Immanuel Foster

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

high school: Berkeley HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: History

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Law School (2014, JD)

"Immanuel Foster is articulate and a leader. He is one of the most respected people on campus, adults included," observes his school's college advisor. His AP Biology teacher adds, "Immanuel is smart as a whip, a gem of a human being." Immanuel Foster has lived his entire life in low-income violent neighborhoods, but has managed to resist the well-known pressures prevalent in such neighborhoods by focusing on scholastic pursuits. At Berkeley High School in California, he has earned high marks on AP tests and recognition for his performance on state tests. Although his highly competitive school does not rank students, the University of California system places Immanuel in the top 4% of his class of about 700 students. Immanuel's interests are encyclopedic: "While the study of the sciences helps me clarify the world I see around me, the study of literature and history helps me make sense of my life." His AP English teacher has "a profound admiration for Immanuel's genuine intellectual curiosity." In the Quest Scholars Program, after his junior year, Immanuel took summer classes at Harvard University, earning top marks. Immanuel's academic success has sharpened his awareness of the achievement gap: "Whites and Asians, as a whole, succeed academically, and Latino/as and blacks, as a whole, drop out or do poorly." On his first day in his first honors' class he was "shocked to look around and notice only one other African-American student in the class. About half the Berkeley High student population is African-American." Because Immanuel is so concerned about the achievement gap he actively participates in numerous school and community groups which address this problem. He does this in addition to fulfilling heavy family responsibilities. As a columnist on the school newspaper and as lead spokesman of the student advocacy group, Youth Together, he has helped to defeat proposals that threatened to exacerbate the achievement gap. Through the Student Learning Center he has devoted countless hours to tutoring under-served peers in a wide range of subjects.

Co-president of the school's conflict mediation program, Immanuel helped train new mediators, and even mediated disputes between students and teachers. The Dean of Security selected him to be the first Student Advisor to the Dean of Security in the history of the school. Immanuel is currently establishing a program in which U.C. Berkeley professors will deliver lectures on environmental issues to at-risk eighth graders.

His awards include the Mayor's Award for his "positive contributions to the climate and culture of Berkeley High School," and the MIT Club of Northern California Leadership Award. A Peer Health Educator, Immanuel aspires to a career in medicine or public health. "In whatever I do in life, I want to help people and to be a resource for my community," Immanuel comments. "As a physician, I would have the privilege of transforming this ambition into a career."

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