| Press Releases

Act Six Celebrates 60 New College Graduates

Tacoma, Wash. – August 25, 2022 –This past school year, 60 Act Six scholars from underrepresented communities throughout Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota graduated from college, bringing the count of program graduates to 600. These scholars, hailing from Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Yakima Valley, Chicago, Indianapolis and Minneapolis–St. Paul graduated from Augsburg University, Bethany Lutheran College, Bethel University, George Fox University, Gonzaga University, Heritage University, North Central University, Northwest University, Pacific Lutheran University, Taylor University, University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Warner Pacific University, and Whitworth University. These alumni graduated together with records of distinguished leadership, service, and academic achievement.

The 60 newest Act Six graduates are listed below, along with their majors and high schools.

Augsburg University

Taw Bee, B.S. Biology (Como Park Senior High School)

Nou-Chee Chang, B.A. Communication Arts & Literature (Brooklyn Center High School)

Agatha Dennis, B.S. Biology (Brooklyn Center High School)

Ruti Mejia, B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies & American Indian Studies (Park High School)

Reuben Stately, B.A. American Indian Studies (Breck School)

Angel Velazquez Olmedo, B.A. Political Science (Roosevelt High School)

Bethany Lutheran College

Anna Martinez, B.A. Legal Studies (John F Kennedy Senior High School)

Kyeh Paw, B.A. Business Administration (Washington Technology Magnet)

Bethel University

Elizabeth Carson, B.A. Nursing & Reconciliation Studies (Eagle Ridge Academy)

Hyojung Hong, B.S. Biology (Wayzata High School)

Sam Nguyen, B.S. Human Bioenergetics & Biology (Saint Thomas Academy)

Andrew Osagiede, B.A. Psychology (Brooklyn Center High School)

Roland Osagiede, B.A. Social Work (Brooklyn Center High School)

Tu Paw, B.A. Business (Como Park Senior High School)

Joeby Thao, B.A. Marketing & Human Resource Management (North High School)

Molly Thao, B.S. Biokinetics (Roseville Area High School)

Ratsamee Thosaengsiri, B.A. Biblical & Theological Studies (Harding High School)

George Fox University

Dayana Caamal Perez, B.A. Marketing (Madison High School Marshall Campus)

Karla Chan Mendez, B.S. Exercise Science (David Douglas High School)

Kadasha Hershey, B.S.W. Social Work (Tigard Senior High School)

Jarius Jackson, B.S. Engineering (Tualatin High School)

Vladimir Salas Moreno, B.A. Communication (Tigard Senior High School)

Gonzaga University

Felecia Bazie, B.A. Biology (Garfield High School)

Asha Douglas, B.A. English (Bellarmine Preparatory School)

Pedro Martinez, B.B.A. Accounting & Business Administration (Auburn Mountainview High School)

Tara Phung, B.B.A. Business Administration (Lewis and Clark High School)

Samridhi Singh, B.S.N. Nursing (Henry Foss High School)

Heritage University

Nelson Avila Mendoza, B.A. Psychology (A C Davis Senior High School)

Antonio Franco, B.S. Biology (Granger High School)

Gissel Garcia, B.A. Business Administration (East Valley High School)

Brenda Guadarrama, B.S.W. Social Work (Granger High School)

North Central University

Erick Armenta, B.S. Social Science (Prior Lake High School)

Aliyah Caples Becker, B.A. Social Work (Osseo High School)

Evelyn Guzman Jimenez, B.S. Social Work (John F Kennedy Senior High School)

Northwest University

Julio Benitez-Cortez, B.A. History & Political Science (Federal Way Senior High School)

Sara Jemere, B.S.N. Nursing (Foster High School)

Grace Jeong, B.A. Communication (Lakes High School)

Gabriela Morales, B.S.W. Business Administration (Franklin Pierce High School)

Niharika Phambota, B.A. Accounting (Kentwood Senior High School)

Pacific Lutheran University

Rahel Ambachew, B.S. Biology (Mount Rainier High School)

Joey Grabowski, B.S.N. Nursing (Curtis Senior High School)

Mei-Yun Loya, B.A. Chinese Studies (Stadium High School)

Taylor University

Nate Canales, B.A. Orphans & Vulnerable Children (Ben Davis High School)

Daniel Korrie, B.S. Marketing & Systems (Arsenal Technical High School)

Patience Korrie, B.S. Computer Science Digital Media (Arsenal Technical High School)

University of Northwestern – St Paul

Destiny Dominguez, B.S. Psychology (Park Center IB World High School)

Kimberly Eras, B.S.N. Nursing (Hope Academy)

Kenneth Granados, B.A. Pastoral Ministry & Bible (Hope Academy)

Esther Ojebode, B.S. Business Administration (Hope Academy)

Stephanie Oliva, B.S. Intercultural Studies (South St Paul High School)

Warner Pacific University

Nancy Garcia, B.S. Criminal Justice (David Douglas High School)

Yvan Kate, B.S. Business Administration (Roosevelt High School)

Kal Rivera, B.S. Criminal Justice (Tualatin High School)

Whitworth University

Chris Clay, B.A. Community Health (Franklin Pierce High School)

Alaethia Esparza, B.A. Sociology, Social Services & Community (Bellevue Senior High School)

Vincent Gao, B.S. Chemistry (West Valley High School)

DeVonte Gorman, B.A. History & Social Studies & Secondary Education (East Valley High School)

Juan Rodriguez, B.B.A. Business Administration (Federal Way Senior High School)

Kendy Urzua Valadez, B.A. Elementary Education (Lincoln High School)

Willow Zimmerman, B.S. Health Science (Community School)

 About Act Six

Act Six seeks to develop urban leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program’s inception, over 1,100 ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholarship recipients from Tacoma, Seattle, Yakima and Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis-St Paul, Minn.; Chicago, Il.; and Indianapolis, Ind. have enrolled at seventeen private colleges and universities.

Act Six develops leaders through a simple, but powerful, four-step strategy:

  1. Recruit and select diverse, multicultural cadres of the most promising urban and community student leaders.
  2. Train and prepare these groups of students in the year prior to college, equipping them to support each other, succeed academically and grow as service-minded leaders and agents of transformation.
  3. Send and fund the cadres together to select colleges across Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana on full-tuition, full-need scholarships.
  4. Support and inspire by providing strong campus support, ongoing leadership development and vocational connections to inspire scholars to serve their home communities.

Act Six alumni continue their leadership once they step foot into their communities. Eighty-one percent of Act Six scholars earn their bachelor’s degrees within six years, nearly double the rate for low-income, first-generation students nationwide. More than two-thirds of the program’s graduates are working or serving back in their home communities.

Scholars begin an intensive six-month training program that involves weekly meetings with Act Six staff, retreats and campus visits.

Learn more about Act Six online at www.actsix.org.

Marquise Dixon, chief program officer, Degrees of Change
(253) 343-0419 or marquise.dixon@degreesofchange.org


Featured image: Heritage University 2022 Act Six college graduates (clockwise, left to right) Nelson Avila, Brenda Guadarrama, Salvador (Kale) Cobar, Antonio Franco, and Gissel Garcia. (Photos courtesy of Yakima Valley Community Foundation)