Diversifying Higher Education – A Post Affirmative Action Path Forward
Thrive Scholars Career and Leadership Development Conference provided our Scholars with a fireside chat with Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, words of inspiration from Mayor Michelle Wu, and corporate panels on career choices, mentorship, and leadership training.
Published by Thrive Scholars
Thrive Scholars, a data-driven non-profit focused on high-achieving students of color from economically disadvantaged communities, hosted its inaugural Career and Leadership Conference in Boston on April 8-10. An estimated 160 students enrolled in top colleges around the country, reconnected with peers after two years of virtual and social-distance learning.
The conference featured a personalized welcome video by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, a panel on the future of work for BIPOC professionals, a fireside chat on leadership mindset with former Governor Deval Patrick moderated by Venezia Garza, a first-year Thrive Scholar at Princeton, and a series of panels exploring careers in life sciences, tech, engineering, finance, law and consulting.
On the topic of life choices and risk-taking in the career journey, “Not everything is a triumph. There are lessons in failure and setback,” said former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “The opportunity is worth the possibility of failure and the first choice you make is probably not the last choice you will make. When you figure it out that you can figure it out, you’re unstoppable.”
As identified in The Boston Valedictorian Project, despite one-fourth of the city’s top achieving students aspiring to be doctors, none had obtained a medical degree, and nearly 40% made less than $50k a year. Being smart, working hard, and finishing first is not enough. Ninety-eight percent of Thrive Scholars graduate college and a number of Scholars go on to become doctors, engineers, lawyers, and more. Thrive Scholar’s 6-year, holistic, data-driven model gives its Scholars the tools to succeed in career pathways like finance, law, life sciences, tech and engineering. The model’s impact results in over 90% of Thrive Scholars attending Top 100 colleges, over 80% attending Top 50 colleges and over 40% attending Ivy League colleges.
“Thrive Scholars has found an equitable solution to the lack of diverse representation in industries like STEM, finance, and law,” said Steve Stein, CEO of Thrive Scholars. “Over 20 years, we have studied our program’s impact and found it’s about assessing our program model. We’ve found that being the best is often not enough. Students need access to academic tools to help them succeed in college and establish upward mobility. It felt great to host our Scholars in Boston and provide in-person coaching for their desired career pathways, especially after time apart due to the pandemic.”
Thrive Scholars’ inaugural Career and Leadership Conference was made possible by conference supporters including The Davis Companies, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Galileo, GEI Consultants, Holland & Knight, Houlihan Lokey, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Shearman & Sterling, Klaviyo, Nespresso, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, The TJX Companies Inc., and UBS Wealth Management.