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Alister Bent

Alister Bent

Hometown: Weston, FL

high school: Nova HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Statistics

April 14th, 1994, was a day like any other day, except for the Bent family, who had just added their 3rd child, a boy named Alister Bent.

At the age of 5, Alister enrolled at Nova Eisenhower Elementary, part of the Nova School system is which he would remain throughout high school. From a very young age, his parents instilled a hard work ethic into him and would not stand for laziness. As the son of Jamaican immigrants, strict rules were set and misbehavior meant severe punishment. Alister became very well acquainted with such punishments during fourth grade, in which his grades were sub-par and his behavior was unsatisfactory. However, these transgressions were straightened out immediately, and the year helped to mold him into the student, as well as the person he is today through the discipline it taught him.

While in middle school, Alister became a dedicated athlete, playing three sports and finding a love for basketball. Although he never made the middle school team, he persevered and continued to work hard, eventually making the JV team in 9th grade. As a student, Alister’s grades had picked up, and in 8th grade he earned straight A’s each quarter, a trend which he would seek to continue for the next four years.

Throughout his high school years, Alister developed into a well-rounded young man. He found a love of chemistry after taking the AP class as a junior under one of the most important teachers in his high school career: Mrs. Andre. She recognized Alister’s talent in chemistry and helped to encourage it by allowing him to teach her honors classes and appointing him as co-president of the school’s Chem Club. Alister also became adept in mathematics, being one of seven sophomores to take Calculus AB. He has excelled in volleyball and has even found his musical side, currently a member of a band along with his friends, bassist Dylan Oliveira and guitarist Sebastian Sayavedra. The three are working on their first album with Alister singing lead as well as playing piano.

Alister has made it a priority to give back to his school and community, dedicating countless hours to service. Since late 2010, he has stayed after school every Tuesday and Wednesday to tutor AP Chemistry and Chemistry honors students, helping a number of students to pass their respective classes as well as the AP exam. He has volunteered with the Dress for Success Organization, a company dedicated to assisting foreign refugees in adjusting to life in the U.S. by finding jobs for them, housing, and in some cases providing clothing. He served as an assistant coach for a recreational basketball, and one of his players was a young boy named Jeremy who had Down syndrome. He has gained a number of experiences as a volunteer that he will not soon forget.

Next year, Alister will attend Harvard University, where he will study Materials Science and Engineering and also play NCAA volleyball. He hopes to attend graduate school at MIT and has mixed career aspirations, ranging from materials engineering to teaching to holding public office. No matter what, he hopes to be making a positive impact on society.

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David Boone

David Boone

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

high school: MC2 STEM HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Computer Science

Born and Raised in inner-city Cleveland, David Boone Jr. is the inaugural salutatorian at MC2 STEM High School, a Minds Matter participant and a school record-holding runner. David’s interests are engineering, poetry and changing the world. Through his leadership, David has become a mentor for younger students in his community and has been recognized as a district student ambassador. Prided on inspiring others to change, David is also member of the Cleveland’s SLAMU spoken word program, where he performs regionally in poetry slams.

As a co-founder of STEALTH, MC2’s engineering club, David has discovered a passion for innovation, which has led him to numerous opportunities in the field of engineering. David has been able to work in some of the world’s largest companies and study at a top university. As a sophomore David worked with Engineers at General Electric and completed a summer internship with Rockwell Automation. Junior and senior year David worked at Lockheed Martin as a High School Engineering Technician. David also spent a summer studying at MIT in the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science, where he learned what it takes to perform in a competitive environment.

David has been full time at Cleveland State University as a post-secondary student for two years and is now taking sophomore level engineering courses. David has since used the knowledge learned at CSU to help other students get involved in the post-secondary program. David hopes to attend MIT or The University of Pennsylvania and major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The end goal for David is to return to his hometown of Cleveland and influence the change necessary to help the youth thrive.

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SallyAnn Garvey-Lumumba

SallyAnn Garvey-Lumumba

Hometown: Vernon-Rochelle, CT

high school: Home school

college: Smith College

MAJOR: Art and History

If you asked SallyAnn Garvey-Lumumba about the most formative decisions that she has made over the last eighteen years, she would reply that one of them was as simple as deciding to hail a cab.

SallyAnn was raised in West Memphis, Arkansas, a land that owes its fertility to the mighty Mississippi. She never foresaw that a passion for Korean language and culture would take her half way around the world to the Republic of South Korea for a six-month exchange sponsored by the State Department.

One night in particular, SallyAnn found herself, soaked through and independent, on a street corner in Seoul at ten p.m., trying her best to make it back to her host-family in one piece. Usually, Sally would not have been alone; it would have been someone else’s job to get her home. Not anymore. The rain was pouring like milk from a carton and she was drenched. The neon signs blurred, mirrored in the massive puddles around her. Her umbrella had committed suicide and she was no closer to getting home. SallyAnn timidly raised her arm not even sure if the fast approaching vehicle was a taxi with rain muddying her sight. Either way it zoomed by her.

This was a moment when Sally wished that she had lived in a big city before. Or that she could whistle, which seemed a surefire method of hailing a cab in that downpour. But she hadn’t, and when she had been to cities she had been too nervous to try. Sally wasn’t generally timid but something seemed so skillful about hailing a cab. She had seen it performed successfully, and to her it had the same grace as a cellist’s hands or her mother’s as she bakes bread, a sense of fluidity, of art. Seeing the yellow cab in the distance, she took a deep breath. “택시” “Taxi!” It slowed it stopped and SallyAnn slid in. “내 관악구 지하철 역 소요됩니다. 감사합니다” “Take me to Gwankgu Subway Station. Thank you” she told the driver. In that moment, she got a rush of confidence no one could take away.

SallyAnn’s exchange in South Korea was full of discovered weaknesses that she hadn’t needed to fix until she was on her own; she embarked to fix them one at a time. Since she was the first African American most of her Korean classmates had ever met, SallyAnn made it her mission to serve as a cultural role model. Soon her Korean included as many words to describe her southern upbringing as she could learn.

Looking back, SallyAnn would tell you that that decision to hail the cab was the moment when she stopped letting her fears interfere with her ability to thrive and she would thank the skies for raining and her umbrella for breaking. When she returned, her new confidence and independence prompted her to continue to take the initiative. She was elected editor of her school newspaper for which she was awarded a prestigious leadership award. She ramped up her volunteering and mentoring with Inner-City Outings and Peace Jam Northeast. She also became a legislative intern to focus on her career goal to shape international policy in order to help create a generation of students more culturally aware of the world around them. If you asked her how she became the confident person she is today, Sally would tell you it was as simple as hailing a cab.

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Victoria Akah

Victoria Akah

Hometown: Memphis, TN

high school: Ridgeway HS

college: Columbia University

MAJOR: Political Science

Most people know her as Chigozie. In fact, her closest friends call her Chicki, Chuck, or Chika. In reality, her full name is Victoria Florence Chigozie Nwamaka Akah. Chigozie was born to an African-American mother and a Nigerian father. As you can see, the latter received full reign over her name. Chigozie sees her name as a resilient gift from her father, who died unexpectedly when she was 3 years old. Her dad specifically chose Chigozie, a traditional Ibo name, for the world to call her by. Throughout the years she has been ridiculed by classmates and intelligent adults alike for choosing to go by her middle name instead of the more European-sounding Victoria. Yet few people know the sentimental value she applies to the name Chigozie. Chigozie means “God’s blessing” in Ibo. Now that she has matured, Chigozie realizes that her name, in it of itself, is a blessing. It is a bond provided by her father that supersedes death. Most importantly it is a monument, a testament she carries, that lets the world know a great man, Emmanuel Chiedu Akah, once walked this earth.

As a child of parents who stress giving back to the community, Chigozie has continued their legacy of service. Chigozie devotes most of her free time to working with kids. She has served as a mentor in various programs including tutoring, Bright Girls Bright Futures, Woodland Discovery Camp, and Hutchison School’s Girl Confidence Coalition, a program she helped organize. Chigozie is constantly working to bring awareness about the prevalence of child abuse in America. She has volunteered at the Memphis Child Advocacy center since 7th grade. For the past 2 years she organized a teddy bear drive for the MCAC that raised over 600 bears for survivors of child abuse. Chigozie hopes to one day open Addie’s Angels, a network of shelters devoted to providing educational, therapeutic, and vocational resources to foster care expats as well as survivors of child trafficking.

When she’s not working with children, Chigozie enjoys immersing herself in the world of music. She is a classically trained pianist of 12 years and has participated in All-West Tennessee Band as well as the All-West Tennessee Honor Choir. Chigozie is also a member of the International Baccalaureate program. Over the years she has received honors including: German Honors Student of the year (3 consecutive years), accepted into the Tennessee Governor School for International Studies,TSSAA Student-Athlete Award of Merit, and is a Questbridge Finalist. She is an active member of Mock Trial, Model UN, Chamber Choir, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, National German Honor Society, and Knowledge Bowl Team. I dream of attending Yale and majoring in Economics and Sociology.

Over the years, despite dealing with hardships, Chigozie has amassed numerous accolades. Still, Chigozie stresses that she does not achieve simply to impress others or even for personal fulfillment. Chigozie achieves in the hope that when she takes a moment to come up for air, she’ll catch a glimpse of Daddy smiling down on her.

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Mohammed Toure

Mohammed Toure

Hometown: Darby, PA

high school: Episcopal Academy

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering

Mohammed was born in the forest region of Guinea, a region wedged in between Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia, where his parents sought refuge for about sixteen years from war-torn Liberia. He moved with his family to the United States in March of 2007 on a refugee resettlement program sponsored by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Mohammed saw his family’s move as an opportunity to get an education and work towards his dreams. He has a strong belief in education as a medium to bridge gaps and contribute to the broader community, locally and globally. With immigrant parents who knew little about the American education system, he was forced to become the architect of his own education, his future. While attending 8th grade in a public school, teachers recognized his potential and encouraged him to apply to The Episcopal Academy, one of the elite high schools in the region. Seeing this as a chance for him to broaden his future, Mohammed was quick to seize the opportunity. He was offered a full scholarship based on merit and financial need to attend the Academy.

In his four years at Episcopal, Mohammed has made the most out of every opportunity presented to him. Since freshman year, he has been actively involved in many aspects of school life from academics, athletics, and student government to mentoring programs. His contributions and commitment to his school community were highlighted when he was honored with the Esse Quam Videri (to be, rather than to seem) leadership award, an honor given to less than ten percent of the rising senior class, to students who in the eyes of their peers, faculty and administrators exhibit qualities of integrity, respect, and leadership.

Additionally, Mohammed has shown genuine interest in the scientific process and has actively sought opportunities to broaden his experience. During his freshman and sophomore years he won first place awards for independent research projects at state level competitions. He conducted research at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine focused on finding ways to prevent and possibly cure genetic defects that lead to blindness. The summer of his junior year, he participated in MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program where he gained new perspectives in genomics. At the completion of this program, he received the highest award the program offers to a male participant with the overall outstanding performance, proven leadership and willingness to assist others. To keep up with his work in this growing and versatile field, Mohammed will be spending nine weeks this summer as a research intern at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a program sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Mohammed draws inspiration from his journey, and the many sacrifices that his family made as they surmounted challenges of refugee life in Guinea. He is optimistic for what the future holds and is cognizant of the fact that he will need to keep working hard to achieve the success that he envisions.

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Tyrell Russell

Tyrell Russell

Hometown: Riviera Beach, FL

high school: Suncoast HS

college: Southern Methodist University

MAJOR: Pre-Medical Studies

An Aspiring Physician Scientist, Tyrell Russell has worked tirelessly to become an exceptional individual both within his school and throughout his community. Early on, Tyrell noticed that science stood out as a subject that was particularly demanding. However, rather than shying away from the matter, he began to focus more on the sciences which would develop into a keen interest and ultimately a career goal. Building on his determination, since the seventh grade, Tyrell has been a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program, a biomedical pipeline that exposes hopeful physicians and research scientists to the field at an early age through a series of internships and courses. Through his position with PSTP, Tyrell has performed novel research in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania and in the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tyrell’s daring attitude has been exemplified in several other areas such as his coursework and extracurricular activities. As an excelling International Baccalaureate student, Tyrell has received such accolades as National Achievement Scholar, Urban League Achiever of the Year, AP Scholar with Distinction, and internship recognition from the National Institutes of Health for five consecutive years. While maintaining a 4.95 cumulative GPA, Tyrell has involved himself in several organizations that have helped to mold him as a leader and have accented his passion for helping others. They include the Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary Mentoring Club, National Honor Society, Black Student Union, of which he serves as Vice-President, National Achievers Society, of which he served as President, and the Chargersonic marching band among others. Through his work, Tyrell has developed a passion for community service, specifically HIV/AIDS initiatives. In observing the devastating effects of the pandemic, Tyrell made it his mission to make his peers and surrounding members of the community aware of preventative and treatment measures. He currently works as a youth advisor for the Order My Steps/AIDS ministry at his church and has recently launched a “Man Up”, safe-sex, campaign under his school’s Black Student Union. Building on the philosophy of “Breaking the Code of Silence,” he stresses the importance of communication among sexually active individuals.

Tyrell plans to major in Chemistry at Southern Methodist University. As a community-driven leader, he will work to help motivate others while continuing to make strides academically, socially and professionally.

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Kelsey Miller

Kelsey Miller

Hometown: Dunkirk, MD

high school: Northern HS

college: Yale University

MAJOR: Political Science

Throughout her life, Kelsey Miller has learned that life is often a journey in taking what we are given. Her own personal journey has been a series of gifts both planned and unplanned, and she has certainly done everything in her power to make the most of them.

Born to a single mother in college, Kelsey had always been reminded of the importance of education. With strong encouragement from her family, Kelsey pushed herself to take advantage of every opportunity available to her. She began playing the violin at age eight, and with only her own diligent practice and school instruction, she has grown into the ten-year player that she is today, serving as her high school orchestra’s concertmistress for the second year. Given a rent-to-own violin and aspirations of greatness, she took these gifts and cultivated an undoubtedly lifelong appreciation of music. She has taken this appreciationto others, playing in not only concerts, but at weddings, school ceremonies, musicals, and nursing homes.

In the classroom she has distinguished herself as a hardworking and engaged student, ranked at the top of her class. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Achievement Scholar, and has pursued a wide assortment of Advanced Placement classes supplemented by involvement in her school’s Student Government Association, Invisible Children Club, National Honor Society, and Tri-M Music Honor Society. She has also been able to train middle and high school students across the state in leadership and communication skills through her work with the Maryland and Calvert Associations of Student Councils.

Kelsey eventually sought opportunities to impact not only her own learning, but the learning of others. It is with this attitude that she was elected the Student Member on the Board of Education for her county, representing over 10,000 students. Her two-year long work has opened her eyes to the complex challenges schools face, and the goals they all strive to reach in spite of them. She has spoken at forums focused on youth involvement, including a statewide forum addressing the achievement gap in Maryland public schools. Her interest also led her to a summer internship at the U.S. Department of Education, where she worked to advance the department’s goals for career and technical programs, as well as adult education and English-language learning programs.

As Kelsey prepares to move forward with her education, she remains mindful of and grateful for the gifts of knowledge and opportunity that she has been granted from her family, friends, school, and community. Kelsey has learned that life has much to offer, and with diligence and hard work, the intimidating challenges that face us can fade as we move forward to achieve our goals.

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Christopher Middleton

Christopher Middleton

Hometown: Newport News, VA

high school: Warwick HS

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Psychology

The childhood of Christopher Middleton cannot be best measured in weeks or years, but instead in pages turned and chapters finished. From a young age Christopher Middleton possessed a voracious appetite for reading that would open him up to new realms of possibility. With a head filled to the brim with new ideas, it would take exposure to his high school’s Speech and Debate team to truly give Christopher the courage to speak out and the opportunity to transform his life forever.

The childhood of Christopher Middleton cannot be best measured in weeks or years, but instead in pages turned and chapters finished. From a young age Christopher Middleton possessed a voracious appetite for reading that would open him up to new realms of possibility. With a head filled to the brim with new ideas, it would take exposure to his high school’s Speech and Debate team to truly give Christopher the courage to speak out and the opportunity to transform his life forever.

Armed with the knowledge that he could use his words to transform anything, Christopher set out to transform his school and city. As a successful member and Captain of the Speech and Debate Team Christopher shared the experiences he had with others and gave them the same opportunities that the team had given him. Christopher also was selected as one of the individuals to represent the students of Newport News on the Mayor’s Youth Commission. As a member of the education subcommittee, Christopher helps the Mayor determine and develop policy that impacts thousands of students in his city. Christopher also demonstrated his dedication and appreciation for education by volunteering and reading to kindergarten children every Friday with Brother Reader. By volunteering Christopher is guaranteeing that the future of Newport News will be bright as these students will have the same opportunities that reading had gave him.

The desire that Christopher has felt to use his words to transform his community is not limited to the confines of his school or city, but instead recognizes the need to transform the world. He became a member and the eventual president of his school’s Interact Club which has allowed him to develop ways to help to solve problems that are of international concern. The most poignant example that has transformed Christopher, and inspired his action, was his clubs dedication to the Purple Pinkie Project, which hopes to eradicate polio as an epidemic. Christopher was shocked to learn the vaccine could be purchased for less than $1, and that was all it took to save a life. This taught Christopher that individuals can transform the world one act at a time.

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Miles Malbrough

Miles Malbrough

Hometown: Hendersonville, TN

high school: Beech Senior HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Social Studies

Miles is a 2016 graduate of Harvard College, where he studied Social Studies with a focus field in intergenerational social mobility. After graduating, he served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in the Dominican Republic for three years, teaching sexual health, entrepreneurship, and English to teens in a small farming community. Now a student at Vanderbilt Law School, Miles has served as a legal aid volunteer for DACA and U-Visa recipients through Nashville’s Woodbine Immigration Clinic and as a research assistant for the Vanderbilt Immigration Practice Clinic in its representation of youth applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Miles plans to pursue a career in impact litigation with an emphasis on advocacy for Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities in the South.

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Faith Jackson

Faith Jackson

Hometown: Bowie, MD

high school: Charles Flowers HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Economics

Her name is Faith Angela Imani Tamara Hope Nebechi Jackson. Her first five names are an acronym for FAITH, and yes, they all appear, along with her other two names, on her birth certificate. Her name is not evidence of insanity or the product of indecisiveness, but a way for several separate entities to be placed together to work cohesively. Her name is not just what appears on this profile, or what her fellow Varsity team members yell when she needs to hurry up and pass the ball on the soccer field; her name is the story of her life.

With interests as diverse as her seven-part name, and her multicultural heritage, Faith has always been a person who represented multiple perspectives and participated in many programs and activities. From a young age, Faith was always interested in government and public policy. She enjoyed passing out literature with her mom on Election Day, and tele-banking and going door-to-door canvassing throughout campaigns. Eventually, as a junior in high school she earned an internship with the Maryland Democratic Party, and now serves in multiple capacities, specifically as a State Page in the Maryland General Assembly and the Chair of the Prince George’s County Young Democrats High School Caucus because she feels that civic engagement is key, especially for the youth. Evidently, her interest in politics and policy never dwindled, but eventually she discovered that one of the biggest problems we face is that those who are interested in policy and issues are not technically and scientifically trained to fix such problems, and those who are scientifically and technically trained to fix them are not interested in policy.

This discovery sprouted Faith’s adjunct interests in science and engineering. Such interests are what lead her to apply and be selected for the Science and Technology Program at Charles Herbert Flowers High School. As a student in this magnet program, Faith has participated in a plethora of related extracurricular activities and internships in an effort to work towards being able to not only identify problems, but provide solutions. She has done everything from serve as the secretary of her school’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, to complete a grant-funded project at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania testing the effects of Mono-sodium Glutamate on the body composition of rats.

As time progressed, Faith began to realize that her interests in science, engineering, and government did not have to contradict each other, but could be combined, like her holistic name, to produce interdisciplinary experiences and solutions. Subsequently, Faith has spent the last year interning as one of three students in the Adopt-a-Scientist Pilot Program at the United States Department of Agriculture, and is working to engineer an organic mosquito repellant. Her project has warranted her to do everything from work arduously in the field, to conduct mosquito bioassays, and once completed, can help fight viral diseases such as malaria. Faith enjoys working on her project not only because she is able to progress towards a solution for a devastating problem, but because she is finally able to satisfy her interdisciplinary interests by having the unparalleled experience of conducting scientific research at a government agency, and serving as a full-time federal employee.

Finally, Faith has been able to use her multiple interests to help and be involved in her community in as many ways possible. She has used her interest in policy to help her advocate for and represent students across her school district as the Student Member of the Prince George’s County Board of Education, and her interests in science and engineering to tutor her peers in such crucial areas. She stays engaged in the community as a Girl Scout and a member of the National Honor Society, and has done such things as conduct a voter registration drive in her school district, and help initiate a recycling program at her school. She hopes to continue such multidisciplinary studies and engagement at Harvard College, where she has been accepted to attend this fall. Ultimately, in terms of her name, her interests, and herself as a whole, Faith Angela Imani Tamara Hope Nebechi Jackson always strives to ensure that, in the words of the great Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

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