Steppingstone Magazine - Fall 2019

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Fall 2019 Magazine


Joanne Jacquet Araujo ’98

A note from Steppingstone President

Todd Bland Donavan D. Brown ’95 Hon. Denise Jefferson Casper Dr. Vincent W. Chiang Brian J. Conway


Betsy Lind Danziger Mary Driscoll Peg Flanagan Fabian Fondriest Lucy K. Galbraith Debbie L. Gelb Kate Gilbane Jonathan M. Goldstein Robert P. Henderson, Jr. Pam Holding Joshua S. Levy Isabelle Loring, Chair Dr. Richard I. Melvoin A. Peter Monaco, Jr. Mike Pascucci Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker Tricia Schade John G. Simon Hilary N. Steinert Jenny Weymouth Christina Wing-O'Donnell

For many, the fall is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. At Steppingstone, the fall really begins in the summer, as a new class of Scholars sets foot on Milton Academy’s campus for the first time and embarks upon a journey that doesn’t end until they graduate from college (and it doesn’t really end then either, as you can see in our photos from our Alumni Reunion on page 7!). Many of you came out to the Berylson Family Academy @ Steppingstone this past summer to visit classes and meet with Scholars. Invariably, visitors come away with a new understanding not only of how hard the Scholars work while most of their friends are playing, but also the joy they experience building often lifelong bonds with Steppingstone teachers, advisors, and their Scholar classmates (again, see Alumni Reunion photos!). This isn’t to say we don’t have fresh starts and new beginnings to celebrate in the fall, too. Steppingstone’s College Services team spent the summer preparing graduating seniors for their important––and often nerve-wracking––first year of college. We are so proud of these Scholars, many of whom have enrolled at colleges close to home like Boston College, Northeastern, Harvard, and Lesley; as well as those who are venturing farther afield, attending Denison, Howard, and Princeton. Most will be the first in their family to earn a college degree. The older Scholars aren’t the only ones experiencing a new beginning: many of our younger Scholars are transitioning into new schools throughout the Boston area, with their sights firmly set on achieving their goal of a college degree. Back in the office, we’ve spent this past year immersed in a comprehensive strategic planning process, examining everything from our mission statement to program structure and services. We are excited and energized by the opportunity a strategic plan provides to take a hard look at what we do well and what we can do better, all with the end goal of increasing our impact. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months. I hope you enjoy whatever fresh starts and new beginnings this fall holds for you!

Kelly D. Glew

President Kelly Glew & Board Chair Isabelle Loring

Scholars visit Union College

eye on COLLEGE SERVICES Most Steppingstone Scholars will be the first in their families to earn a college degree—and for students from historically marginalized communities, there are plenty of roadblocks along the way to and through college. That’s why our College Services team is always hard at work finding ways to best support Scholars on this path. This summer, they hosted College Bootcamp Workshops every Tuesday evening in July. Topics of the workshops included: DemystifyingCollege CollegeAdmissions— Admissio featuring the Associate Demystifying Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Boston College

To round out the summer full of college-preparation events, Steppingstone hosted overnight college tours for high school Scholars. Beginning bright and early on August 13, four staff members and 29 Scholars loaded onto a bus to visit seven colleges in Upstate New York and New England in just four days. Together, the group was able to tour and learn about the academics and cultures of Union College, Syracuse University, Cornell University, Hamilton College, Colgate University, Amherst College, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Writing Your Writing Your College CollegeEssay— Essa featuring the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University

Speaking to a group of young Scholars about the importance of staying connected to their College Services Advisors, Scholar Mary Medrano ’11 said, “It’s a resource that you should take advantage of. For me, coming from a family of immigrants who didn’t know the college process, the College Services team was helpful because they knew what to do. They helped with my transition to college, for sure.”

College Financial Financial Aid Aid101— 101 featuring the Massachusetts College Educational Financing Authority, and open to Scholar families and the public

This year alone, Steppingstone helped 118 Scholars like Mary find, apply to, and enroll in the schools that are right for them. Find a full list of those schools on page 9.

College College Experience ExperiencePanel— Pa . featuring a group of Scholars discussing their own colleges and answering high school Scholars' questions


SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS 01 CLASSES Scholars spend six weeks in the summer building academic and socialemotional skills at the Berylson Family Academy @ Steppingstone. There, they take classes including science, math, English, Latin, study skills, and Challenges & Choices. Pictured to the right, Scholars perform an experiment in science class and ask Ms. Houston a question in English class.

02 FIELD TRIPS Scholars also experience hands-on learning and bond with classmates and staff on various field trips. This summer, Scholars learned about agriculture while visiting Holly Hill Farm, were visited by Chef Douglass Williams of MIDA, who helped them come up with a plan for a new Boston restaurant, visited the Harbor Islands, and attended the annual Canobie Lake Park trip on their last day.

03 ELECTIVES In addition to their daily classes, Scholars also participate in electives on Friday mornings. Scholars might choose to spend some time in the fresh air working as a team while playing soccer, cheerleading, or doing track and field; or they might choose to pick up an activity they're interested in like knitting, coding, or photography.






CONNECTIONS 04 One cornerstone of Steppingstone's programs is the ability for Scholars to establish lifelong, meaningful relationships with Advisors, teachers, and classmates. Scholars remain in touch and supported by their Steppingstone Advisors from when they enter the program in fifth or sixth grade until they graduate college 12+ years later.

04 READING 05 In their English language arts and humanities classes, Scholars are assigned readings to learn how to analyze plot, setting, and character, as well as to identify and discuss historical contexts. Some books Scholars read this summer included The Giver The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Liberation of ofGabriel GabrielKing Kingby Liberation K.L. Going, and The The Dreamer by Pam MuĂąoz Dreamer Ryan. Twice a week, Scholars also participate in D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read), pictured left.



ACHIEVEMENTS & UPDATES Scholars Maya Saunders ’07 was honored by the NAACP and featured in the Dorchester Reporter and the Boston Herald, where this photo appeared.

KYLA ALLEN ’14 (John D. O'Bryant School) worked at Steppingstone as the National Partnership for Educational Access and College Services summer intern. EMILY CASTELLANOS ’12 (Newton Country Day School, Amherst College) was the recipient of the Prize for French from Newton Country Day School.

Max Clermont ’01 with former President Barack Obama during his time working with the Obama Administration

Megan Riley ’04 runs the 2019 Boston Marathon

VIVI DANG ’13 & SAMANTHA VALDEZ ’11 (Boston Latin School, Tufts University; and John D. O'Bryant School, Northeastern University) were selected for the Janey Scholars Program, a renewable, highly selective scholarship providing support to Boston students in and after college. NATHALIE DIAZ-TRONCOSCO ’13 (Boston Latin Academy, Connecticut College) had an internship at Grand Circle Corp., which ended with a trip to East Africa where interns were expected to develop leadership, team-building, and communication skills. CARMEN ESQUIVEL ’12 (Newton Country Day School, Colby College) was elected Class President of Newton Country Day School and was the recipient of the Virginia Schumann Prize for graduates dedicated to the mission and tradition of the school.

Genesis De Los Santos ’08 speaks at Harvard's 2019 commencement


STEPHEN MORENO JIMENEZ ’13 (Brimmer and May School) was elected the 2019-2020 academic year Class President at Brimmer and May School.

ALVIN MASSINAT ’13 & DAVID ONTIVEROS ’12 (Roxbury Latin School, Brown University; and Roxbury Latin School, Connecticut College) worked as spring interns at Steppingstone as part of their senior projects at Roxbury Latin. THIERRENCE MATHURIN ’18 (Belmont Day School) was selected as Belmont Day Student Ambassador to represent the school at fairs for Steppingstone and AISNE. ISABELLA TRAN ’14 (Boston Latin School) interned with The Boston Globe this summer, where she had her own work published. She was also selected as the editor-in-chief of the BLS school newspaper.

Alumni IFEANYI ANIDI ’96, PhD (Roxbury Latin School, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University) received a Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship at the National Institute of Health. DEVAREAUX BROWN ’91, MSIT (Noble and Greenough School, Williams College, Bentley University) was promoted to Director of Technology at Noble and Greenough School. MAX CLERMONT ’01, MPH (Boston Latin Academy, Brown University) who was a Gates Millenium Scholar and previously worked for the Obama administration, co-founded the tech activist group Data 4 Black Lives.

Alumni (cont'd) CHIMENE COOPER ’06, ANGIE ISAZALOAIZA ’06, & MEGAN RILEY ’04 (The Park School, Milton Academy, Cornell University; Boston Latin School, Bucknell University; and Boston Latin School, Boston College) are all attending Northeastern Law School in the 2019-2020 school year. D'JONITA COTTRELL ’09 (Newton Country Day School, Colgate University) was awarded Colgate's prestigious 1819 award for upholding the school's spirit and values. She now works as an Advisor at Steppingstone. GENESIS DE LOS SANTOS ’08 (Meadowbrook School, Harvard University) was chosen as the Senior English Speaker at her commencement from Harvard University and is now a Harvard Travel Fellow in Senegal. MIRANDA HAYMON ’05 (Phillips Andover Academy, Wesleyan University) wrote and directed her own play, "In The Penal Colony," put on at the New York Theater Workshop. FELIX LIANG ’06 (Noble and Greenough School, Colby College) now working at Teach for America, was the keynote speaker for Steppingstone's Class of 2019, and joined Steppingstone's Board of Young Professionals.

MAYA SAUNDERS ’07 (Boston Latin Academy, Salve Regina University) was honored at the NAACP national convention for work in NextGen Young Professional Leadership Development Program. SOFIA TEIXEIRA ’94, MBA (The Rivers School, Babson College, Pennsylvania State University) spoke alongside Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell at Steppingstone's Annual Meeting. She is John Hancock's Head of U.S. Diversity and Inclusion.

Sofia Teixeira ’94 with Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell at Steppingstone's Annual Meeting

NPEA NPEA's 11th annual conference was held in Chicago in April. More than 430 attendees gathered for three days of workshops and heard from featured keynote speakers EVE L. EWING, author of Ghosts in the the Schoolyard: Schoolyard: Racism and and School School Closings Closings inin Chicago's Chicago's South South Side Side; DR. DONNELL BUTLER, a Senior Associate Dean at Franklin & Marshall College; and NA'ILAH SUAD NASIR, author of Racialized Identities: Racialized Identities:Race Raceand and Achievement for for African-American African-American Youth. NPEA's conference will return to Cambridge this year from April 15 - 17. NPEA also held two events in Boston and Los Angeles, both designed to help support students and their families, including undocumented students.

Felix Liang ’06 gives the keynote speech at Steppingstone commencement

Dr. Eve L. Ewing speaks at the 2019 NPEA Conference

Scholars at Steppingstone

Left to Right: Archi Lora ’08, D'Jonita Cottrell ’09, Makeda Daniel ’09, Natalie Herbert ’07, and Mary Medrano ’11

Steppingstone currently has four Alumni and one college-aged Scholar working at our offices. Alumni Archi Lora ’08, D'Jonita Cottrell ’09, and Makeda Daniel ’09 are Steppingstone Advisors, while Natalie Herbert ’07 is the Admission Coordinator. Scholar Mary Medrano ’11 works part time as the Community Coordinator while pursuing her bachelor's degree in psychology from Lesley University.



COMMUNITY CODING DAY 8/15 WAYFAIR Scholars enjoyed a day of coding while gaining


exposure to the tech industry

BOOTCAMP 7/01 COLLEGE College Services hosted workshops every Tuesday in July

Scholars were able to attend an expert panel about careers in law, featuring two Scholar Alumni

BOSTON PRIDE PARADE APPRECIATION PARTY 6/08 TSF 5/15 Hosts marched for the first time to Nancy Adams & Scott support the LGBTQ+ community

MEETING 5/09 ANNUAL A gathering of TSF Board members and guests, featuring Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell (above) 6


Schoen celebrated TSF supporters

SCHOLAR REUNION 4/22 SENIOR High school seniors reconnected with Steppingstone classmates



A record number of Alumni attended the reunion and raised more than $800 for Steppingstone.

Alumni of all ages attended, from recent college graduates all the way to Steppingstone's Class of 1992.

Dalinda Ifill-Pressat ’99 took a moment to speak to her fellow Alumni about the importance of giving back to Steppingstone (pictured left).



STEPPINGSTONE CLASS OF 2014 When all the other Milton Academy students went home for the summer, Hyde Park native Bill Eugene stayed on campus—and, it wasn’t his first time spending the summer at Milton with Steppingstone. This time however, he was returning as one of 12 Teaching Assistants (TAs) for The Steppingstone Academy. Years earlier, as a fifth and sixth grade student, Bill was the one sitting behind the desk, taking notes, and handing in his homework. This summer, he was in front of the class and collecting homework. A highly competitive paid internship, Steppingstone TAs help teachers run classrooms and assist young Scholars with their work. TAs also serve as role models to younger Scholars, and Bill remembers looking up to his TAs when he was young. He says that he "wanted the opportunity to do that for this new generation of Scholars." Bill comes from a family of Haitian immigrants, who quickly noticed that he was craving more of a challenge in his schoolwork. A family friend told them about Steppingstone and, with the help of his parents, Bill applied that winter and was accepted as a Scholar. "Steppingstone gave me the challenge that I needed as a student,” he recalls.


JANE VENTRONE Vice President Academic Programs

First joining Steppingstone in 2006 as a preparation and placement Advisor, Jane now oversees all curriculum development and faculty hiring. Previously, Jane taught 7th grade language arts as a Teach for America Corps member.

After completing 14 months of academic and social-emotional preparation, Bill earned acceptance to The Park School in sixth grade. When it was time to look for a high school, he worked closely with his Steppingstone Advisor to find a school that would be a good fit for him. Bill was accepted to Milton Academy, where he is now a junior. He plays for Milton's lacrosse and basketball teams and has earned a black belt in karate. Bill attributes some of his success to his close relationship with Steppingstone, and particularly his Advisor. "It’s been great to have a mentor through the high school, and now college, process," he says. Bill will continue to work with his Advisor as he begins the college application process next year. He hopes to pursue a degree in chemistry.

ELENA SICAIROS Vice President Support and College Services

In 2012, Elena started as a support services associate at Steppingstone, directly advising Scholars. A Boston native with a teaching and counseling background, she now leads the Support and College Services team, ensuring that Scholars continue to receive the best guidance possible in middle school, high school, and college.


CHRIS PARRIS Chief Program Officer

Nearly seven years ago, Chris began his career at Steppingstone as the director of the College Success Academy. Now, as chief program officer, he oversees all aspects of a Scholar’s journey to and through college and works to ensure the best experience for all 1,600 Scholars with whom Steppingstone works each year.

REACHING GOALS Scholars graduated from these colleges in spring 2019:

Scholars started their first year at these colleges in fall 2019:

American University Babson College Barry University Bentley University Boston College Boston University Bridgewater State College Brown University Bryant College Bucknell University Colgate University College of the Holy Cross Columbia University Dickinson College Endicott College Hampshire College Harvard University Lesley University Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science Northeastern University Regis College Simmons College St John's University Suffolk University Trinity College University of Denver University of Massachusetts Amherst Boston Dartmouth Lowell University of Miami Wheaton College Williams College

Amherst College Babson College Barnard College Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology Boston College Boston University Brown University Bunker Hill Community College Clark University Colby College College of the Holy Cross Columbia College Chicago Connecticut College Denison University Framingham State University Harvard University Howard University Lake Forest University Lesley University Massachusetts Maritime Academy Middlesex Community College New York University Northeastern University Pace University Syracuse University Princeton University Providence College Regis College Rochester Institute of Technology Salem State University Simmons College St. John's University Suffolk University Tufts University University of Massachusetts Amherst Boston Lowell University of Hartford University of Pennsylvania University of the Arts Wellesley College Wentworth Institute of Technology


Want to get involved? The generosity of individual donors and philanthropic organizations is essential to our success. There are numerous ways to help advance Steppingstone’s transformative work. Opportunities include mentoring a Scholar, attending or hosting an event, and making a gift to support Scholars. Learn more about supporting Steppingstone by contacting Chief Advancement Officer Kate Wood ( or by visiting our website,

Stay in the loop! @SteppingstoneFoundation @Steppingstone90 /SteppingstoneFoundation 617-423-6300