Scholarship Recipients


2018 BAN Scholarship Recipients 


Taofik Sulaiman

I am a senior in Electrical & Computer Engineering minoring in the Hoeft Technology & Management program, born in Chicago Illinois and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Planning to go to pursue a masters degree at a top grad school for engineering, then working in technology industry then pursuing an MBA at a top school. Started Tash as part of my aspiration to become a serial entrepreneur in future. Very interested in the tech industry, entrepreneurship and innovation, research, mechatronics and advanced physics. I am passionate about advocating for minorities in STEM hence involvement in organizations that involve diversity in STEM like MLT, INROADS, NSBE, SHPE. Hobbies include photography, videography, dancing, soccer, learning French, travelling and working on tech. projects.


This scholarship will help engage in extra-curriculars that enhance my collegiate experience and better position myself for after graduation. It will allow me to attend conferences in line with my goals and engage with people that will expand my network and mind as your network determines your net worth. These trips have allowed me to meet people who have made the Forbes list, millionaires, entrepreneurs and founders, venture capitalists and key recruiters and representatives in the fields that I would like to work in.


Eriele Tellis

Eriele M. Tellis is from the south side of Chicago. She is studying Political Science with a minor in Portuguese. Her research focuses on xenophobia and Islamophobia and its effects on foreign policy. On campus she is the President of Women of Color, a proud member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated., and more. She has studied abroad in Italy and Brazil. In addition, she spent her summer in NYC as a participant of TRIALS, a pre-law program curated by Harvard Law School, NYU school of Law, and the Advantage Testing foundation. After taking an exploitative hiatus, she will go on to law school.


Darrien Rose

My name is Darrien Rose, I am a senior from Danville, IL studying Community Health with concentrations in health planning and administration, as well as health education and promotion. Upon completion of my degree, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in public health nursing. During my tenure at Illinois, I have been involved with Intramural Sports, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and Student Alumni Ambassadors— where I currently serve as Vice President of Student Engagement. I have also held positions as a Resident Advisor, Undergraduate Research/Teaching Assistant, and Peer Advisor. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to gain professional experience as an intern for the Center for Disease Control, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and Promise Healthcare.


Alexis Simmons


Coltraine Zerai-Che

Coltrane Zerai-Che is a student in the College of Media at UIUC. She is studying Media and Cinema Studies while pursuing a double minor in Spanish and Informatics. Coltrane is a Resident Assistant at Presby Hall, a certified Les Mills BODYATTACK group fitness instructor, and she is a Statistics 100 Grader. Zerai-Che earned a position on the College of Media Dean's List her freshman and sophomore year and became a College of Media James Scholar. Coltrane is also the Physical and Mental Health Committee Chair of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society. Additionally, Coltrane founded “Fitspo,” a non-profit wellness initiative to target the disproportional obesity epidemic amongst African American women. Fitspo provides free videos of at-home exercises and nutritional information for people who do not have access to expensive fitness facilities.

The Black Alumni Network Scholarship has made a tremendous impact on Coltrane’s collegiate studies. She will be taking a gap year after she graduates from the UIUC and she plans on either working at a technology company in Los Angeles, working with the Peace Corps, or teaching English in a Spanish-speaking country. This scholarship has made a difference in the diverse array of opportunities that she has once she completes her undergraduate term at UIUC. Coltrane thanks the Black Alumni Network for this generous scholarship and is honored to represent Black undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Michael Mitchell

My name is Michael Mitchell and I am honored and excited to have received a scholarship from the Black Alumni Network (BAN). I am a sophomore in the Gies College of Business Honors Program planning to major in Supply Chain Management and Marketing. I am from DeKalb, IL and I am fortunate to come from an amazing family where my parents taught my siblings and me the values of hard work, personal responsibility, academic excellence, and to treat others how you want to be treated. As a recipient of a BAN Scholarship, I would like to say thank you, not just from me, but also on behalf of my parents who are supporting two sons at Illinois. This scholarship will lessen our financial burden and will also afford me the opportunity to continue to dedicate myself more directly to academics, leadership opportunities, and impactful social activities that are in tune with my values.

I ended my freshman year at Illinois with a cumulative GPA of 3.86; I was accepted into the Campus Honors Program; I became a member of Phi Gamma Nu Professional Business Fraternity; and I became a Senior Consultant in Illinois Business Consulting which is the largest professionally managed, student-run consulting organization in the nation. Also, I participated in several philanthropy events on and off campus. This past summer I was accepted into the prestigious Fulbright United Kingdom Summer Institute. I studied in London at the University of Westminster and shared experiences with people from all over the world. As one of only 60 students in the United States to be accepted into this program, I was incredibly humbled and honored to represent Illinois and the Gies College of Business. This was the greatest experience I have had at Illinois thus far.

As a benefactor of the BAN Scholarship, I am truly grateful and inspired by your generosity. I know I am not expected to pay you back, but one day I will pay it forward by donating to the Black Alumni Network in order to support students like me. Thank you again for your wonderful example, philanthropy, and commitment to Illinois and its black students.



2014 Recipients 

  • David Adeleye
  • Jeff Badu                       
  • Mariah Matthews          
  • Camille Range                
  • Jarrett Robinson              
  • Jasmine Washington

2013 Recipients

  • Garrick Bradley
  • Joy T. Jones
  • Kimberly Jones, Jr.
  • Brandon Saunders
  • Timothy Thomas III