newsletter, we will begin sharing the first of many
stories that focus on the current lives of our alumni - what they
are doing now, how SB/BT influenced their educational and career
paths, their vision for SBAN and much more. We are hoping
that, like Vinita, other alumni will keep us updated on exciting
moments in their lives - a birth, a marriage, a graduation, a new
job, an award - we want to hear your stories!
Alumni Update - Vinita Ahuja
Summerbridge/ Breakthrough Role:
Teacher, Atlanta 1998, 1999,
and volunteer coordinator 1997-1998
M Ed. Candidate:
Master of Education in School Leadership/ School Development, Harvard University Graduate
8 a.m. Monday
in the summer. Seventh graders stand on top of the tables yelling,
"Math is Language!" at the top of their lungs. How else to
engage students with the material at hand? This is not a solution
that most teachers in public schools would apply. But this was not public
school. This was Summerbridge and for Vinita
Ahuja, the strategy worked.
Of that 1999 class, over ninety percent
students stayed involved in the Summerbridge program through their senior
year in high school, and over ninety percent went to college. These
numbers are a testament, not only to the power of the program and to
creative teaching techniques implemented by high school-age and
college-age teachers like Vinita, but also to a strong alumni component
that followed the students through high school.
Get Rid of the Vibe"
down the stairs to the Summerbridge office at the beginning of the summer
of 1998 ready to start her work as an office assistant. When she
entered the office, she discovered her name on the list of math teachers
written on the board. Her director had hoped to beat her to the office
to break the news gently. Despite an unplanned introduction to
teaching, Vinita "got hooked." She came back in 1999 and again
When Vinita began working at
Summerbridge she dressed in browns and blacks. In her words, she
"didn't want to call attention to [her]self." After a
couple of summers teaching in the program, then-Atlanta director Keno Sadler pointed out the presence of a few
more oranges and yellows in her wardrobe. Summerbridge "helped
me come out of my own shell," she claims. Prior to her time in
Summerbridge, Vinita would not have ventured up on top of a table to yell
or sing. But, she grew as an individual during those summers; her
confidence skyrocketed and she became comfortable leading activities in
front of a crowd of people.
really have to get involved with kids to make a difference."
Atlanta alum Barry Petersen describes her by saying, "Vinita gives,
gives, and gives. I think she has made a career out of
it." All signs point that direction. Her career aspirations
have evolved over time, beginning in high school with molecular
biology. During college she leaned towards international development
work, but by the end of college she had shifted the target of her
ambitions. With so much need in the United States, she decided to
stay local. Following college Vinita accepted a development and
communications job with Community Family Life Services in Washington, DC,
which works with homeless families. Through this organization, Vinita
tutored homeless children who faced many obstacles, both social and
educational. The understanding of the complexities of the lives of
homeless children Vinita gained in D.C. motivated her to turn to graduate
school for further training.
Joel Vargas Helps 'near
miss kids' land in college
Even though Joel Vargas qualified for reduced-price
lunches growing up, he says he never felt poor until his high school was
dubbed one of the worst-performing in San Francisco. He was a straight-A
student and at the top of his class. His parents thought he was bound for
When he landed at a local summer program
that helped prepare kids for rigorous college courses, he realized how
much he didn't know.
"I met young people who were just
so far ahead of me, who were not at the heads of their respective
classes," he says. "It made me a little angry and mostly it
It still motivates him today.
Through his research, advocacy, and
grass-roots work at Jobs for the Future, Mr. Vargas looks for
"better ways to move kids through the pipeline," and pushes
higher-education officials to have a louder voice in the conversation
about high-school reform.
here to see the full article.
Dr. Njema Frazier voted
as one of America's Most Powerful Players Under 40
Dr. Njema Frazier has been honored by Black
Enterprise Magazine as one of America's most "powerful players under
40". Included on this list are Shawn D. Baldwin, Trya Banks, Halle
Berry, P. Diddy, and Jay-Z. Click
here to see the full list.
Log-in & Check Out The New Look Of
The SBAN Database
I am happy to announce
that our SBAN database has a new look and easier format. Some of the
changes you will notice include...
A whole new
look to your fellow alumni search results
Now, you can easily see
alumni pictures and general information on each SBAN member.
The all new
- As soon as you log-in
you will see your mini-profile which will allow you to easily update
and edit your own information.
- Quick Database access links to helpful
information such as Local and National Events, SBAN member searches,
and job and internship opportunities.
- For your convinience, we have also included
links to the SBAN homepage, The Breakthrough Collaborative, a
list of your former SB/BT programs, and an opportunity to
advertise your own web page and BLOG!
This is YOUR database.
If you have suggestions on how we can continue to improve this resource
please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call at 404-495-1805.
Hope you all enjoy!
-Tim "the tech guy"