Jackie Robinson Foundation Announces Class of 2018 40 Additional College Scholars Receive $960,000 and Extensive Mentoring and Support Services

Nine new “Extra Innings” Graduate Fellows Also Announced

“Being a Jackie Robinson Scholar is definitely a tremendous honor. It not only means that I am one who will reap the enormous benefits of a man who has helped change the world, but also that I am one who will continue the legacy of impactful humanitarianism; this is both exciting and humbling.”

John Bernagene, 2018 JRF Scholarship recipient

NEW YORK, NY (September 16, 2014) Della Britton Baeza, President and CEO of The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), announced today the 40 members of the Class of 2018 Jackie Robinson Scholars, an exemplary group of incoming college freshman chosen from more than 2,900 applicants for the 41-year-old foundation’s flagship minority scholarship program founded by Rachel Robinson, wife of iconic American hero Jackie Robinson. The new Scholars, hailing from 21 states, will each receive $24,000 in scholarship grants over four years, leadership training, mentorship, networking opportunities, internship and job placement assistance, and other support from the Foundation while they attend college and post-graduation. The Foundation also announced that it will support nine JRF Scholars going on to graduate school this coming year through its Extra Innings Fellowship Program. Chosen for academic prowess, leadership potential and financial need, members of the new class will join 161 JRF undergraduate Scholars and 16 graduate Fellows currently supported by the Foundation.

Since 1973, The Jackie Robinson Foundation has provided more than $65 million in support for 1,450 undergraduate and graduate students.

Scholarships for the 2018 Class JRF Scholars and Extra Innings Fellows are made possible by the financial support of UCLA, Coca-Cola Foundation, GE Foundation, United Health Foundation, BMO Capital Markets, BNY Mellon, Stephen Greenberg, Major League Baseball, Northrop Grumman, Baltimore Orioles, John Blondel, Diedre Drake, Martin and Brian Edelman, Martin L. Edelman, Perry and Donna Golkin Family Foundation, Gregg Gonsalves, William Heard and Veranda Dickens, DLA Piper, Catherine and Michael Meyer, Jeffrey Moorad, Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and The Windmill Foundation.

“This is an exciting time for us each year,” said JRF President and CEO Della Britton Baeza. “I take great pleasure in welcoming to the Jackie Robinson Foundation a new group of highly motivated, exceptional young men and women. They join a long, distinguished history of JRF alumni who have become leaders in their respective professions and consummate ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of community service and civic engagement.”

“Becoming a Jackie Robinson Scholar provides tremendous support for my educational expenses. To be given the opportunity to live up to the legacy of Jackie Robinson and pursue a life of passion, excellence and dedication to my community is a great honor,” said new JRF Scholar Aaron Barron of Conyers, GA., who will be attending Stanford in the Fall.

“Jackie Robinson made a difference in the world and opened the doors of opportunity for me. To be a Jackie Robinson Scholar and to be associated with this great man is an honor. I hope I can follow in his footsteps and make a difference like he once did,” said new Scholar Victoria Vazquez of High Point, NC. She will be attending North Greenville University this Fall.

The 2018 JRF Scholars are: Paa Adu (Highlands Ranch, CO), Akintunde Ahmad (Oakland, CA), Jason Anderson (Los Angeles, CA), Olatunde Badejo (Rowlett, TX), Aaron Barron (Conyers, GA), Brittany Beans (Jacksonville, FL), John Bernagene (Brooklyn, NY), Ansley Carlisle (Plano, TX), Edmond Charette (Sebastian, FL), Thomas Cook Jr. (Baltimore, MD), Jacqueline Cox (St. Louis, MO), Chantay Crawford (Sacramento, CA), Julian Davis (Omaha, NE), Ashley Gragg (Pine Bluff, AR), Sajela Harlow (Aurora, IL), Jeffrey Hendricks (Detroit, MI), Amani Holder (St. Petersburg, FL), Taggra Jackson (Los Angeles, CA), Ayanna Jacobs-El (Birmingham, AL), Donovan Kimsey Wade (Los Angeles, CA), Deion King (Buford, GA), Ashley Kyalwazi (Carmichael, CA), Tanaeya McCoy (Riverbank, CA), Chelsea Miller (Brooklyn, NY), Dejah Powell (Calumet City, IL), Morgan Redmond (Louisville, KY), Rocky Rojas (Pinetop, AZ), Oyinlola Sawyerr (Stockton, CA), Kenya Senecharles (Ft. Myers, FL), Ryan Shepard (North Plainfield, NJ), Nikayla Silva (Lincoln, RI), Tristan Smith (Maryville, TN), Quinessa Stibbins (Saint Paul, MN), Jared Taitt (New Hope, MN), Best Uchehara (Union City, GA), Victoria Vazquez (High Point, NC), Mark Walden (Augusta, GA), Bahari Watkins (Renton, WA), Imani Wilson (Lincoln, NE), and Omar Zaki (Kingston, RI). View more information on each Scholar here.

This Fall, JRF Class of 2018 Scholars will attend American University, Berkeley College of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Emory University, Florida Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Howard University, Morehouse College, North Greenville University, Northwestern University, Notre Dame University, Princeton University, Spelman College, Stanford University, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Knoxville, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Utah State University, Vanderbilt University, Westmont College and Yale University.

The newest Extra Inning Fellows are: Brianna Atkins (Los Angeles, CA), Linnetta De a Cruz (New York, NY), Matletha Fuller (Tallahassee, FL), Kyle Gleaves (Wilkes-Barre, PA), Alex Kado (Minneapolis, MN), Kayasha Lyons (Brooklyn, NY), Corey Matthews (Berkeley, CA), Sir Norman (Tyler) Melancon (Parker, TX), and Choumika Simonis (Queens, NY).

The Jackie Robinson Foundation will post the application and Scholar criteria for prospective Class of 2019 candidates on its website, www.jackierobinson.org on November 1, 2014.

About the Jackie Robinson Foundation

Established in 1973 by Rachel Robinson as a meaningful way to perpetuate the memory of her husband, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is one of the nation’s premier education and leadership development program for minority students. In addition to financial assistance, the nonprofit Foundation equips its scholarship recipients with a comprehensive set of support services including extensive, hands-on mentoring, internship placement, career guidance and practical life skills, resulting in a nearly 100% graduation rate, more than twice the national average for African American college students. The over 1,450 JRF alumni are leaders in their professional fields and active ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of community service. Since its founding, JRF has provided over $65 million to support students who have attended over 100 different colleges and universities across the country.

For more information about the Jackie Robinson Foundation:



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