We were honored to have Valarie King-Bailey, Pullman Scholar Alumna, ’82, and CEO of OnShore Technology Group, as our keynote speaker for the 2nd Annual Pullman Scholar Symposium.

Not only was King-Bailey relatable, but she was inspirational. She shared her journey as a young Pullman Scholar from the Stateway Garden Projects to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to successful CEO of her own technology company.

Watch the video below to hear messages like Dare to be different, Do something you love, Compete with yourself, and more.

Pam Bloomquist recently experienced a moment of Pullman Scholar serendipity. She is assistant dean of law admissions and financial assistance at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and she and a longtime co-worker were riding the elevator together when Bloomquist happened to mention that she is a Pullman Scholar (’74). Her colleague’s eyes immediately widened and she exclaimed, “I’m a Pullman Scholar, too!” The two colleagues immediately began discussing how they could locate and interact with their fellow Pullman Scholars.

Bloomquist already had a history of supporting the Pullman Scholars who came after her. A long-time donor to the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation, she began serving on the Scholar Selection Committee in 2012. She says of this experience, “Pullman Scholars are not only selected on the basis of academic ability and financial need. They are chosen for their character traits as well. It’s a privilege to able to meet so many deserving young people.” (more…)

Billy Leung, Pullman Scholar, University of Michigan, ’16

In my senior year of high school, I remember being constantly stressed trying to figure out how I was going to afford a college education. Thankfully, my high school counselor told me about the Pullman Foundation. With the Pullman Foundation’s generosity and support, I’m glad to say that I have just completed my junior year at the University of Michigan.

The support I’ve received from the Pullman Foundation has been more than just financial assistance; the Pullman Foundation has also provided the resources to help me succeed in and outside the classroom, manage my time effectively, and reach my career aspirations. In addition to using the many resources on the Pullman Foundation’s website, e-mails, LinkedIn blogs, and Facebook page, I had the opportunity to attend the Pullman Scholar Symposium, where I got to meet other Pullman Scholars and Pullman Alumni.

At the symposium, I attended a personal finance crash course, where I learned the intricacies of creating a personal budget, saving for retirement, and building credit. There was also an etiquette seminar, where I was able to learn proper networking and eating etiquette. This came in handy as I had to attend networking events and dinners during my internship search this past fall. Finally, I was able to listen to a panel of four Pullman Alumni speak about their experiences from college to their current careers. After listening to the panel, I was surprised (and relieved!) to learn that life really has a strange way of working out. Some of the alumni ended up in careers related to their college majors while other alumni ultimately ended up in positions completely unrelated to their college majors. The Pullman Alumni taught me that it’s okay to not have the future completely planned out. (more…)

By Robin Redmond, Executive Director.

The last few months have been busy and exciting for the Foundation. With roughly 550 high school seniors applying this year to become Pullman Scholars, we have spent many hours reading, sorting, scheduling and reviewing applications. Soon, a new class of Pullman Scholars will be welcomed into the vibrant community of current scholars and alumni who are making a difference in the world and accomplishing great things.

When I reflect on the start of my career, I could easily be characterized as ambitious, enthusiastic and incredibly green. I was always willing to work hard and put in extra effort (“Sure, I’ll stay and stuff those envelopes. No worries, I can stack those chairs!”). This helped me land some choice positions and quickly climb in my field.

Despite my early accomplishments, my professional past includes more than a few missteps. For example, during one phone interview I decided to try and quietly eat my breakfast. (Hey, it was early!) The interviewer asked, “Are you eating?” Two second pause, followed by a swallow…“I’m sorry,” I timidly replied, “I was just finishing up a bowl of cereal.” Another time, I asked if wearing jeans to work was acceptable. Yes, jeans were acceptable attire, but no, not the holey pair I wore to work a few days later. (more…)

Daniel Jackson is dedicated to supporting his community and contributing to a brighter future. While attending Jones College Prep, he took many honors courses, served in Student Government and participated in many extracurricular activities. Yet Daniel still made it a priority to volunteer regularly at Red Shield Head Start in his home neighborhood of Englewood. He explained in an essay, “I want to teach the children in my neighborhood. It is my turn to be part of the village that supports other children like me in the future.”

As Daniel began the college application process, he discovered the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation while searching for scholarships on the Internet. (Fewer than 20 percent of Pullman Scholars chosen in 2014 learned about the Foundation solely through their own research.) In his Pullman Scholar application essay, Daniel wrote, “My long-term goal is to give children equity in their education…In my neighborhood, students often feel as if their opinion does not count. However, I want them to know that I will hear their thoughts and address them when appropriate. I love to share with them that they have to be persistent when trying to pursue their dreams.” (more…)

In 2014, current Pullman Scholars and Alumni gathered at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center to learn, network and celebrate their accomplishments. On May 21, 2015, the 2nd Annual Pullman Scholar Symposium will take place–again at the Gleacher Center–and we hope that an even larger group of Pullman Alumni can join us!

Watch the video below for some highlights.



My name is Xiomara Contreras and I am a sophomore studying Communication Studies and Latina/o Studies at Northwestern University. I found out about the Pullman Scholarship through my uncle’s fiancé, who was a recipient of the scholarship about fifteen years ago. Last year, I had the opportunity to attend the Pullman Scholar Symposium at the beautiful Gleacher Center overlooking the Chicago River. During lunch, I met current and incoming scholars. It was exciting to learn about other scholars’ experiences, challenges, interests, academics, and involvement in college. I enjoyed talking to the incoming students because they had a lot questions about the college transition and simple things like, “What should I bring to my dorm?” I was able to give them advice, but I also got to learn from my other peers and how they overcame obstacles in school.

At the symposium, I learned proper eating etiquette, in case I ever have a dinner with a potential employer, and I also learned about money management after college. I have a better understanding about life after college, including managing credit cards, college debt, getting an apartment, and budgeting smartly. I especially appreciated the alumni panel. There were four alumni who explained their journeys from college to careers. Many expressed that they were undecided or learned that their major did not matter to the fields they wanted to enter. There was a chemistry major who became a teacher and an art history major who started a beauty salon business and was a gallery curator. I was happy to learn that my major would not determine the rest of my life. As someone who is undecided about what career to pursue, I was excited to meet alumni who made their majors flexible. They pursued what they enjoyed learning in college, but also chose careers that made them happy. (more…)