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.
As a child, I always found myself consumed in art. Every brush stroke required complete concentration, each colored patch demanded a precise amount of pressure. However, contrary to what art means to others, art was never about expressing myself. For me, it was a way to keep myself busy while my parents worked and my sisters were at dance practice. It made me feel like I was somewhere else in the countless hours that I spent locked inside my home and made time fly.
“Go chopethat table—it’s open lah!” These are words I heard every day this past summer as I entered the Singaporean hawker centers in search of chicken and rice, like every other local during mealtime. Singaporeans flock to these large hawker cafeterias to fill up on delicious foods that cost about $4 a dish. These food […]
Joining top students across the United States with interest in pursuing careers as physicians, medical scientists, engineers or technologists, Earl Woods Scholars Kayla Fisher and Jesenia Vargas recently had a unique opportunity to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who have a minimum 3.5 GPA. Through the program, the Congress honors, inspires, motivates and directs students on their journey to success and helps them stay true to their dreams.
Kayla and Jesenia reflected on their experience and its impact on their professional outlook.
As the newest member of TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar team, I hit the ground running this summer, taking part in one of our hallmark events, Pre-College Retreat. In July, our team welcomed 21 scholars from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Orange County to the annual retreat in Southern California. Spanning three days, the Pre-College Retreat is an integral college-access program designed to prepare our scholars, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college, for their first year on campus.
With a deep-seated commitment toward environmental responsibility, Utah-based Aptive Environmental is expanding its philanthropic reach into the education sector as it turns its generosity toward TGR Foundation and the Earl Woods Scholar Program.
I was accepted into Boston College on one condition; I would have to complete their summer transition program. I agreed and made my way to Boston during the summer of 2018. During the first week of the program, I experienced an incident that I have still not been able to shake, over a year later.
In early June, Earl Woods Scholars Michelle Bravo and Cristian Carrasco had an exciting opportunity to attend the Global MindED conference in Denver, Colorado. Committed to creating a diverse talent pipeline through cross-collaboration, the conference united hundreds of educators, entrepreneurs, policymakers and first-generation college students, like Michelle and Cristian. Over three days, the scholars attended numerous panels, keynote presentations and workshops, including a discussion on educational equity featuring TGR Foundation’s Vice President of Programs and Education, Dr. Katherine Bihr. Michelle, a rising senior at The City University of New York’s Lehman College, and Cristian, a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) share their takeaways from the conference.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States; around 7% of all U.S. adults have had at least one major depressive episode. Among the most prevalent demographics of MDD diagnoses are college students like Earl Woods Scholars. Individuals between 18-25 are more likely to have depression. Based on my own experiences with depression, I’m hoping that some of these musings alongside tips I’ve learned along the way might help.
As caps fly and tassels turn, students around the world celebrate an academic milestone and enter a new chapter of their lives. At TGR Foundation, we took a moment to celebrate with our high school graduates who will soon be starting their freshman year at universities across the nation. Although many students were unsure of […]