“It's an honor and a privilege to do this work and more than I hoped it could be. I am extremely grateful to Education Pioneers for supporting me from the beginning.”

A first-generation college student who grew up in inner-city Boston, Alexandra Bernadotte struggled as a Dartmouth undergrad. Her experience drove her to ensure that other students didn't experience the lack of a support system that she did.

With a vision to start a company that would dramatically increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented students who graduate from college, Alex worked in the private sector and then moved on to an education nonprofit that focused on college access and success. To gain additional education knowledge and business insight, Alex returned to graduate school and pursued an Education Pioneers Fellowship.

“An Education Pioneers Fellowship, both the experience and the connections, was invaluable as I launched my business,” she says.

Expertise 
  • Academics
Impact 
As a Fellow, Alex leveraged her private sector experience and education knowledge to support NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm. The Fellowship’s professional development workshops were unexpectedly transformative.
 
“I underestimated the Fellowship's significant value because I had an education background,” she says. “The humbling part was how much I didn’t know and how much I learned from my cohort. There are so many ways to improve outcomes for kids, and we were all trying to find solutions.” 
 
Alex’s EP experience helped make her vision a reality as she launched Beyond 12, a nonprofit that bridges K-12 and higher education by helping high schools and colleges provide students with the support they need to succeed in college.
 
“It's an honor and a privilege to do this work and more than I hoped it could be,” Alex says of her work. “I am extremely grateful to Education Pioneers for supporting me from the beginning.”
 
Today, Beyond 12 works with over 120 high schools, college access organizations, and colleges; tracks the postsecondary progress of 40,000+ students; and coaches 2,000 college students. In 2014, Fast Company named Beyond 12 one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Education.”