Gates Millennium Scholars Presents: Scholar Shorts

Dr. Rokeshia Renné Ashley, 2009 scholar, discusses her research which focuses on cultural competency and health institutions. Dr. Ashley is an Associate Professor at FIU.

2003 scholar, Dr. Shalena Heard, details her career as a psychologist and her growing part time private practice.

2013 scholar DuMarkus Davis talks about his unique musical journey which let him to create his own music tech company,

Sabrina Thompson from the inaugural class talks with us today about her life before Gates and how the gates scholarship shaped her into the woman she has become today.

In this episode, we catch up with 2006 scholar Ryan Knudsen. Ryan has been Director of Percussion for the Disneyland All American College Band for the past 4 years, and mentor high school and college students all around the nation.

In this episode, we catch up with Rita Gray, GMS Cohort 2007.She’s working as a curriculum developer at the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and creating culturally relevant content and implementing it into the curriculum.

In this episode, we catch up with 2015 scholar Precious Listana, who discusses her upcoming role as a Computer Science teacher in the Bay Area.

Luz Martinez, 2012 scholar, sits with us to discuss her career within DC local government and how important it is for you to get involved and engaged within local politics.

Jorge Almodovar, 2003 GMS Scholar talks with is about his role as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and being the director for the Bridge to the Doctorate Program there.

Meet 2000 GMS Scholar Hakim Williams. Hakim discusses being a tenured professor at at PWI and the importance of such a role in academia.

Harold Mendoza, 2003 GMS Scholar details his career within the pharmaceutical industry and why he chose the field.

Israel Tolar, 2013 GMS Scholar, details his path from Tijuana, Mexico to his current role as a high school teacher in Washington, D.C. He also discusses The Dream Teacher Project, an organization committed to retaining more teachers of color across the country, launched with his sister.

Let’s catch up with 2011 GMS Scholar Irmary Garcia Maisonet. Today, Irmary talks
how GMS has shaped her career and helped guide her to her current role as a researcher with Twitter.

Meet 2009 GMS Scholar Melqaam Shaw. Melqaam sits down and talks with us about his near death experience and how that experience has shaped him into the man he is today.

Meet 2006 GMS Scholar Ngoc -Tran Vu. Tran discusses her practice
as an artist and organizer and its impact on social activism. You can see Trans work at

Meet 2009 GMS Scholar Traci Thomason. Traci discusses the role she plays within Diversity & Inclusion in addition to her own real estate investment company.

Dr. Shariva White, 2002 Gates Scholar, details her career in Higher Education which lead her to create her own non-profit to support students of color.

On this edition of Scholar Shorts, we speak with 2013 scholar Brenda Khor, who details her experience after the Spa shootings in Atlanta, GA and how she was able to cope and ultimately heal.

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From the inaugural cohort, Dr. Valencia Moses comes by to share her Gates Millennium journey and the impact that the scholarship has had on her life.

2008 scholar Phyillica Mccalla discuss the DrPH degree and her interest in Maternal Infant Health.

From the 2010 cohort, Jorge sits down with us to discuss his career as a software developer and his best practices from being your absolute best.

Floraliza, 2005 scholar, shares her story about her pathway to her current career as an Associate Professor in civil engineering at Saint Martin’s University. She also talks about her engineering program at St. Martin’s.

Thomas Ulloa from the 2005 GMS Cohort discusses his professional life within immigration and now multicultural advertising.

From the inaugural class, Dr. Victoria Best highlights her life before the Gates scholarship and her career within the science world.

2011 Scholar Jaisa stops by to highlight her career building minority-owned businesses through venture capital and educating youth on how to leverage capital to build generational wealth.

2011 scholar Terence Gipson chats with us regarding higher education and the importance of black men within academia today!

Esmey, from the 2004 cohort, joins us to highlight her career as a full time health & fitness professional and how important it is to keep an active lifestyle and maintain optimal health.

In this inspiring episode, Shiva, GMS scholar 2012, shares with us his journey from a refugee camp in Nepal to now providing clean water to the city of Aurora, CO.

Sun Lee, from the 2001 class discusses her foreign service career with the U.S. State Department and her passion for representing our country.

2007 Scholar Kyndra Outlaw drops in to discuss her home staging business and the importance of black women in entreprenuership.

2005 GMS scholar, Dr. Jonie Steward, comes by to tell us what she’s been up to and why she made the move from education to financial planning and the importance of financially planning for your future.

From the 2004 cohort, Umand Patel sits with us to discuss his current work within the electric trucking industry. He is currently the Thermal Systems Lead and Chassis Systems Manager for the eMobility Group at Daimler Trucks North America.

Jennifer Stafford, from the 2004 cohort discusses her career in the mental health field documenting her journey from a small California town to the big city of New York.

2005 scholar Robyn Tedder stops in to highlight the impact GMS has had on the development and growth of her professional life since leaving college. She also features her current consulting business.

Inaugural class scholar Jamie Dela Cruz joins us to talk about his career in teaching in addition to his work in evaluation. He also talks about some of his authored publications.

2009 scholar, Dr. Elizabeth Rule is the Director of the AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy, Assistant Professor of Professional Studies, and Faculty in Residence at George Washington University, as well as a current MIT Indigenous Communities Fellow. Rule’s research on issues in her Native American community has been featured in the Washington Post, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, The Atlantic, Newsy, and NPR.

2007 Scholar David Velasquez shares with us his research centered around mathematics in Higher Education. He focuses on education policies relevant to college access, persistence, and completion for students of color in high school with special attention to math education and community colleges.

2012 scholar Kirby comes by to discuss her past and current graduate research on Hawaiian monk seals at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, respectively.

2005 scholar Fatema, chats with us about the importance of giving back within your communities. She’s a founding board member and the president of Rising Voices, a nonprofit in Michigan serving Asian American women and families.

2013 scholar Sadiyah drops in to discuss her PhD research on girls coming to age in Kingston Jamaica in addition to being a mentor within her community.

Sandy Bass, scholar from the 2012 cohort, outlines his work in social media marketing and digital strategy for entertainment brands Los Angeles.

2008 scholar Shantel drops in to share her life journey and discuss her nonprofit, Empower With Words College Prep, created  to assist parents as well as students through the college and scholarship processes.

2007 Scholar Debbie Lin Teodorescu is a practicing physician currently at Mass General who’s also gotten to leverage her GMS-funded MEng to build a humanitarian/military focused startup based on technology that makes surgery safer in austere settings.

From the 2006 cohort, Serge drops in to talk about his most recent position with a cancer diagnostics company and his passion for bringing the best out of people within organizations.

Wendy, from the 2013 cohort, highlights that in December 2021, she will earn her PhD from the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. She draws from her lived experiences as a first-generation and woman of color in engineering to inform her scholarly contributions.

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2010 scholar Nas drops in to discuss her career at Google and her role in the tech space as an underrepresented minority.

Emilyn Sosa, cohort 2007, is the founder of Mondaze Medicine, an idea born out of the desire to heal black and brown working people from workplace trauma with the support of plant medicine. Mondaze Medicine is an online botanica that offers remedies and rituals for worklife wellness, addressing the socio-emotional aspects of work.

2010 Scholar Corey stops in to highlight the importance of HBCUS in America and his role in the community helping others discover their full potential.

2008 scholar Dr. George stops in to highlight her work as a Yurok PhD in Sociology and social policy, specifically how social science can be a tool for our tribal communities.

From the 2011 Cohort, Arami comes by to to talk about her musical journey and her newly released album and poetry book.

Inaugural class scholar Dr. Roshawnna Novellus drops by to discuss the work that she does at EnrichHER, a digital platform she launched in 2017 that connects Black-owned and women-led businesses to capital.

From the 2004 cohort, Dulce recaps her story from being born in Mexico and when she migrated to the US, she spent 7 years undocumented. Education was transformative and now she works in Higher Ed making it happen for more Latinos in addition to now running for Los Angeles City Council to fight for better jobs and fair wages, excellent public transportation, and guaranteed affordable housing housing.

2014 GMS scholar Ashish drops by to discuss his Masters in Physiology at NC State and how it was instrumental to helping him get to medical school.

From the 2014 cohort, Austin comes by to discus his decision to go to grad school in the midst of his life-changing decision to have a total gastrectomy to now entering his 2nd year of Georgia Tech’s MS-HCI program. He also talks about his small business InnoSo International.

Crystal Harrell, from the 2013 cohort talks about her journey from being a first generation, low income college student to a bestseling author as a full-time PhD student.

From the 2002 cohort, Marianela drops by to discuss her career as a Global Business Development Manager for Shure Incorporated, a leading microphone manufacturer.

Member of the 2015 cohort, Valentina chats with us about her role teaching high school in Dallas to a lower income community through Teach for America and the value and power of education.

 2010 scholar Luis stops in to discuss careers pathways within tech and why African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Latinos are grossly underrepresented in STEM.

2013 scholar Ali discusses his organization TEDx, which brings the local Atlanta community together to highlight the stories of incredible activists, academics, scientists, and others in the community.

2012 scholar Benjamin comes by to highlight his experience working for Dell Technologies in the Supply Chain Management organization and being the first person in his family to work in a corporate structure like such.

2002 scholar Shaun come by to discuss his role as an associate professor of social work (trained in public health) and his small business designed to make homes more smart and accesible.

2005 scholar Stephanie talks about her career as a Licensed psychotherapist (LMFT) and Board Certified Behavior Analysis. She also discusses minorities seeking therapy and erasing the negative stigma associated with mental health.

From the 2014 cohort, Sara discusses her journey with Gates and the opportunity to graduate from The University of Texas at Austin debt free and become a nutritionist for the City of Austin.

2005 GMS Scholar Taquil comes by to highlight her career in public school education and current work within equity.

Inaugural class scholar Jennifer Leach drops in to speak about student development and student success and the importance of academic advisors within Higher Ed.

2010 Scholar Julyssa Jones highlights her current career which is in healthcare marketing and her plans to create a space in which people can have access to therapy tools on a community level.

Inaugural class scholar Krystle comes by to discuss her Gates journey and her passion for sustainable development in climate change.

2006 scholar Dr. Quynh Anh Nguyen discusses her post doc research in the field of Neuro Science specifically surrounding Epilepsy

From the 2007 cohort, Dr. Richard Gomez drops in to talk about his nontraditional career planning and path to medical school.

From the 2012 cohort, Dontea discusses the sense of self-worth and importance the GMS scholarship provided her and how that has guided her to launch her own business working with black women on their journey of self-discovery to show up as their authentic selves.

2001 scholar Dr. Natalie Youngbull talks about her position as a tenure track faculty member who contributes directly back to her own tribal nation and community, and to tribal nations and community locally and nationally.

2010 Scholar Brenda Araiza highlights her career in supply chain management at Intel and shares how her role is a little bit of a combination of both engineering/business.

2013 scholar Zendra stops by to highlight the unique opportunities GMS scholars have gotten and created. As a first generation black woman and foster survivor, GMS gave her the opportunity to get out of a rough place and get a prestigious education.

2001 scholar Dr. Tracey Becerra-Culqui discusses the opportunity provided by Gates to reach her academic goal of getting a PhD and her current position as an Assistant Professor at a Hispanic serving Institution – CSU Dominguez Hills.

2009 scholar Tennika discusses her journey through education, becoming an expecting mother during undergrad, and her alternative path to success.

Sharde, from the 2005 cohort, talks about the impact of Gates on her career and being an attorney for the artist H.E.R. and serving as VP of Operations for DreamChasers.

2010 Scholar Dr. Magi Ishak Gabra highlights her journey which started participating in global health in undergrad, completing a master’s degree in global health at UC San Francisco, and now finishing her residency program at Stanford to become a pediatrician working in global health.

Manny Prieto, from the 2008 cohort, talks about working with latino communities to find creative paths to creative futures through arts education at the Los Angeles Music and Art School

From the inaugural class, Dr. Ortega talks about being born to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic to now being the Lead Faculty for Research and Innovation for Equitable Surgical Care at the Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School with a focus on developing and implementing solutions to address surgical inequities.

2015 scholar Mike talks about being a Thai American and his new role as an associate systems engineer for a medical device company in Boston.

2014 scholar Savannah stops in to discuss her newly founded startup and share the power of entrepreneurship and how her education has led her here.

2008 scholar Frank comes by to provide feedback in the entrepreneurial space after successfully starting his own business IT business RomoGIS Enterprises.

Inaugural class scholar Dr. Shakisha Davis highlight her humble beginnings in a small town and how she is now a counselor giving back to the same population of low-income, first generation students. She also started a nonprofit, STIGMA, assisting fatherless youth.

2006 scholar Dr. Monica So joins us to highlight her journey and interest in chemistry – from K-12 to undergrad to PhD – and how GMS Award has positively impacted her trajectory as an assistant professor at California State University, Chico (CSU, Chico).

2005 scholar Dr. Jesus Iniguez talks about his pathway to MD coming from his Latin American background.

Brianna, from the 2012 cohort, highlights having a career opportunity such as that of a social justice curriculum writer/ researcher/ job developer, working to mobilize urban communities globally is an important role.

From the inaugural class, Diondria comes by to highlight her career path & accomplishments in cybersecurity, work-life balance as a mom and wife, and speak to the critical need for minority representation in this field post-pandemic.

2008 GMS scholar Athena stops in to discuss earning a Master’s degree from Penn GSE and now working in a field that she would never have discovered otherwise (International Educational Development) and that she probably wouldn’t have been able to consider if not for Gates.

Hasan, from the 2012 cohort stops by to discuss importance of investing, especially doing it early and doing it via tax advantaged accounts that can accrue benefit today and also set individuals up for retirement.

2013 scholar Jonathan talks about being a graduate student-entrepreneur working on an immersive campus engagement platform named Fitalyst. Fitalyst provides first-generation and/or low-income college students equitable access to campus resources & services.

2003 Scholar Saenya drops in to talk about her journey to becoming an educator and her future goal of opening a school.

Varaxy, from the 2003 GMS cohort, drops in to talk about her role as an Assistant Professor at CSU- Fresno and her research centered around supporting Southeast Asain American students.

From the 2008 cohort, Dr. Channel McLewis, stops in to talk about her post doc research centered around diversity and inclusion across higher education.

2011 GMS Scholar Nathalie comes by to highlight her love for chemistry and the path that it has led her on up to this point.

Dr. Vincent Jones II, from the 2008 GMS cohort, comes by to talk about his journey through Gates, which led him across the country and his current teaching capacity with higher ed.

2004 scholar Shambrieka Wise highlights her book project, inspired by her daughter, Sightseeing with Sandy.