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SUNRISE SCHOLARS

OUR STAFF

Ken Sommers, CEO

Hamilton College, BA Government, Georgetown, MBA

What do you love most about working at the Sunrise Scholars Foundation?

I love working at Sunrise Scholars because I get to think about college every day!  It is exciting and fulfilling working with scholars to map out a process that will culminate in a life-changing college choice.  I also love working with our staff and mentors because of their endless enthusiasm and unique perspectives.

Why did you choose your college and what was your favorite spot on campus?

I chose Hamilton College because it provided the traditional liberal arts education and the opportunity to play Division 3 football.  I also recall that Hamilton’s fraternity life seemed pretty important at the time. . .

My favorite spot on campus was the Bundy Scott Field House where I played endless amounts of hoops and cheered on the Hamilton Continental basketball team wearing a dog costume to get the fans in the Dawg Pound rocking!

Jacob Harding, COO

Flagler College, BA History, Harvard University, M.Ed.

What do you love most about working at the Sunrise Scholars Foundation?

First and foremost, I love working with our scholars. Every day when I hop on Zoom, I’m reminded of how many hard-working, talented, phenomenal young people are out there ready to make real and lasting changes for the better. I also love the field of college access and success; the landscape is continually changing, allowing me to be a lifelong learner.

Why did you choose your college, and what was your favorite spot on campus?

I was a transfer student to Flagler College. At the time, I searched for a school where I could genuinely connect with my professors and ask “why” as often as possible. I also wanted a campus where I didn’t have to define myself by one thing; rather, I could get involved in sports, music, academia, and still have time for a job (oh, and somewhere not far from the ocean was certainly a perk).

My favorite spot on Flagler’s campus is either the Dining Hall (you have to see the Tiffany glass windows) or just hanging out on the West Lawn. Truly, St. Augustine is essentially Flagler’s campus, and there is nothing better than walking down Aviles or another timeless street and losing yourself in the history and charm.

When he is not working, Jacob enjoys strumming a guitar, cooking elaborate meals, or taking his stubborn French bulldog on the world’s shortest walks.

Kiarra Womack, Program Director

Washington University in St. Louis,

What do you love most about working at the Sunrise Scholars Foundation?

My favorite part about working at the Sunrise Scholars Foundation is that I can reduce the negative impact that social disparities have in the field of college access and contribute to the academic success of our scholars. I also love that I am able to interact with some of the most personable and outstanding students and staff while contributing to this mission. Our spontaneous summer symposium dinners at Walt Disney Springs also did not disappoint!

Why did you choose your college and what was your favorite spot on campus?

I chose to attend Washington University in St. Louis because of the positive campus culture, and the motto to know everyone by name and story. I was also able to contribute to my campus on a large-scale through my service based extracurriculars and I was granted a significant amount of financial aid to attend my alma mater, allowing me to graduate debt-free!

My favorite spot on campus was in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion office. I loved it because it was the perfect get-away spot from the bustle of the main dining hall and you would never expect such a quiet space to have highlighter green walls and an enthusiastic staff that occupied it!

Adrianna Patacsil

Mentor

Hometown: Sarasota, FL
College: Washington University in St. Louis (WashU)
College Mascot: Bears

Sierra Dickerson

Mentor

Hometown: Sarasota, FL
College: Boston College
Mascot: The Eagles 🦅

Elias Guzman Jr

Mentor

Hometown: San Francisco, CA
College: University of California, Irvine (UCI)
Mascot: Peter the Anteater

Tahj Lakey

Mentor

Hometown: Inglewood, CA
College: Yale University
Mascot: Bulldogs (Boola Boola!)

questions?

Learn more about college access issues that make the Sunrise Scholars Foundation’s mission so vital.