LEDA News – July 2021


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Bright Futures Ahead in College

Congratulations to the amazing LEDA Scholars of Cohort 16!

Springtime at LEDA is always filled with a sense of excited anticipation, and this year did not disappoint: our LEDA Scholars achieved outstanding success in their college admissions results! 98% of the Scholars in Cohort 16 were admitted to at least one Barron’s “Most Competitive” college, and 69% were admitted to at least one Ivy League institution, MIT, or Stanford. Ultimately, 88% of Cohort 16 chose to matriculate at a Most Competitive school. Click here to this year’s full admissions results.

Our Scholars were also recognized with a number of prestigious scholarships, including 18 from the Gates Foundation, 17 from the Horatio Alger Association, four from the the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, four from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, two from Generation Google, and two from the Ron Brown Scholar Program.

Cohort 16 Scholars announced where they will be starting college in the upcoming fall semester

Cohort 16’s college guidance process was a unique LEDA experience: it was conducted via a completely online model. Our Scholars attended the first-ever virtual Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute in 2020, followed by LEDA’s traditional remote advising during the school year. Despite the virtual format, Scholars experienced all of the highly supportive components of our program that have become hallmarks of our approach, including regular one-on-one meetings with their LEDA College Guidance Counselor and a community of peers who were rooting for them the entire time.

With the entire world having lived through a year of unprecedented challenges, we are especially proud of our Scholars for their perseverance and amazing accomplishments in the college admissions process. We can’t wait for them to move onto campus in the fall semester and start a new chapter in their educational journeys.

A Virtual Celebration, A Real-world Community

Our digital journey continues!

On May 26, LEDA hosted its first-ever virtual Annual Celebration, honoring Ken Bouyer of EY, Lisa Osborne Ross of Edelman, and Dr. Garland Castañeda, a LEDA Cohort 2 alumnus and our inaugural Alumni Honoree. We are proud to have raised over $530,000 with generous gifts from our partners, our champion sponsors, dedicated individuals, and the generosity of our exceptional alumni community.

LEDA alumni Anthony and Shenaille were our emcees for the evening

Hosting an online event provided LEDA with an exciting opportunity to explore new ways to connect with our guests. Without the limitations of geographic distance, nearly 350 guests from states throughout the country registered on our online platform to tune in for the livestream. Our online platform also allowed us to provide a central hub for guests to learn more about the event and LEDA, as well as to facilitate communicating with one another.

WABC-TV Anchor Sade Baderinwa congratulates LEDADr. Lamont Gordon moderates a panel with LEDA Scholars Adiela, Anna, and Demitrious

Highlights of the livestream included our two LEDA alumni emcees for the evening, Anthony (Cohort 1) and Shenaille (Cohort 6), remarks from each of our honorees, a panel discussion with three LEDA Scholars, a performance by LEDA Cohort 12 Scholar Cherise, and meet-and-greet sessions with LEDA students and alumni following the livestream. You can read and download our event journal by clicking here.

LEDA Board Chair Ilana Goldman thanks everyone for attendingLEDA Scholar Cherise closes out the evening with a performance

We hope to see you in person for our Annual Celebration in 2022!

Our 2021 Honorees

Get to know our Annual Celebration’s honorees

Ken Bouyer
Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting, EY

Ken BouyerKen is the EY Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting and a founding member of LEDA’s Corporate Leadership Council. At EY, he is responsible for developing and implementing the global EY organization’s recruiting strategy to build and attract diverse and inclusive talent pools for member firms in the Americas. We were proud to honor him for his steadfast support for LEDA’s mission and his commitment to diversity, equity. and inclusion.

Lisa Osborne Ross
U.S. Chief Executive Officer, Edelman

Lisa Osborne RossLisa is Edelman’s U.S. Chief Executive Officer and the first Black woman to serve as a CEO within a major public relations firm. She is known as an in-demand counselor to senior executives at Fortune 500, higher education, and government institutions. We were proud to honor her for being a trailblazer and role model for the LEDA Community and our nation’s youth.

Dr. Garland Castañeda
LEDA Cohort 2
Hospitalist, Alameda Inpatient Medical Inc.

Garland CastanedaGarland is a Hospitalist at Alameda Inpatient Medical, Inc., and, over the past year, he has spent most of his time running his hospital’s COVID team and managing the ebb and flow of COVID-19 patients. LEDA’s alumni network is both growing and accomplished, and we wanted to celebrate some of the members who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service. We all owe a debt to the frontline healthcare workers who have seen our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, so we were proud to honor Garland.

The Future of Leadership: Then & Now

Our latest video series, featuring LEDA alumni, and a bonus video

One of the most exciting parts of our Annual Celebration was the premiere of our new series, The Future of Leadership: Then & Now. These videos check in with LEDA alumni to see how their leadership journeys have evolved. We could not be prouder to have such extraordinary individuals forming the backbone of the LEDA Community.


In our bonus video, LEDA students and alumni share their perspectives on why our work is so important, why our methods are so effective, and why the LEDA Community is so unique – in short, why LEDA matters.


Visit our YouTube channel,, to watch additional videos, and stay tuned for more!

LEDA Law School Summit Launches

Life before, during, and after law school, as told by LEDA alumni

In early June, we hosted the first LEDA Law School Summit. This two-day virtual event was created as a resource for LEDA students interested in pursuing a career in the field of law, offering critical insights into the law school admissions and financial aid process, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and the different types of law one can practice with a law degree. We were also thrilled to welcome representatives from eighteen top-ranked law schools, who shared information about their programs and answered questions about their institutions. In addition, each attending student was assigned a mentor – a current law school student or practicing attorney – to provide personalized guidance on applying to and navigating law school and assessing career goals.

Leadership Chat with Professor Camille Gear Rich and LEDA Cohort 13 Scholar Adiela

Guest speakers and LEDA alumni shared their advice and experiences, giving LEDA students a chance to hear directly from knowledgeable, relatable sources. During a featured Leadership Chat hosted by LEDA Cohort 13 Scholar Adiela, Camille Gear Rich – Professor of Law and Sociology, Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion, and Dorothy Nelson Chair of Law at USC Gould School of Law – provided an empowering perspective on why first-generation and under-resourced students should consider applying to law school and how they can combat imposter syndrome. “Privilege left undisturbed will only replicate itself,” she said. “If you leave all these systems in place where you think you are not supposed to be, privilege will very smoothly and cleanly work in an untroubled fashion.” She advised students to look for schools with a demonstrated commitment to supporting first-generation students through features like ramp-up programs, affinity groups, and financial resources.

LEDA alumni participate in the “My Life in Law School” panel

Speaking about the law school experience itself, LEDA Cohort 5 alumna Maria stressed the importance of perseverance and maintaining perspective. “The first semester is hard…and everyone is going through the exact same thing,” she shared. “Have grace with yourself: it’s a very different way of learning, and you’ll get through it.”

Thank you to all of the students, alumni, guest speakers, and law schools that helped make our newest event such a success!

Summer Preview

A look ahead at this year’s #LEDAsummer

We are excited to welcome our 101 newest LEDA Scholars: Cohort 17! They started their #LEDAsummer with a kick-off event for the Summer Institute on June 19. These young leaders attend 98 high schools in 36 states and were admitted from a pool of more than 1,300 applicants. More than three-quarters of them will be first-generation college students.

A Zoom-style “class photo” of Cohort 17 and this year’s Summer Institute staff

Speaking of the summer, the LEDA Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute and the LEDA Career Institute are once again virtual programs this year. We are looking forward to building on the success of last summer’s remote models to offer our Scholars and Career Fellows a truly engaging, enriching experience.

Updates on the LEDA Policy Corps

Live, learn, legislate

The 2021-2022 LEDA Policy Corps application is now open! Our Policy Project program trains and positions members of the LEDA Community to lend their voices to federal policy discussions pertaining to postsecondary education. Visit to start your application. Deadline: July 22, 2021.

Meanwhile, the members of the 2020-2021 LEDA Policy Corps have been putting their advocacy training to good use! Be sure to check out their recent articles below, and visit to see a full list and learn more about their policy recommendations.

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