FutureSmart App Complements Program Goal of Impacting Financial Literacy of Two Million Students by 2020
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. March 29th, 2017 – The MassMutual Foundation, Inc. today announced its FutureSmart app- an exploratory life simulation that takes students through financial decisions they will face throughout their lifetime, such as saving, paying for higher education, retirement, and opening and monitoring bank accounts. The combination of gamification and education makes this a one-of-a-kind financial education app for middle school students. The unique app, developed by the MassMutual Foundation in partnership with education technology leader EverFi, is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices in both English and Spanish.
“The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is 10 years old1. The FutureSmart app provides a fun and interactive experience to connect with young people on devices they start to use during the formative sixth through eighth grade years,” said Dennis Duquette, Head of MassMutual Community Responsibility and President of the MassMutual Foundation. “As we head into Financial Literacy Month, we’re excited that this unique app extends the potential reach of our FutureSmart program to anyone with a smartphone or tablet, underscoring our commitment to help young people achieve the financial well-being needed to build a more promising and secure future.”
The FutureSmart app gives students the flexibility to choose their own avatar to guide them between the different levels in the app. Each of the 14 levels introduces students to a new life stage and the financial decisions that are relevant to that age. For example, level one simulates a back-to-school shopping trip with a tight budget, challenging students to choose how to spend their money to stay on budget. The ﬁnal outcome is customized to each student’s particular choices, helping them think carefully about their decisions while learning valuable concepts along the way.
This new app builds on the success of the MassMutual Foundation’s FutureSmart program. Since 2014, more than 500,000 students have benefited from the FutureSmart program through the digital program and through FutureSmart Challenge Events –interactive events that educate students about smart money management at NBA arenas. The FutureSmart program aims to impact the financial literacy of two million students by 2020.
The announcement of the new app was made today at a FutureSmart Challenge event in Boston, MA, where students participated in an educational seminar and learned about the importance of smart money management, why a higher education is essential to their financial success and the difference between “smart money” and “dumb money.” Students were joined by MassMutual leadership and award-winning actor and New York Times best-selling author Hill Harper, who has been involved with the FutureSmart program since 2014.
“The FutureSmart app engages directly with students, reaching them on their devices in a way they can easily understand,” said Harper. “As a passionate advocate for financial education, I believe the app provides young people with a deeper understanding of the connection between the choices they make and potential outcomes.”
Download the app on your iOS or Android device or check out a preview of the game here.
The MassMutual Foundation strives to broaden economic opportunity for America’s youth and their families by investing in financial education for middle and high school students across the United States and economic development and education locally in Springfield, Mass. The Foundation is a reflection of MassMutual’s longstanding dedication to corporate citizenship and its unwavering commitment to the communities in which we do business. To learn more about the MassMutual Foundation please visit www.massmutual.com/responsibility.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) is a leading mutual life insurance company that that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.
EverFi, Inc. is the education technology innovator that empowers K-12, higher education, and adult learners with the skills needed to be successful in life and work. With backing from some of technology’s most innovative leaders including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Twitter founder Evan Williams, EverFi has built a network that is powered by over 3,300 partner organizations and annually reaches over 6 million learners. Learn more at everfi.com.
By Kevin Singer, Matthew J. Mayhew, Alyssa N. Rockenbach, Laura S. Dahl
Michael Resendez is a rising senior at the University of Houston majoring in finance. “The University has a 32 percent Latinx student population overall, but this isn’t true of college of business,” he remarks.
“It’s daunting to go into business,” Michael continues. “You see a lot of investment banks and accounting firms pushing for diversity, but you don’t really see yourself there. When you think of business, you think of Mark Zuckerburg, Jeff Bezos, you know, insert a White person’s name. Then you think about, what does my dad do? What do people in my community do? There’s discomfort [seeking a business degree] in the Latinx community because of a lack of familiarity,” he explains.
What Michael is describing can be confirmed by findings from our study: Business schools aren’t successfully drawing Latinx college students after they’ve started college.
In partnership with the Interfaith Youth Core, North Carolina State, and Ohio State University, our study, IDEALS, followed students from over 120 colleges and universities through four years of college (2015–2019). As part of our focus on how students navigate richly diverse college environments, we asked students at the beginning of their first year of college, and again at the end of their fourth year, about their planned academic major.
We discovered that of the roughly 50 percent of Latinx students that changed their major during college, none of them changed their major to business. Furthermore, of the 16 percent of Latinx students who entered college undecided about their major, only one student went on to choose a major in business.
Latinx students, and especially those who are first in their families to go to college (i.e. first generation), may not feel that majoring in business is a viable option for them. Michael Resendez admitted he was fortunate to be a third-generation college student preceded by his father and grandfather, as well as an aunt who works as an accountant. Their experience familiarized him with the different majors he could pursue before he stepped foot on campus.
First-generation Latinx students, Michael explained, are more likely to remain undecided for as long as they can, or funnel into majors that are more common among their peers like those in the liberal arts or education. Making the jump into business is a risk they may not be comfortable taking, especially if no one in their family can relate to their interests or provide support. Our study confirms that of the Latinx students who entered college undecided, the majority (61
percent) eventually chose to enter the social sciences and education, while the majority of those who changed majors (53 percent) moved to social science, education, or the humanities.
Michael insists that colleges and universities have work to do. “It should be normalized for Latinx students to be introduced to all the majors and schools available to them. It shouldn’t take three generations to see that there are opportunities in college to learn about money management and lucrative career opportunities that would service Latinx students and their communities,” he said.
Exposing Latinx students to opportunities to study business is just one part of the equation. An important question remains: Will business schools be welcoming places for them?
One glaring issue that business schools must address is the lack of Latinx representation in their full-time faculty. As of 2016, only 2.6 percent of full-time faculty at America’s business schools were Hispanic, while 75 percent were white. This percentage isn’t growing; from 2013 to 2017, the number of Hispanic tenured faculty only rose by two-thirds of a percent. In June, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria issued an apology for the lack of minority representation in their faculty.
“Ultimately, proliferating diversity among faculty is another way to generate more diverse student populations, who eventually lead organizations. Exposure to these different backgrounds of teachers opens up the minds of all students,” writes Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and CEO of Qs, an online resource hub for aspiring business students.
However, even if a business school is perceived to be welcoming, Latinx students may feel more comfortable in other majors where they feel their accomplishments are merit-based, rather than lauded because of their minority status. “I absolutely sympathize with any Latino who treads a fine line between wanting their accomplishments to be 100 percent merit-based with no association as a diversity candidate versus wanting to be proud of their identity and community,” writes Harvard Business School student Karla Mendez. She encourages Latinx students entering business schools to embrace their Latinx identity and understand how it makes them unique in the workforce. She notes that Latinx business school groups are helpful in this regard.
Michael Resendez is part of the Hispanic Business Student Association at the University of Houston, a student organization providing Latinx students with community support and resources to excel in business school and beyond. “Cultivating a familia within a university, a safe space to succeed, ask questions, learn how to do college together, and learn how to network is critical,” Michael explained. “I’ve seen DACA and first-generation Latinx students in our group pass the CPA, get full-time job offers, and gain acceptance into Masters programs.” What is most exciting for Michael, however, is seeing these students come back and reconnect with the group in order to help others succeed.
Still, Michael foresees new hurdles for Latinx students. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a slew of business internship offers being rescinded, on top of hiring freezes and massive job losses in the business sector. “The Latinx community is risk averse; they tend to pursue what is safe and what they know will support themselves and their families,” Michael explained, which he believes could make Latinx students apprehensive about pursuing a business major in the short-term. Furthermore, Michael believes that students are less convinced they need a degree in business to reach their goals. “In order to accomplish great feats in business, you don’t have to be a business major, and I think a lot of people are learning that,” he said.
Latinx college students are growing at a rapid pace, reaching a record high in 2017, according to Pew Research. Soon, it is estimated that one-fifth of college students will be Latinx, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Business schools should consider if they are prepared to serve this growing population, and if there are clear pathways available to Latinx
students who entered college undecided on their major, or Latinx students desiring to change their major to business.
Michael sees a bright future for Latinx students in business schools. “Once you educate Latinx students and make them feel comfortable in business school spaces, you’re going to see their attraction toward those spaces increase too. These students come from hard-working families. They are going to be successful and have a long-spanning career.”
Kevin Singer (@kevinsinger0) is a PhD student in higher education at North Carolina State University and a research associate for IDEALS.
Dr. Matthew J. Mayhew (@MattJMayhewPhD) is the William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher professor of educational administration at Ohio State University and co-principal investigator of IDEALS.
Dr. Alyssa N. Rockenbach is the alumni distinguished graduate professor of higher education at North Carolina State University and co-principal investigator of IDEALS.
Dr. Laura S. Dahl is an assistant professor of education at North Dakota State University.
Aaron Yazzie continues to set his sights higher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. With a Diné (Navajo) background, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and as a Mechanical Engineer with a focus on Sample Acquisition and Handling at NASA, Yazzie designs mechanisms for acquiring geological samples from other planets.
Hispanic Network Magazine had a chance to talk with Yazzie about his Native American background and how it influenced his journey to NASA.
HNM: Can you tell us about your background and journey to becoming a mechanical engineer at NASA?
Yazzie: I was born in Tuba City, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. I was born to parents who were 1st generation college students in their families—families that have had traditional Diné upbringings. Their first language was Dinébizaad (Navajo Language), their first known homes were our traditional Diné Hooghan (Navajo Hogan Houses/Dwellings). They learned the English language in elementary school, where they were the first generation in their family forced to attend school by the US government. From that unique beginning, and from that early-childhood culture shock and trauma, both my mother and father made it through an educational system rigged against them, graduated high school, and went to college—the first in their families. My mother earned her degree in education—she became a high school level math teacher. And my father received a degree in civil engineering—he became an engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation. Both of them have been pioneers of Indigenous achievement in higher education and STEM careers. They may not be known and recognized by the larger Native community as STEM pioneers, but they are certainly my inspiration and the trailblazers to my career at NASA.
I grew up in Holbrook, AZ, a small border town to the Navajo Reservation. My brothers and I grew up, and attended school in the Holbrook School District, where we all graduated proud “Holbrook Roadrunners.” Growing up, I didn’t have any examples or role models who went to prestigious private schools or went on to work at places like NASA. I knew I wanted to transcend the expectations of my family and my hometown, which is why I always strove for the highest grades in school, participated in all the school leadership positions and sought out all the high school summer enrichment programs. These are the programs that ended up transforming me from a self-doubting minority student into a solid college applicant with some awareness of my self-worth. They gave me the confidence to apply to, and to eventually be accepted to, Stanford University—an event that changed the course of my life.
Making the transition from small-town public school to prestigious private college was a big challenge. Nothing about my time at Stanford was easy, whether it was the rigorous academics or the constant financial struggle. Not to mention being separated from a tight-knit home community like the Navajo community for the first time. I was forced to learn quickly how to adapt, persevere, and overcome many challenges during my time at Stanford. Thankfully, there was a supportive community of BIPOC students who were going through the same challenges as I was. We all supported each other and made it through—not only graduating, but each of us moving on to do incredible things.
I was hired by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory mid-way through my senior year at Stanford. I was heavily involved with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society from the time that I was a high school freshman. I grew from there to be president of my high school AISES chapter, then became the Stanford AISES chapter president, and then National AISES Region 2 Student Representative. Along the way I received a 4-year scholarship from AISES to attend Stanford, and while there, I received 2 NASA internships through AISES. One placed me at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and one at NASA Glenn Research Center. By the time I was ready to look for a job, AISES had helped give me a college education, 2 NASA internships, and a job opportunity with one of the most prestigious engineering institutions in the world. I met the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory recruiter at the AISES National Conference in 2007. From that interaction, I received an on-lab interview, and was hired soon after. I have been working as a Mechanical Engineer at NASA JPL for 12 years and counting.
HNM: Tell us about your significant milestone – when NASA’s InSight lander touched the surface of Mars. What were you feeling, and how was that experience?
Yazzie: NASA InSight was the first mission I worked on where I was tasked with leading the design and delivery of space flight hardware. Up until this point in my career, I supported missions as a test engineer or support engineer. When InSight successfully launched into space, it was the first time something I designed—something I touched with my own hands—went into space. And when it landed on Mars, it was the first time I sent something to another planet. I was completely thrilled, and overwhelmed with emotions when I saw the first set of pictures of my hardware on Mars. Considering where I came from, this achievement was monumental! Being an engineer from a remarkably underrepresented community in STEM fields, it is a constant struggle to overcome imposter syndrome. I did not think I was a thriving or even adequate engineer at NASA. It’s a shame that it took an achievement like sending something to Mars to convince me that I belonged in my field, and that I belonged at NASA.
HNM: Can you tell us more about “Mars 2020”? What is the mission? How has the experience been?
Yazzie: Currently, I am the lead engineer for the Mars 2020 Drill Bits. We are sending the Mars 2020 Rover “Perseverance” to drill rock samples and save them in hermetically sealed tubes, so that we can eventually bring those samples back to Earth in future missions to determine if life exists on Mars. Additionally, this mission will study the history of rocky planets and conduct experiments that will pave the way for humans to travel to Mars. It’s really incredible to be part of another historic NASA mission. I’ve grown so much as an engineer—now sending my second flight hardware to Mars, but also being able to lead a team and be a mentor for the first time in my career. I’m very proud to have successfully delivered my parts to the rover, and very excited for the Mars 2020 launch in July 2020.
HNM: How has your Navajo background influenced your career?
Yazzie: Coming from an Indigenous background, I have a deep appreciation for the advancements of my family and ancestors before me. Considering that Native Americans weren’t granted basic civil rights in this country until 1968, it is remarkable that our people have not only overcome this historic oppression, but have been able to thrive and advance. I reflect on my own family, where as recent as one generation ago, my parents spoke no English, but learned in a small amount of time that education was the modern way to advance their people. My own academic achievements and this career I have been fortunate to achieve has all been made possible by the advancements of the Navajo people who have come before me. And it is for them that I use my privilege and platform to continue on.
HNM: What advice would you give to Native Americans wanting to pursue engineering?
Yazzie: Be resilient. It’s almost guaranteed that along your STEM journey, you will look around and not see very many others like you, from backgrounds like your own. But please understand that there are people in all directions of your life that are there to help you. Those before you, who want to help you succeed through mentorship and wisdom. Those beside you, who are on your same journey. And those behind you, who see you as an inspiration and role model. Recognizing that you have a full circle of support and inspiration will help you achieve any and all of your goals.
The Latino community has been standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. LULAC Chief Executive Officer Sindy M. Benavides and UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Eric Rodriguez shared their thoughts with HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM) on the Black Lives Matter movement, Latinos’ participation, and the changes they hope to see.
HNM: What were your thoughts when you first heard what happened to George Floyd?
Benavides: Horrified, deeply saddened, but unfortunately not surprised to learn that yet another criminal cop had taken the life of a person of color. America is built upon systemic oppression and discrimination, systems that activists have tried to bring to light and fight against for decades. When we heard of what happened to George Floyd, and when we watched the video of police officers watching their colleague murder a man and refuse to stop him, we were distraught over the state of the police force and the loss of life. We share our thoughts and prayers with George Floyd’s family, as well as the family and communities of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Andres Guardado, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, Erik Salgado, and the hundreds of others who have lost their lives to a discriminatory policing system.
Rodriguez: I was horrified and shocked by George Floyd’s murder. Police killings of unarmed minorities is not a new story, and anyone who is Black or Brown is likely familiar with the type of racial profiling and hyper aggression by law enforcement that played out in that episode. But this incident transpired in daylight, surrounded by people filming it on their smart phones, and with other police officers standing by watching while a handcuffed Black man on the ground is slowly incapacitated and ultimately killed by an officer before their eyes. That’s something most Americans do not see every day.
HNM: What are your thoughts on the policy changes happening? Do you feel they are affecting genuine and lasting change?
Benavides: We need to urgently implement policy changes at the local and national level to dismantle police brutality. LULAC fully believes that these changes, combined with the work of thousands of activists, can help enact lasting change in this deeply flawed society. Policy initiatives like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act are a good start in the long battle of eradicating policy brutality and addressing the variety of issues that take the lives of our Black community in this country. This is a good start, but much more needs to happen both at the federal and local levels for true change to be achieved. We have also joined efforts by progressive allies such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and support the following federal reforms:
Prohibit racial profiling with robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated.
Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation.
Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states to implement this standard; require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force.
Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.
Rodriguez: The demonstrations and protests have opened up the possibility for real social change. The death of George Floyd, and other recent incidents of racism caught on video, has also helped to open the eyes of many Americans about the many ways that racism shows up in our society. One result is the cross-racial solidarity we have witnessed among the protesters and the advocates calling for change. Another result is the heightened consciousness we see on display across the country. For instance, the historical symbols of racism and prejudice in America are now under intense public scrutiny. Many more Americans seem ready to acknowledge that the heroes and flags of the Confederacy belong in American history books and museums rather than displayed and honored in public places, or on government buildings or civic institutions. And in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, how many more Americans today know what Juneteenth is?
Despite this, when it comes to public policy, I am less hopeful. There are few examples in our history when widespread justice for racial and ethnic minorities transpired absent a strong federal role. The power of the federal government has in most cases been necessary to break up the culture and practice of racism that fossilized in cities, states, and within our institutions.
Yet, we certainly cannot stop fighting for change in political leadership and federal laws. Our CEO and President Janet Murguía contributed to President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, which identified recommendations for local and state authorities that included community policing and accountability measures. We also support policy changes working their way through Congress, and there is a good chance that some cities will be able to put in place some new practices that can help. Finally, UnidosUS is registering, educating and mobilizing voters this fall in what stands to be a pivotal election.
HNM: How have Latinos stood in solidarity with the Black lives matter movement?
Benavides: Police brutality is an issue that affects both Black and Brown communities. Something that is often missed is that under the ethnicity of Hispanic, we have members who identify as Black, who may be Afro-Latino, or mixed. That is why many Latino organizations and Latino leaders have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including LULAC. We are also working with our councils to ensure they also have the tools to work with their local elected to implement local reforms. LULAC has also created a microsite on our website to make sure that we are providing resources and information to the Latino community on how it can support the Black Lives Movement.
Rodriguez: Latinos are speaking out, protesting and marching, joining advocacy efforts to push for needed policy changes and encouraging self-reflection about how anti-Black racism and colorism shows up within the Latino community. The Latino community, which is about 58 million strong, has also felt the blows of prejudice and inequality. Nearly 25 percent of Latinos identify as Afro-Latino and experience both racial and ethnic discrimination in their daily lives.
The same unchecked police power that has taken the lives of Black Americans is used to separate our families, put children in cages and racially profile us. This broken system has led too many Latinos to fear law enforcement, with deadly consequences—as in the tragic cases of Andres Guardado in Los Angeles and Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez in Tucson.
So, our solidarity with the Black community is rooted in the shared lived experience of facing racism and oppression that harms all communities. Most Latinos do not just empathize with the experience of Black Americans who are abused and targeted by police, but they also identify with that experience.
HNM: How has the Black Lives Matter impacted the Hispanic community?
Benavides: Black Lives Matter has shown the power of sustained grassroots organizing, a great model for the Latino community to follow. We have learned that change takes time and this moment has been 400+ years in the making. Most importantly, we know that their success is our success and that it will benefit all communities who are targeted and marginalized. And, in this process, BLM has spurred a national conversation among Latinos around anti-blackness. It has forced us to look into the mirror and acknowledge our own shortcomings. I think this is a valuable conversation that is sorely needed and we have and continue to learn from it.
Rodriguez: The Black Lives Matter movement has brought necessary attention to the pervasiveness of police abuse and bias that results in the death of Black Americans and the lack of accountability and injustice that follows. The movement has given many Latinos, who have also been harmed, aggrieved or offended by police practices, a voice and a means of expressing their frustration in a way that advances social change. The movement has sparked needed conversations that can push state and local governments to reinvest in their communities in a way that enhances public safety while helping residents thrive economically and socially.
HNM: How can Latinos participate in this movement?
Benavides: Latinx people can participate in the movement by being physically present in support of this movement. And using our voices to practice proper allyship in this time of need and centering Black voices in everything you do. Acknowledge your privileges and make an effort to learn about the Black Lives Matter experience. We encourage everybody in our Latinx community to use their voices for good and support Black voices in all of their actions. ‘Tu lucha es mi lucha’ should ring true to our hearts as we strive to build a more inclusive democracy where all of us are equal and treated equally in all aspects of society.
Rodriguez: Latinos have long been in the fight to end systemic racism and discrimination that manifests across our society and filters through the private sector and our government systems. Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health, housing, education, and voting through the courts or Congress have been important ways to tackle structural racism.
Right now, the Congress is debating police reforms. Latinos can call their senators and demand that Leader McConnell bring the Justice in Policing Act to a vote. They can call members of Congress and demand annual congressional oversight hearings to review the status of the implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act to compel the collection, reporting, and analysis of all deaths, by race and gender, that occur in law enforcement custody.
Those who are moved to organize and express their concerns about the status quo can do many other things, such as join peaceful marches and protests, demand accountability from political leaders, fight for policy changes at the local level and support and donate to organizations at the forefront of the fight, like Black Lives Matter, NAACP, Color of Change, UndocuBlack, RaceForward and many others.
Latinos can contact their police departments, city council and/or Attorneys General and demand meaningful investigations and prosecutions of incidents involving abuse of force against racial and ethnic minorities. They can vote with these concerns in mind.
And most of all, for those Latinos who, upon self-reflection, recognize that they have been too silent and accepting of anti-Blackness within their circle of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, it is time to take responsibility and act. If we are to dismantle systemic factors that enable the scourge of anti-Blackness, colorism and race-based violence to grow, we must start by healing ourselves and preparing for the hard work and courageous conversations ahead.
(Alexandria, VA) – For minority business owner and real estate developer Mustafa Durrani, bringing opportunity to area residents has long been a passion.
The George Washington University and Cambridge graduate has built market rate and affordable homes in the Washington, DC, metro region as a successful real estate developer. Today, he is expanding his business with plans to bring three Tierra Encantada Spanish-immersion preschool and day care centers to local residents of Northern Virginia. Opening in mid 2021, the centers will provide children ages six weeks to six years of age with a bilingual curriculum designed to foster early cognitive development and respect for diversity.
Durrani chose Tierra Encantada for its award-winning concept, experienced team and high demand, a unique combination that he knows firsthand is key to success. The franchise empowers the entrepreneur to join the fast-growing early childhood education market with his own Tierra Encantada centers, while providing the expertise and support to help Durrani succeed.
“I saw solid opportunity in Tierra Encantada’s concept, and the value of cultural immersion and diversity in early education. There is a constant demand for quality education and resources for parents and families. Tierra Encantada is among the best in the country,” said Durrani.
The popular early education franchise is also a natural fit for Durrani’s real estate investment and development expertise. As a lifelong resident of Virginia, it taps both his expert insight about local area communities and experience in bringing new development to the region.
“I will maintain my development business and the Tierra Encantada franchises in the DC metro area,” added Durrani. “I think the model will be very successful here.”
Bilingual and cultural immersion childcare is also at the forefront of where the market is going, enabling Durrani to enter a powerful niche at a key, early stage in the category. As a minority business owner, he knows the value and opportunity in America’s dynamic cultural diversity and multilingual population. Furthermore, Mustafa is a father of three young children and realizes the value of being multi-lingual at a very young age for a child’s development. Finally, with Tierra Encantada, Mustafa, an advocate of Organic Food will serve only Organic meals and snacks to all his students.
“I plan to start with the three new locations in the region, and then expand to additional communities in the next five years,” added Durrani.
Business schools and other higher education institutions are facing a conundrum. Technology is moving at lightning speed, which means churning out future employees with the necessary skills to not only survive, but thrive, is challenging.
What is even more difficult is the need for educational institutions to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet.
Dell Technologies Institute for the Future (IFTF), along with 20 experts, recently revealed that 85 percent of the jobs people will be doing in 2030 don’t exist yet. While that number seems awfully high, there is no question that plenty of new work is on its way.
As a result, the pressure for top graduate business schools to train future C-suite executives for unimaginable possibilities is high. No one expects professors and administrators to be mind-readers, but they should have insight and intuition about what the future may hold. Also, there are techniques to prepare students for whatever may come their way.
Frameworks for flexibility
Business schools need to incorporate teaching methods to train students to be flexible and roll with the punches just as they would teach them to read financial statements. After all, entire jobs and industries may find themselves eliminated while others emerge from the dust. With the right frameworks, future CEOs could have a better perspective on what to do when things shift unexpectedly.
Schools are in fact doing this in some instances, as simulations for courses and frameworks currently being taught have flexibility baked in. But this is a suggestion to make flexibility the main lesson and not just a byproduct.
For example, students could envisage what they would do should an entire department get replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). How would they react? What steps could they take to deal with the employees feeling abandoned and who lose their jobs? What would they do about training people who could help employ AI? It’s the age-old question: How do you get old dogs, themselves included, to do new tricks?
Providing them with a set of questions to ask and allowing them to take a more flexible stance in simulations is helpful. Professors could also include case studies where flexibility was necessary, asking students to discuss situations and gain insight into how others have handled the unexpected. While no one can truly anticipate these non-existent jobs, they can still look to past leaders for lessons in character and process. They can pull what is relevant from those experiences to try and handle these new prospects.
Many professors spend a significant period of time conducting research in areas of interest relevant to their teaching. Sometimes, they work with industry to ensure the research is useful, practical, and easily applicable. By conducting research about growing industries with an eye on the future (think big data, AI, blockchain, etc.), they can better prepare themselves and their students for what the future may hold.
Sometimes, the writing is on the wall. Many recognize, for example, that coal is dying and new, clean energy is the future. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management has long linked engineers with business students, so that commercialization of innovation is possible. Their professors – along with the research they conduct – are the link between the two groups. The point is, professors can help their students recognize such a trend and see something new is on the horizon. Then, they can train them for whatever is coming.
By studying these areas, some professors could become the creators of new jobs and thus able to train others for these roles. Or, they could simply be among those who are the first to know about emerging industries. Either way, they can better help students based on this insight.
The core curriculum, in general, will always be applicable. People need to know how to handle finances, and budgets and need to be savvy on how to optimize operations and inspire employees. Those skills will never go out of style and can be applied to any leadership role. Of course, professors need to stay on the cutting edge of industry to ensure the references and connections they use make sense to their audience. But they should never stop teaching those basic skills, which are a necessity for success. The good news is that accredited business schools are already doing this and many of them with verve.
Ultimately, no one knows what the future holds. But business schools have an obligation to do some forecasting and prepare students for jobs they aren’t able to imagine yet. They have to help future leaders recognize value and the next big thing. Producing innovators is no easy feat, but by teaching flexibility, studying the marketplace, and providing knowledge of basic skills, business schools can at least begin to prepare students for the uncertainty the future job market holds.
Growing up, most of us were taught that brilliant innovators of everything from electricity to the lightbulb, automobiles, pharmaceuticals-medical devices, materials, alloys like steel-iron-aluminum-copper, and everything else under the sun were created by European (white) inventors.
However, while such figures certainly deserve recognition for their creations, and ongoing generations should be grateful to those individuals for their contributions, what was omitted from such history lessons was the fact that equally skillful black people and incredible thinkers of other diverse backgrounds also played equally pivotal roles. These latter groups of people helped to create some of the greatest inventions, took others to the next level or devised a new product or service altogether that are still relied upon today.
Disappointingly, most schools and institutions of higher learning have failed to teach material that revealed such hidden truths – both then and now. Thankfully, recent developments in several industries are enlightening increasing numbers of people about the historic and almost unknown contributions of black and brown people throughout the world.
Most affluent Americans and countless others have little clue that it was black people alone who kept the automobile brand, Cadillac, afloat in the U.S. In the 1930’s, as America was struggling to recover from The Great Depression and as racism continued to ruin opportunities for everyone who held onto to such nonproductive beliefs, a low-ranking German immigrant – Nicholas Dreystadt – who worked for General Motors at the time boldly entered a boardroom after overhearing perplexed white executives discuss consideration of abandoning the brand due to increasingly poor sales. The problem: GM was relying solely upon white Americans to buy the cars. Yet, from his menial position as a service division employee, Dreystadt quickly recognized that it was large numbers of black customers who owned Cadillacs who often were found waiting for their vehicles to be serviced at GM dealerships.
At the time, Cadillac had a strict practice against selling any of their luxury cars to black customers. Interestingly, through his own experiences of interacting with many such black customers, Dreystadt learned that black people routinely paid a white person (i.e., a front man) a fee to go into a dealership and purchase the Cadillac of choice for them. Thus, determined to make his point and show what could happen if GM abandoned their discriminatory policy, Dreystadt was successful at implementing a new diversity marketing approach, which increased sales of Cadillacs by 68%, and helped to make the brand profitable within 18 months. His same strategy was later adopted by Mercedes Benz to include black people and increased sales of their once-struggling brand too.
Still not convinced that diversity makes a huge difference in the world? Then consider the story of Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green and how he revolutionized whiskey. Green, a former slave in Lynchburg, Tennessee was the first black master distiller in America who taught Jack Daniel how to make the liquid gold. For more than a century, Nathan “Nearest” Green’s name was purposely left out of history books and absent from most conversations which tied him to the Jack Daniel’s brand. It would have likely remained that way had it not been for the relentless curiosity of Fawn Weaver, a California businesswoman, who in 2017 spearheaded the launching of what is now known as the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey brand in an industry that generates $3 billion dollars annually.
If those two examples are not enough proof that the creative (yet often unwisely ignored) potential of black and brown people continue to be a legitimate factor to consider throughout every sector of business, then consider other little-known facts that prove minorities are capable of being far more than the brawn behind an endeavor, they can also be the brains too.
Did any of the schools you ever attended teach you that Dr. Domingo Liotta – a South American native – was the person responsible for creating the first artificial heart that was successfully transplanted into a human being? Did they teach you that Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni – who was born in Uruguay – not only invented a bandage that administers medicinal drugs through a patient’s skin, but he was also responsible for helping to develop several other widely used products for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including the nicotine patch used to aid smokers in breaking their nasty habit? Were you ever informed that it was an enormously intelligent medical doctor – Julio Palmaz, who was born in Argentina – that invented the balloon-expandable stent frequently used to treat one of the most common health conditions (cardiovascular disease)?
Do your research on Dr. Thomas O. Mensah, the engineer and genius inventor who played a critical role in the development of fiber optics and nanotechnology. While you’re at it, take a few moments to delve into the impressive educational program known as ‘Make Music Count,’ created by Marcus Blackwell which aims to eliminate the fear of math and simultaneously teach children between the 3rd grade and 12th grade how to perform better mathematically while enjoying culturally relevant lessons through music.
Explore the insightful exploration of incredible thinkers like Elijah McCoy, Granville T. Woods, Patricia E. Bath, Frederick McKinley Jones, Jessica O. Matthews, Jasmine Crowe, Diishan Imira and countless others.
Then, imagine what could be accomplished if people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds throughout America and around the world were to put our heads together and entertain the thought of what has yet to be discovered? Quite possibly, that could include creating a cure for most (if not all) chronic diseases and health ailments. Maybe finding the answer to eradicate poverty, homelessness, and world hunger. Perhaps devise better public policy solutions focused on bringing people together instead of fanning insignificant flames which have only kept us apart.
Whatever the case and despite our achievements as segmented human beings, it’s not difficult to debate that we have only scratched the surface of everything that can be accomplished – if we will commit our hearts and minds to doing it together.
Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and socially conscious business professional. A former protégé-aide to the “Political Matriarch of the State of Florida” – the Honorable M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics. He can be reached at:email@example.com
Jeff Wilke, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, knows the difference technology can make. As a boy growing up in Pittsburgh, he learned to code. That skill took Wilke from public school to Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, opening doors to his current leadership role.
Wilke and his wife, the writer Liesl Wilke, both supporters of the American Indian College Fund for more than 20 years, are now giving Native American students computer science opportunities at selected tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) with a $1 million gift for The TCU Computer Science Initiative.
The timing could not be better. The outbreak of the Corona virus hit Native communities harder than others. The pandemic underscored the ways in which technology keeps communities connected and allows people to continue their work and education—but also highlighted the digital divide impacting Native communities.
The TCU Computer Science Initiative will address the TCUs’ urgent need to create or expand computer science programs to meet Native communities’ needs, including improved education quality and opportunities, social and economic development, better managed health care systems, and career opportunities. The initiative will begin by bringing qualified computer science faculty to the TCUs to increase, improve, and expand computer science programming to Native communities.
Liesl and Jeff Wilke said, “We are thrilled to see this initiative taking shape and moving forward so that it can deeply impact Native communities. The demand for computer science in many fields of work and study accelerates every year. We hope to help meet the needs of Native communities to flourish in the digital age, whether that means access to more jobs or the ability to program health care applications for a reservation or to preserve language, impact safety, or improve communication among community members according to their unique needs and desires. The opportunities are massive and very exciting.”
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “We are so appreciative, on behalf of Native students and their families, of The Wilke Family Foundation and its willingness to invest in our communities. We know that computer science education is foundational to many aspects of modern life – everything from databases to mapping our lands to creating technology resources that improve our quality of life. This investment helps create a thriving indigenous future.”
The College Fund will facilitate a selection process to choose four TCUs which can support hiring computer science faculty and program development. Each TCU will receive $250,000 over a four-year period to include the costs of faculty salary and benefits, professional development, coursework integration, and other costs.
About the Wilke Family Foundation
The Wilke Family Foundation supports organizations in the areas of education (with a focus on minority and underprivileged students, and both technology and art programs), health care (with a focus on research and models that disrupt what’s not working), and community support (with a focus on providing meals, housing, and safety for women and children, especially in new ways that have a longer-term focus when possible).
About the American Indian College Fund
Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $221.8 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.
In a historic shift, Latinos are the leading group of prospective freshmen accepted into the University of California for fall 2020, part of the system’s largest and most diverse first-year class ever admitted, according to preliminary data released Thursday.
Latinos slightly eclipsed Asian Americans for the first time, making up 36% of the 79,953 California students offered admission. Asians made up 35%, whites 21% and Black students 5%. The rest were American Indians, Pacific Islanders or those who declined to state their race or ethnicity. About 44% of admitted students were low-income while 45% were the first in their families to attend a four-year university.
Overall, the UC system’s nine undergraduate campuses offered admission to a record number of students: 119,054 freshmen, up from 108,178 last year. The campuses also admitted 28,074 transfer students from the California Community Colleges system.
“This has been an incredibly challenging time as many students have been making their college decision in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students as we seek to educate a diverse student body of future leaders. The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us.”
UC Berkeley led all campuses in boosting admission offers to underrepresented minorities, accepting the largest number of Black and Latino students in three decades, more than a 40% increase over last year. The increase reflects an intensified push by one of the nation’s premier public research universities to open its doors more widely to students of diverse racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds. Berkeley also admitted more students who are low-income, lack immigration status or are the first in their families to attend college.
“These numbers are an important and gratifying indication that our efforts to advance and expand the diversity of our undergraduate student body are beginning to bear fruit,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said in a statement. “But now, more than ever, we must not be complacent, and remain focused on building a campus community that truly represents the state we serve, and allows every student to experience a true sense of belonging.”
Roberto Salazar is heading to UC Irvine as one of the 28,662 California Latino students admitted to UC’s fall freshman class. The Los Angeles High graduate migrated to Los Angeles from El Salvador at age 10 and did not speak English. He had no idea what college was and had no role models to adjust his perception that manual labor was the best way to earn a living. He got failing middle school grades.
But dedicated teachers and an inspiring biography he read about families that fought cancer convinced him “there’s more to life than being a bad student,” he said. He buckled down in high school, earned a 3.98 GPA and was selected as the class valedictorian. At Irvine, he plans to major in psychology
“My teachers really inspired me and told me what opportunities would open for me if I went to college,” Salazar said. “I felt I would be letting them down if I didn’t do my best.”
Audrey Dow, senior vice president for the Campaign for College Opportunity, said demographics are one reason behind the surge in admission offers to Latinos: They made up 51.8% of California high school graduates in 2018-19 compared with 42% in 2009-10, according to state Department of Education data. Equally important, the number of Latino high school graduates who met UC and California State University admission requirements hit 94,297 in 2019, an increase of about 7,000 students over 2017.
“Today’s students understand the value of a college degree and want to have their best shot at a four-year university,” Dow said. “They’ve rightly earned their spot at UC.”
Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.
He may not have a driver’s license yet, but Jack Rico does have something most other 13-year-olds don’t: a quartet of college degrees under his belt.
The California teenager earned his associate’s degree this week from Fullerton College, bringing his total number of degrees to four, his mom Ru Andrade tells PEOPLE.
“It has been pure joy having Jack as a son and I couldn’t be any prouder of him,” she says.
The accomplishment makes him the youngest graduate ever from the community college.
“The college was established in 1913, so this is quite a legacy he can claim!” a spokeswoman for the school tells PEOPLE.
Jack started college courses when he was just 11 years old, and has spent the last two years earning his different degrees.
Andrade says she knew her son was “not your average kid” as early as 3 years old, when he asked to visit the White House for his 4th birthday.
“I told him that was a big trip for a little guy, and that I would take him if he could learn all the presidents,” she says, adding that the request was just a joke. “A week later he said, ‘Mom, I have a confession to make. I already knew all the presidents, but I learned all the vice presidents if that will still count?'”
Andrade says her son struggled in public school, and so she began homeschooling him in third grade, which allowed her to better focus on his areas of weakness.
“When he was 11, I knew he needed more of a challenge and a better teacher than me,” she says.
With that in mind, she entered him into Fullerton College’s Bridge Program, which allows K-12 students who pass placement exams to attend.
“He started out just taking one class and he absolutely loved it,” she says. “He just kept requesting taking more and more classes.”
Continue on to People to read the complete article.
Selena Gomez is congratulating the class of 2020! The singer, 27, gave a surprise commencement address during the #Immigrad 2020 Virtual Commencement, which was a national celebration of students from immigrant families and supporters of immigrant rights from hundreds of high school and college campuses.
In a video message, Gomez shared a heartfelt message to the graduating students who were hosted by Define American, FWD.us, United We Dream, I Am An Immigrant and Golden Door Scholars.
“I know that this is a virtual ceremony, but it is very real. And it’s very real to all the families and all of you and your communities. I want you guys to know that you matter. And that your experiences are a huge part of the American story,” the star said.
“When my family came here from Mexico they set into motion my American story, as well as theirs. I’m a proud third-generation American-Mexican, and my family’s journey and their sacrifices helped me get me to where I am today,” Gomez said. “Mine is not a unique story. Each and every one of you has a similar tale of becoming an American.”
Gomez added, “Regardless of where your family is from, regardless of your immigration status, you have taken action to earn an education, to make your families proud, and to open up your worlds. I’m sending all of my love to you guys today and congratulations, and I hope that you guys are set off to be everything that you want to be.”
The Living Undocumented producer also recently made a special message to this year’s graduates during the #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 livestream.
“When people ask me what I would tell my younger self, I always said, ‘Go ahead and do it.’ You all have worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I know it’s not exactly how you imagined your graduation to look like,” Gomez said in a video filmed from her home. “I want to say it’s okay not to know what to do with the rest of your life. It’s a journey to find your direction or your passions, so don’t get frustrated by the mistakes and setbacks as they happen to all of us.”
“The amazing Oprah, like she said, you don’t become what you want not, you become what you believe. I think that really resonates as if you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect others to believe in your abilities,” Gomez advised.
“Hopefully, you know, when large gatherings are allowed, everybody can get together and celebrate your important achievement. But until then stay safe, stay connected with your friends and loved ones, and congratulations for this milestone,” she said.
Continue on to People to read the complete article.