LEDA News – Spring 2018


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Cohort 13 College Admissions Results

Jade Tristen and Antonio R at StanfordAnother outstanding year of college admissions results at LEDA! Our Cohort of 100 Scholars received outstanding news in March as they were notified of their admission to many of the top colleges in the United States. 97% of Cohort 13 was admitted to at least one “Most Competitive” institution, as classified by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, including 70% who were admitted to at least one Ivy League school, MIT, or Stanford. This tremendous news builds on our success in the early application process at the end of 2017, during which 41 Scholars were admitted to a Most Competitive school, as featured recently in the Washington Post.

“Without the assistance and guidance of LEDA, I would have never considered the possibility of applying to an Ivy League university, much less being accepted to one,” wrote one Cohort 13 Scholar. “My future would have been merely a shadow of what I now have the chance to achieve.”

JLEDA Scholars aim highThis year’s results follow a tradition of exceptional outcomes in supporting some of our nation’s most talented students gain access to and succeed at institutions where they can develop their leadership skills. Since the expansion of the LEDA Scholars Program in 2015 from 60 to 100 new Scholars recruited annually, 98% of Scholars have been admitted to a Most Competitive institution.

As part of LEDA’s comprehensive approach to college guidance, our staff continued to work with Cohort 13 Scholars after they received their admission offers. LEDA counselors helped Scholars to consider a number of factors, such as financial aid packages and impressions from campus visits, in choosing where to spend the next four years. Stay tuned for our next newsletter to see their full matriculation results.

Congratulations, Cohort 13!

Gerstner Family Foundation underwrites LEDA Career Institute

LEDA is thrilled to report that the Gerstner Family Foundation will underwrite the 2018 LEDA Career Institute, expanding a partnership that began in 2015. “This transformative investment is one-of-a-kind,” said LEDA Executive Director Beth Breger. “We couldn’t express our gratitude enough for the Gerstner Family Foundation’s leadership and commitment to LEDA as we seek to advance career opportunities for our nation’s future leaders.”

LEDA Career Fellows attend Career Institute 2017Gerstner Family Foundation Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., shared how his undergraduate experience shaped his interest in helping students explore professional pathways: “I learned that there was a whole other set of skills I needed to have a successful career after college…My education was invaluable, but what I learned outside of the classroom was just as important for my success.”

The Foundation was also the lead funder of the 2017 pilot Career Institute, which was an overwhelming success with 58% of LEDA Career Fellows citing a change in their career interests. Since then, LEDA has conducted more than 150 career advising sessions with Career Fellows, many of whom will spend their summer interning at organizations such as Bloomberg L.P., Capital One, Facebook, GE, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, ideas42, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Morgan Stanley.

The 2018 five-day Career Institute will be held in August at Princeton University with a new class of 150+ LEDA Career Fellows. It is the signature component of the LEDA Career Network, an initiative that provides high-achieving, low-income students with career exploration, professional development, and career advising.

2018 LEDA Reception

LEDA Scholars at the 2018 LEDA ReceptionLEDA Scholars at the 2018 LEDA Reception

On January 30, nearly 300 LEDA Scholars, staff, and supporters gathered to celebrate an extraordinary year at our 2018 Reception. This annual event brings together new friends and long-time supporters of the LEDA Community, and, this year, the event raised nearly $440,000 to support our nation’s future leaders. This year’s honoree was Rosanna Durruthy, Head of Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at LinkedIn, who has dedicated her career to expanding opportunities for leaders from diverse backgrounds.

“I’m proud of LEDA,” said Rosanna. “[Your Scholars] make a difference in this world – each and every one of them…They help each other, and they help a community that often struggles to provide resources. They are the beacons and role models who illuminate the streets they walk on.”

The program featured LEDA Cohort 12 Scholars Sarah (Princeton ’21) and William (University of Richmond ’21) as our hosts for the evening, as well as remarks from Cohort 2 Scholar Jessica (Dartmouth ’12, Tufts Medicine ’19) and Cohort 10 Scholar Philip (Pitzer ’19). Both Scholars reflected on how LEDA has changed the course of their lives. “LEDA invested in me, helped me get a foot in the door, redirected my limited vision to a broader horizon, and provided me with resources to succeed,” said Jessica.

2018 LEDA Reception - Sarah William Rosanna2018-LEDA-Reception - Jessica2018-LEDA-Reception - Philip
LEDA Scholars Sarah and William present a LEDA award to honoree Rosanna DurruthyLEDA Scholar JessicaLEDA Scholar Philip

Videos of our Scholars, honoree, and the evening’s highlights are available on our YouTube channel at, and additional photos are available at

LEDA Leadership: New Faces at LEDA

LEDA is excited to welcome the newest members of our Board of Directors: Holly Ash Greenwald and Gustavo Gonzalez!

Holly Ash GreenwaldGustavo Gonzalez 
Holly Ash GreenwaldGustavo Gonzalez 

Ms. Ash was raised and educated in the U.K. She was a Vice President in Equity Derivatives at Goldman Sachs before becoming a private investor and entrepreneur, founding and Lab25 to provide opportunity to young entrepreneurs with a focus on impact investing and women-owned businesses.

Mr. Gonzalez is a Managing Partner of Gravel Creek Asset Management. He has also served as Partner and COO of Precision Path Capital, Executive Vice-President of the Libra Group, and an Investment Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers.

We are grateful to have such talented and knowledgeable individuals as part of LEDA’s leadership and look forward to their support to help LEDA continue to thrive.

LEDA in the Washington Post

Sayra in the Washington PostLEDA Cohort 6 Scholar and Community Outreach Officer Sayra Alanís
Stan Godlewski for the Washington Post

LEDA was recently featured in two articles (here and here) by veteran journalist Nick Anderson in the Washington Post for our distinct approach – and outstanding success – in helping Scholars pursue higher education and develop their leadership skills. “Where I’m from, a lot of teenagers…feel as if we are not enough. LEDA had a different narrative for me,” said LEDA Cohort 11 Scholar Eriana (Georgetown University ’20). Thousands of students lack access to the information and support systems necessary to apply to, gain admission to, and thrive at top colleges that can best nurture their potential as leaders. LEDA recognizes this gap and emphasizes exposure, personalized advising, and community-building among LEDA Scholars as powerful and effective resources for helping Scholars succeed.

Welcome, Cohort 14!

LEDA welcomes Cohort 14In April, LEDA completed our annual admission process, selecting the next Cohort of 100 Scholars from a pool of more than 1,250 applicants. We are excited to meet the newest members of the LEDA Community, including Franklyn, from Ketchikan, AK, this June at our Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute on the Princeton University campus. “Both Franklyn and I are convinced this will absolutely change the course of his life, said Robert McClory, his high school guidance counselor. “You have an amazing young scholar, citizen, and leader in Franklyn.” Cohort 14 includes high school juniors from 40 states, including our first two Scholars from North Dakota. Our newest Scholars have an average GPA of 3.92 and an average household income of $34,230. We are excited to welcome them into the LEDA Community, which now includes nearly 1,000 Scholars! Follow along on social media (Facebook: LEDAScholarsProgram; Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat: @leda_scholars) as we get to know Cohort 14 better on the Princeton campus, and stay tuned for the summer highlights in our next newsletter.

LEDA Policy Project

LEDA Scholars speak outThanks to a transformative investment from Lumina Foundation, LEDA has launched the LEDA Policy Project, which seeks to train and position young leaders from underrepresented backgrounds to lend their voices to federal policy discussions pertaining to postsecondary education. “LEDA Scholars are among the most compelling young people I’ve met,” said Terri Taylor, deputy director at Lumina Foundation. “We are so pleased to support LEDA’s expanded work in federal policy.” The Policy Project advances LEDA’s mission to prepare the next generation of diverse leaders by training a core group of LEDA Scholars to become well-versed on the federal policy process and equipped to discuss the impact of federal education policies on their personal journeys to and through higher education. This will build on LEDA’s mission of empowering those from underrepresented backgrounds and ensuring that diverse voices are at the table where decisions are made.

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