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RISE Leadership Institute participant recommends program for Black students who have their eyes set on college

Summer cohort to take place at ASU in June 2022

Portrait of Elijah Foster, a senior at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona.

Elijah Foster, a former participant in the RISE Leadership Institute, plans to attend ASU in the fall of 2022, majoring in business communications at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

May 05, 2022

For Elijah Foster, the RISE Leadership Institute has helped to elevate his outlook on life after high school.

“The RISE Leadership Institute provided me with a solid pre-college experience and exposure to faculty, students and staff at Arizona State University,” said Foster, a senior at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona.

The RISE Summer Leadership Institute is a leadership and college readiness program for rising 10 to 12th graders that celebrates and continues the legacy of Black and African American Sun Devils of ASU.

The institute, which has been hosted twice per year since 2019, provides tools to help students cultivate their leadership abilities as they continue serving at their schools and in the community. Students will also receive resources that will help them navigate the college-going process while gaining insight from Black alumni, staff, students and community members.

The next RISE Leadership Institute experience takes place June 26–30 at ASU's Tempe campus. The program is free for selected students.

“The students will have an opportunity to reside in student housing in the Barrett Honors College and experience campus dining for three meals a day while participating in college prep and leadership experiences that relate to their grade-level competencies,” said Kiana Sears, program director.

According to Sears, approximately 130 students will participate this summer. 

Foster said that he participated in RISE once, during its first cohort in summer 2020, and he also participated in the RISE Leadership Institute Virtual Student Conference on December 12, 2020.

“The most rewarding part of participating in the RISE Leadership program is attending workshops with ASU faculty and staff who taught me how to be a leader, how to put together a resume, and helped me to decide which career options I could explore using the M3 quiz,” Foster said. “Also, I enjoyed meeting other students my age and learning about their career goals and why they want to attend ASU. I’m glad I attended this program.”

Would Foster encourage other students in his age group to enroll in the RISE program?

“I would definitely encourage them to do so,” Foster said. “Once admitted to RISE, I met some extraordinary mentors and ASU staff that helped me understand what my skills, talents and abilities are, how to write a personal statement and what I can do to strengthen my weaknesses and be a good college student.

“Now I feel prepared to attend ASU in the fall, majoring in business communications at the W. P. Carey School of Business.”

Foster said that although he will not be participating in the 2022 summer program, he expects that the next cohort of RISE Leadership students will “have fun and learn a lot about themselves and what resources and services ASU can provide to them as Black students.”

Foster advises participating students to listen carefully to what each mentor is saying and take notes.

“Act on the advice that is given and pay attention to your mentors’ words of wisdom,” Foster said. “Ask questions and speak up when called upon. It is always best to look presentable when attending each session.

“Lastly, it is important to learn to work together with your peers at all RISE meetings and communicate with them.”

For more about the RISE Leadership Institute here or email the program director at

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