Marianna Tu '01 supports first-generation college students through one-to-one mentoring as they navigate college

As the CEO of New York-based America Needs You, known by its acronym ANY, Marianna Tu '01 helps provide ambitious first-generation college students from low-income households with support as they navigate college and career opportunities. Mentoring is the foundation of ANY: each college student, or "Fellow," as ANY calls them, is paired with a mentor, and both are supported by workshops, coaching and resources. “Navigating college and launching a career as a first-generation student can be so complex, so having that one go-to person can be incredibly impactful.” Mentors and Fellows meet weekly, and attend Saturday workshops as a pair (with "meet" and "attend" having taken a virtual turn this past year).
Marianna points out that the national average graduation rate for first-generation college students six years after enrollment is 11 percent, but for ANY Fellows – who currently number 2,000 at a time – it is nearly 90 percent. And the career success of ANY alumni is similarly impressive: within six months of completing college, nearly 90 percent have landed a full-time job or are in graduate school.

With ANY now in its 11th year of operation, many current mentors are themselves alumni of the program, returning to "pay it forward." Diversity in both mentee and mentor groups is rare in this field, and a point of pride for Marianna.
Marianna began volunteering at ANY in 2011; one year later, she joined ANY’s staff, rising to CEO after serving as Chief Program Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Marianna has launched ANY chapters in New Jersey, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The pandemic has underscored the value of ANY's one-on-one support model, says Marianna, noting that the past year saw widening inequality in higher education. Numerous Fellows needed extra help dealing with their colleges' sudden changes in plans. Some have needed emergency grants. "Yet I've seen such optimism, creativity and flexibility over the past year.” She adds, "Widening the path to economic mobility for young people who don't come from privilege has never been more important. It's tremendously gratifying to show the world how do-able this is."

We are proud of Marianna's leadership in this crucial work! #changemaker
617.520.5260      178 Coolidge Hill  Cambridge MA 02138           Association of Independent Schools in New England