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JACKIE ROBINSON FOUNDATION SCHOLARS


Ebonie Shenise Davis
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Junior

Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Sponsor: Major League Baseball

Ebonie graduated from Kenwood Academy High School in 2005. A National Honor Roll member, she was a dedicated member of her school's chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). Ebonie served as communications coordinator; her job was to provide and maintain critical connections between the members and the executive board. She created flyers and memos to engage everyone in activities that kept the communication coherent within the organization.

In addition to her membership in the NHS, Ebonie was a member of the Matrix Literary Magazine, a school publication that allowed students to express themselves in the art form via poetry, drawing, painting, photography, short stories and other forms of visual art. Serving as a junior mentor and a member of the Big Sister club afforded Ebonie the opportunity to mentor and provide guidance for incoming freshmen students. Through her participation in these extra-curricular activities, Ebonie helped freshmen students become acquainted with the rigorous environment called high school.

Ebonie also earned honors including the Spanish Honor Society and Academic Achievement Award provided by the University of Chicago to Kenwood Academy High School students. While in high school, she was one of the first students to organize the Chicago Public Schools Principal for a Day for her high school. Demonstrating her leadership capabilities, Ebonie communicated with the potential visitors and planned a day for them that allowed them to interact with the students and gain better insight of a typical day for a high school student. This interaction also provided an avenue for the students to network with business leaders.

Her interest in photography has won her the HBO "A Picture is Worth $1,000" Award. She was also an All-City Art Exhibition gold and silver medal recipient in 2003-2004. Currently, she is involved in developing her business, Ebonie's Advertising, where she creates business cards, flyers, brochures, invitations, and other advertising collateral.

In addition to her artistic and entrepreneurial interests, Ebonie has engaged in numerous philanthropic activities. While in high school, Ebonie was a member of the Black and Hispanic Achievers (BAHA) and the youth grant-making board, both sponsored by the YMCA of Chicago. Her membership with BAHA allowed her to interact with students of the Hispanic culture and other students of the African-American culture. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ebonie is currently a member of the Business Council and C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities Recognizing Excellence). Business Council is an organization that provides leadership experience as well as offering guidance for students throughout their years as business students at the University.

Ebonie has traveled extensively within the United States to California, Ohio, Florida and Georgia.

One of the most significant obstacles that Ebonie has had to face in life was the death of her older sister. Her sister was her best friend and a major inspiration in her life. Her sister died during a critical time when Ebonie was struggling with major life decisions, such as college selection. Her sister's death and the struggles of her single-parent mother inspired Ebonie's desire to become an entrepreneur.


Anthony Diamond
Stanford | Junior

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Arcata, California
Sponsor: Los Angeles Dodgers/Team 42

Anthony's academic success during high school included not only his selection as a National Achievement Scholar, but also his membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He served as the student representative in his Charter School Site Council during his junior and senior years of high school and enjoyed opportunities to tutor other students in math and music. Anthony's leadership abilities were developed during a three year involvement in his high school varsity tennis team during which time he earned All-County White Stars for both doubles and singles tennis.

His excellence as both a classical clarinetist and jazz saxophonist earned him the honor of performing in numerous California honor bands and orchestras, including the California All-State Honor Band for four consecutive year. The Arcata, California native has received national and international recognition for his jazz solo work from both the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and Downbeat. He frequently participated in fundraisers and community events through music performance and continues to shine academically at Stanford, where he is an active participant in the Partners for Academic Excellence program through the Black Community Services Center on campus.

He is a member of the Stanford chapter of the NAACP and is involved with the Mentorship Program through the Diversity Affairs Office of the School of Engineering. Anthony is both a national and local member of the Society of Black Scientists and Engineers and volunteers at the Palo Alto Boys and Girls Club, helping teach youth about the practical sides of engineering by working on projects to benefit the community. He continues to play saxophone in a jazz quartet on campus, and remains instrumental in organizing and performing musical benefits for causes he supports.

He is active on intramural sports teams including touch football and basketball and recently returned to his home town to perform the original score he composed for his alma mater's production of Aria da Capo, the sold out show benefiting the school's international travel fund. He also organized a jazz benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Through interviews with local media and a successful performance showcasing original jazz compositions, he was able to help disseminate information about the Musician's Village project in New Orleans, which is dedicated to building homes for displaced musicians, constructing a performance facility and music school (the Ellis Marsalis Center of Music) and restoring the musical heritage of New Orleans.

He was raised in a low income, single parent family. Anthony has faced unexpected relocation due to violence, lived in a homeless shelter and had to suddenly begin life anew. He continues to be very passionate about issues concerning human rights and poverty throughout the world and hopes that by obtaining a Mechanical Engineering degree, he will acquire the skills necessary to help improve the physical, economic, social and technological conditions of underrepresented populations. His musical performances have taken him to cities along the west and east coasts, in addition to France and Europe.

Anthony hopes to deepen his understanding of Africa through visiting the continent and credits many members of his extended family with providing him with examples of hope and determination that have helped him face and overcome challenges throughout his life. In this group are his mother, his community band directors and music teachers, his school coaches and teachers.

He feels especially honored to be chosen as a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar in view of the powerful message of courage and forbearance that Jackie's life conveyed. Jackie's strength of spirit continues to provide Anthony with a source of inspiration and motivation needed to face today's challenges.


Tasha Byers
Saint Thomas University | Junior

Major: Political Science
Hometown: Maple Grove, Minnesota
Sponsor: The Windmill Foundation

Tasha graduated from North Community High School in 2005 as valedictorian. During Tasha's high school career, she participated in a variety of activities, which strengthened her leadership, time management, and networking skills. She was president of the Career Development Group, the National Honor Society, and her senior class. A scholar athlete, Tasha was a captain of her Lady Polar basketball team, leading the squad to the State Championship three consecutive times. Because of Tasha's excellence in academics, athletics, and community involvement, she received the distinguished 2005 Coca-Cola Scholar's award.

Her work experience has contributed to her desire to pursue a career in politics, earn a law degree, and become the President of the United States. For two years, Tasha has interned for Minnesota's United States Senator, Mark Dayton. She has also interned at Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minnesota, advocating for denied health insurance claims of senior citizens. Also, during her senior year, she interned for U.S. Senator Mark Dayton in Washington, D.C. at the United States Capitol where she researched for legislative assistants, attended briefings and meetings, and provided Capitol tours. In addition to her internship, Tasha volunteered her time and served the homeless community through National Community Church in Washington, D.C.

Tasha credits her opportunities to the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Jackie Robinson, a man of immense strength and achievements. She is grateful for Jackie's example of persistence, dedication to equality, willingness, care for others, and tenacity to reach for goals that seemed impossible to accomplish.

Following Jackie Robinson's example, Tasha mentors, coaches, and volunteers in the community. Often through basketball, she encourages young girls and boys to set goals, be confident, and stay focused. In particular, Tasha has coached and mentored a 13-year old girl for three years. This girl has utilized the fundamental basketball skills Tasha taught her, and represented the United States in the International Friendship games in Amsterdam in July 2006.

Tasha plays on the women's basketball team at Saint Thomas and continues to serve as an assistant coach at middle school girls' basketball camps. She anticipates traveling to a foreign country within a study abroad program at Saint Thomas during her remaining years.


Christina Sofia Tilghman
Wellesley College | Junior

Major: International Relations
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Sponsor: Yawkey Foundation

Christina attended Wellesley Senior High School, traveling a significant distance outside her city limit and comfort zone to receive her education. She took advantage of all the resources and opportunities at her disposal. Christina took honors classes that had not seen minority students in over a decade. By her senior year she had completed over ten honor courses, at least two per year. She received Academic Excellence, Academic Risk-Taking, Academic Achievement and Leadership all four of her high school years.

As a college student, Christina still strives to be involved in extracurricular activities as well as keep her ties to civic engagement. She works for her college radio station, WZLY. The town of Wellesley does not pick up many of the radio stations intended for young urban people, and she hopes to provide some source of cultural enriching music, which proves to be a source of strength for many, including herself. She is one of two members of the Transportation Advisory Committee which is a sector of College Government.

As a young person who has lived in the city her whole life and had to travel extensively to and from school, the idea of transportation proved to be an important entity in her life. She applied for this position to assure that all people reliant on the college transportation were receiving the best quality service and to enhance the connection between the town and the campus. Christina also serves on the community service committee of Ethos, the black student organization. She mentors students at her old high school, through the Bridge the Gap program, which is aimed at connecting young high school students with college women as potential role models. Christina also is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at her college, where she attended the regional conference in Stamford, Connecticut.

Outside of college activities Christina still remains active in community initiatives. She is currently on the board of MYTOWN inc, non-profit organization, which aims to empower young people and help them become engaged citizens in their communities. She also is a volunteer for the organization, Roxbury Environmental Empowering Project (REEP). She has attended discussion meetings to talk about how to address the lack of funding for summer jobs for youth in Boston, and helped in the distribution and collection of surveys.

Christina lost one of her best friends to youth violence and knows the personal pain that is all too common for teens. She aspires to be a political activist for young people and ultimately hopes to work for the Department of Education. She has traveled extensively through South Africa.


Clarence Agbi
Yale University | Junior

Major: Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Jamaica, New York
Sponsor: Morgan Stanley Foundation

In high school, Clarence was a member of various cultural groups as well as a member and co-president of the school chorus, the track team. He also acted in theatre productions. He continues to sing at Yale University with the Yale Gospel Choir, and travels internationally with the group to destinations including South Africa. He is also an active member of the Black Church at Yale as he sings in ministry for the church in a group called Breath of Life. He is an active leader on the Yale campus and works at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale.

Clarence is very passionate about singing and continuing to develop his passion over his college years. He hopes to take advantage of the international opportunities that his university has to offer. Clarence spent five weeks in Spain exploring Spanish culture and language. He has also traveled to Italy with his high school chorus. He also has traveled to Nigeria, where he has family.


Melissa Jackson
The City College of New York | Sophomore

Major: Pre-Med
Hometown: Elmont, New York
Sponsor: New York Yankees

Melissa knows something about flirting with perfection, having recently graduated from Elmont Memorial High School with an average of 99.88. She was very active in high school, serving as sports editor of her school's newspaper, secretary of the Talented and Gifted Club, treasurer of the Foreign Language Honor Society, and treasurer of the National Honor Society. She was the recipient of the Best Debate Piece, selected from all the newspapers in Long Island.

Throughout high school, Melissa was an active volunteer, logging over 200 hours at her local hospital. Currently she is studying at The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, a seven year medical program. She hopes to become a pediatric hematologist, and to work with children suffering from sickle cell disease.


Akpanoluo Etteh
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Sophomore

Major: Biology
Hometown: Natick, Massachusetts
Sponsor: Turn 2 Foundation (Derek Jeter)

Akpanoluo is a recent graduate of Natick High School. Being raised by a single mother proved challenging throughout his high school career, but Akpanolou managed to be successful as a track captain, debate team member and treasurer of the National Honor Society. His various other achievements include earning the National Achievement Scholarship and organizing a barbeque fundraiser benefiting Hurricane Katrina victims.

At Yale, he has become involved in several groups on campus, such as Magevet, a Jewish a capella group. He has toured with the group to Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, Jackson, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, he took part in a service project to aid in the reconstruction of the city. In addition, he is also a member of the Yale Precision Marching Band, and is a member of the Freshman College Council. As a representative of his class, he has been working on a guide which will be given to incoming Yale Freshman to aid them in their adjustments to life on campus.