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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.

Erin Harding, Director of College Success

Eastern Michigan University, BS Social Studies, Norwich University, MA

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

I love working at Sunrise Scholars because the students of today are the world leaders of tomorrow. I have a passion for education, which is why I chose to continue working in schools long after I graduated. I have worked for just about every type of school there is- elementary, middle and high school; title one; public; private; online; in-person. I love working with clever and enthusiastic students. It is an honor to be a part of the college process during such a major transition period in the lives of our scholars.

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

I am originally from Michigan and chose to attend The Eastern Michigan University for my undergraduate degree. I selected Eastern because they have an outstanding College of Education and I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Eastern was originally called “The Normal School” and still has an original one room schoolhouse on campus! How cool is that?! (Did I mention that I am a history nerd?)

My favorite spot on campus was the Halle Library. It was always reliably calm and peaceful there making it the perfect place to sit and get work done. My second favorite place was the student center. The student center was the best place on campus to eat, shop and relax between classes. There were often fun events being held there and you never knew who you would run into.

Adrianna Patacsil

Mentor

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

Kiarra Womack

Mentor

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

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!)

Aron Centeno

Mentor

Hometown: Williston, FL
College: Muhlenberg College
Mascot: Mule (ROLL MULES!)

Leigh Allen

Mentor

Hometown: Old Town, FL
College: Wesleyan University
Mascot: Cardinals (Go Cards!)

Haleigh Menendez

Mentor

Hometown: Tampa, FL
College: DePauw University
Mascot: Tigers

Desiree Oliver

Mentor

Hometown: Bradenton, FL
College: Muhlenberg
Mascot: The Mule

Tanis James

Mentor

Hometown: Kissimmee, FL
College: Queens University of Charlotte
Mascot: Rex the Lion, Go Royals!

Alex Gonzalez

Mentor

Hometown: Williston, FL
College: Dickinson College
Mascot: Red Devil

Stephen Chen

Mentor

Hometown: Williston, FL
College: United States Military Academy
Mascot: Black Knights

Ashley Espinal

Mentor

Hometown: Kissimmee, FL
College: Colgate University
Mascot: Raiders (Go Gate!)