|ABOUT US > Staff|
Steppingstone Scholars Staff
The Steppingstone Scholars staff is a dedicated group of professionals who are committed to carrying out the organization’s mission.
Sean Vereen, Ed.D., is the new President of Steppingstone Scholars, Inc. A former Board member, Dr. Vereen was most recently Associate Dean of Opportunity and Access at the University of Pennsylvania. In his 13 years at Penn, he worked for the Office of Student Affairs, New Student Orientation, Makuu Black Student Cultural Center, Greenfield Intercultural Center, and the Center for Africana Studies. From 2008 to 2012, he worked on the Undergraduate Admissions team and became Associate Dean of Opportunity and Access, overseeing initiatives focused on the cultural and socioeconomic diversification of the University’s undergraduate student body. Dr. Vereen also served as mentor and campus liaison for the Posse Foundation, a leadership and scholars program for urban high school students. He was also instrumental in designing and coordinating Penn’s new partnership with The KIPP Foundation. Penn is the first Ivy League member to join in partnership with both organizations. He holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester and an MS.Ed. and Ed.D. from Penn’s Graduate School of Education in Higher Education Administration, where his research focused on diversity.
Edward Mensah, Director of the Scholars Program, has been with Steppingstone Scholars since 2001 and coaches girls’ varsity soccer at William Penn Charter School. Prior to joining Steppingstone, he taught at Abington Friends School where he was the head of the soccer program and a member of the Admissions Committee and Diversity Committee. A native of Ghana, Eddie attended an international boarding school in Canada prior to receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Franklin and Marshall College. He received a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Eddie also sits on the Post-Secondary Readiness Strategies Task Force of the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable and works as a volunteer coach for the Starfinder Foundation.
215-508-5150 ext. 11
Allison Parks, Director of College Counseling, a native of Detroit and professional artist, Allison taught Fine Art at Detroit Country Day School for four years. While there, Allison also coached dance and track and field. She also served on the financial aid selection (scholarship) committee within the Admissions Department, which led to her passion for educational access. Allison¹s past work with students includes developing diversity in youth leadership through experiential education. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Ferris State University. Allison is currently a member of the Advisory Committee of the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable, the PSAYDN- Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network and the National Partnership for Educational Access.
215-508-5150 ext. 13
Elaine Leigh, Director Support Services – High School, is the newest member of Steppingstone Scholars. A native of Seattle, WA, Elaine received her B.A. in Psychology from University of Washington in 2008. She joined Teach For America after graduation and taught 6th and 7th Grade Science in the School District of Philadelphia for two years while receiving her Master’s in Urban Education from University of Pennsylvania. She later served as an Educational Advisor for ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania providing career and college counseling services to middle and high school students first in their family to attend college. Elaine also works closely with Teach For America and the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows to select high-quality teachers to serve in high-need schools. Her work and experiences have led to a deep commitment to expanding educational opportunities for her students.
215-508-5150 ext. 16
Caryn Rivers, Director of Support Services – Middle School, is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a Master’s in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School for Social Research. Caryn has admitted promising students to the Scholars’ Program since 2005. Her personal and professional experiences have led her through various private, public and nonprofit sector settings giving her excellent preparation for a commitment to educational access and excellence.
215-508-5150 ext. 17
Whitney King, Development Associate, is a native of New Jersey and holds a B.A. in politics with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Washington & Lee University. Prior to working for Steppingstone, Whitney was the Development Assistant for Bayshore Discovery Project where she helped to increase individual annual gifts, corporate sponsorships and attendance at fundraising events.
215-508-5150 ext. 23
Sonnia Brown-Burgess, Admissions Associate, graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Development and a minor in African American Studies. Sonnia was a member of the first Steppingstone Scholars class. She graduated from the Agnes Irwin School where she demonstrated her leadership skills by serving as president of student government. She was also involved in the Black Student Union, the peer mentoring group, and Dance Motion.
215-508-5150 ext. 24