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A message from Sarah Smith, Executive Director

Twenty years ago, we set forth to build a program that would prepare low-income students of color to access strong college prep pathways, thrive in top college settings and become career professionals and community leaders.

A core part of our ethos from day one has been to expect nothing less for the scholars we serve than we want for our own children in terms of access, opportunity and the chance to pursue their greatest interests and dreams. We also firmly believe that the world needs our scholars as change makers, just as much as our scholars need programs like Rainier Scholars.

Fast forward to 2020.

As our earliest graduates are beginning to make their mark on the world and experience their own seminal life moments, we are recruiting our 20th cohort of scholars to begin anew this summer.

This is indeed worth celebrating.

As I reflect on these past 20 years, I’m proud that our scholars are helping to redefine success, equity, authentic opportunity, community engagement and leadership. Over time, they are embracing the idea that they can “be the change they want to see in the world” and our community is all the better for it. I hope you will join me in celebrating together throughout this year.

Visit this page to see the latest stories and events around our 20th anniversary.

20 Years of Scholars, 20 Years of Stories

Alex Anderson
Cohort 1

At the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China, Alex Anderson decided to devote his life to art. But Alex believes the path to Jingdezhin and beyond began at Rainier Scholars, where his exposure to the Humanities impacted the way he understands the world and the art he makes.

Marisa Fang
Cohort 1

Marisa Fang is a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young and a certified Agilist. Raised by parents who believed in agile thinking before it had a name, she’s spent her education and her career thriving through a series of “sprints.”

Karen Lobos
Cohort 2

Karen Lobos’ commitment to social and economic justice lies deep in her DNA. The granddaughter of Mexican land rights activists, she has devoted her life to fighting for social justice.

Pari Abdolhosseini
Cohort 3

Pari Abdolhosseini kept her UW Medical School acceptance a secret from her parents for three months. The path that led her there was rich with travel and community health and research experiences, along with a healthy dose of steadfast determination.

Adam Iyob
Cohort 6

Adam Iyob once dreamed of being a firefighter. His desire to help others led to three years as an Emergency Medical Technician, law school and now, plans for a career in healthcare policy.

Yael Tellez-Rodriguez, Angie Aguirre-Tobar and Gabby Donaldson
Cohort 6, Cohort 12 and Cohort 18

After twenty years, Rainier Scholars is old enough to have multiple “generations” of students. Learn how three Latinx scholars have inspired each other and how they will inspire future generations of young women of color.

20th Anniversary Events

Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, we are evaluating all upcoming events and will provide updates, as needed.

Ballers & Scholars - Saturday, March 28, 2020 --- POSTPONED

Calling all players and spectators!

In celebration of Rainier Scholars’ 20th anniversary, the Rainier Scholars Alumni Council will be hosting its inaugural “Ballers & Scholars” event, an indoor 3-on-3 basketball tournament at South Shore PK-8’s gymnasium on Saturday, March 28, 2020. This event will be open to the entire Rainier Scholars community and participants have the option to sign up either individually or with a team. There is a $25 entry fee per player and brackets will be created prior to the tournament.

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event page.

To sign up for the tournament, please fill out this Google form.

We hope to see you there!

Celebrating 20 Years of Impact - April 22, 2020 -- CANCELLED

“Rainier Scholars has not only helped me gain academic and professional opportunities, but also a sense of empowerment in determining the course of my life and the impact I want to make on the world.”

Miles Welsh, Cohort 4

Marist College 2016, Amazon Web Services

“It felt wonderful to know that there were multiple middle school options for my son that would keep him on a college trajectory and give him access to an amazing educational experience. Without Rainier Scholars, the opportunity for these schools would not have been on my radar.”

Jami Bess

Cohort 17 parent