Spotlight on a Participant

kevin photoKevin is an 18 year-old student in Manhattan who despite working part-time since 14 and participating in a multitude of extracurricular activities holds a B+ grade average and intends on putting himself through college. His parents moved to NYC from Fuzhou in 1995 to avoid Chinese familial size restrictions and, since neither of them speak English or received a formal education, the bilingual (English & Fujianese) Kevin has mostly had to guide himself. “I never had any mentorship. No one was there to help me out.” Working was a way to earn some spending money, but also part of a larger effort to distinguish himself from peers through an education complemented by professional experience. “All that trouble has taught me a lot. Because, hey, just because I don’t have a 100 average – it doesn’t mean I can’t be as successful as them. I’m not as school smart, but I think I’m life smart.”

Not only has Kevin maintained an 88% grade point average while working, he has managed to immerse himself in various student activities. Whether it’s been presiding over Baruch’s National Honor Society, captaining his Church’s basketball team, fundraising $2 million through an All Stars Project gala with Cory Booker (as a member of their Development School for Youth) or helping sign Ariana Grande at his internship with “Watah!” Kevin also finds time to give back to the less fortunate in New York City. Stepping outside his comfort zone, Kevin teaches children living in Harlem math and reading. When asked where he sees himself in ten years, he says: “I want to be successful. I want to have a business. And I want to be philanthropic.”

Kevin came to Career Gear for a suit to wear to a scholarship interview with the McKinney Roger Foundation. McKinney Rogers Foundation offers scholarships to disadvantaged young adults who otherwise would not be able to attend college without assistance. Kevin smiles when he recalls the suit was from Hugo Boss. “After going to Career Gear I’ve learned a valuable lesson that to be successful in life you have to step out of comfort zones.” Although he only came for a suit, Kevin decided to enroll in both Career Gear’s Professional Development Series Program and our MAST one-on-one mentoring program.

He credits experiences like visiting Armani’s Headquarters as the guest of a workshop facilitator in the Professional Development Series, Armani VP Bruce Weldyn with spurring his ambition. “Going to that company, seeing such an accomplished product and business just keeps me driven.”

As for the scholarship interview that brought him to Career Gear for a business suit, after a four-hour interview with five other finalists, a well-suited Kevin earned the McKinney Rogers Foundation Scholarship for Business & Entrepreneurship. $40,000 in much needed assistance for the costs of four-years of tuition. He’s quick to credit the suit for helping him to earn the scholarship. “I think the suit really set me apart and impressed them.” We at Career Gear know you never miss an opportunity to make a great first impression. We applaud Kevin and all his hard work and wish him the best of luck in his college experience!


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