Tag: Earl Woods Scholar Program>
I was born in a village in China and my only perception of the world used to be my village. It wasn’t until my parents decided to take a leap of faith and fly more than 1,500 miles to the United States so I could pursue the “American Dream” that my perception of the world expanded. Because my parents did not speak English, I had to navigate this foreign place on my own. I have been trying to pave my own path from the moment I landed in the United States, with both successes and failures.
I heard “you need to go to college to get a good job” my entire life. I was always told I needed to attend a school like UCLA or UC Berkeley because it was all my parents heard from other people. Though these school names became very familiar, I had absolutely no idea how to get there. Until my junior year of high school, I had no idea what the SAT, FAFSA, UC applications and even the Common Application was. As the first person in my family to apply for the FAFSA and fill out college applications, I was met with obstacles at every step. However, through a college-access program called College Match, I not only gained the tools and support to pursue higher education, I discovered the Earl Woods Scholar Program in the process.
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. My father planted the seed in my mind of me becoming a lawyer at the prime age of nine years old. Throughout my childhood I was always eager to tell any and everybody that would listen that I was going to grow up and be a lawyer. I remember watching lawyers on television and envisioning my future life through the lens of those television characters. I became engrossed with law-related entertainment whether it was a television show, movie, documentary or book. What nine-year-old do you know who is obsessed with Law & Order? I was that nine-year-old.
Every year we welcome a new cohort of Earl Woods Scholars into our fold – a group of dynamic, civic-minded and high-achieving students representing the best and brightest from their communities. This year was no different. While COVID-19 prevented the Class of 2024 scholars from coming together for our annual pre-college retreat, hosted at our flagship TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, Ca., they’ve had ample opportunities to connect virtually with one another and our dedicated college-access team.
As we welcome our new cohort of 21 Earl Woods Scholars, we hear from them, in their own words, who they are and what motivates them.
I am currently a senior at Dartmouth College, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Markets, Economics and Management. I hope to merge both my passions for business and social impact over the course of my career. I have been part of many different organizations that give back to the community, including TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program.
In 2016, I co-founded Empowering Generations of Leaders (E.G.O.L), a collective that works on developing young leaders in the community and encourages them to lend their voice in the worlds of art, politics and civic engagement to change their neighborhoods for the better. More recently, I also co-founded my clothing company R.House. With my company, I have been able to provide a platform and a distribution channel for young creatives of color.
The Earl Woods Scholar Program recently launched a digital platform to engage scholars and expand opportunities among its members. Open to current scholars, alumni and select TGR Foundation staff, the platform will provide a central online hub for students to connect, engage in meaningful dialogue on topics of interest and explore opportunities to gain experience and enhance their skillset.
What can one person do to change the world? That is a tough question. Many people ask themselves this question. I would venture to guess that most answer it with pessimism. How could the actions of one person actually change the world? Unless you are Bill Gates or Elon Musk or someone with unlimited means and influence, you probably feel that your efforts would be a drop in the ocean.
I started to think about what I could do. I thought if I can help one person, that person can possibly help other people and those people will carry the wave further out in concentric circles.
With this in mind, I volunteered with TGR Foundation to be a mentor.
It was March 11th when my family and I were sitting in the Orlando airport waiting to catch a flight back home from Disney World where we had just spent the past five days for spring break. When we left home on March 5 there were 159 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. I watched […]
As I packed the rest of my belongings for spring break, I crafted a vision in my head of my final semester at Skidmore College: sun-bathing on the Case Green, fun nights spent downtown with friends, presenting my senior thesis at Academic Festival, weekend trips into town for brunch, late-night crams at Scribner Library and so many more treasured “lasts,” as I got ready to move on with the rest of my life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my final moments on campus would be taken away and I would move out two months earlier than expected. During spring break, Skidmore College followed several other universities across the United States and the world in announcing it would be moving to remote instruction for the rest of the semester in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I was next in line to speak at the Earl Woods Scholar Winter Workshop graduation luncheon, celebrating my cohort, the class of 2020. Nervous yet excited, I repeatedly ran through my lines in my head in anticipation. Yet, when the time came to deliver my speech, thanking the people who had shaped my journey with TGR Foundation, as I began to thank my mentor, I was surprised to hear my words deviate from the script. “Bill, we are a match made in heaven.” This impromptu phrase easily became my favorite.
My first contact with my mentor William (Bill) Borges hadn’t been as an Earl Woods Scholar. Bill was there from the very beginning, participating in my group interview for the scholar program back in high school. It was humbling to reflect on how much time had passed since then, and I felt satisfied that I could verbalize it with such an appropriate phrase, as though it were the natural culmination of our time together.
When I count my blessings, I count Brian Fredrick, my Earl Woods Scholar mentor, twice. I don’t quite know the process that the TGR Foundation used to match me and Brian up, but ever since we were introduced to each other the summer before my freshman year at Lehigh University, we have connected. Brian was not only interested in knowing me and my aspirations as a first-generation college-bound student, he was also eager to meet my family and see how they fit into the picture. I appreciated his eagerness to involve my parents in this process and learn a thing or two about my Ethiopian culture.
TGR Foundation kicks off each year with Winter Workshop, a signature event of the Earl Woods Scholar Program that unites students, mentors and friends of the foundation at the flagship TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, CA. A reflection of the program’s growth over the last ten years, this year’s event saw record attendance Thursday, January 2 – Saturday, January 4.
Through a host of scheduled personal and professional development workshops, the program prepared underclassmen college students for success during their year ahead and celebrated with seniors that will graduate in the class of 2020 during a luncheon on Friday afternoon.
From Traip Academy High School in Kittery, Maine to the United States Pentagon in Arlington, VA, General Trent Edwards has had many life experiences. In his latest appointment as an Earl Woods Scholar Mentor he was matched with Julian Smith, a freshman at Clark Atlanta University, and has already begun sharing special moments, learning from his mentee’s perspective and helping him develop healthy habits on his road to college and career success.
General Edwards recently took a moment to reflect on his experience thus far, share the value of mentoring and provide tips for building strong relationships as we celebrate National Mentoring Month.
Growing up, I always tried to keep a serious face. Not because I wasn’t a happy person but because I never liked my smile. No matter how many times I practiced smiling in front of a mirror, when it was time for a picture, I would try my best to avoid it. My insecurities made me extremely timid. However, whenever I was able to do anything science or math-related, I came out of my shell. I did not care where I was or what I looked like. I just wanted to learn because it was fun for me.
Fast forward to my first year of college, I was very excited; I had the chance to study computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). I had nearly perfect grades, and I genuinely loved what I was studying. I felt like I did when I was learning as a child.
Earl Woods Scholar Alumnus Eduardo Muñoz has hit a couple of “speed bumps,” as he calls them, throughout his personal and professional journey. However, raised in a family that instilled in him and modeled unwavering determination, no obstacle ever took him off course. When his own father faced health issues several years ago, Eduardo took from the situation life lessons that have steered him through his undergraduate days at Allegheny College and onto his now former professional career at Edwards Life Sciences.
Boston native and Earl Woods Scholar alumnus Vladimir Casseus grew up instilled with the mantra that education was the key to success. Alongside his parents, who pushed him to excel academically, Vladimir was guided by teachers, friends, mentors, church members, coaches and the extended family he built at TGR Foundation.
With a master’s degree in school psychology from Tufts University, Vladimir has worked as a School Psychologist within Boston Public Schools for more three years. He’s committed to motivating students to surpass their potential and overcome all obstacles.
After being accepted into the University of California, Berkeley, the uncertainty Yeon Jin “Grace” Lee felt around her future at the university and in the United States dwindled as she went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. From UC Berkeley to NASA, her education opened doors to ignite her career and help her reach higher to obtain a Master of Science in software engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. It was through this experience that she gained her green card and security in her place in America.
From South Korea to Southern California, Grace overcame obstacles in her path as an undocumented immigrant and achieved great success. We recently connected at the flagship TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, CA to reflect on her journey and how she’s using her platform and experiences to empower other students like her.
Each year TGR Foundation welcomes dozens of students into the Earl Woods Scholar Program providing support beyond financial aid. Each scholar is matched with a dedicated mentor who will support and guide them through their college years and beyond. The mentorship component of the program has proven to be both valuable and memorable for our students, particularly those that leave home for the first time.
Andrés Cuamani still remembers his first day at the TGR Learning Lab fondly. A 5thgrader at Dr. Peter Marshall Elementary School, Andrés spent a week at the Anaheim-based learning lab studying forensic science with his classmates. From surveying clues at a mock crime scene to studying fingerprinting techniques, Andrés experienced a different kind of learning. But what he really left with was the realization that there were countless opportunities awaiting him.
From 7th– 12thgrade, Andrés was a regular in the building, taking after-school classes from aerospace engineering to golf, and forging lasting, impactful relationships with the teachers. At the age of 16, Andrés became a volunteer at the learning lab and soon after, he became an official employee, landing his first job as a golf range attendant. When he realized his passion for teaching coupled with a desire to lend support to students like himself, Andrés took on an added role in Academic Support, a job he still has today.
My love for theatre started when I was three or four years old and my godmother took me to see a musical, in my hometown of Boston, MA. I do not remember the name of the show or really what it was about, but I was fascinated by the colors and music. Something about seeing the performers act, sing and dance gave them this magical glow on the stage. My young and impressionable mind had concluded that to be so talented you had to have super abilities, and I knew I would be a part of that magic one day.
Ever since I was a little boy, I loved science. Although I come from a rural, mountainous Chinese village called Qian Yang Cun in Fuzhou, I dreamt of becoming a scientist. I always knew I wanted to use science to help people. As a child, I would collect plants and soil from around the mountain and mix them together to create my own “panaceas,” ready to cure dying plants and insects along my path.