Be Your Own Catalyst


SPARC Summit was started to empower and bring together students from low socioeconomic backgrounds for a one-day transformative experience of growth, leadership, and service. By the end of the summit, scholars will be equipped with a lasting growth mindset and tangible skills to catalyze their dreams into a reality.

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Why


SPARC Summit was conceived to bring together the brightest students from low socioeconomic backgrounds for a day of growth, leadership, and service. As first generation and low-income graduates themselves, Tai Tran and Jessie Salas started SPARC to give back and mentor one of the most overlooked, yet deserving student populations: college bound students who are from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

The summit was designed with our scholars’ upbringings and backgrounds in mind. Whether it’s financial or transporation barrier, low-income students oftentimes lack access to attend professional development events. This is why we are bringing the summit and speakers directly to the community where our students are living free of cost to mitigate financial and transportation hardship.

Power of The SPARC Network


Scholars can expect a day filled with inspiring speakers, workshops for success (think, resume, personal brand, and cover letter development), and community service activities. The summit will introduce scholars to soft skills that are not traditionally taught in school or at home. Skills like embracing a growth mindset, learning how to manage your impostor syndrome, setting goals through design thinking, and leveraging storytelling to share your personal narrative.

Our keynotes and workshops will be led by community leaders and executives from leading tech companies, nonprofits, and startups. Post-summit, scholars will continue to get support from their social mentor and the SPARC’s network. Tentative schedule is coming soon.

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SPARC Summit will be hosted in Oakland, CA. Due to financial constraints, we are only able to accept students from local Bay Area school districts at the moment. Students who are currently part of AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) will receive higher priority for admission to the summit.

If you are interested in bringing SPARC Summit to your local community or have questions about the application, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Eligibilities and Requirements

  • Currently a junior or senior in high school
  • Attending a Bay Area school districts (e.g. San Francisco, East Bay, South Bay)
  • Complete SPARC Summit Application by deadline (early consideration: 12.20.2018 at 11:59 PM PST; last day: 1.10.2019 at 11:59 PM PST)
  • Optional: AVID students will receive higher priority. Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) provides college readiness resources for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education. You’ll be asked to provide a copy of your class schedule or email of your AVID teacher

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Support SPARC


Supporting SPARC is simple. Help us by sharing our website with educators and students you know who may benefit from our summit.

As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, SPARC Summit is completely run by volunteers. To keep the summit free of cost for our low-income scholars, we are looking for various sponsors (e.g. food, print, financial support). If you are interested in supporting us, please reach out to our executive director, Tai Tran: taitran.tct@gmail.com

Our Team


SPARC Summit can only be made possible by these passionate and giving individuals. If you are interested in joining, we’d love to hear from you!

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Tai Tran

Executive Director

Tai Tran

Named the youngest Forbes 30 Under 30 and LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing & Advertising, Tai is an experienced marketing leader. Through his thought leadership, Tai has empowered young entrepreneurs, startups, and leading tech brands to share their breakthrough narrative at scale. Tai's work has been widely recognized by Forbes, LinkedIn, Twitter, MarketWatch, and Tech Insider. Tai is the author of the upcoming book Zero to Infinity.

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Jessie Salas

Executive Director

Jessie Salas

Combing his passions for data science and design, Jessie is an experienced researcher and applied machine learning software engineer. Jessie’s work has been recognized and published in the inaugural edition of UC Berkeley’s Arts & Design Book, as well as IEEE scientific journal. Jessie has co-taught cognitive science & data science, and improvisational music at UC Berkeley. At Apple, Jessie is innovating how applied machine learning and design can work together to produce elegant and meaningful products.

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Sonia Sng

Board of Directors

Sonia Sng

Recognized by Financial Times in 2016 and 2017 and 2018 as one of the Top 100 Ethnic Minority leaders in the US and UK, Sonia is an experienced leader with 18 years of payments and risk experience. She has led global and regional teams responsible for working with strategic merchants, payment providers and eCommerce marketplaces to drive trusted commerce, taking into account geographic differences. Over the course of her career, her geographic purview includes North America, Latin America & Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.

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Florence Kwok

Director of Programs

Florence Kwok

Passionate about media and technology, Florence previously co-founded Radivision, where she partnered with 500 Startups and Founder Institute to create a founder Q&A web series with the goal of educating and inspiring entrepreneurs. The series reached over 1M+ views. Florence worked at Intuit, NetApp and App Annie, managing UX research, design, creative and brand marketing programs and initiatives. Florence is a Cal alum, Women in Tech Ambassador for a Global Diversity Embassy, DiverseIn, and is the cofounder and CMO of Rohm

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Hoa Nguyen

Director of Programs

Hoa Nguyen

Hoa is a first generation graduate from UC Berkeley who loves giving back to the community and connecting with people. Currently a Cloud Applications Strategist at Oracle, where she is helping large enterprise companies simplify their Human Capital Management. Hoa joins SPARC because she had experienced firsthand the impact of mentorship and wants to share her experience as a first generation college student. She hopes to inspire youth to pursue their dreams and make an impact on the community that shaped her today.

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Kevin Pang

Program Manager

Kevin Pang

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Get In Touch With SPARC!


Whether you’re looking for more information or have questions about our program, we’re here for you!

SPARC Initiative is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was launched to empower young professionals to become the catalyst for their personal growth and career success. SPARC Summit is a conference organized and ran by SPARC Initiative. The summit is about growth, leadership, and service designed for students from low socioeconomic background.