The Obama Foundation announced that DeKevious Wilson will be part of its fifth cohort of Obama Scholars, made up of 30 emerging leaders from around the world who will study at either Columbia University or the University of Chicago for the 2022-2023 academic year.

DeKevious Wilson currently serves as Regional Manager for the South Side of Chicago’s Youth Guidance’s Becoming A Man (BAM), a program that encourages academic achievement and aims to reduce violence among boys and young men of color. Through his work, DeKevious has co-created space for young men to learn, internalize, practice their social cognitive skills, and expose them to life after high school, through both workforce and post-secondary development. DeKevious oversees planning, development, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of all program activities, staff and the outcomes of program participants.

In his home state of Arkansas, DeKevious is also a member of the American Legion Arkansas Boys State program, an immersive civics-based leadership program for rising high school seniors.

DeKevious is pursuing his second master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

In line with the Foundation’s vision to support the next generation of global leaders, the Obama Foundation Scholars program partners with the University of Chicago and Columbia to combine academic learnings with one-of-a-kind experiences led by the Obama Foundation. The program aims to empower emerging leaders with a proven commitment to service with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective and impactful upon their return home.

“The Obama Scholars program provides students with the unique opportunity to give and gain insight into the work that fellow young leaders are driving in their communities, while speaking to the intersectionality of their efforts through collaboration,” said Obama Foundation Chief Executive Officer Valerie Jarrett. “We are eager to welcome the new cohort of Scholars to the Foundation family-a network of changemakers tirelessly working for a more equitable future.”

The newly expanded program at the University of Chicago will welcome 18 Scholars from across campus who are current students in their final year of study in a master’s program at either the Booth School of Business, the Harris School of Public Policy, or the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. As a part of the co-curricular programming, these Scholars will experience and examine how engaging with partners on the South Side of Chicago can lead to policies that help solve pervasive problems in communities across the globe.

The Obama Foundation Scholars program is designed to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders with the tools they need to make their efforts more effective and impactful across their global communities. Since its inception in 2018, the program has served 125 young leaders from 55 countries. To learn more about the 2022-2023 cohort, please visit

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