure how to pursue that venture. James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Dora holds this philosophy dearly and she knows that with her continued belief in herself and faith, she will achieve what seems impossible.

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Jocelyn Bell

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

high school: Woodland Hills High School

college: Brown University

MAJOR: Education

Though raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from the age of eight, Jocelyn Bell’s earliest memories are of her birthplace – Lansing, Michigan. She remembers her mother, Sheila, implanting in her the love of learning. The woman would have Jocelyn check out library books, at least one of which had to be written by a black author or have a black main character. A report had to accompany every book read. Once, during her elementary school years, Sheila signed her up for a summer math and reading homework program. Looking back, Jocelyn is grateful that the pursuit of academic excellence was fostered in her at a tender age.

The young woman is now a National Achievement Finalist and a member of the Woodland Hills High School chapter of the National Honor Society. She is also part of the Gifted and Talented Education program. Jocelyn is Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, president of the school bible study, secretary of the school Spanish Club, Senior Student Representative to the School Board and a leader of Graphiti, the school’s literary magazine. She volunteers her time tutoring algebra and works as a peer tutor to 4th and 5th graders in her district. Jocelyn is also an active member of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh (CCOP), volunteering in the Children’s, Hospitality, Missions, and Choir departments. CCOP is a church that emphasizes the importance of international relationships. Clergy from all over the world visit the church and Jocelyn has traveled to London twice with her choir to sing at sister churches. As a result of these experiences with foreign cultures, she has realized that she is not only a United States citizen but a global citizen as well. She expanded her awareness of the world during the summer of 2007 when she traveled through Argentina for five weeks with nine strangers on a full scholarship from the World Affairs Council.

Jocelyn’s life has not been without its trials, though. In December of 2002 hardship struck her family from an unexpected source – her 19-year-old brother. The college sophomore had a nervous breakdown; her parents brought him home. For about five years Jocelyn watched her brother go through a cycle where he rose from his mental stupor then dove deeper into darkness. During those years, she learned that the world does not stop when your life has. “Rolling with the punches is not an option,” she says. “You have to fight back.” Jocelyn persevered in a despondent home environment, achieving academic excellence and re-building the trust in God which had been shaken by her circumstances. Today, her brother is miraculously restored to his right mind and Jocelyn has marveled at God’s gracious hand reviving her family. It was Elliot, a group member from the Argentina trip, who wrote to her, “Your warm, nurturing nature and your deep faith in God truly make you stand out as an exceptional human being.” Jocelyn uses this nature and faith to guide her in all of the decisions she makes in life. She hopes to one day be among world shakers and shapers.

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Kani Keita

Hometown: Miami, FL

high school: Miami Killian Senior High School

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Political Science

Kani is a Vice President at TPG Capital, focused on private equity investments in the Industrials sector. Prior to TPG, Kani spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, six of which in their Principal Investing Area (“PIA”) at Goldman Sachs in New York and over three of which in the London office. Kani attended Harvard College, graduating with honors with a major in Political Science, a minor in Economics, and a citation in French. Kani’s interests include history, philosophy, literature, travelling, skiing, and making fresh pastas. She grew up in Miami, Florida and has also spent 5+ years living in England, France, and Switzerland. [She is an enthusiastic member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program Advisory Board.]

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Osha Kondori

Hometown: Washington, VA

high school: Rappahanock County High School

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Human Biology

Her small frame, an embodiment of diversity, with African, Iranian, Scottish and Chinese blood rushing through her veins, Osha was born in the Osho Ashram of Pune, India. She arrived at the precise moment that the spiritual leader Osho left his body a few doors away.

Now she lives with her mother, tucked away in the muscular arms of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, in the predominantly white, rural Rappahannock County. They have chickens. And goats. They live with the daily challenges of narrow-minded, small town thinking in a place where cell phone reception and broadband connections are scarcities, and traffic lights and grocery stores are non-existent. Despite the limitations of food stamps and welfare checks, Osha was determined to overcome her situation and surroundings and become the first person in her family to go to college. In the mornings, Osha attends Mountain Vista Governor’s School for Math, Science and Technology, and in the afternoons, she returns to Rappahannock County High School. A recognized AP Scholar, she also received the AP English and AP History awards. She was selected to attend the University of Virginia’s Summer Enrichment Program for five years, and she was one of four American students chosen to attend the United Nation’s Play for Peace Program in Trogen, Switzerland in 2005. Last year, she attended the state funded Governor’s School for Humanities at the University of Richmond.

Osha has continually challenged and stretched herself, reaching out beyond the opportunities available to her. She has been deeply involved in soccer, classical piano, dance, competitive cheerleading, International Club, National Honor Society, Mountain Vista Governor’s Student Council, and Headwaters: The Rappahannock County Public Education Foundation. In addition, from Friday nights to Sunday afternoons, she works 28 hours as a fine dining waitress, wielding pistachio-encrusted trout on her carefully balanced serving tray. Osha can’t wait to leap into college and achieve a place from which she can give back to the world in return for the many blessings she has received.

In her free time, Osha spends time with friends who have taught her the true meaning of family, which has nothing to do with blood relations or skin tone. She hopes to share this sense of family within her community and around the globe. Though much of her future remains a mystery, she knows it will hold a great deal of traveling, studying international relations, and working towards a more unified global community, one person at a time. As her namesake, Osho, believed, so Osha believes: “Share your revolution with others; it has to go that way, from heart to heart.”

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Peter Boyce

Hometown: Bronx, NY

high school: Stuyvesant High School

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Mathematics

Peter is a Partner at General Catalyst; a venture capital firm that invests in powerful, positive change that endures. Since joining General Catalyst in 2013 as one of the first two investment professionals based in their NYC office, he works closely with portfolio companies including: Cadre, Mark43, Outdoor Voices, Ro, Atom Finance, Great Jones, Summer, Macro, Jet.com (acquired by Walmart), Rebag, Major League Hacking, and Workflow (acquired by Apple). In addition to his work at GC, he also co-founded & manages Rough Draft Ventures: a program to support technology entrepreneurship on university campuses. Through this work, he supports a community of over 275 early stage startups founded by students & recent graduates.

Peter is a graduate of Harvard University, earning a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and a Secondary in Computer Science. He grew up in New York City, where he graduated from Stuyvesant High School. Outside of his time investing, Peter is proud to serve as a non-profit board member to support communities he is passionate about: The Shed, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NEW INC, Code Nation, and the Harvard College Fund – Executive Committee.

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Raymond Grissom

Hometown: Austell, GA

high school: Campbell High School

college: Yale University

MAJOR: Architecture

Raymond’s passion for life, education, and success comes from one person: his mother. Emulating her resiliency and dedication, he has turned a life of struggles into the food for his passion. From walking miles to school to losing countless hours of rest, Raymond refused to allow any obstacle to thwart his enduring goal of success: the only gift that he could give to his mother in return for her sacrifices. Frequently moving about the state of Georgia, Raymond has learned to appreciate the individuals he encounters as quickly as possible and hopes to find a stable community through the Ron Brown Scholar program.

With well-developed standards of education and motivation, Raymond takes pleasure in learning and expanding the faculties of his mind. An avid participant in local events, Raymond is a member of the National Honor Society, attends Model UN conferences, and practices Spanish at any given moment. The highest ranking African-American at the International Baccalaureate Program of Campbell High School with a G.P.A. of 4.649, Raymond has received such prestigious awards as the National Achievement Scholarship, Georgia Tech Career Discovery in Architecture Scholarship, Dartmouth Destination, and the Questbridge National College Match Scholarship to Yale University. He is also in the running for an opportunity to represent the United States through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program with Germany. Reaching out to the community, Raymond helps tutor economically underprivileged children in both English and Spanish, speaks at local middle schools about dreaming big, and helps lead prayer services at his church. He also spends time leading his school’s rugby football team with his closest group of friends.

Through all of his academic, community, and athletic endeavors, Raymond has developed a level of maturity—a maturity that understands that the decisions he makes will affect the ones he loves, a maturity that understands that outstanding work takes time to reap outstanding benefits, a maturity that understands that the mind is truly powerful. Inspired by his time at the University of Notre Dame African-American scholars seminar, Raymond desires to maintain a balance of mind, body, and soul. He intends to pursue Architecture and International Relations at Yale University. Humbled by Questbridge and Ron Brown Scholar successes, he hopes to inspire other students to dream big.

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Christopher Lyle

Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS

high school: Ocean Springs High School

college: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

MAJOR: Business

One soul began to brighten the lives of many on March 15, 1990, in Worms, Germany. As the son of a German woman and African-American man, Christopher Maurice Lyle was born into a culturally diverse background. Learning two languages, Chris displayed confidence, enthusiasm, and a love for learning as he embarked on a pathway of success.

Throughout Chris’s entire life he believed that his foundation was found within his home. As his father constantly faced the struggles of military life, Chris realized that he would have to become the “man of the house.” He found comfort from the pressures at home with his school and teachers. Registered in Spanish, German, and gifted classes throughout elementary school, his parent’s value of education, was now becoming his own. However, the military would rob him of establishing a “comfort zone” due to various re-locations. In 2002, Chris was forced to move to Mississippi, a state with the highest rates in obesity, dropouts, unemployment, and poverty. Instead of succumbing to these statistics, Lyle decided to aspire towards excellence and to affect change in his new home. After acclimating himself, Chris began to develop a dedication to leadership, a strong desire for success, and a genuine passion for altruism. However, he once again faced hardships as he endured the untimely deaths of both of his grandfathers. Burdened with deaths, racial stereotyping, and a lack of opportunity, he often found it hard to carry his adversities and schoolbooks at the same time.

But on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina would prove to be the biggest challenge that he had ever faced. Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast decimating homes, including Chris’s, and taking with it the life he knew. Six feet of water plunged throughout his home, turning all his possessions and valuables into debris. Recovering from Hurricane Katrina became more than an obligation, it became his life. Courage and determination guided him through this struggle as he excelled academically, comforted his family, and maintained his commitment to rebuilding his home.

With an ever present smile, Chris has made a genuine impact on Ocean Springs, Mississippi – a community that’s only 7% African American. He is the first African-American senior class president in Ocean Springs High School’s history and the highest ranked African-American in his senior class, with a 5.01 GPA. He has demonstrated his ability to assimilate into diverse leadership roles as president of the Spanish Club, vice-president of Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), parliamentarian of National Honor Society, and counselor at the YMCA. He is the only student from the state of Mississippi chosen to participate in the prestigious LEAD Summer Business Institute at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Chris’s achievements testify to his strong desire to making a difference in the lives of those around him. He is thankful for his friends, family, and community.

Today, his foundation is no longer found in his home or in his possessions, but in his embodiment as a leader. This is a result of the adversity he has faced, he thinks, and the determination that he expresses in every aspect of his life. As Chris perseveres, he will continue to try and personify the words of Booker T. Washington, “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

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Amanda Reid

Amanda Reid

Hometown: Flagstaff, AZ

high school: Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy

college: Williams College

MAJOR: African Studies

There are many things that Amanda Michelle Reid can’t do. She can’t snap her figures or cross her eyes. She can’t whistle or sing well. She hates running and has the annoying tendency to speak all foreign languages with a French accent. Not even a very good French accent. She can’t help but feel uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person. But these kinds of feelings never stopped her from trying anyway.

Amanda rushed into the world in a Sacramento, California hospital on November 24, 1990 after 58 minutes of labor, taking her doctors and mother by surprise. Her speedy birth would be a convenient explanation of her unrelenting determination and eagerness to jump into new experiences. But truthfully, her personality has nothing to do with the length of her mom’s labor. She owes these characteristics to the example of her supportive mother, her tenacious older sister, and loving stepfamily, who taught her to go after her dreams without fear of failure and to be curious about the world around her. Amanda’s adventurous spirit was further nurtured by her immigrant parents’ mobile lifestyle, which allowed her to live and learn all across the country and the world. Her education took place in suburban Michigan, in small New England towns, seaside cities in Australia and in the mountains of Arizona. Her travels forced her to step up and become involved in school activities in order to not blend into the crowd. Amanda became a member of the French, Art, and National Honor Societies, sophomore class president, and a delegate in Model Senate and Massachusetts Girl’s State, as well as the founder of the Black History Month celebration at Norton High School. She was a youth leader in her church, a varsity athlete, and took outside-of-school classes in fashion design, music, and dance.

Amanda didn’t excel at everything she tried, but she benefited by gaining the ability to operate outside her comfort zone. Because of her experiences, along with her warm personality, Amanda was blessed to be able to meet and form friendships with a variety of different people, growing as a result of each of her interactions. As a high school student, Amanda decided to take her global education into her own hands, and sought out travel opportunities for herself. She received a scholarship to attend the Oxbridge French Preparatory Experience, in which she spent a summer in Montpellier, France and learned about the region’s history and art. She attended portrait-drawing classes in the Australian bush, and a Summer Writing Program at Carleton College in Minnesota. A life changing travel course took her to Botswana and South Africa. At home, Amanda remained globally conscience by participating in her school’s Oxfam Australia club, and co-founding her own Amnesty International chapter in her senior year. She regularly volunteers with non-profit organizations and she uses art and the love of service to raise awareness of local issues.

There are many things that Amanda Michelle Reid can’t do. But she can paint a picture that will make you cry and make you laugh with her self-deprecating humor. She can become your lifelong friends in five minutes. She can drum on a Djembe with the best of them. She will go to college and study Studio Art and Africana Studies and then go on to do something that might not help her bank account, but will help the world. She will try sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, but never letting the fear of defeat deter her.

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