Gabriel Fotsing (Mississippi '10)

Gabriel Fotsing

Job Title
CEO and Founder
Harvard University
Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
Greater Delta: Mississippi & Arkansas
Alumni Region: 

Gabriel founded The College Initiative in 2012 to empower underrepresented high schools students to earn a college degree. With The College Initiative, his vision is to ensure that all students, regardless of zip code, have the opportunity to attend and graduate from college.

Gabriel began his career with Teach For America and was placed in the Mississippi Delta where he taught French, Physical Science, and AP Biology at Lee Senior High School. While at Lee Senior High School, Gabriel mentored students on college and scholarships applications leading to students earning over $900,000 in scholarships. He also raised $46,000 in donations and took 10 students on an eight days educational field trip to Paris, France. In 2015, he was selected by the Memphis Flyer as one of 20 young Memphians who are shaping the city's future. Gabriel is a board member of the Harvard Black Alumni Society, and a student advisor of the Harvard i-lab.

READ: I Paved My Own Road to Harvard. Now I Do It for Students.

Career Path

Harvard Student Agencies
As an undergraduate, Gabriel managed Harvard Student Resources, a for-profit subsidiary of Harvard Student Agencies, Inc., the largest student-run business in the world.
Harvard Africa Bus. Investment Club
As co-president, Gabriel co-led organization with a membership of over 150 and implemented a database connecting students with opportunities in Africa.
Research Assistant, Harvard Business School
Gabriel analyzed the open source software market place, and drafted the glossary and references sections for the book The Comingled Code by Josh Lerner & Mark Schanker.
Teach For America: Mississippi Corps
At Lee High School, Gabriel taught French, Physical Science, and AP Biology. He also designed a school-wide ACT prep curriculum that raised scores in English by 7 points and science by 3 points.
The College Initiative
Gabriel has grown The College Initiative, a nonprofit he founded that empowers high school students to earn a college degree, to where students have earned a combined $15 million in scholarships.

Q & A

Why did you join Teach For America?

With my background growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Houston, I wanted to go to an environment where I could have the biggest return on impact.

What did you learn as a Mississippi corps member that you've been able to apply to The College Initiative?

These are issues I saw where I grew up and where I taught, and Teach For America teaches you how to lead. Once you manage a classroom, you can manage any situation and know what to prioritize.

How has the TFA network aided you in growing The College Initiative?

Being able to tap into the expertise of the TFA network has helped us tremendously. TFA alumni I met over the years have helped us so much, like with fundraising and growing our internal infrastructure so we can expand across the country and serve as many kids as we do. For that, I am very, very grateful.

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