At a young age, Dante Alvarado-Leon quickly recognized the disparities that exist between minorities and other groups and since then he has devoted himself to helping students maximize their potential. Described by his friends as “humble, driven, and passionate about providing opportunities to the next generation of leaders,” Dante has implemented a variety of programs that serve as a guiding light to help them complete their college education and move on to professional success, particularly within the STEM fields.
Early on in high school, Dante realized that the challenges many students face today go far beyond a lack of access to opportunities. Many students are also plagued by economic instability and cultural and linguistic barriers that often make it difficult for their parents to offer the guidance or mentorship needed to succeed at school. Even his own sister suffered setbacks as she became a victim of bullying, an issue that required Dante’s intervention, and that would eventually become the catalyst to helping him realize his purpose as a mentor for disadvantaged college students throughout the country.
As a freshman at the University of California Berkeley he began by volunteering more than 100 hours at the Scholarship Resource Center, guiding classmates through the financial aid process and other issues. During his first year, Dante also dedicated his time as an Innovation Intern for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Leaders on Fast Track (LOFT) Institute helping to coordinate and lead the LOFT Coder Summit, a conference that brings together founders, entrepreneurs, developers in the tech field with a diverse group of minority computer science students at Stanford University. Since then, the conference has been replicated in 4 major cities including Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Austin’s SXSW interactive conference, hosting more than 3,000 students.
At the age of 19, Dante’s vision to create social impact lead him to launch his first venture, a tech platform to connect companies with nonprofits. Dante’s efforts have been recognized as he was selected to be an entrepreneur in residence for Manos Accelerator, and a finalist for the Hult Prize 2015 Social Enterprise Challenge. He also had the opportunity to travel to India last year, to present an EdTech platform as part of Prime Minister Modi’s Smart Cities Project in Hyderabad and Vizag with 30 other Berkeley Scholars. He is a promising entrepreneur who goes above and beyond as a student to contribute his ideas in and outside the classroom.
Dante attributes his personal success to the impact his mentors have had on his own professional and personal development and wanted to extend this experience to other college students who are seeking guidance, which led to the creation of his second start up - Mentor Room. Through this program, he has connected over 300 first-generation college students with tech professionals at Google for personalized mentorship in the past year alone.
Among his recognitions Dante has been awarded scholarships through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, he was recognized by the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation as the Bay Area Inspire Awards Winner, and received the Dean’s Startup Seed Fund from Berkeley. He also interned at Facebook in 2014 for Business and returned in 2015 as a Video Product Specialist intern.
This summer Dante will be graduating with a Bachelors in Business Administration and an Entrepreneur in Tech certificate from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. As his collegiate career comes to an end, Dante’s profound impact on the lives of almost 5,000 students nationwide will always be remembered. As a testament to accomplishing the unthinkable, he continues to use his experiences and platforms to help inspire those around him.