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Relativity Partners with Rise Academy at Chicago State University

Relativians become mentors for Rise Scholars in Chicago; Relativity develops programming for career preparation in technology fields

Relativity, a global legal and compliance technology company, today announced that it has forged a new partnership with Rise Academy, Chicago State University’s (CSU) first-year student success program. Through this partnership, four Relativity employees will become mentors for eight Rise Scholars. These mentors have experience in engineering, cybersecurity and business, and will draw on their own experiences to help guide and advise the students on their personal college and career journeys.

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“As a talent-first organization, it is imperative that we continue to think critically about how we can attract, develop and retain talent, and provide the right resources to those in our community who are working toward their college degrees and launching their careers,” said Mike Gamson, Chief Executive Officer at Relativity. “Relativity recognizes the importance of strong talent development and the impact of connecting that talent to key career opportunities. I’m thrilled that we are partnering with the Rise Academy program at CSU so we can help these incredible scholars prepare for tomorrow’s job market and set them up for success.”

“As an alum of Chicago State University, I know firsthand the importance of these partnerships,” said Lazarus Goosby, CSU Alumnus ’08 and President of the CSU Alumni Council Advisory Board. “We have an obligation as a community to lift up our students and Relativity has stepped up to do just that not only monetarily, but more importantly through mentorship, resource sharing and providing Rise Scholars with real-world experiences.”

CSU has long held an agenda grounded in equity, prioritizing increasing Black and Latinx communities’ access to college, and it recognizes that for far too many students, a range of obstacles prevent them from enrolling in or completing college. Rise Academy offers a tuition-free scholarship for all eligible incoming freshman scholars and is a year-long program that provides intensive academic support such as: embedded tutoring, intensive advising, individualized support on students’ academic and career pathway, and intentional efforts to build community between students and faculty.

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Recent events like COVID-19 have made it more difficult for some students and families to continue their studies. As a result, CSU felt the need to do more. Hence the launch of Rise Academy, an initiative to drive measurable and sustainable results to close the Black and Latinx education and wealth gap in Chicago and the State of Illinois. In addition to a tuition-free scholarship, it offers eligible incoming freshmen the tools they will need to succeed in their first year of college, including a strong community of classmates, professors, and advisors.

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Chicago State University is Illinois’s only 4-year Predominantly Black Institution, as designated by the Department of Education, and 78 percent of our student population is Black or Latinx and as a university we have rallied together to support these students, many of whom are still suffering the devastating effects of COVID-19,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, President at CSU, “Our partnership with Relativity is a tangible demonstration of CSU’s unwavering commitment to our students and faculty as we work with  intention to strengthen the university’s infrastructure.”

In addition to the mentors’ hands-on participation through this partnership, Relativity Chief Technology Officer Keith Carlson will be joining CSU’s Computer Science Program’s External Advisory Committee to advise on curricula to ensure CSU is offering industry-aligned, cutting-edge education. Relativity has also donated $50,000 in scholarships to seven of Rise Academy’s first-year students at CSU and this will help not only cover their tuition but include a personal laptop, textbooks and the campus healthcare plan.

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