What do a competitive figure skater from Las Vegas, a debate club vice president from Detroit, a podcast producer from New Jersey, a youth leader from Kansas, and a budding entrepreneur from California have in common? They are all members of Babson College’s Class of 2025—an inspiring, diverse group of more than 600 students from 35 states and representing 49 citizenships.
We caught up with five first-year students as they prepare to arrive on campus tomorrow. Each is excited to begin their college experience and make their mark on the Babson community and beyond.
Lily Ichise graduated as valedictorian from Odyssey Charter School in Las Vegas, and is coming to Babson as a Presidential Scholar. Outside school, she is a competitive figure skater.
What does it mean to you to be a Presidential Scholar?
“I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be a Presidential Scholar. To me, Babson was like a bridge that connected the scattered dots in my life together during a time when I was the most lost. Applying to college was the first time I have ever lost belief in myself and my direction as I felt conflicted in deciding what the next steps were as a competitive figure skater and as a young adult with a passion for entrepreneurship. When I found Babson, everything naturally came together and the chance to be a Presidential Scholar was like the cherry on top. I am honored and excited to show my best at Babson.”
Why did you want to attend Babson?
“I believe Babson can bring out the best in me like no other school. I want to be an entrepreneur who promotes social good and brings happiness to people through business. However, just as a house, no matter how extravagant, can’t stand without a proper foundation, I don’t have the proper footing to reach for my dreams. Babson is the place where I can lay the groundwork and begin to expand my possibilities together with others who share the same vision and passion as I do. There is nothing more that I can ask for in a school. This is the place for me!”
Dominic Henderson was vice president of his high school debate club in Detroit, and is CEO of his own wholesale company. He credits the support of his family, particularly his grandfather, in his ability to overcome obstacles and develop the leadership skills that have led him to Babson.
How has overcoming challenges shaped you into the person you are today as a Diversity Leadership Scholar?
“I have worked extremely hard to overcome naysayers throughout my life, and as a result, I am constantly seeking out other doors and opportunities when specific options close on me. Being a Diversity Leadership Scholar means being present in both diverse and non-diverse spaces on campus. My aim is to then connect people in both kinds of spaces for collaboration and transform those non-diverse spaces.”
What are some of your goals for your first year at Babson?
“I really want to connect with my professors in my first year, in and outside the classroom. Whether academically or as mentors, I know I have a lot to learn from my professors, holistically.”
A Women’s Leadership Scholar from Ridgewood, New Jersey, Jade Dobson was the president of a women’s empowerment group at her high school. She also is a media producer for the podcast ARTBeat, as well as an athlete and a musician.
Where does your passion for women empowerment stem from?
“I was raised in a family in which all of my female figures, including my mother, were educators. In a field that is often stigmatized for being a woman-dominated job, one of the core principles the female figures in my family taught me is to always strive for more than my dreams and never let my identity as a woman box me into what society expects me to be.
“Since my childhood, I have always felt personally empowered as a woman by those around me, and, in return, assumed a responsibility to empower any other women who may feel stagnated in their dreams because of their gender identity.”
“One of the reasons I was so drawn to join the Babson community is because of its diversity and celebration of differences in its student body and staff.”
Jade Dobson '25
What are you hoping to accomplish this year?
“This year, I would like more than anything else to establish a network of connections from all different origins, ages, backgrounds, and more. One of the reasons I was so drawn to join the Babson community is because of its diversity and celebration of differences in its student body and staff. I firmly believe that I cannot be fulfilled as a student if I do not have the connections and network of people to back what is on paper. I am extremely excited to take advantage of Babson’s dynamic campus and meet new people.”
Ian Hammer has been a committed member of BBYO, a Jewish teen leadership organization, and a leader in the Jewish community at his high school in Overland Park, Kansas. He comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and hopes to continue the family tradition.
What prompted you to get involved with BBYO?
“I love to have fun, and BBYO gave me the chance to do just that. Whether it was cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs, chowing down on a basket of chicken wings, or meeting people from around the world, I knew that with each experience in BBYO, I was going to have a good time. Beyond the great times, BBYO offered me the chance to establish and develop leadership skills and to foster a sense of teamwork, belonging and meaning with my peers.”
What are you most excited about being a member of the Babson community?
“I’m excited to meet people different from myself. I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world, which, in turn, has resulted in a personal love of exploring different cultures, beliefs, and places. So, whether it’s sampling new foods, exploring Boston, or just hanging out, count me in!”
A Women’s Leadership Scholar from Fremont, California, Anika Kumar is the founder of Fudge It!, an AI platform for teens to connect in meaningful conversation.
What inspired you to establish your business?
“Finding great friendships or long-lasting relationships is rare. People mingle and talk to each other but don’t form genuine connections. In my high school years, I realized just how great of an issue this is. The lack of deep connections among those around us, especially with quarantine and social-distancing measures in place last year, pushed me and my team to create a solution for this ever-growing problem. We aimed to enable individuals to meet new people, cultivate genuine friendships, and engage in meaningful and memorable conversations. That is why we created Fudge It!, a platform that pairs people to engage in deep conversation, no strings attached. With on-site automated scheduling, machine learning smart matching, and live question prompters, our company provides an easily accessible platform to bridge connections.”
What does it mean to you to be a Women’s Leadership Scholar?
“Being a Women’s Leadership Scholar is a great opportunity for me to work with and learn from other women entrepreneurs and make an impact on the larger ecosystem. Being a woman has its own set of challenges, including the social and financial struggles we face when starting a business. CWEL (Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership) is known for their unwavering dedication to the growth of female leaders, and I can’t wait to be a part of that journey!”
We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding students to Babson College and look forward to sharing more stories about the resilient, accomplished Class of 2025.
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