"Becoming is better than being." -Carol Dweck


SPARC Summit is an all expenses paid conference designed to bring together 30 high school students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds for a transformative day of growth and giving.

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Our Catalyst


After graduating from UC Berkeley and working at Apple, Tai Tran and Jessie Salas started SPARC to mentor and give back to the very community that supported and nurtured their personal and professional growth. As first generation and low-income graduates, they experienced first hand the challenges that students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds face when entering college and the workforce, especially in STEM.


The Summit


Keynotes and workshops are thoughtfully designed to incorporate both theories and practice. Every session is led by professional facilitators and community leaders. Speakers include leaders from Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Forbes 30 Under 30 list makers.

The summit will introduce scholars to a career path in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) along with workshops in professional development (resume, personal branding, mentorship, interviews), growth mindset, design thinking, and soft skills.


Embrace

Sessions on resilience, diversity & inclusion, and accessibility. Covering topics on growth mindset, resilience, storytelling, women in STEM, first generation professionals, and navigating imposter syndrome.

Create

Sessions on professional and personal development. Covering topics on resume & portfolio, personal brand, interviews & internships, and setting goals through design thinking.

Grow

Sessions on cultivating relationships, mindfulness, and giving back. Covering topics on mentorship, Michelangelo phenomenon, giving back panel, mindfulness, gratitude, and group service activity.

Becoming A SPARC Scholar


SPARC Summit is an all expenses paid conference for SPARC Scholars. Scholars will have access to the conference’s entire lineup of keynotes, speakers, workshops, and sessions. After the conference, scholars continue to get support from SPARC and our network of mentors where they are encouraged to apply the stories and theories learned from the summit into practice.


Mentorship

Every SPARC Scholar is paired with a local mentor who will help them define and catalyze their goals. Mentors include leaders from local startups and tech companies like Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Forbes 30 Under 30 list makers

Coaching

Post-summit, scholars will have access to a tight knit community of mentors and professional coaches who can assist them in areas of professional development like preparing for an interview, developing a resume, and getting ready for college

Programming

Programming: Scholars will be invited to attend future events like workshops, service activities, and company visits. These post-summit events are designed to supplement content covered at the conference and deepen our scholars’ personal and professional growth

Applying



SPARC Summit will be hosted in Oakland, CA. Due to limited resources, we are only able to accept students from local Bay Area high schools at the moment. SPARC Summit is currently catered to students from disadvantaged and underrepresented background. Students from these communities are highly encouraged to apply: low-income, first generation, marginalized groups, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

Acceptance to the program will based on attitude over aptitude. For this reason, we did not ask for your current GPA or high school transcript. Please respond to all the questions in the application honestly and let your personality shine. We’re looking forward to reading your application and learning more about you. If you have any questions about the application, we’re here to help.

Apply Now


Our outreach team is hosting an Infosession Livestream on December 16. Join the livestream to learn more about the summit and application. RSVP

Supporting & Partnering With SPARC


Low-income students often lack access to participate in personal and professional development activities due to financial and transportation barriers. This is why SPARC is bringing our entire lineup of workshops and speakers directly to our students’ community to mitigate all financial and transportation hardships.

As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, SPARC Summit is completely run by volunteers and is an all expenses paid program for our low-income high school students. Your partnership and financial support will enable us to expand our programming and keep our summit accessible to our students for years to come. All donations are tax deductible. SPARC’s EIN: 83-1242219

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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

Tai is an experienced marketing and product leader who previously led content and social at beloved brands like Apple and Samsung. He is passionate about storytelling, teaching, and giving back. Tai is an alum of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and LinkedIn Top Voice lists. Today, Tai is followed by over 300,000 young professionals and executives. Growing up in a low-income and first generation family, he understands first hand the challenges that his community face. Tai started SPARC to bridge today’s widening social mobility gap that his community faces.

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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, 2017 and 2018 as one of the Top 100 Ethnic Minority leaders in the US and UK, Sonia is an experienced leader with international, payments and risk experience. Throughout her career, Sonia has championed a host of Diversity and Inclusion initiatives to counter potential biases and was also the co-chair for Visa Women’s Network in 2017-2018. She joined SPARC as she is passionate about elevating others and reminding them that they are worthy.

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Florence Kwok

Director of Events & Operations

Florence Kwok

Florence is an experienced senior marketer and program manager. She worked at Intuit, NetApp and App Annie, managing UX, research, design, creative and global brand marketing programs and initiatives. Florence is a UC Berkeley alum, advocator for diversity and women in the workplace and the founder and CEO of Airbook, a personal assistant for event organizers. Florence joined SPARC to give back to the ecosystem, and to inspire, and serve our youth community with the proper tools and resources they need to succeed.

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Kevin Pang

Program Manager, Finance

Kevin Pang

Kevin is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley and is now a financial analyst at Symantec. Kevin is passionate about FinTech and big data. As a low-income first-generation college student, Kevin also faced a variety of obstacles in high school. Fortunately, Kevin had received help to achieve growth in academic and social skills through mentorship from local non-profits. In a like manner, SPARC will focus on immersing students with role models such as current college students and professionals who share a similar background.

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Min Kim

Visual Designer

Min Kim

Min, an undergraduate studying computer science at UC Berkeley, is fascinated by design of all types. With design, she’s been able to combine her love for the visually appealing with her interests in technology by creating websites, which merges graphic design with web development, and working on a personal game, which involves both illustration and coding. She wishes to continue exploring the combination of aesthetics and computer science and help her local community by letting others know that they if they love both art and STEM, they do not have to choose between the two.

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Timothea Wang

Visual Designer

Timothea Wang

Timothea is a graphic designer passionate about raising awareness about accessibility and inequity. At the University of California, Davis, she is the founder of InPrint Magazine, a student-run publication dedicated to empowering the design community, pushing students to consider how their work impacts the world and their peers. One of Timothea's recent projects includes Enable, an advocacy campaign that provides accessibility training for nonprofits to reframe misconceptions about people with disabilities. Rather than being a bystander to the lack of resources available for younger generations, she desires to equip youth with the tools and inspiration they need to succeed.

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Amogh Kadhe

Chief of Staff, Community Manager

Amogh Kadhe

Amogh is a recent graduate from the University of Alberta, Canada. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Law and Economics. While at the UofA, Amogh was involved with various organizations including Toastmasters International (where he was elected as club President), 180 Degrees Consulting, and the University of Alberta Students Union. His most recent project has been working with a non-profit called Classroom Champions as a public speaking coach. As a strong believer in the importance of community, Amogh hopes to make an impact through SPARC by working with youth and inspiring them to pursue their passions.

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Leilanie Martinez

Program Manager, Communications

Leilanie Martinez

Leilanie is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, she’s a student leader, serving in roles as Resident Assistant. Leilanie joined SPARC to give back to her community and mentor students from low-income background.

Get In Touch With SPARC!


Whether you’re interested in becoming a partner, join our team, or have questions about our program, we’re here for you!

SPARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young professionals from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds through thoughtfully designed mentorship programs and conferences. SPARC Summit is a conference organized and run by SPARC Initiative. The summit is designed for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to become community leaders through growth and service. All donations are tax deductible. EIN: 83-1242219