Isaiah holds a First Class Honours BSc degree from UCL ’20 where he read Anthropology. Prior to graduating, he spent a year as a Visiting Undergraduate at Harvard University ’18 graduating with a 3.9/4.0 GPA where, in addition to Anthropology, he also took classes in Psychology, Computer Science, and Engineering Design. As part of his Psychology class with the world-renowned Amy Cuddy, he won an essay competition about the power of empathy in business and was consequently flown out to Wisconsin on a private jet to meet one of America’s most acclaimed empathetic business leaders, CEO entrepreneur Bob Chapman and author of, ‘Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family’. Prior to all of this, however, Isaiah had a very challenging, unusual, and arduous journey to Harvard. He had to crowdfund £64,000 after his scholarship from an independent charity unexpectedly fell through several days before he received his offer from Harvard. To avoid giving up on his dream to study at Harvard, he launched the #StratfordToHarvard campaign and with the support of the Amos Bursary and over 800 people spanning 8 different countries, he surpassed his target in 4 weeks and set up a charity with the surplus funds.
After initially joining the Amos Bursary as an Associate between 2014-2015, Isaiah eventually joined the Amos Bursary’s 2015 Cohort as a UCL Amos Scholar. The following year, he led a group of 9 other Scholars to New York on our annual NYC Cultural Exchange programme. While in New York, Isaiah worked at NYU in the Education and Equity department and Columbia University as a Research Assistant. Although he grew up in a low-income, lone-parent family in one of London’s most impoverished areas, Isaiah strived to never allow his background to limit his potential. His mum had always exposed him to people who looked like him who pursued inspiring careers and when he was 14, he gained his first work experience at a barristers chambers. She helped him craft a letter and email to Tooks Barristers Chambers, the former chambers of Michael Mansfield and following this, he went on to pursue a range of different internships to explore his interests in banking, asset management, corporate law, criminal law, user experience design, and venture capital.
At UCL, Isaiah was a Student Advisor to the Institute of Global Prosperity Think Tank and worked very closely with his department and faculty in translating the value of Anthropology to students from under-represented backgrounds spanning race and class. He was also a Fellow at the London Zoo, co-managed and co-invested $10,000 in UCL entrepreneurs, represented J.P. Morgan as a Campus Ambassador, was a UCL Transition Mentor, and received the Lloyds Award for his volunteering efforts where he dedicated over 100 hours per year to supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through tutoring, mentoring, and extra-curricular activities.
At Harvard, Isaiah was a Fellow on the Politics of Race and Ethnicity program at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics where he discussed education policy with US political figures. He also founded a non-profit social impact venture, the Redefining Boundaries Fellowship, to reimagine what it means to belong in the technology industry and shine a light on the hidden black talent. In several weeks, he raised close to $20,000 from companies such as eBay, Airbnb, Facebook, and several tech investors and he recruited over 15 black fellows from the US and UK such as NASA engineers, Google software engineers, entrepreneurs, photojournalists, and product designers at companies such as NextDoor, Instagram, and Airbnb. Demographically, these students hailed from universities such as UCL, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Maryland and there was 40% women and 17% LGBTQ+. Following the successful launch of this venture in the US, Isaiah is set on launching it in the UK and building a strong community around surfacing the stories of young people who have overcome hardship and carved their own path in society.
Outside of academia
Outside of academia, Isaiah has a range of experience across different industries. In his most recent project, he used ethnographic research and user experience design principles to redesign the podcast listening experience on Spotify. His feature, ‘Audioshots’, allows users to capture a segment of a podcast, add notes, and share the segment with their friends. Isaiah consequently received the ‘Best UX Design’ award for his internship project. Isaiah is also an active extra-curricular enthusiast: he swam for his borough, captained his national-league basketball team for 8 consecutive years, was called to represent the England basketball squad, and competed internationally in North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York where he received several prestigious awards. He also sat on the board of a youth empowerment and entrepreneurship organisation, mentors several young people from resource-limited backgrounds with limitless potential, and is helping the Amos Bursary charity raise £1 million. We are halfway. He has been named a Rare Rising Star, one of Britain’s Future Leaders, and he received the Association of Jamaican Nationals Youth Inspiration Award. And in his spare time, Isaiah has taken several adventurous trips abroad: hitchhiking around Kaui, Hawaii, surfing in the Dominican Republic, and fishing in Jamaica. He would have spent the 2020 summer break volunteering in a mountainous village in Fiji; however, Isaiah is looking forward to revisiting this opportunity post-pandemic.
What’s he doing now
Since graduating, Isaiah took some time out to reflect on his journey. He has been reflecting on all of the people who helped him achieve his dreams and he is thinking through what his life-purpose could involve, the kind of person he wants to be, the kind of work he wants to pursue, and the sort of legacy he wants to leave on this world. Isaiah is deeply passionate about Anthropology and finding ways to apply his insights to society, so it is very apt that his first jobs out of university are in the anthropology space. He will be splitting his time between two jobs: the first is a continuation of the advisory role he has served at the London Interdisciplinary School, a new university launching in London next year aiming to completely redefine the education system. He has joined the London Interdisciplinary School as a Curriculum Advisor and Faculty Member. His second job is as an Anthropologist in Residence at a creative strategy consulting firm. This opportunity has been brewing for 2 years and was born out of his performance during his Airbnb internship in San Francisco. Isaiah also plans to return to university in the near future and pursue a PhD in Anthropology