Minds Matter DC | Who We Are
21491
page-template-default,page,page-id-21491,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-theme-ver-1.7,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.3.4,vc_responsive
 

Who We Are

Our Mission

 

Minds Matter transforms the lives of accomplished high
school students from low-resource families by broadening
their dreams and preparing them for college success.

 

Minds Matter DC is a strong, passionate group of individuals dedicated to providing extra support and resources needed to help highly motivated, low-income DC students reach their highest potential without additional costs to the school system or students. Our team members have a wide range of experience and skills in the non-profit and private sectors, including a number of DC residents, three members who previously volunteered as mentors at Minds Matter NYC, and one member who has two young children in DC Public Schools.

Minds Matter DC is a chapter of the national Minds Matter organization. Since its founding in New York City in 1991, Minds Matter has grown into a national organization with eleven chapters across the United States in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, the Twin Cities and now Washington D.C. For more than 22 years, Minds Matter has been making competitive college admission a reality for underserved students nationwide. Minds Matter transforms the lives of highly-motivated, low-income students by providing the individualized mentoring, standardized test preparation, and writing and critical thinking instruction that has been proven necessary to achieve college success.

As a result of those efforts, on a nationwide basis, 100% of our graduates have been accepted into a four-year college or university, and more than 95% of our tracked alumni have graduated from or are currently enrolled in college. 89% of Minds Matter students accepted to college are first-generation college students.

 

Why does Minds Matter matter?

Low-resource, high-achieving students are grossly underrepresented at competitive colleges.

  • Only 3% of students at the nation’s top 146 colleges are from low-income backgrounds.
  • College graduates earn a staggering 84% more than high-school graduates.
  • The cycle of poverty is fundamentally hard to break, even for students whose motivation has been demonstrated by high academic achievement.

 

The Program

Minds Matter serves nearly 650 motivated students in 12 cities nationwide and pairs them with volunteers committed to helping them achieve their academic and personal goals. The program provides:

  • Academic mentoring
  • SAT/ACT test prep
  • Writing and critical thinking instruction
  • Access to prestigious summer enrichment programs
  • Guidance through the college application and financial aid processes

 

Minds Matter Helps Students Succeed

In collaboration with our volunteers, Minds Matter’s impact is proven:

  • 100% of Minds Matter students attend a 4-year college or university
  • 70% of students have attended top-tier institutions
  • Participants average a 200 point increase in SAT scores

 

Board Members

 

David R. Ford: Board Chairman

David Ford is the Vice Chairman of Aegis Senior Communities LLC, a leading developer and operator of seniors-housing communities. His is also an advisor and investor in other businesses outside the seniors-housing industry. David previously served as the COO and General Counsel of a government contracting firm that provided IT consulting services to defense and other federal agencies. For the first two decades of his professional life, he was an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare, technology and government-contracting industries. David is a member of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association, and was a founder of Kalorama Village, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping seniors “age in place.”

Thomas Kramer: Board Member

Thomas Kramer is responsible for financial management, and administrative stewardship at energy efficiency software company Opower (NYSE: OPWR). Previously, he cofounded and served at CFO at Cvent (NYSE: CVT), the largest event-management technology company in the US, where he helped grow the organization from its wee beginnings to profitability and 850 employees. Thomas was recently named CFO of the year in Washington, DC, by Washington Business Journal. A child of public school education, Thomas would like to see everybody have equal opportunities. He earned a Master’s at the Norwegian School of Economics, and an MBA at Harvard Business School. In his spare time he tries desperately to match his 5 and 7 year old boys’ public school math knowledge, but keeps coming up short.

Thayer Surette: President: Board Member

Thayer Surette is the Director of Development at Research America, an advocacy organization based in Arlington, VA. She has also served in development roles at the National 4-H Council and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is a graduate of Boston College. She believes strongly in Minds Matter’s mission and served as a mentor and in leadership positions with Minds Matter Boston prior to moving to the Mid-Atlantic and joining Minds Matter DC.

Tiffany Hsueh: Board Member

Tiffany Hsueh has served the Minds Matter DC chapter as a mentor this past academic year. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in Political Economy with a minor in Justice & Peace Studies. During undergrad, she volunteered with after school mentoring and tutoring programs at DC public schools. Currently, she is a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she provides governance oversight, project management, and strategic communication products and services.

Kris van Riper: Board Member

Gina Valo is an Associate Director of Technical Project Management at Opower in Arlington, VA, where she leads the team responsible for delivering energy efficiency software solutions to the nation’s largest utility companies. She has previously worked in operational roles at Google, Square, and several early stage technology companies. Gina served as a Minds Matter mentor for two years  before moving to the D.C. area in 2013. Gina is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan where she earned her B.A. in Organizational Studies.

Barbara J. Culliton: Board Member

Barbara J. Culliton is President of The Culliton Group, a consulting enterprise that specializes in the development of editorial strategies and writing workshops in biomedical science and policy. In this capacity, she advises scientists and graduate students at a number of major  scientific organizations.  In 1988  Barbara was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and is a former member of its governing council. She is one of the few journalists to be so honored. Barbara worked as an investigative reporter at Science and founded scientific journals for Nature Publishing,  headquartered in London.  She is a co-winner of the George Polk Award in Journalism for her work at Science. For many years Barbara was Times-Mirror Visiting Professor in Writing about Science at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Her work can be found at www.BarbaraCulliton.com.

Carolina Martinez: Board Member

Carolina Martinez works at Identity, Inc., a non-profit organization that serves at-risk Latino youth and their families in Montgomery County, MD. She currently is an  After School Program Coordinator for the organization but was previously a Youth Development Counselor. As a Youth Development Counselor, Carolina implemented a positive youth development curriculum in  after-school programs for high school students. She received her BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of San Diego in 2011. Carolina feels privileged to have been given the opportunity to work with youth at Identity and looks forward to continuing this passion with Minds Matter.

 

 

 

Advisory Board

 

Armando Vergara: Founding Advisor

Armando Vergara graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in biology. A strong interest in health and his community has always driven him to actively volunteer and fundraise for many organizations including, Best Buddies International, The American Red Cross and The American Diabetes Association.  As a member of the Minds Matter leadership team, Armando hopes to establish and grow the organization in the place he calls home. He currently works as a medical assistant at The Feldman E.N.T. Group in Washington, D.C.  He will be pursuing his Masters at Case Western Reserve University beginning August, 2014.

Mary Feng: Founding Advisor

Mary Feng is Managing Director (Asia Pacific) at CNS, a global consulting firm focused on export services and facilitating foreign direct investment in the United States. Prior to CNS, she co-founded Renovisor, an online freelance home renovation platform; led the operations department at Consero, an executive events firm with operations in three countries; worked at United Technologies with product and process quality; and worked at Morgan Stanley in wealth management. Mary graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.A. in psychology and  B.S. in marketing.

 

Team Leaders

 

Thayer Surette: President

Tiffany Hsueh: Vice President

John Hammond: Fundraising Team Leader

John Hammond is a Technology Strategy Consultant at Deloitte Consulting responsible for advising numerous Fortune 500 companies on how to best incorporate technology into managerial decision making. Prior to joining Deloitte, John studied Finance and Computer Information Systems at James Madison University and served as a top fundraiser for the university’s fundraising organization Madison Connection. It was there that John developed the appreciation for the significance fundraising can have that led him to Minds Matter. In his spare time, John enjoys watching his beloved Redskins struggle through the regular season and is an avid whitewater kayaker.

Thomas Kramer: Treasurer

Thomas Kramer is responsible for financial management, and administrative stewardship at energy efficiency software company Opower (NYSE: OPWR). Previously, he cofounded and served at CFO at Cvent (NYSE: CVT), the largest event-management technology company in the US, where he helped grow the organization from its wee beginnings to profitability and 850 employees. Thomas was recently named CFO of the year in Washington, DC, by Washington Business Journal. A child of public school education, Thomas would like to see everybody have equal opportunities. He earned a Master’s at the Norwegian School of Economics, and an MBA at Harvard Business School. In his spare time he tries desperately to match his 5 and 7 year old boys’ public school math knowledge, but keeps coming up short.

Josh Stillman: Mentee Team Leader

Josh is Director of Financial Planning at Capitol Financial Consultants, Inc. in McLean, Virginia where he helps individuals, families, and businesses manage their financial affairs. In years prior, Josh was an Engagement Manager for Booz & Company in the strategy practice. He led consulting projects with energy companies on their most important strategic issues including financial business cases, operating model design, performance excellence, new technology introduction, market strategy, pricing, and integrated planning processes. Josh received his BSE in Bioengineering from University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from University of Texas at Austin. He enjoys playing guitar, running, cooking, photography, golf, gardening, reading, and spending as much time as possible with his wife (a former DC Public Schools teacher) and two boys. He is extremely excited to join Minds Matter DC and help expand opportunities for motivated high school students and the community.

Riza Jariol: Volunteer Committee

Riza Jariol graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Spring 2013 with a degree in Psychology and minor in Spanish. She currently works as a Care Coordinating Manager at Family & Nursing Care, a home health care agency, and resides in downtown Silver Spring. Riza enjoys going to the movies, reading, attending various events and meetup groups, and finding new hobbies and crafts to inspire her. Her previous experience ranges from volunteering as an assistant coach for Girls on the Run and working with children with autism in a one-on-one instructional setting to interning as a student athletic trainer and hosting at a restaurant in Baltimore. She loves working with youth and looks forward to her first year with Minds Matter DC!

Michael Slarve: Sophomore Program Director

Michael Slarve is an analyst in the Tysons Corner, VA office of Evergreen Advisors Capital, a boutique investment bank advising middle-market companies in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, growth equity, and corporate finance. Prior to this, he was an analyst at FI Consulting, a boutique management consultancy. Michael earned a BBA in Finance with a minor in Computer Information Systems from the College of Business at James Madison University.