As first generation college graduates*, we have experienced first-hand the challenges that come with attending college and choosing a career. We had many questions on day 1...
1) Which major should I select and how does that translate into a career?
2) I excelled academically in High School, how do I continue to do so in my college classes?
3) How do I finance tuition? Should I accept / apply for loans?
4) What is the purpose of an internship and should I apply for one?
5) How do I help my family while being focused on school?
6) How will I balance part-time work with classes?
7) Should I get involved in clubs?
8) I did not get accepted into my dream college, should I transfer?
9) What does a life after graduating look like?
10) What compensation should I expect in post-graduate roles?
...which our families and communities did not have the answers to.
Our lack of knowledge drove us to online research and seeking mentors and organizations, such as INROADS. These avenues allowed us to persevere and ultimately graduate from college and secure post-graduate careers.
We value what we have been able to accomplish with a college degree and are passionate about paying it forward. We want to help high potential students achieve college success and guide them in selecting a major and preliminary career path.
- Jefferson & Melanie Betancourt
*Neither parent has obtained a college degree
Who We Are
Jefferson Betancourt, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and raised in Orlando, Florida graduated from Colonial High School in 2007. He obtained a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Florida (UF), where he majored in Finance and minored in Real Estate. While attending UF, Jefferson was an active member of INROADS and Alpha Kappa Psi.
Since graduating college, Jefferson has progressed from being a Commercial Banking Credit Analyst to Vice President at major financial institutions such as BB&T, TD Bank, Bank of America, and Credit Suisse. While working in Commercial Banking, Jefferson graduated with a Master in Accounting Degree from the University of Connecticut in 2018. In 2019, he enrolled at Cornell SC Johnson College of Business to pursue his MBA and pivot into Investment Banking. Post business school, Jefferson was an Investment Banking Associate for Credit Suisse in the Financial Sponsors Group.
Outside of his academics and professional career, Jefferson has enjoyed spending his time volunteering for organizations, such as INROADS, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, and The Posse Foundation.
Currently, Jefferson is Vice President at SchoolWise Partners in Miami.
Melanie Tarabay-Betancourt moved to the United States in 2006 from Berlin, Germany, where she was born, and raised by her Lebanese father and German mother. After graduating from South Florida's Western High School in 2008, she received her Bachelor in Neuroscience & Behavior from Florida Atlantic University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Throughout college, Melanie was a scientific researcher and volunteered / shadowed in various healthcare settings to gain first-hand experience for her future medical career.
After completing her bachelor's degree, Melanie continued her education to pursue a Master in Medical Sciences at Nova Southeastern University, where she graduated with Honors in 2017. This degree allowed her to practice Dermatology as a Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) in South Florida before pursuing her MBA at Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
Currently, Melanie is a Senior Strategy Consultant at Accenture in Miami.