Spotlight: EMERGE Houston

Founded by Yale graduate Rick Cruz, EMERGE helps under-resourced public high school students across five Houston-area public school districts prepare for and succeed at the nation’s top colleges and universities. While over 90% of the 2,400 students EMERGE serves each year are the first in their family to go college and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, 88% of EMERGE alumni graduate from college within four years. That’s an amazing accomplishment given that less than one-quarter of low-income students in the Houston area graduate from college or even apply to highly-selective post-secondary schools.

The YANA Houston chapter was treated to an insider’s view on the EMERGE program during a virtual get-together with local Yalies and EMERGE mentors, Board members, volunteers, and alumni.  Marci Arnold, current director of EMERGE’s summer internship program for their college students, and a long-time EMERGE mentor, shared some of the successful numbers EMERGE has achieved over the years as well as some of the challenges the organization and students are facing during the COVID-19 crisis. Faiad Alam ‘23, who is back home in Houston from his disrupted freshman year at Yale, talked about the clear cultural impact EMERGE has had in his high school as well as the ongoing support his mentors and college advisor have had on his life and educational success. EMERGE Board member Denise Smith was also on-hand to answer questions about ongoing funding and programmatic challenges the organization is currently facing.



EMERGE website

Contact EMERGE

  • If you have or know of internship projects that EMERGE alumni could participate in this summer, please contact Marci Arnold.
  • If you are interested in becoming a mentor to an EMERGE high school student starting next year, or would like to support EMERGE please contact Janicca Stephens.

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