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Class of 2017

Jeyla Brown

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD

high school: Elizabeth Seton HS

college: University of Maryland

MAJOR: Economics

Jeyla Brown is from Texas. She lived there the majority of her life with her half siblings and mother. Although there were bumps in the road, Jeyla always stayed on track. She worked hard in school and has always been among the top students in her class. Her dedication to her work started at a young age, and it has paid off ever since.

Shortly before high school, Jeyla’s mom became ill. She then moved in with her aunt and uncle in southern Maryland. Her family has always supported her dreams and wanted the best life for her. From here, she flourished in becoming the leader she was always meant to be. She maintained her good grades while adjusting to life on the east coast. Currently, Jeyla is a member of her school’s Scholars Program, Ambassadors Club, and president of the National Honor Society. She has worked her way up to being one of the top students in her class, even in her competitive environment. Over the course of four years, she has received several academic recognitions and awards, including Honor Roll and PEAP Gold Awards.

While juggling schoolwork along with other clubs, she managed to be a year-round athlete playing volleyball. Throughout high school, she has juggled schoolwork with playing for both her school varsity team and travel teams. She was a captain for some of her teams. Her success in the classroom carried over into her success on the volleyball court. She has been recognized within her school and athletic conference as a strong athlete. She has received: Most Improved Player Award, Coach’s Award, and a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Honorable Mention Award. She believes playing volleyball plays a major role in developing her leadership skills and dedication. Being a student athlete took her out of her comfort zone and forced her to work harder than ever before.

Jeyla is a team player in her community as well. When she has free time, she does service projects and stays involved at her church. Her favorite site to serve at is the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington D.C., where she has completed over 60 hours of service. She also participated in the Green Schools Alliance’s Student Conservation Corps and Congress program. In her church, Greater Mount Nebo AME Church, she is an active member in the youth choir as well as the youth group, where they participate in service projects and fellowship events.

Jeyla’s ultimate goal in life is to help people. She wants to use her background knowledge from her unique childhood to reach out to people in need, including minorities and women. She intends to major in mathematics and business. She would like to implement programs in struggling communities to teach their members how to become successful and independent. She knows that some parts of the world lack the resources needed to contribute to the greater good of society, and she wants to help these people reach their dreams.

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Class of 2017

Alexander Tekle

Hometown: Plano, TX

high school: Plano Senior HS

college: University of Texas-Austin

MAJOR: Electrical Engineering

“Each One Teach One” is an enriching 19th century African American proverb that has had a profound impact on Alexander Tekle’s life. When an enslaved person learned to read, it became his or her duty to teach someone else, spawning the phrase. In the spirit of this proverb, Alexander has dedicated his life to uplifting his community and aspires to leave a lasting positive impact on people’s lives. Alexander’s beloved mother instilled in him at a young age that education is the “great equalizer” and the premise for liberation from one’s conditions. Alexander’s humble Eritrean roots etched in him a socially conscious perspective of the world and an indelible appreciation for the educational and service opportunities available to him in his community. He has immersed himself in a multitude of academic and extracurricular activities, such as debate, computer programming, and civic service in order to hone his technical and people skills and to discover his greater purpose.

Since 2014, Alexander has been deeply involved in Junior State of America (JSA), the largest student-run organization in America, which uses its platform to promote democratic leadership and political discourse. Today, Alexander serves as the Lieutenant Governor for the Texas Junior State; his responsibilities include hosting the annual conventions in Austin, Houston, and Washington D.C., expansion and outreach, scholarship fundraising for underprivileged members, and leading and appointing Texas JSA’s 60-member cabinet.

Alexander is also in his seventh year competing in Speech & Debate and serves as the Vice President of the Plano Senior High School Debate Team. His passion for Extemporaneous Speaking and Lincoln Douglas Debate has enabled him to compete at prestigious competitions on the state and national level such as the Harvard Invitational and the Texas Forensics Association State Tournament.

Since 2013, Alexander has worked closely with the Mayor of Plano, Texas on a local grassroots project called Plano’s Vote. Alexander created this initiative to help address voter apathy in local elections and to cultivate a more civically informed electorate using social media engagement, voter registration drives, and hosting interactive town halls with candidates.

Silicon Valley trailblazers like Tristan Walker and Monique Woodard motivated Alexander to seek leadership positions in Computer Club and to attain two summer internships at Ericsson. Alexander is the President of his school’s Computer Club and has competed in hackathons across the country. At Ericsson, he used his development skills (HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby) to upgrade Ericsson’s client-services portal and develop “EcoFriend”, a robot he created using Arduino microcontrollers and cloud-computing that detected and communicated soil and climate data including humidity, temperature, and wind speed. For his innovative use of Ericsson’s Internet of Things (IoT), “EcoFriend” won first place in the North American Ericsson Intern Showcase. The past two years Alexander has worked indefatigably on his nonprofit, Hack4Progress, to provide free computer programming support for other nonprofits and to create initiatives that address the technology gap in marginalized communities. Although unconventional, Alexander successfully configured a $25 Raspberry Pi “chip” into a fully functional computer. Despite limited funds, he has donated Raspberry Pi computers to disadvantaged students in his community for their basic academic needs and a means to explore their intellectual curiosity for STEM.

Alexander aspires to employ his innate passion for STEM and service to alleviate the discrepancies in technology that impedes millions globally from participating in the digital age. To meet these goals, he will pursue professional degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in Applied Mathematics and utilize this acquired knowledge to start a humanitarian engineering and social entrepreneurship firm. Alexander also understands that he will receive two invaluable educations in college: one in the classroom, another in campus community. He embraces the challenges and responsibilities of student leadership, and is committed to engaging and uniting his university peers to advance discourse in the campus community. Alexander seeks to emulate Ron Brown’s uncompromising approach to life, as well as his grace, determination, and his acknowledgment of collective progress.

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Class of 2017

A.J. Rucker

Hometown: Chicago Ridge, IL

high school: CICS Longwood

college: DePaul University

MAJOR: Economics and Mathematical Science

Anthony Joel Rucker was born to Keith and Joetta on November 8, 1998. He grew up, primarily, in homeless shelters while moving back and forth between his divorced mother and father. However, he didn’t allow this to stop him. His mother was a huge believer of Christ and she instilled in him the heart of a champion who would serve God.

Anthony, being the youngest of five children, learned early how to avoid the mistakes of those who came before him. His oldest brother, Geno, who had many rough patches in his life, dropped out of high school when he was seventeen. After much enlightenment and prayer, he later got his life back on track to obtain his GED which propelled him to receive his Bachelor’s degree and his MBA. Geno served as a huge motivator and mentor to Anthony. He strongly encouraged one very important principle that carried Anthony through his elementary, middle, and high school years which was to “practice outside of practice.”

With Anthony being a partaker of many school activities and an active member of the classroom, he never felt like that what he learned in school was ever enough. He taught himself many things outside of the classroom to alleviate his fear of mediocrity.

He participated in many of his school’s extracurricular and co-curricular activities that included his school’s basketball team, peer jury, debate team, and National Honor Society. He is also very active in community service activities around his school and in his community where he’s accumulated over 90 service-learning hours. To date, He has worked four internships (to date) in finance, sales, and marketing at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BMO Harris Bank, The Chi Teen Lit Fest, and Salesforce.

While Anthony had continued success throughout high school, he still kept his eyes on the mission that he set out for himself which is to be a leader by creating other leaders. In striving for such a mark, he is constantly reminded that he needs to continue bettering himself so that he can help better others.

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Class of 2017

Carroll “Rusty” Fields, II

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

high school: Homeschooled

college: Johns Hopkins University

MAJOR: Neurobiology / Biological Sciences

Rusty Fields is an enthusiastic, passionate, and highly self-motivated individual who consistently seeks new opportunities to learn and grow. His burning desire and passion for becoming a neurosurgeon are equally matched by his dedication and commitment towards civic engagement and public service. He attributes his industrious spirit and creative nature to his Jamaican-immigrant mother. A high school senior, home schooled in Brooklyn, NY, Rusty has employed the vast cultural resources available in NYC to enrich his high school academic experience.

At age 12, Rusty took an online neuroscience class from Duke University and became fascinated with the brain, leading to his passion for neurosurgery.  A voracious reader, who particularly enjoys the classics, biographies, and personal development books, Rusty naturally began reading everything he could about the brain. A staunch believer that success is “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal,” Rusty sought opportunities to move towards his goal, searching for a full immersion experience (unavailable in the US for legal reasons). In the summer of 2016, he emailed over 300 neurosurgeons around the world in countries such as China, Nigeria, and Brazil, and through his persistence and perseverance, secured a summer internship in Harare, Zimbabwe. There, he shadowed Dr. Jacqueline Nozipo Maraire, an American-trained neurosurgeon, who completed her residency at Yale University, under Dr. Ben Carson’s unit. During his internship, Rusty worked twelve hour days in the operating room, engrossed in various surgeries, like Low-Grade Gliomas, Laminectomies, Craniotomies, and Epidural Hemorrhages. Following his internship, Rusty partnered with Dr. Maraire and the World Health Organization to initiate a “shunt program” in Zimbabwe to sponsor the surgeries of children suffering from Hydrocephalus.

Rusty is extremely involved in his community, where he currently serves as the President of his neighborhood’s Block Association, acting as a liaison between residents and elected officials. He has committed himself to creatively solving problems, such as designing a math and literacy program to address the crisis of substandard test scores of African-American students. Last fall, Rusty raised $15,000, within a three week period, through his nonprofit organization, to sponsor a group of 40 urban Brooklyn teens (who would have never had an opportunity like this) to attend the Harvard Mock Trial High School Seminar Program. For his work, Rusty was awarded a Citation from Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, lauding his “commitment to selfless community acts.” Rusty felt the greatest benefit of this opportunity was that the students took home a new perspective on learning that will build confidence, ignite desire, and ultimately become the seed that unleashes their true potentials.

Rusty dreams of leveraging the synergies between his passion for the brain and his commitment to community service to help create medical breakthroughs that can radically change our world. He hopes to use his successes to create a social impact enterprise that will provide greater educational opportunities to typically marginalized and underrepresented groups, harnessing their talents and resources and cultivating the next group of revolutionary ideas and innovations, especially in brain research.

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Class of 2017

Chidinma Agbo

Hometown: Norwalk, CA

high school: Norwalk HS

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering

As a child, Chidinma Agbo grew up in a household that promoted innovation, curiosity, and learning. She spent most of her days building model airplanes, immersing herself in complex math problems, and dissecting her father’s old electronics. Chidinma saw each activity as an opportunity to learn something new and was eager to satiate her hunger for more knowledge. Aware of her desire to learn, her father would take her to Home Depot and buy her materials with which she worked on complex projects. With each creation, her desire to learn only grew stronger, further shaping her character and aspirations.

During high school, Chidinma’s passion for gaining knowledge grew exponentially. Her intellectual vitality made learning an enjoyable activity and consequently she was able to navigate through her school’s most challenging honors and AP courses. By doing so, she developed a strong work ethic that carried her into the top two-percent of her class. That dedication to academics is also illustrated by her 4.47 GPA and achievements including her title as an AP Scholar with Distinction and Renaissance Top Twenty Award recipient. Chidinma’s love for math and science, in particular, have led her to immerse herself in STEM activities, including robotics, rocketry, and math competitions. In fact, she was able to gain acceptance into a competitive NASA internship that enabled her to take the next step towards her career aspirations. As a NASA intern, Chidinma conducted challenging astronomy research, worked on a multitude of engineering projects, and was given the opportunity to design and present a mock mission to Mars to the NASA administration.

Chidinma continues to make her mark at Stanford, establishing herself as a leader on campus. She has served in various executive board positions in organizations such as the Nigerian Students’ Association, the Society of Black Scientist and Engineers, and the Stanford African Students’ Association. Through these organizations, she has been able to plan exciting events, including a cultural show complete with a play, student performers, and rapper Wale as headliner. With each of these achievements and involvements, Chidinma has taken steps toward success and fulfillment.

Chidinma’s also made it a point to be an active part of her community, both in Nigeria and in her home in the US, devoting a considerable amount of time to service. Coming from a family that has always struggled financially, she has experience with being in need of assistance and has taken it upon herself to aid those around her. She founded Project Rejoyvenate, a non-profit organization, to provide assistance to impoverished Nigerians. She later expanded Project Rejoyvenate to aid the financially disadvantaged in her local community, providing them with the support and resources necessary for success.  

Chidinma currently attends Stanford University and is majoring in product design engineering and film & media studies to pursue her passion for innovation and desire to leave an impact on the world.

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Class of 2017

Delali Azamati

Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD

high school: Poolesville HS

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering

Born in Togo, West Africa, at the young age of five, Delali immigrated along with her, then, family of five to the United States to pursue greater educational opportunities. During her childhood, Delali quickly noticed the inequality between men and women in her community; men were held to a standard of excellence that women were not encouraged to attain. Delali witnessed the condemnation her mother faced because she had four daughters instead of sons. It was a bitter reality that even in the 21st century, women were not seen as rivals to men. However, this inequality only fueled Delali’s pursuit of excellence; she vowed that in whatever domain she operated in, she would master it.

Delali displayed her intellectual prowess at a very young age; she was one of 60 students selected in her county to attend both a magnet middle and high school. Her academic successes have gained her positions not only in the National Honors Society, but Math, French, and Social Studies Honors Societies respectively. By the grace of God, Delali was one of few selected nationally as an AP Scholar and a LEDA Scholar.

Delali currently attends Poolesville High School, the number one school in Maryland, where she is one of only two African Americans in her magnet program. Despite being a low income African American female, Delali continues to excel academically and fight the stigma that women of color cannot be intellectuals. Junior and senior year Delali took 6 AP courses ranging from AP Chemistry to AP Art History, and even some beyond AP courses like Biochemistry and Cellular Physiology.

Outside the classroom, Delali consistently dedicates many hours over the course of a year preparing for Chemathon, a statewide chemistry competition. Also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Delali uses computer software to create products that she designs in order to submit to regional championships. Furthermore, Delali is a student athlete, competing in cross country and track all year round. As a varsity runner and co-captain of her cross country team, she has competed in the state championships for the past three seasons.

Delali’s most rewarding pursuit is being a caretaker for her three younger siblings. Passionate about empowering other girls, Delali serves as a role model for them and other young girls in her community whom she mentors and tutors. Many of the girls Delali tutors express their doubts about college but Delali reassures them they can and will thrive in places of higher learning. As a product of many community based organizations, Delali believes it is crucial to share the knowledge she has acquired. She is an avid believer that with the proper resources and support, women will not only match but surpass mean in all realms.

Delali aspires to study biomedical engineering in college and later pursue a medical degree to become a physician. Although the road ahead of her is long and arduous, Delali finds joy in serving and empowering others in her community to become trailblazers.

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Class of 2017

Frelicia Tucker

Hometown: Aiken, SC

high school: Aiken HS

college: Princeton University

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering

Frelicia Tucker is a rising sophomore at Princeton University. She is interested in completing a concentration in Computer Science with a certificate in African American Studies. After being a 3 sport athlete in high school and a Varsity Track and Field Athlete at Rice University, she now is a member of two dances organizations at Princeton. Also on campus, Frelicia is heavily involved with the Black Student Union and Incarceration and Incarceration adjacent activism. 

In the 2018 summer, she worked in the Franco- American Fulbright Commission office where she made the knowledge of American universities more accessible to French students with collaboration with the US embassy and prepared and  managed materials on Fulbright Grantees. In the summer of 2019, Frelicia traveled to Jishou, China, an area heavily populated by ethnic minorities,  as an English teacher for university students. Because of her work with students, Frelicia hopes to find work which aims to increase access to higher education for students in marginalized communities after she obtains her degree.

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Class of 2017

Isis Anderson

Hometown: New Haven, CT

high school: Achievement First Amistad HS

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Sociology

As a first generation American and the daughter of two Jamaican immigrants, Isis Anderson has been greatly motivated by her family’s lack of opportunity. Her grandmother’s highest level of education was sixth grade, and her mother was forced to leave college in her first year because of a brain tumor. Watching her mother raise her three siblings as an independent, single mother—despite lacking a college degree—has convinced Isis that, with her mother’s work ethic and a better education, she can accomplish almost anything.

Ever since third grade, Isis has attended predominantly black and Hispanic, low-income charter schools called Elm City and Amistad. In addition to her family, the charter schools Isis have attended developed her thirst for knowledge, and she genuinely enjoys learning. Whenever the school year ends, Isis’s desire to learn does not. During middle school, she spent day after day in the library reading. During her freshmen year of high school, she partook in Choate’s chemistry program. The summer after her sophomore year, Isis participated in a two-week program called Yale Young Global Scholars where she learned about international affairs and security. During her junior summer, she was a part of the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), a seven-week intensive college guidance and leadership program at Princeton University.

At Amistad High School, Isis is known for having lots of pride as a black woman. Isis is always encouraging others to love their identity and work towards social justice through her advocacy of marginalized groups and intersectional feminism. Through her leadership roles, she is able to use her passion for social justice to engage others in supporting equality and understanding for everyone.

Currently, Isis is the president of her high school’s Student Government Association. She is also the captain of both her varsity soccer and basketball teams, and she is the starting midfielder for the varsity lacrosse team. Beyond institutional roles, Isis utilized her leadership skills to spearhead a rally involving more than 100 students to increase diversity amongst teachers and improve retention rates of teachers of color. Because of the rally, the New Haven District was influenced to partner with the NAACP in addition to creating a pipeline program for minority teachers through HBCUs. Furthermore, Connecticut senators signed Senate Bill 379 dedicated to minority teacher recruitment. Through participating in food and clothes drives to hosting multiple rallies centered on diversity and unity that strengthen the youth’s sense of identity, Isis has exemplified a certain responsibility and commitment to contribute to making New Haven the best it could be, rather than passively accept the way it is now.

Isis believes that a lack of equal access to education is plaguing the world. Without education, people are more likely to remain in a state of ignorance, which helps to maintain institutions of oppression. Isis wants to expand access to a quality education, which, in turn, will develop better leaders who will improve the world. Isis hopes to become one of those leaders.

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Class of 2017

Jadal Williams

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

high school: Ann Arbor Huron HS

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering

Jadal Williams grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has 3 brothers and they all strive for success.  He loves to play sports and was on his high school’s varsity golf and tennis teams. His hard work and dedication can be seen in the classroom, during a sports match, and through his commitment to help others.

Ever since the 1st grade Jadal was a year ahead in math. Then in the 7th grade he was accelerated another year. His mathematical talent was seen by excelling in BC Calculus as a 10th grader and through tutoring college students in Differential Equations during 11th grade. Jadal enjoys problem solving which has led him to major in engineering in college. Jadal believes engineering is the best way to apply his strong mathematical knowledge to create inventions to help others.

Giving back to others is a part of Jadal’s philosophy. Ever since the 4th grade he has learned complex problem-solving techniques through the Ann Arbor Math Olympiad Co-op (AAMOC). This program taught Jadal how to dissect difficult math problems into simple solutions. Jadal gave back to AAMOC by being a student teacher for 3 years. He taught younger students from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds algebra, geometry, and how to problem solve by thinking outside the box.

Jadal is currently a junior at Stanford University (class of 2021) studying Mechanical Engineering. He is actively involved in Stanford’s NSBE chapter and seeks to provide resources and internship opportunities to Black students. He has organized events such as resume and cover letter workshops to strengthen students’ professional development skills. Jadal is serving as the Vice President of Stanford’s NSBE chapter for the 2019-2020 school year. He loves to learn new things and has enhanced his Spanish conversation and comprehension skills by studying abroad in Santiago, Chile for 3 months. In the future Jadal aspires to start his own company.

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Class of 2017

Jerry Registre

Hometown: Stony Point, NY

high school: North Rockland HS

college: Harvard College

MAJOR: Integrative Biology (Major); Computer Science (Minor)

Jerry Registre is a dedicated scholar, tenacious young man, and compassionate individual. He was born in Haiti, immigrated to the United States at 6 years old, and raised by a single father. Jerry has no doubt in his mind that his father is the main cause of his success because of the example he provided for Jerry and his beloved older brother, Jeff, at a young age. Watching his father take on several demanding jobs, working day and night, to provide for them motivated Jerry to do his part. He dug into his studies at school and clutched every opportunity that came his way.

It was during high school that Jerry really got exposed to opportunities for getting involved outside the classroom. Although he had a late start, he worked diligently to improve himself in all aspects. Jerry is now an active debater and president of his school’s debate team, and he holds several regional titles. He has been on the swim team all throughout high school and is a captain during his senior year. Jerry plays the violin in the orchestra, sings with the chorus, and has gone on to perform with the All-County and Area All State choral groups in his region. Jerry is also a member of his school’s Drama Society; he has performed in several theatrical productions, and he held the lead role in the musical Les Miserables, starring as the character Jean Valjean. In the classroom, Jerry is an AP Scholar with Distinction and in the top 1% of his graduating class. Outside of school, Jerry expresses his commitment to helping his community by volunteering at his church. He has also volunteered at the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and taken part in his local Ambulance Youth Corp.

Jerry’s varied interests and expansive extracurricular profile serve as indicators of his curiosity, dedication, and adventurous personality and his accomplishments speak of his commitment to excellence and his constant search for personal growth.

Jerry counts himself incredibly blessed to have been recently afforded so many life changing opportunities. He is thankful for having been invited to Johns Hopkins, MIT, and Columbia during his college search, and for having been admitted into the Ron Brown Scholar Program. His acceptance to Harvard has validated all his hard work and given him a chance to change his family’s situation. Jerry is not throwing away his shot. He looks forward to the day when he can free his father of the burden he took on for the family, and he will continue to work without ceasing to achieve his goals and make the world a better place.

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