On Thursday, July 23th, Manuel Contreras ’16 took to the White House as a panelist at this year’s “Beating the Odds” summit. Contreras — along with rapper Wale, First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and E! Entertainment anchor Terrence Jenkins — spoke to an audience of over 130 college-bound students about their stories of and strategies for successfully transitioning to life at college. This conference marks the latest chapter of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, which encourages America’s youth to pursue higher education.
Contreras is one of the co-founders of 1vyG, an inter-Ivy first-generation college student organization that launched last year. The group focuses on providing a community for first-generation students to share their stories and “leverage their experience and education to better the world.” In February, 1vyG hosted a three-day conference — the first of its kind — with over 250 students from across the country at Brown.