August 02, 2016

Meet the inspirational emcees of our 20th anniversary celebration

Glitz and glamour, red carpet illuminated by camera flashes, luminaries ascending the steps of an iconic institution. The Tiger Woods Foundation’s historic anniversary celebration promises to deliver all of these things, as one may expect given the magnitude of the milestone — 20 years — the influence of our founder and the splendor of New York City. But as with all things TWF, there is greater purpose behind the pomp.

On Oct. 20, a few hundred special guests (you could be one of them) will hear directly from three of the foundation’s shining stars. These incredible young people have tackled countless obstacles head on, risen above difficult circumstances, and soared. And they are not alone. They represent thousands of unstoppable, unwavering and unrelenting young scholars we’ve had the honor of supporting over the past two decades.

So while the run of show boasts names like legendary golfer Tiger Woods and preeminent reporter Charlie Rose, some of the most inspiring moments will surely come when our evening’s honorary emcees take the stage. Here’s a glimpse into their remarkable stories.

Grace Lee

Grace immigrated from South Korea to Southern California and had to learn how to read, write and speak English as a 12 year old. And not only for herself, she negotiated with landlords, banks and police on behalf of her non-English speaking parents. As an immigrant on a special visa, she couldn’t apply for many of the loans and scholarships that required a social security number, so the dilemma of paying for college haunted her day and night. Her first year at the University of California, Berkeley, she was one of five women in a computer science lecture hall filled with 200 male students who had at least three years’ more programming experience than her. But that didn’t stop Grace. She fell in love with computer graphics and landed her dream internship at Pixar. With a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from Berkeley, and an M.S. in software engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Grace now works as a computer scientist in the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA, where she spends her time building software that aid astronauts in the International Space Station. Oh, and she’s directing a short film on immigration through San Francisco’s film co-op, Scary Cow.

Darryl Robinson

Raised in poverty by his grandmother, Darryl was the first person in two generations to go to college in his neighborhood. And not just any college; Darryl attended Georgetown University. As a first-year student, he published an article in the Washington Post about education disparity and his experience as a poor African-American male studying at an elite institution. Born and raised in Washington, D.C, Darryl is an Earl Woods Scholarship alum now enjoying his career as a business analyst at Deloitte. He firmly believes in the words of Takeshi Shudo: “The circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

Stephanie Navarrete

The daughter of El Salvadorian immigrants, Stephanie hails from Washington, D.C., where she grew up amidst high school dropouts, low expectations and financial hardship. Described as the epitome of grit and determination, Stephanie embodies the spirit of the Earl Woods Scholar. As the first in her family to pursue higher education, her four years at Syracuse University were fraught with struggle. A health issue, car accident and family member’s incarceration threatened to crush her spirit and her grades. But with the support of her Earl Woods Scholarship mentor and staff, Stephanie graduated with a B.S. in health and exercise science. Currently working as a claim analyst at Travelers, Stephanie is moving toward the next step in her career by applying to Doctor of Physical Therapy programs for the fall of 2017.

Join us for a celebration of unexpected champions.