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ALUMNI

A way for past ACE Scholarship recipients to get more and give back.

Vision: The accomplishments of our alumni prove that educational choice can change the trajectory of lives.

Mission: To cultivate and connect ACE Alumni to each other, the ACE Network, and to further the school choice movement.

Once you become an ACE Scholar, you’re part of an extended family you will have forever.A family tied together through their stories of perseverance, hard work and a strong belief in the importance of education. Led by the ACE Alumni Board, our ACE Scholarships Alumni Program provides our former ACE Scholars with opportunities to network, serve, celebrate, and share their stories in support of our current scholars and the thousands of children still waiting for scholarships. It all stems from our core belief that our alumni are the next generation of philanthropists – giving back to their communities through time, talent and treasure, and serving as living proof that the impact of a quality education is visible in our communities long after students leave the classroom.

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ACE Alumni Staff

Cat Hendrix

Cat Hendrix

Cat has been working with students, schools, and their families her entire career, spending the last seven years in the school choice arena. Cat attended Colorado Christian University and is an alumnus of the leadership program of the Rockies. A Colorado native, she enjoys spending her free time traveling and going to concerts. Also, whenever you attend one of our events, Cat is your girl for all food suggestions, as she is a self-proclaimed food enthusiasts.

Erin Gabriel

Erin Gabriel

Erin has her bachelor’s in Interpersonal and Intercultural Communications from the University of Kansas. She also studied Literature, Art, and Writing at the British Institute and received her teaching certifications from the International TEFL Academy and the University of Colorado. She has worked as a journalist, teacher, coach, and communications coordinator/social media manager. Erin is passionate about inspiring students to pursue intellectual and personal excellence by guiding students to understand the world around them and the talents within them to become fulfilled individuals and active compassionate citizens.

Tyejeree McManus

Tyejeree McManus

Tyejeree received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Family & Consumer Science with a concentration in Child Development from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has worked with Upward Bound Trio Program as a Counselor and Mentor for high school students that would be first-generation college students. Her background is in social work, where she has been a counselor and mental health therapist for over ten years. She enjoys working with families to help create a better outcome in life and set new goals that are attainable and sustained. She believes in meeting people where they are and working with them to make progress and value their lives.

In her free time, she finds decorating and painting things refreshing and therapeutic. She enjoys spending time with her family and creating new memories. She loves to dance, and her two daughters do as well. She continuously serves in her community and church to build the Kingdom of God.

Jenee Pulliam

Jenee Pulliam

Jenee has her bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Houston. She is passionate about advocating for and supporting children and families as they navigate the numerous avenues and obstacles while obtaining a quality education. She has three children, two grandchildren, and three giant dogs. Jenee and her husband live in Nassau Bay, Texas.

Mira Ortiz-Martinez

Mira Ortiz-Martinez

Mira is an ACE Alumni from the class of 2010! She has stayed involved with ACE as a volunteer and is now a part of the alumni team. She says she decided to join ACE because she is proof of what ACE stands for and believes in giving back to other students and families like herself. Mira received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies and a minor in Psychology from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

ACE Alumni Board Members

Dau Doldol

Dau Doldol

LinkedIn

My name is Dau Doldol. I am former refugee who overcame all the odds with the help of family, friends and organization like IRC and ACE to get a college education and just graduated with my master degree in International Education and Human development. Currently working as a consultant analyst doing work to further development in rural/ urban communities across America. Ace was the stepping stone for me and my family to able to finish my high education and get the opportunity to have a college education. I am grateful for ACE and it will alway be part of my community.

Marissa Murdock

Marissa Murdock

LinkedIn

Marissa Murdock graduated from Baylor University with a BA as a Communications Specialist, and a minor in Public Relations. For the past year and a half, she has been working at her alma mater Machebeuf High School in Denver, Colo., where she most recently served as the Director of Marketing and Communications. In addition to overseeing the school's marketing, communications and advancement initiatives, Marissa was the assistant cheerleading coach and heavily involved with student activities. This past December her team won the State Cheerleading Championship! A strong writer and storyteller, Marissa now works at Episcopal High School and works on their website, social media presence, and works with Class Correspondents in compiling Class Notes and After Episcopal Profiles for the EHS Magazine. Marissa is currently Miss Piedmont Region and will compete for the job of Miss Virginia this June.

Sayuri Toribio

Sayuri Toribio

LinkedIn

My name is Sayuri Toribio and I am a student at Regis University majoring in Business Administration and minoring in French. I attended Kent Denver School where I had ACE for 4 years. Ever since I was younger, I started volunteering with my local school and other nonprofits in the area where I grew a passion for helping others and being a part of a community.

Now I intern with City Councilwoman Jamie Torres where I learn about my own District and learn to give back to my community. ACE has helped me gain the best education from Kent Dever and has given me the opportunity to grow as a leader and be where I am today. ACE has pushed our whole family to strive and achieve great things through education and to share that knowledge with others.

Afriye Phillips

Afriye Phillips

LinkedIn

My name is Afriye Phillips and I am a former ACE Scholar. I have been partnering with ACE over the past couple of years to help reach more kids with our mission at Hoops Academy of “education beyond the court.” I have loved connecting with ACE over these past few years.

I have started up my own business (Hoops Academy), graduated from college, and absolutely love what I do. Without ACE I would not be where I am today. Thank you so much ACE for all that you do!

Carla Villegas

Carla Villegas

After doing elementary at a public school and feeling frustrated at the pace due to the large class sizes, my parents decided to try private schooling. I enrolled to Presentation of Our Lady in 6th grade and never looked back. The attention I was given allowed me to learn at a faster pace that made me excited to learn once more. At Bishop Machebeuf High School, I developed skills that helped me be college ready. 
 
With the help of ACE, I became a student with great study habits that helped me thrive in higher education- so much so that after completing my science majors in Biology and Public Health, I have decided to apply to school once more, this time to pursue a degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Robert Sneed

Robert Sneed

My name is Robert Sneed; I grew up in a small town south of Alexandria, LA. I am a  man of God that’s highly motivated to do the right thing in life. I always wanted and dreamed of being in the military, which came as no surprise to my family cause my father is a Marine. While attending public school, I always managed to get passed on to the next grade level, although I wasn’t growing as an individual. I was constantly getting in trouble while attending public school. During my sophomore year, I was presented with an Ace scholarship to attend an academic award-winning private high school. 
 
ACE was a massive step in the right direction for me. Once I was at this private high school, I could finally separate from negativity and focus on my school work and sports. I went on to graduate high school with 45 college credits. Since graduating high school in 2017, I managed to graduate from college with two bachelor's degrees and I also followed my dream by joining the military. I would like to thank ACE for being a huge stepping stone in my life.

Nathan Garcia

Nathan Garcia

My name is Nate Garcia and I’m honored to share my personal story over the past eight years. As a recipient of the ACE Scholarship, I have been given the tremendous gift of an amazing education and so much more. From the many teachers, mentors and friends I’ve made over the past several years, to the wisdom, perseverance and character I’ve developed, the ACE Scholarships have given me the ability to pursue my dreams and build a life that might not otherwise have been possible. I’m still amazed that ACE came into my life at just the right time when I really needed to find a way out and a better path. I had a hard time in middle school and continued to struggle after starting junior high. Feeling lost and out of place amidst the chaos of public school, life at home was also uncertain after my father left us when I was only ten years old. In addition to the emotional trauma this caused, there was the added pressure and anxiety my mother faced as a single parent left to raise me and my sister.

However, in the midst of all this hardship, my mother discovered ACE Scholarships. With the support of ACE I was able to leave the public school system and attend Faith Christian Academy where my life would begin to change. Not only was I in an ideal academic setting, but I was now among teachers and students who shared my faith. I was finally on a new path and in a safe place where I could concentrate on my grades, build positive friendships and regain my confidence. Because of the ACE Scholarship, I was able to graduate from Faith Christian Academy and the University of Colorado and now hold a degree in political science. My education also opened the door to an incredible internship with Colorado Representative Edie Hooton where I gained career relevant experience and firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to hold public office. Excited about my future in politics and proud of all that I have achieved, I can’t help but be grateful to those who support ACE.

Yarian Garcia Vela

Yarian Garcia Vela

My name is Yarian Garcia Vela and I was born on the 30th of October, 2002 in Tamaulipas, Mexico. I lived in Mexico until I was eleven years old and moved to the United States in 2014. I graduated from St. Pius X High School in 2021, currently attend Houston Baptist University, will continue with my studies at the University of Houston and hope to graduate in 2025.

ACE means the world to me because the mission is focused on children and education. There are an enormous amount of kids who are not comfortable in their own environment and school. Most of them don’t have the choice or freedom of receiving a better education due to their zip code. ACE saves the future of families in ten states and counting. ACE gives hope to families like mine for a better future. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity given to me. They gave me the freedom of choosing my high school, which was the environment I needed to continue to achieve my goals. The school provided all the attention I needed to grow not only as a student but as a person. I am an ACE alumnus and I am excited to continue helping others get to where I am and further like ACE helped me. School choice is very important and can lead families into achieving their dreams.

Jorge Jaquez

Jorge Jaquez

LinkedIn

My name is Jorge and I had an ACE scholarship from 6th grade through 12th grade. My parents found St. Rose of Lima after I completed 5th grade at my public school and it was the complete package when it came to quality of education, individual attention, location, and its alignment with my family’s values. I went on to Arrupe Jesuit high school, which is a very unique school with a corporate work-study program that allowed me to gain the insight and skills that put me a step ahead of my peers when it came to post-school employment. From there I went on to Colorado School of Mines and obtained a degree in Petroleum Engineering.

I'm currently a hydraulic fracturing engineer Liberty Energy, which is a Denver company that is leading the way in finding innovative ideas to refine the hydraulic fracturing process and in turn making energy more accessible to the world. ACE really helped pave the way for me to get to where I am today, as it made the schools I attended accessible to me and allowed me to put my unique abilities to use in a way that challenged me kept me pushing for more. Now my 3 younger brothers are following in my footsteps with help from ACE and I couldn't be prouder of the driven young men they have had the freedom to become, just like I had.

Jimmy Pham

Jimmy Pham

My name is Jimmy Pham and I am a Saint Louis University Alum and class of 2018. I was an ACE recipient class of 2014 from Arrupe Jesuit High school. I graduated from Saint Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering. I spent some time with Liberty Oilfield Services in West Texas and Boeing in Oklahoma City in the first four years of my career. I am currently a project engineer/project manager for Leidos Corporation working as an FAA contractor.

ACE Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to pursue the education in the school environment that best fit me. This allowed me to focus on my goals and aspirations. Every kid deserves an opportunity similar to what I experienced. As ACE scholars graduate from high school, they are yet to realize the importance of ACE to help sustain ACE for future generations. As an ACE Alumni Board President of Colorado, I wanted to be a part of ACE to keep the connection and network of ACE Alumni alive. I strongly believe the Alumni group is essential to the organization as they are the experience and results of the ACE Scholarship foundation.

ACE Partners

Alumni, 

It is time to mark your calendar 📅 and set reminders on your phone 📱 for our professional development session: Financial Literacy. Saturday, October 8th, 9 am-11 am Mountain Time. 

This session is great for both personal finance newbies and those with more advanced personal finance experience. Maybe you are worried about debt and how you will chip away at it until you become debt-free, or you have never created a budget and don't know where to start. Maybe you are saving for something big like a house or a wedding. Wherever you are in your financial journey, this session is for you! 💸 

Invites will be sent via a Punchbowl invitation. Stay on the lookup for the invite or DM us for the link. 

📣 Giveaway 📣 

We will be giving away a $100 Target Gift Card for those who do the following. 

1. Click the link in our bio or follow this link: https://acescholarships.socialv.io to an app called SocialV. Follow the instruction to record a video answering the following question "How has a quality education changed the trajectory of your life? How would your life look different had you not received the education you did?" 

2. Tag someone in this post who is not already following ACE Alumni *Bonus points if this is an ACE Alumni or your parent/guardian.

3. Attend the Financial Literacy Professional Development.

The prize winner will be announced at the end of the Professional Development session.
Braylon attended Family Worship Christian Academy in Louisiana where he says his study habits and grades improved. 

He will be attending Baton Rouge Community College to study non-destructive testing. Nondestructive testing is any of a wide group of analysis techniques used in the science and technology industry to evaluate the properties of a material, component or system without causing damage.

His goals for the future are to work hard and to be successful in whatever he does.
Maggie is studying Early Childhood Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver, with the goal of becoming a teacher. 

One of Maggie's teachers was a great motivator for her to become a teacher as well as her experiences with children. 

"It makes me genuinely happy to see a toddler, for example, filled with joy as they realize that they have accomplished something".

She is most excited about having an impact on young lives just like others have had on her.
Sheila Martinez graduated from Arrupe Jesuit high school in 2013, thanks to ACE Scholarships' generous donors. 

She then studied Criminal Justice and Social Work and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Colorado, where she graduated in 2020.

Sheila is now working at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Campus, Kempe Center, as a Program Coordinator for the Child Abuse prevention program. 

She plans on pursuing a Masters in Social Work. 

Sheila's advice for other Alumni? Try different internships! You never know what you might like. And make sure to always practice self-care. 

Fun Facts: 
-Sheila is a first gen student 
-She has two golden retrievers 
-She is a huge soccer fan, specifically the US women's team
Congratulations to Carlos and Erion for winning our first professional development giveaway! And thank you to all of our speakers, including our community partner CareerSpring for supporting our students in maximizing their potential and helping our Alumni connect with information and social capital that facilitates their career readiness and unlocks their employment potential. Stay tuned for updates on our next professional development!
Bethany attended Faith Christian Academy in Colorado. She was a student on the honor roll, worked throughout high school, thrived in art, painted the band room, participated in drama club, and tutored. 

Bethany will now be attending Colorado Christian University to study nursing. She would like to become a nurse to help others in need and start a program working with homeless individuals, helping them get on their feet and ultimately decreasing the percentage of homeless people in the United States.
Nhu Pham is attending Regis University to become a nurse and his goal is to give back to his parents.

"I honestly would love to spoil my parents because they have sacrificed so much for me and I would love to show them that I cherish and care for them and I will pay them back for what they have done for me."
ACE Alumni, you have a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card with three easy steps: 

1. Make sure you are following us on both Instagram and LinkedIn. 
2. Comment and tag 1 of your friends, bonus points if it is an ACE Alumni. 
3. Attend our professional development. 

Winners will be announced at the Professional Development on September 10th.

To RSVP Visit: 
https://bit.ly/3Qfc7GE

*You must be an ACE Alumni to win
Chad in high school was a three-sport athlete: Wrestling, football, and track & field. As well as an honors student, football captain, and an "outstanding student in service". He will be continuing his athletic pursuits in college and we are excited to watch him excel on the field.
The first ACE Professional Development is right around the corner! Don't miss out on all that is being offered including access to a job placement platform that will connect you with future opportunities and insight on how to best utilize your LinkedIn to build your network. See you there!
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