With a bold vision, strong leadership, and deep community engagement, Newark is working towards a strong economic future for all residents. Having joined Newark in 2015, Braven is proud to be a partner in this community-wide effort.

Braven – Newark Impact Report | SY2021-2022

Braven Newark 2022 Jobs Report

The Work Ahead

Newark is poised for a renaissance, but only if all local talent thrives. The city’s established companies are growing, mixed-use development is booming and start-ups are being incubated. Yet 30% of Newark’s residents are living below the poverty line and 20% of Black residents are unemployed. Braven has joined forces with Rutgers-University Newark and local employers to help the Newark community meet its ambitious goals around college and career success.

An Innovative University Partnership

Braven Fellows receive 3 elective credits for taking the Accelerator course. In the 2020-2021 school year, 89% of Braven Fellows identified as people of color and 59% were first-generation college students.

Employers fueling a new generation of local leaders

With a mix of well-established companies and start-ups, Newark employers are looking for innovative talent solutions to help them hire a new generation of local talent and ensure the strength of their community. With an anchor employer partnership with Prudential and strong support from companies ranging from Enterprise to Audible to College Board, local employers are leveraging Braven’s professional development opportunities for their employees while helping to build their future talent pipeline.

The Newark Braven Community

Our Fellows, volunteers, Employer Partners and University Partner are working together to ensure all college graduates are set-up for success.


Accelerator and Post-Accelerator Fellows


of Rutgers-Newark Fellows graduate college on-time


of Braven Fellows have had at least one internship during college

Newark Area Schools

Rutgers University – Newark

Spring 2023

  • All Students Eligible for Registration: November 11, 2022
  • Final Enrollment Deadline: January 26, 2023
  • First Week of Spring 2023 Classes: January 17, 2023

Newark Employer Partners

Our employer partners encourage their employees to participate in Braven’s professional development and engagement opportunities, sponsor events and learning experiences, provide access to externship, internship and full-time opportunities, and offer critical financial support.

Lead Partners

Anchor Partners

Keystone Partners

Innovation Partners

Impact Partners

Access Partners


Newark Supporters

Generous investments from our supporters fuel our model and complement the financial support we receive from our university and employer partners.

$250,000 – $999,999

$100,000 – $149,999

$50,000 – $99,999

John & Wendy Cozzi


$20,000 – $49,999

Lisa & Joe Amato


$5,000 – $19,999

Andrew and Wendy Lacey

Linda and Brian Sterling

The MCJ Amelior Foundation



Desiree Vazquez Barlatt

Eric Osserman

Felicia Fdyfil-Horne

Jack Merimee

Jake Biscoglio

Jeffrey Peyser

Jill Johnson

Jonathan Simon

Ken Waitz & Jessica Henry

Lee Vartan

Matthew McDonald

Michael Henningburg

Nick Felker

Rick Radice

Sam Iosiovich

Shadene Grant

Susan Parker

Terrylynn Smith

The Alfred and Rosemary Iversen Family Foundation

Vaughn Crowe


Newark Team

Alison Minion

Alison Minion

  • External Affairs Manager
  • Newark, New Jersey

Anastasia Hardin

Anastasia Hardin

Managing Director
Newark, New Jersey

Anastasia is the Managing Director at Braven Newark and oversees program implementation at Rutgers University Newark. She is a proud first-generation graduate and holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from Rutgers University.


Ashley Ferraro

Ashley Ferraro

  • Program Manager, Recruitment
  • Newark, NJ
Ashley is responsible for recruiting students to Braven as well as cultivating relationships among the Rutgers-Newark community and increasing Braven’s presence at the university.


Bryanah Wilkins

Bryanah Wilkins

  • Program Operations Coordinator
  • Newark, NJ

Camila Ventura-Martinez

Camila Ventura-Martinez

  • Program Manager, Accelerator
  • Newark, New Jersey

Newark Board of Directors

Jackie Rider

Jackie Rider

Vice President and Private Banker, J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Jackie is a Private Banker with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank.  She leads a team of experts who support wealthy individuals and their families by providing advice and creative solutions to address the full spectrum of their wealth management needs.

Before rejoining in 2017, Jackie worked at Citi Private Bank as a Private Banker.  She spent the first ten years of her career in equity research most recently as an Analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, covering the Healthy Lifestyle segment within Consumer Products.

Jackie is an active member of the Montclair Art Museum, participating on the Development and Events committees.  She is a former member of the Junior League of Montclair-Newark and Impact 100 Essex.

Jackie holds a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry from New York University.  She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband Sean and has three children.

Lisa Amato

Lisa Amato

Board Chair of The Writing Revolution

Lisa is an active volunteer, serving a variety of education and health organizations over the past 20 years. She is currently the Board Chair of The Writing Revolution, a nonprofit organization that trains educators and supports schools and districts in implementing the Hochman Method, an evidence-based method of expository writing instruction.

Lisa also serves on the KIPP New Jersey board, Newark, NJ chairing the KIPP Through College & Career committee. She also serves on the BRAVEN Newark, NJ Board, Partners for Health Foundation Board, Montclair, NJ and the Montclair Art Museum Board, Montclair, NJ. Lisa is a member of the New York Museum of Modern Art Contemporary Arts Council.

After raising their three children in New Jersey, Lisa and her husband Joseph now live in New York City.

Liz Almeida

Liz Almeida

Director of HR Business Partners, Panasonic North America

Liz is presently Director of HR Business Partners for Panasonic North America in Newark, NJ.  Prior to joining Panasonic, Liz held different HR roles in the technology, education and retail sectors both in the US, EMEA and LatAm. Her focus is on effectively balancing the needs of employees with the business strategy. She started her career as an INROADS intern with Prudential in Newark.  Liz studied Labor Relations and Psychology at Rutgers New Brunswick and remains a proud Scarlet Knight.  She is a mom to two boys, a dog and a bunny.

Matt Iversen

Matt Iversen

  • Braven Newark Board Chair
  • Associate Vice President, Wells Fargo

Matthew Iversen is a Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors.  He and his team focus on the wealth management needs of families, privately held businesses, and foundations.  Prior to joining Wells Fargo Advisors, he and his team worked at Merrill Lynch Bank of America.  

Matt was born and raised in Montclair, NJ.  He graduated from Connecticut College in 2000 with a double major in Government and Spanish.  Upon graduating, he worked on Al Gore’s Presidential campaign and the subsequent election recount in Florida. After the recount ended, Matt went to work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in Washington, DC.  The following year Matt returned to New York City to complete a year-long Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. 

Driven by a belief that strong democracies are based upon social justice and access to high-quality education for all children, Matt joined Teach For America in 2003 and taught in the Bronx.  Matt spent six years teaching at his original placement school PS 170. He consistently led his students to achieve 1.5-2 years of growth. His students, unfortunately, often regressed or stagnated academically in the years after leaving his classroom.   This harsh reality led Matt to seek out a teaching environment that ensured positive growth for all students year after year. 

So in 2009, Matt joined a small team of like-minded educators tasked with founding KIPPNJ’s first elementary school SPARK Academy in Newark, NJ.  Matt along with eight other teachers and their school leader, Joanna Belcher, set out to establish a consistent, results-driven educational pipeline for students in Newark, NJ.  Matt spent six years teaching at SPARK Academy bringing the school to and through full growth, serving over 500 children in grades K-4. After 12 fulfilling years in the classroom, Matt changed careers in 2015 to build a practice in Wealth Management.  

Matt currently lives in Montclair, NJ with his wife and daughter.  He serves on the boards of the Montclair Film Festival, Teach For America NJ, and Braven.  

Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn

Semi-Retired Teacher, Community Volunteer

Susan has been working for educational equity in Newark, NJ since 2004. She has been a long term volunteer with K-8 students in the KIPP schools. She serves Braven on the National and Newark boards. Susan is a member of the Spelman College Board of Trustees. In NYC, where she now lives, Susan is a member of the board of the Soho Rep. Theater. Susan’s other commitments include Teach For America – NJ and the New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  She received a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Bank Street College. 

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill

  • Braven Newark Board Member
  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer, KIPP New Jersey

Ryan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KIPP New Jersey and was the founding principal of TEAM Academy, a KIPP middle school in Newark, New Jersey’s South Ward. Prior to founding TEAM Academy, Hill was a Teach For America corps member in New York City, where he taught sixth grade.

He is a winner of the Bank of America Local Heroes Award and the New Schools Venture Fund Impact Award. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and he holds an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from National Louis University. He is also a graduate of the Broad Academy for Urban School Leadership.

Solomon Steplight

Solomon Steplight

  • Braven Newark Board Member
  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Prepfoleo

Solomon is an entrepreneur, tech aficionado and education advocate who has spent his career creating opportunities for students and parents. After earning a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania, Steplight went on to lead a number of education software startups. He then turned to public service, managing the finances of both Newark (under Mayor Cory Booker) and Hoboken – improving the latter’s credit rating from near junk bond status to AA+.

He currently serves as COO and CFO of the national nonprofit Girls Who Code, where he strives to shrink the gender and racial achievement gap in tech.

Rick Radice

Rick Radice

  • Braven Newark Board Member
  • Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, Prudential Financial

Rick Radice is the Chief Operations Officer for Law, Compliance, Business Ethics, External Affairs (LCBE). Radice provides day-to-day leadership and management of the service organization dedicated to supporting the 700+ associates of LCBE. Radice also serves on the PRU/Rutgers University Advisory Council where he provides strategic support of the BRAVEN program rollout at Rutgers-Newark. Recently named member of BRAVEN’s Newark, NJ Board of Directors.

Most recently, Radice was the primary contact with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s examination staff in connection with Prudential’s prior designation as a non-bank systemically important financial institution (SIFI). Previously, Radice led the Global Business Solutions Center which provides consulting services to support individual or cross-business strategic initiatives. Radice also served as the executive chairperson of Prudential’s Project Management Council from 2006 – 2016. During the last 25 years, Radice has led or been a part of teams that have successfully completed more than 90 strategic initiatives for Prudential’s businesses. Radice has also managed various operations functions including the company’s Mail & Imaging and Executive Transportation Services departments.

Before joining Prudential, Radice was a licensed financial advisor for PNC Financial and CitiStreet. His responsibilities included managing retirement plans for individuals as well as employees of various state and local municipalities.

Radice holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Rutgers University.

Jonathan B. Simon

Jonathan B. Simon

  • Braven Newark Board Member
  • Managing Director and Global Head of Leadership Development and Diversity, Apollo Global Management Inc.

Jonathan Simon is the Head of Leadership Development and Diversity for Apollo Global Management. Prior to this role, he was an Executive Director on the Advancing Black Leaders team at JPMorgan Chase & Co. responsible for leading the Student Strategy, which included a portfolio of initiatives and programs to increase acquisition and retention of black talent. Primarily, Jonathan partnered with campus recruiting and university relations teams to identify and coordinate recruitment efforts that support firm-wide campus hiring initiatives. Additionally, Jonathan was responsible for JPMorgan Chase’s firmwide recruitment strategy at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities).

In prior leadership roles at Citi, he was a Director in Corporate & Investment Banking in the Global Public Sector group and, previously, was the Head of Diversity and Employee Programs for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group.

Jonathan remains actively engaged with several professional and non-profit organizations, which includes serving as Chairman of Montclair Public Library Foundation Board of Trustees in Montclair, NJ; member of the Art Acquisitions Committee of the Montclair Art Museum; Trustee of Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ; member of the Advisory Board of the Honors Program at the Howard University School of Business in Washington, DC; He is a former member of the Acquisitions Committee of the Studio Museum of Harlem; and a former member of the Board of the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) in New York City. Jonathan is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and holds an Honors Degree in Finance. He is married to his wife of 17 years, Sidney, and has two children – McKenzie and Jackson.

Newark Stories

How to Close the Networking Gap

This Braven Fellow learned how to seek the kind of professional connections he would have had trouble making on his own as the child of a construction worker and night-shift lab technician who emigrated from Macedonia a decade ago.

Read the Full Story

Braven Helps RU-N Students Find Job Success After Graduation

Braven, a national nonprofit that helps Rutgers-Newark students land strong jobs after graduation, announced that fellows in its program last year had higher rates of job attainment compared with other students in the U.S.

Read the Full Story

Braven Puts Rutgers-Newark Students On Their Path To Success

Braven’s focus is on economic mobility–not just stability–for Fellows. And, Braven Fellows are proving what’s possible, according to the 2022 Newark Jobs Report.

Read More

Contact the Newark Team

c/o Newark Venture Partners
1 Washington Place, 7th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Braven Accelerator: Fall 2023

Enroll Now on WebReg

Rutgers University – Newark


Sophomore and first-year transfer students are preferred, but the course is open to all undergraduate students in all majors who are:

  • In good academic standing and able to register for a 3-credit elective course during the semester
  • Able to meet once a week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm ET, or Fridays from 11:30am-1:30pm ET
  • Able to commit an average of 4-5 hours a week to this course

Course Description

This course prepares students for the increasingly competitive, globalized job marketplace. Through online and peer learning, interactive experiences, and reflection, students will build meaningful networks, discover their innate leadership, and cultivate the “hard” and “soft” skills and habits of mind needed to thrive in twenty-first-century workplaces. This course will require your commitment. Nothing good comes easy, but this course will be equally rewarding as it is challenging.

Course Section

The Braven Leadership and Career Accelerator is a 3-credit elective course that meets Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm ET, or Fridays from 11:30am-1:30pm ET.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Exercise habits to persist through and thrive beyond college
  • Know and demonstrate the skills and mindsets employers hire for
  • Navigate the workplace
  • Build a record of achievement and apply skills to land a career-accelerating internship or research opportunity
  • Expand personal and professional networks
  • Lead with their assets and values


  • Tuesday and Wednesday 6pm-8pm ET sections will be held in person at the Rutgers -Newark campus
  • Friday’s 11:30am-1:30pm ET section will be held virtually on Zoom

Enroll Now on WebReg

Volunteer in Newark

We are looking for professionals from all fields who are willing to share their career experience, personal stories, and unique talents with our diverse and driven Fellows.

All volunteer opportunities will be virtual while social distancing orders are in effect. To receive alerts about upcoming volunteer opportunities:


Please contact with questions.