Want to help pave the path to higher education for a kid?
It’s not a given for everyone.

Graduation Generation knows the exponential power of access to education for our young community members. For some, it’s an uphill climb. We engage students more fully, involve families more regularly, and empower teachers more effectively so kids have every opportunity. We mobilize community stakeholders and deploy Emory students, staff, and faculty volunteers with one ultimate goal: increasing graduation rates and decreasing dropout rates for Atlanta public elementary, middle, and high school students.



Graduation Generation enriches Atlanta’s K-12 community by driving its charter through a variety of programs. See how you might like to get involved! You can find more information at www.emorygradgen.com.

Curriculum Boost provides academic support across the curriculum for select middle and high school teachers in Atlanta, including creating/supplementing lessons and establishing enrichment opportunities.

S.E.E.D. is a mentoring program for 9th-12th grade students at Maynard Jackson High School. Last year, mentors, Emory undergraduate and graduate students, hosted 5 visits for 30-40 MJHS students on Emory’s campus called A Day at Emory. The mentors created academic and social activities for the students, such as stress management techniques, exposure to careers in science and business, campus exposure, etc. The current president of the graduate student arm of SEED is Alisina Bazrafshan, the current president of the undergraduate student arm is Touré Jones

One of our most consistent and impactful programs comes in the form of weekly college entry exam preparations. The ACT/SAT Preparatory Program is designed to support and enrich the academic and curricular needs of Maynard Jackson High School. This SAT/ACT Preparatory Program met in-person each Wednesday pre-COVID; they anticipate to meet virtually Tuesdays and Thursdays from ~4-5 PM for the rest of this semester. Graduation Generation provides study guides, test preparation, and academic enrichment to help MJHS students tackle the SAT/ACT with confidence.

STEAM club is a monthly after school program conducted at Barack and Michelle Obama (BaMO) Academy and Toomer Elementary schools. A team of Emory undergraduates, graduate students, and community members implement STEAM lessons and engaging hands-on activities for 3rd-5th graders. Emory undergraduate and graduate students gain experience working with K-12 students and teachers and the K-12 students receive innovative and interesting exposure to STEAM fields. This is the 8th year of this collaboration.

Pre-COVID, Model UN met Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 PM for 10-12 weeks each semester. Emory interns instruct the high school students in Model UN methodologies, such as research, public speaking and critical thinking skills. The students participate in one conference per semester. This program is on hold due to COVID.

Paving Our Futures is a mentoring program led by Emory students at Cross Keys High School and Maynard Jackson High School designed to assist high school students with the college application process, including searching for scholarships and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

SOAR is an organization led by Emory senior, Maria Ramos (Biology major). For the 2019-20 academic year, the SOAR team matched three high school students with three professors at Emory. This program is being placed on hold due to COVID.
Emory Reads is a student run organization in Emory College of Arts and Sciences. This organization works with local Atlanta and Dekalb County public schools to provide tutoring to K-8th grade students in the area. All Emory students may apply as volunteers or work-study students. For this semester they have already initiated the hiring process for the tutors but are awaiting background checks and other paperwork to be able to begin group and one-on-one virtual tutoring. Emory Reads tutors pledge to be a consistent resource for each of the schools they work with as well as empower Atlanta youth to excel in their education no matter the circumstances.
Black is Gold University is the college branch of the organization. Their chapters consist of Black collegiate women that are dedicated to empowering Black women across their college campuses, serving local communities, mentoring young women in high school, and building sisterhood.

Sign Up

How To Sign Up

With different projects happening every week around Atlanta, there are many ways to get involved.

All of them require different commitments from volunteers. Most of our undergraduate students have elected to continue as interns for seven semesters or more they find working with GradGen so rewarding.

“The ideas of college and the college application process are two very daunting ideas and students who come from low-income communities, who are often first-generation, may feel distant from the idea and even be intimidated by it. This should not be the case because the students we work with are incredibly talented.” –Emory undergrad volunteer 

  1. Reach out to us to see which program you’re right for.
  2. See what works in your schedule.
  3. Sign up and get any training you need to start.

Graduation Generation Events



Like all community outreach efforts, Graduation Generation relies on the efforts from many partners around town to support our efforts including TreesAtlanta and STEAMSport as well as other University programs and departments. It takes a village. Here are the schools we currently serve: 

Atlanta Public Schools

Dekalb County School District


  • 5,236 Atlanta K-12 students served
  • 340 K-12 staff partners
  • 930 volunteer Emory students, staff, faculty, and alumni

Graduation Generation has a history of meeting the community during its hardest times. We were founded in 2010 during the great recession as an effort to invest in improving schools in local neighborhoods. Mr. Rick Rieder - a philanthropist, businessman, Emory alumnus/trustee, Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc., and member of the Communities in Schools National Leadership Council - donated $1 million to jumpstart the GradGen initiative.

Want to learn more? Read these:

GradGen Newsletter 2017-18 (PDF file)

GradGen Report 2018-19

Leaders, Staff, Student Workers

James Roland

Sr. Director, Civic and Community Engagement

Hallie Dowling-Huppert

Assistant Director, Civic and Community Engagement


Maria Ramos, Grad Gen Intern

Roxana Castillo, Grad Gen Intern

Galia Pino, Grad Gen Intern