Thrive Alumni
Where Are They Now?

Our alumni are changing the face of leadership across America. Meet some of our amazing Alumni and discover all they are achieving today.

Abdul Azeez Aderounmu

University of California - San Diego, Class of 2020

Launch Engineer & Fairing Structural Composites Person-of-Contact, SpaceX CCSFS

“Thrive had a big impact on my educational journey providing me with financial assistance; even more scholarship opportunities; great mentors that guided me towards research positions and taught me to graduate debt-free; and helped me develop my resume writing and social skills while I was knee-deep in coursework.”

I grew up in Nigeria, and my family rarely had access to electricity. I didn’t just want to one day have access to technology; I wanted to have a hand in its creation and work with the latest and greatest technologies. I joined Thrive Scholars because I was nervous about going to college and learned of their summer program and I can honestly say it greatly prepared me for the fast-paced college curriculum. The most valuable thing Thrive Scholars provided me was a  network of mentors, career opportunities, and fellow students who were serious about their education and careers.

Azucena Flores

University of California - Berkeley, Class of 2007

Business Development Associate, BlocPower

“I learned of all the opportunities and possibilities for my future and made my choices knowing confidently that Thrive would always be there to support me.”

Prior to Thrive, I had not given much thought outside of going to school, being disciplined, and getting good grades. Thrive began to prepare me for summer internships and eventually for a professional full-time career post undergrad training. I have gotten almost all of my professional jobs because of a Thrive mentor or affiliated person of Thrive. Due to my education and professional work, I have gotten the chance to work on very exciting financial projects, live abroad, and now work in an industry where I help battle climate change. I am currently working as a Business Development Associate at a clean energy startup based out of Brooklyn, New York. One of my biggest accomplishments has been to help a low-income co-op in New York City actively pursue energy-efficient upgrades.

Luis Ulloa

Stanford University, Class of 2021

Software Engineer, Google

“Thrive provided an inspiring community that motivated me to be the best version of myself.”

I didn’t really go to a high school where people cared that much about school, so I was just going with the flow and getting by. Joining Thrive exposed me to a community of students from a similar background as me who were passionate about their education and wanted to do something amazing in life. Thrive provided me with a mentor that gave great advice for making the most out of my academic and professional opportunities. I recently finished my BS and MS in Computer Science at Stanford University and have just started a full-time role as a Software Engineer at Google in Los Angeles (YouTube). Before starting full-time at Google, I spent three consecutive summers interning for them and was a Student Developer Fellow during NCAA March Madness 2019 – we had one of our data predictions aired on live TV and published a Medium article!

Ishrat Aishee

Barnard College, Class of 2020

Consultant, Accenture

“Thrive has been more than just a scholarship program – it has helped me discover relationships of a lifetime with mentors, trusted advisors, and dear friends. Being a Thrive Scholar means joining a truly invaluable network of a lifetime.”

Thrive Scholars is a truly transformative program, and when one joins as a Scholar, they are joining a family. As the first in my family to go to college, I didn’t quite know what to expect. However, as I navigated challenges throughout my first few semesters, I found myself leaning on my Thrive community for support with homesickness,  culture shock, or even severe bouts of imposter syndrome. I could never have envisioned that my educational journey would someday land me on Capitol Hill, advocating in front of congressional representatives, or lead me on international trips to champion for youth education and economic development. As a consultant, I now work with global teams at the intersection of business and digital transformation.

Antonio Ingram

Yale University, Class of 2011

Assistant Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc

“Thrive gave me support at a critical stage in my journey to Yale and fortified me for my future as a civil rights lawyer at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.”

As a young Black male raised in a single-parent, low-income South Los Angeles home, I inhabited a world marked by limitations and scarcity. Although my close-knit family loved me, they could not provide me with the economic or emotional support that I needed to fulfill my educational dreams. Thrive filled that familial gap and empowered me to have a successful experience at Yale. I currently serve as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C. and California. I have been privileged to litigate at two international law firms, advise distinguished federal judges as a law clerk and serve as a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow in Malawi. Thrive saw my value when I was just another inner-city youth full of potential but lacking support and empowered me to pursue my civil rights career.

Taryn Johnson

Wesleyan College, Class of 2018

Investment Associate, Blue Sage Capital

“The impact Thrive has had on my career is immeasurable. I received resources, guidance, and connections that have opened up countless doors for my career. The Londons and Mr. Winston looked out for me as if I were their family, and that support also helped me keep pushing to be the first one in my family to graduate college. I can’t thank them and the program enough.”

Thrive offered me so many resources as early as high school that were absolutely critical for me to get where I am today. Thrive taught me about need-based liberal arts universities when I was applying for college. I received a laptop that I used throughout my time in college, and with the support of financial aid and the financial support of Thrive, I was able to graduate without any student loans. Thrive also helped connect me with two summer internships and with a first-gen woman in a finance program who offered me more specific career support. Since graduating from Wesleyan with a math degree and a minor in data analytics, I have worked at DoubleLine as a Risk Analyst and at PIMCO as a Portfolio Associate. I recently joined Blue Sage Capital as an Investment Associate. Thrive Scholars was so instrumental in my current success.

Marquis Mark

Rochester Institute of Technology, Class of 2019

Structural Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti

“Thrive made me aware of opportunities available to me and other young people of color that we are unfortunately rarely taught. Moreover, they are dedicated to helping young students hone their skills and craft to create substantial academic and professional careers.”

From zoologist to military engineer, there were a few career options I did not consider. However, the idea of college was often ignored as its importance was rarely discussed around me until I joined South Central Scholars. Out of all the support and resources SCS provided me, the professional development skills and opportunity to network with career professionals were the most valuable. It was through SCS that I met my first internship employer, and from there, I jump-started my professional career journey. Now I have two engineering degrees and work as a Structural Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti in their building forensics practice. Thrive continued to support me through these recent endeavors via an ongoing mentorship program and professional development support during my job search.

Ashanti Gomez

University of California - Berkeley, Class of 2013

Recruiting Manager, Meta (formerly Facebook)

“Thrive helped instill confidence in myself during my formative years!”

My career ambitions evolved a lot throughout my childhood. By the time I reached college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I ended up attending UC Berkeley, which of course, made my mom proud, but in hindsight, I wished my parents had placed more focus on fostering my career ambitions earlier on and aligning my educational goals accordingly. The most valuable support that Thrive Scholars provided me was a sense of community. What I especially appreciated was their connecting me with a mentor and an on-campus university advisor to help ease that transition and even assist with my class selection. I am currently a Recruiting Manager at Meta, supporting our executive search research team. I love working in tech and being at the forefront of shaping how we communicate and build a sense of community in the digital age.

Martin Keuchkerian

University of Virginia, Class of 2019

Spacecraft Systems Engineer, Southwest Research Institute

“Thrive empowered me to achieve my goals, no matter how grandiose those goals were. Thrive believed in me and my vision for the future and provided me with the tools and resources to accomplish my dreams.”

Before being a Scholar, all I knew was that I wanted to explore the universe. I had a dream but didn’t know what steps to take to make that dream a reality. After much deliverance and thanks in part to Thrive Scholars Summer Academy, I  decided to pursue this goal through an aerospace engineering degree. From scholarships, college admission essay support, and deciding which university to apply to and attend to mentorship, internship opportunities and professional career advising, Thrive has been there to support me every step of the way. Now, I’m a  Spacecraft Systems Engineer at Southwest Research Institute, and I absolutely love what I do. 

DaVeon Smith

Dartmouth College, Class of 2015

Institutional Client Manager, Alliance Bernstein

“Thrive impacted my journey by opening up career avenues that I didn’t know previously existed. Thrive also gave me the support and resources to grow and mature first as a college student and then as a young professional.”

Thrive provided me with my first internship as a college undergrad. They also provided me the opportunity to interview for a job with Capital Group, which became my first career opportunity post-college in the financial services industry. Finally, they provided me with mentors that kept me encouraged and held me accountable throughout my undergrad. I am currently pursuing my Master in Finance at the University of Texas at San Antonio, along with being an Institutional Client Manager for one of the country’s largest asset managers. The most rewarding part is that I have been placed in a position to pay it forward by speaking to the next generation about opportunities and career prospects within my firm and outside of it. All in all, Thrive Scholars/South Central Scholars has played a crucial part in my maturation as a young professional.

Ericardo Edwards

Harvard University, Class of 2019

Product Manager, August Schools

“Thrive Scholars provided me with the academic support needed to achieve my childhood desire to study biology, which has since afforded me several opportunities to positively impact US healthcare and public health.”

I dreamed of entering the healthcare industry, having been inspired by the countless healthcare professionals who aided several ailing family members over the years. Summer Academy facilitated a stellar freshman fall semester that elicited seven subsequent semesters of studying Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard. Obtaining this degree afforded me invaluable opportunities to ameliorate public health for millions of people like my family through management consulting and product management for federal health institutes, healthcare providers, and school health professionals.