Visa Announces Inaugural Class of Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program


Fifty Students from 19 States and the District of Columbia Will Receive Scholarships and Invitation to Join Visa Full-Time After Graduation

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 26, 2021-- Visa (NYSE: V), a leading global payments technology company, announced the inaugural class of the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program, awarding 50 incoming first-year college students around the country scholarship assistance for up to four years. In addition, Visa Black Scholars will work with Visa mentors throughout their college experience, participate in a Scholars Summit at Visa’s HQ in 2022 and receive year-round programming and training aimed at developing their professional and technical skills. Scholars will also be provided opportunities for paid internships and those who meet program requirements will be invited to join Visa full-time after graduation.

Established in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program includes a $10 million investment over the next five years, a meaningful milestone in Visa’s inclusion and diversity journey to drive lasting positive change.

“We are honored to recognize this group of extremely talented students and to support their educational aspirations through the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program,” said Kelly Mahon Tullier, Visa Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer and program mentor. “At Visa, we believe that change starts with action and we are committed to advancing racial equality and closing the opportunity gap. Through this program, we are supporting a pipeline of diverse future leaders in the business and technology sectors.”

This fall, the 50 Visa Black Scholars are attending four-year institutions in all regions of the country, including Brown University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Michigan, and Yale University, among others.

“Education provides access and opportunity, and Visa embraces a world where more students of all backgrounds can reach their full potential through education,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, Visa Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and program mentor. “The Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program eliminates financial hurdles in education and supports the development of income-earning skills through a program designed to have multi-generational impact for our scholars and their families. Visa is honored to support these students on their journeys.”

In addition to scholarship assistance, students receive Visa mentors to advise their aspirations and goals as they transition from high school to college and from college to the professional workforce. The mentorship program is a multifaceted experience intended to further scholars’ personal, academic and professional development and teach career and life skills. Scholars have direct access to their mentors throughout the program, maintaining regular interaction and consistent support. All mentors are volunteers and went through an application process that evaluated, selected and paired them with scholars based on specified criteria and eligibility requirements.

“Today’s college-bound students are facing incredible challenges, with students attending and leaving institutions with more debt than ever before,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “The Visa Black Scholars are current and future changemakers of our society, and our hope is that we can provide those incredible students with the financial assistance they need to focus on what matters most. This program is even more critical in our current climate as we strive to create a more just and equitable society.”

The Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program is designed for college-bound Black and African American students in the U.S. Eligible high school seniors who are pursuing an education in a business or technology field and intend to enroll as a full-time undergraduate in an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. are eligible for this scholarship grant. Scholars who continue to meet the criteria, remain in good standing and maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA at their university will be eligible for annual renewals. Hundreds of students across the U.S. applied for the 2021 program.

The full list of the 2021-2022 inaugural class of Visa Black Scholars is below:



Aquile Davis, Culver City, CA
Darrian Mankin-Davis, San Francisco, CA
Erika Morris, San Francisco, CA
Kennedy Solomon, Los Angeles, CA




Lydia Belay, Aurora, CO
Caitlin Ogoe, Montrose, CO

District of Columbia:


Nathan McAlpine, Washington, DC



Nalani Riley, Jacksonville, FL
Jonathan Whyte, Winter Springs, FL




Raeygan Blankenship, McRae, GA
Jhailyn Griffin, Douglasville, GA
Brianna Henderson, Union City, GA
Bryce Mackson, Stone Mountain, GA
Mohamed Suufi, Lawrenceville, GA




Azaria Van Hook, Romeoville, IL




Alexander Nave, Westfield, IN




LaDarrick Smith, Angie, LA



Theodore Akuffo, Laurel, MD
Alan Boyd, Owings Mills, MD
Matthew Grant, Frederick, MD
Charles Lewis, Clarksburg, MD
Jordan Peart, Middletown, MD
Carter Rodia, Brookeville, MD




Ingyana Charles, Comstock Park, MI
Lawrence Gilliam, Farmington Hills, MI
Courtney Young, Southfield, MI


New Jersey:


Adrian Anaemeje, Wayne, NJ
Micah Demarest, Paterson, NJ
Saniyah Jean-Georges, West Orange, NJ
Hailey Kinard, Scotch Plains, NJ


New York:


Herman Bikoko, Bronx, NY
Epiphany Hill, Elmont, NY
Goodnews Ihueze, Bronx, NY
Matthew Van Cooten, Brooklyn, NY
Kristen Wallace, Bronx, NY




Fatima Barro, Columbus, OH
John Obeto, Maumee, OH


South Carolina:


Nylah Richard, Waterloo, SC




Adjoa Asare, Houston, TX
Everett Brooks, Lewisville, TX
Ayana Davies, Highlands, TX
Chandler Mitchell, Allen, TX




Dereje Lambert, Sandy, UT




Darrian Belcher, Hampton, VA
Lidya Demilew, Burke, VA
Luke Pilot, Alexandria, VA




Cheyanne Avery, Essex Junction, VT




Fraol Bogale, Seattle, WA
Jaida Hill, Tacoma, WA



Ayokunnumi Ogunbowale, Brown Deer, WI

For more information on Visa’s commitment to Inclusion & Diversity, visit: and learn more about programs in Visa’s 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance report.

About Visa Inc.

Visa is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device. As the world moves from analogue to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information visit, and @VisaNews.

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit:

Visa Media
Lindy Mockovak
[email protected]

Source: Visa Inc.