Yazmin Guzman, Researcher & Data Analyst
As a first-generation low-income Latina, I never thought college was a given. I was hopeful when older siblings began tertiary education at the local community and technical college. Unfortunately, their fate mirrored most low-income students of color – none of them graduated. My desire to create a college system that supports all students is personal. In these students, I see my siblings, my cousins, my family. I am excited to work at College 101 because we aim to hold colleges and accreditors accountable to all students! When I am not face deep in data, you can find me hiking, biking, hanging out with my little brother, or playing with my cat.
Stig Leschly, CEO
In various ways for the past 30 years, I have worked in and around our K-12 schools and college system – as a social entrepreneur, as a teacher and school leader, and as an academic. College101 is my latest attempt – shoulder to shoulder with the crew on this page — to be useful to the cause of good schools and colleges in America. If they get their act together and if our political leaders redo the public policy that shapes them, US colleges will remain a national treasure and be (again) a cornerstone of a fair and functioning society. When I’m not doing College101 stuff, I’m teaching entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School (my other job) and, above all, spending time with my wife and three daughters. Unless there is a good soccer game on TV, in which case all bets are off.
Carol Rava, President
In high school I volunteered at a school for foster kids in transition. I saw then what my privileged upbringing had obscured from me – for many, education was their ticket to a better life. I’ve been working to ensure that this is indeed the case for 25 years. I’ve used communications, policy and technology to improve opportunities, support and success for low-income and BIPOC youth on their path to and through college. I know my work has been impactful, even if at times incremental, and I am ready to go bolder. College101 is leaning in and challenging the status quo, and I relish the ride. FWIW when I’m not working (from home), I’m tracking down a gaggle of teens and pets, reading as much as I can, and trying to stay fit through it all.
Johnny Velazquez, Communications & Marketing Manager
As a Black/Latinx man with almost 10 years of experience in marketing, I have continuously found myself turning toward the same destination: eradicating systemic and structural inequities for marginalized communities. These inequities run rampant through higher education — materializing as low ROI and insurmountable financial hurdles to entry. Having personally been impacted by those hurdles, I’m excited to know my time at College101 will be spent fighting to make college a more leveled and less harmful playing field.