MLT Ascend
 
93%
of Ascend Scholars are on track to earn a Bachelor’s degree within four to six years

Interested in applying to MLT Ascend?  

Learn More

We're closing the college graduation gap and setting students up for career success.

More than 40 percent of all students who move on to college do not graduate within six years. The graduation gap is even wider for first-generation college students, minorities, and those from low-income communities. MLT Ascend addresses this gap. 

In partnership with the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, MLT launched the Ascend initiative in 2014. Ascend is a college success and career readiness program in which MLT alumni—our Rising Leaders—volunteer to coach first-generation, low-income college students. Ascend Scholars are paired with MLT alumni volunteers who provide mentorship, accountability, and guidance as Scholars navigate the college experience and prepare for post-graduation careers.

While only eleven percent of first-generation and low-income students complete a Bachelor’s degree nationally, ninety-three percent of Ascend Scholars are on track to earn a Bachelor’s degree in four to six years. Want to learn more about our results? Read our most recent Impact Report.

Meet some of our Ascend Scholars:
MLT Ascend coaches students through any challenge that they may face during college, not only so that they can thrive and be the best that they can be,...
Ascend 2015
Howard University, 2019
Click name to watch Tre's video!
Ascend 2019
University Of Dayton, 2023
Ascend 2020
University of California, Berkeley, 2023
Ascend 2019
American University, 2020
Ascend 2015
Stanford University, 2021
Ascend 2019
Bradley University, 2023
Highlights
84%

of Scholars say that MLT Ascend improved their ability to navigate various college resources

 

82%

of Scholars say that MLT Ascend improved their academic and personal confidence

 

84%

of Scholars have a GPA at or above 3.0, with 45% at or above 3.5

How to Get Involved

Become a Community Partner

Does your organization have students who could benefit from MLT Ascend? Students must be nominated by an MLT Community Partner that fits one of the following profiles:

  • Community-based college advising program
  • College preparatory high school with existing or emerging alumni support program
  • 4-year college or university within a specific department or student support program

MLT Community Partners must also commit to:

  • Designate one primary point of contact to communicate with MLT, and to follow-up with students
  • Assist the MLT Ascend program team as we coordinate logistics for recruitment events
  • Nominate 10 or more students who meet the basic eligibility requirements

Interested in becoming an MLT Community Partner? For more information, please reach out to ascend@mlt.org.

Support for Ascend

Lead funding for Ascend is provided by the Citi Foundation as part of its Pathways to Progress initiative — a multi-year commitment to connect 100,000 low-income youth to economic opportunities through mentoring, civic engagement, summer employment, and entrepreneurship training. Support for Ascend is also provided by the ECMC Foundation and Executive Leadership Council’s Executive Leadership Foundation community impact initiative.

Contact us at ascend@mlt.org to explore how you can support the MLT Ascend initiative.

Meet the MLT Ascend Team

 

Chris Alemán, Senior Program Manager

Chris is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and has worked in higher education successfully managing and developing students and staff in coaching/advising roles for over 10 years. Prior to joining MLT in May 2019, Chris served as an Assistant Director of Admissions for the Full-Time MBA program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He supported Kellogg’s diversity admissions goals while also enhancing the admissions’ mentorship program for newly admitted candidates through improved mentor matching based on shared interests/backgrounds, streamlined communications, enhanced engagement, and increased current student involvement. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and playing basketball in leagues around the city. Chris holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Spanish and an MEd in Counseling with a concentration in College Student Development from DePaul University.

 

Maria Corbert headshot

Maria Corbert, Program Coach

Maria Corbert is a higher education professional who specializes in diversity, equity and inclusion, student success initiatives, and program development, especially as it pertains to underrepresented populations. Maria firmly believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the overall health and progress of any organization and is committed to fostering a supportive and positive environment for students to grow and thrive personally, academically, and professionally. Her most recent experience was serving as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business where she worked across divisions to promote an inclusive environment by enhancing awareness and understanding of diverse perspectives, identities, and experiences. Additionally, Maria was charged with building a network of alumni and other friends of the school to assist in the support, advising, employment, and advancement of underrepresented students. Prior to Chicago Booth, Maria held roles that focused on student recruitment and pipeline initiatives, student success and retention, and career exploration. Maria holds an M.Ed. in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education from DePaul University.

 

MLT Program Associate Ekram Jiru

Ekram Jiru, Program Associate

Ekram is an ambitious social entrepreneur and aspiring changemaker who believes in the power of education to foster economic growth, empower families, and strengthen opportunities critical for a vibrant life. Ekram earned her BA in Economics from Pomona College in 2018. While in school, she worked with various organizations that served first-generation and low-income college students, including QuestBridge, and organized events centered around identity and community building. Ekram has interned with the Internal Revenue Service and with the Institute for East African Councils on Higher Education, where she mentored students of East African descent applying to colleges. Prior to joining MLT, Ekram served as a Program Coordinator for the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT), where she learned the ins-and-outs of health care credentialing and providing program support. Ekram is excited to work with the MLT Ascend team and continue her work supporting college students.

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