Meet the New Look College Class of 2016

Beating the Odds!

Each year, thousands of students graduate high school and enroll in college. This reality is different for many minority and low-income students. Just 9 percent of students from the lowest income quartile graduate with a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to 77 percent for the top income quartile, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Reach Higher initiative to encourage students to complete education past high school. Since our founding in 1999, Usher’s New Look has worked with over 34,000 students to find their spark, graduate high school, enroll in college and start careers that align with their passions.

Education – one of our four pillars of leadership development – is integral to the work we do with our high school and college students. In fact, we pride ourselves on these results:

  • 100 percent of New Look high school students graduate college.
  • 98% go onto college
  • 86% are FIRST-GENERATION college students

During the 2015-2016 school year, seven of our Moguls-In-Training graduated from college with their bachelor’s degrees. These students have been in our program since they first began high school.

We’re so proud of their accomplishments and look forward to what they will achieve as they enter the workforce. Read more about our awesome students below:

Markeita Bratcher SeniorMarkeita Bratcher

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Marquette University
Bachelor of Arts
Major: Advertising
Minor: Graphic Design

Post-Graduation Plans: “Job seeking and building my graphic design portfolio”
Ultimate Career Goal: “Work for an advertising agency as a graphic designer”

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“Usher’s New Look staff have constantly kept me motivated and positive. They also provided me with great time management skills. I feel more prepared to enter the real-world, because UNL gave us useful information about things to do after graduation in terms of credit and purchasing a house.”

What are you most proud of?
“Getting an internship!”

Learn more about Markeita’s New Look experience in her own eyes through her magazine project HERE.

Kamera CobbKamera Cobb

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Georgia State University
Bachelor of Business Administration
Major: Hospitality Administration

Post-Graduation Plans: “Improve my resume and get a salary job with benefits!”
Ultimate Career Goal: Working for Usher’s New Look

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“UNL made me. On our Moguls in Training calls every month, UNL made me step my game up on campus. Other MITs motivated me to join orgs and go out. I’m a home body. It showed me a different way of being a college student. More than just academics.”

What are you most proud of?
“Making dean’s list or president’s list every semester! I was extremely organized. I had lists.”

IMG1715353362Jakayla Dills

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Tuskegee University
Bachelor of Science
Major: Biology

Post-Graduation Plans: “Master’s Program, work and study for the MCAT!”
Ultimate Career Goal: “General Pediatrician”

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“UNL provided me excessive support with my personal situations.”

What are you most proud of?
“Seeing improvement in my grades.”

Learn more about Jakayla’s New Look experience through her video project, HERE.

10409134_158033454555972_2113696076489513772_nDartez Jacobs

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Georgia State University
Bachelor of Arts
Major: Sociology
Minor: Social Sciences

Post-Graduation Plans: “I’m currently training for an opportunity to play professionally for a CFL club. In the meantime, I’ve accepted a job working for Nike and two local venues in the downtown area. I’m also working out a plan to begin my Graphic Design courses in the near future. Until I feel satisfied to move forward in pursuit of that, I’m steadily working on my portfolio and still assisting projects in the community as a volunteer.”
Ultimate Career Goal:
“To leave a legacy…in what manner, I’ve yet to figure that out just yet.”

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“Usher’s New Look has played a huge role in helping me reach a goal that surprisingly wasn’t academic nor athletic. I was searching for an outlet to do more in my community, and New Look was the platform which enabled me to do so. New Look has given me the access to so many relationships that have brought more opportunities my way for outreach in the community.”

What are you most proud of?
“I’m not one to dwell on self achievements. If anything, I’m proud that my family had the opportunity to see me walk the stage as a college graduate before flying down to our bowl game in Orlando.”

2016-Jack Lovern Graduation PhotoJack Lovern

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Wake Forest University
Bachelor of Science
Major: Mathematical Economics
Minor: Global Trade & Commerce, Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise

Post-Graduation Plans: “Working for The Advisory Board in Washington, DC”
Ultimate Career Goal: “
I would like to start a company that changes people’s lives through education or by improving healthcare”

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“UNL always reminded me to stay focused on achieving my dreams. They inspired me to do my best every day. Whenever I was tired of school and didn’t want to give my all, I thought of the New Look family that was counting on me and the great future I have ahead. Because of this, I was always motivated to better myself.”

What are you most proud of?
“Completing my econometrics research project on healthcare expenditure across developed and developing countries.”

13475114_1406907315989797_746025664952656763_oAngellic Ross

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Northwestern University
Bachelor of Arts
Major: Performance Studies
Minor: Film & Media Studies
Certificate: Civic Engagement

Post-Graduation Plans: “Guatemala producing a documentary about Los Patojos in partnership with Actuality Media. Interviewing for full-time positions.”
Ultimate Career Goal:
 “Have own media non-profit to empower youth in under resourced communities. and have the tools to distribute the content.”

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“UNL provided me the resources to navigate college. One of the first requirements for us was to have a resume. Many college people didn’t have one. UNL helped with choosing my college major, and making sure I did something I was passionate about: A service and arts combination. They were very influential in tools and support. Being able to call alumni and staff. Internships with GE. My first time abroad in China. I now have a passport that can be used for my next trip.”

What are you most proud of?
“Receiving the Rock Award. I wasn’t expecting it. It felt good to be appreciated for work that I’ve done on campus as President of my sorority and NPHC. Seeing that I am doing things that implement change.”

IMG-785799710

Rebecca Williams

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Grand Valley State University
Bachelor of Science
Major: Public & Nonprofit Administration
Concentration: Local Economic Development
Minor: African & African American Studies

Post-Graduation Plans: “I will spend a year in Ghana. I will intern at the University of Cape Coast in their International Office. I then would begin a documentary on cultural exchanges and barriers that prevent them from occurring.”
Ultimate Career Goal:
“To travel the world helping engage people through conversations and cultural exchange facilitated through my nonprofit and business.”

How has UNL played a role in your college completion?
“UNL has helped me think and contemplate the next steps in my life. It also has me changing some of my habits that are not beneficial to the woman I am growing to be.”

What are you most proud of?
“Graduating from college.”

You can help more students graduate college.

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Email DKirk@UshersNewLook.org for more info.

Sources: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-focusing-higher-education-student-success