68 Cooke Young Scholars Accepted into College Scholarship Program

A large group of middle school students cheers. They are wearing formal attire.

Lansdowne, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today that 68 current Cooke Young Scholars will continue to receive the organization’s comprehensive educational advising and financial support as Cooke College Scholars. Through the Cooke College Scholarship Program, the Foundation provides scholars with up to $40,000 per year for up to four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Cooke Scholars also have access to opportunities for internships, study abroad, and a thriving community of motivated peers.

These high-achieving students each entered the Cooke Young Scholars Program during their 8th grade year. Together, they have attended summer programs on college campuses and participated in enrichment programs in cities such as Athens, Greece; Santiago, Chile; and Washington, DC.

Each Cooke Young Scholar and their family also worked one-on-one with an educational adviser to create an individualized learning plan (ILP) and maximize their high school experience. Members of this cohort have founded and led organizations, won regional and national academic competitions, published their works, been chosen as captains of teams, and conducted research at the collegiate level.

“It’s been incredible to watch these scholars take ownership of their learning and prepare to engage and lead purposefully,” said Executive Director Seppy Basili. “We look forward to seeing the impact they will have as they complete college and beyond.”

The Foundation is currently seeking applications for the 20th cohort of its Cooke Young Scholars program. High-performing 7th graders have until March 23, 2020 to apply to this five-year pre-college scholarship. Visit the Foundation’s website to view eligibility requirements and begin the application.

The Cooke Young Scholars Program serves as a pathway to the Foundation’s prestigious college scholarship, but that application is also open to high school seniors each fall. Last month, 477 high school seniors were selected as Cooke College Scholar Semifinalists from over 5,300 applicants nationwide. In April, the Foundation will announce additional Cooke College Scholars from the semifinalists.

The names of the Cooke College Scholars from the Young Scholars Program can be found below, listed along with the states and high schools they represent.



Blue Brasher-Rues — Fayetteville High School



Catey Aitken — San Ramon Valley High School
Vanessa Flores Renderos — Fresno High School
Edward Koh — Martin Luther King High School
Jessica Lam — Glen A Wilson High School
Benjamin Lee — Crescenta Valley High School
John Pantoja — Archbishop Mitty High School
Crystal Zepeda — College Preparatory School



Angela Serwaa-Marfo — Regis Jesuit High School: Girls Division



Jay Guo — Hopkins School


District of Columbia

Gigi Nepenthe — Langley High School
Michel Ruiz — Sandy Spring Friends School



Blake Garcia — Coral Reef Senior High School
Devin Guilbeau — Lyman High School
Eneda Kulla — Lakewood Senior High School
Divya Navani — Key West High School
Andres Parra — Saint Andrew’s School
Matthew Werneken — Palm Harbor Univ HS – IB Program
Ervin Williams Jr. — Phillips Exeter Academy



Aissata Bah — Phillips Academy
Anandi Bien-Aime — Woodward Academy
Katelyn King — Westover Comprehensive High School
Alicia Mazzurra — River Ridge High School
Ryan Yang — North Oconee High School
Luma Younis — Tucker High School



Mateo Campoverde-Fordon — Evanston Township High School
Daniela Castellanos — University of Chicago Laboratory High School
Kristian Walker — Latin School of Chicago
Michaela Zollicoffer — Whitney M Young Magnet High School



Sarah Cassady — Logan County High School
Dalton Gregory — Webb School
Abrar Shawkat — Walton Verona High School
Mason Thompson — Daviess County High School



Ian McClure-Chute — Waynflete School



Anaily Acosta — Walt Whitman High School
Mulugeta Mulugeta — Sidwell Friends School
Vee Virtudes Jr. — Pikesville High School



Cormac Roth — Kalamazoo Central High School and Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center



Katherine Brown — Pembroke Hill School
Kadin Kristjansson — Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School


New Hampshire

Mouhamed Gaye — Phillips Exeter Academy


New Jersey

Racheal Arewa — North Star Academy Charter School of Newark
Khari Greene — Phillips Academy
Joanne Lee — Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Maureena Murphy — Phillips Exeter Academy
Yves Perez — Bergen County Academies


New York

Sam Ahn — Hunter College High School
Fatou Soumare — Thacher School


North Carolina

Makayla Key — James B Dudley Senior High School
Razvan Matei — North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Sam Park — Phillips Exeter Academy
Isabella Shutt — West Lincoln High School and North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics



Rosie Wenger — Pryor High School


South Carolina

Nathan Sun — Phillips Exeter Academy



Autumn Carpenter — White House High School
Rishi Pillai — Nolensville High School
Jean Shin — Loomis Chaffee School
Yeongseo Son — Central Magnet School



Colton Baldridge — Shallowater High School
Evelyn Garza — KIPP Northeast College Prep
Nirvana Khan — The Hockaday School
Sharil Maredia — Clear Springs High School
Jose Mendoza — Awty International School
Lam Nguyen — Klein High School
Tramy Nguyen — Ross S Sterling High School
Alejandra Pedroza — Phillips Academy



Kasia Watson — Snow Canyon High School



Ellie Cook — Oaks – A Classical Christian Academy


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The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded over $200 million in scholarships to over 2,700 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $110 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.  www.jkcf.org

Media Contact: Amber Styles, 571-442-0772, media@jkcf.org

Photo: This cohort of Cooke Scholars met one another for the first time in 2016 on the Johns Hopkins University campus.