Where are they now? Scholars provide update on success after Tiger Jam
For 22 years, guests from across the country have joined Tiger Woods at Tiger Jam in Las Vegas for this one-of-its-kind charity event that entertains to make an impact. Students from TGR Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program have attended, inspiring guests by sharing their stories of resilience in the face of adversity and drive to achieve their dreams. A consistent theme to their message each year is how the experience as an Earl Woods Scholar left an indelible imprint on their path to success.
Past featured student speakers share an update on their success story and where their paths have taken them.
EVAN CHANG – TIGER JAM 2016
Although Evan was raised in a low income, single parent home, he didn’t allow his desire to achieve greatness be limited by his circumstances. Instead, he used them as motivation to reach his dreams of becoming a doctor. While navigating life as a first-generation college student, mentorship through the Earl Woods Scholar Program helped him master time management and prioritize academics, which led him to graduate with honors and gain acceptance into five medical schools. He described his mentor, Mike McKee as “the rock that anchored him throughout college” and the most impactful benefit of the program.
Since speaking at Tiger Jam, Evan graduated from medical school at NYU, completed his residency training at UCLA and is currently a board-certified anesthesiologist. He recently got married, became a first-time homeowner and adopted two rescue dogs with his wife.
ADRIAN ARIAS – TIGER JAM 2017
During his speech at Tiger Jam in 2017, Adrian shared that the resources provided by TGR Foundation including career workshops, resume-building, networking and mock interviews gave him skills needed to make his childhood dreams of becoming an attorney a realistic goal. The day after his speech, those goals became a reality as Adrian graduated with his Juris Doctorate from Ohio Northern University.
Inspired by his parents, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic, Adrian currently resides in Southern California where he practices law as an associate attorney. Paying his experiences forward, he’s most proud of a partnership with a local nonprofit to develop a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides funding for ten applicants annually.
DESIREE SIM – TIGER JAM 2018
From a study abroad trip in Sweden to the stage at the MGM Grand in 2018, Desiree Sim awed the crowd with her strength and resilience. As a valedictorian of her high school senior class, her road through high school was not smooth and a path to college not guaranteed. With support from her counselors and TGR Foundation, she handled personal challenges and unstable housing to receive a full-ride scholarship to Skidmore College where she studied social work and graduated with honors in 2019.
Before reaching the first year of her career, the pandemic created another opportunity to use her strength and resilience. She has excelled in her role at the Urban Resource Institute and was recently promoted. Inspired by her experience and skills, she plans to continue her education to earn a master’s degree in social work and later start a nonprofit to share the support she’s benefited from with others.
CHIAMAKA “CHIA” OBILO – TIGER JAM 2019
Growing up as the child of a social worker, Chia witnessed the challenges of individuals experiencing homelessness at an early age and developed a passion for helping others through medicine. In 2019, she joined Tiger and Chris Harrison on stage for a panel to discuss the impact of the foundation’s programs. Chia recently graduated from Harvard and has been accepted into several medical schools including Stanford and UC San Francisco. She will begin medical school in the fall of 2022.
While all scholars benefit from the same components of the Earl Woods Scholar Program, their experience is created by individualized support and strong relationships designed to meet the needs of each scholar on their personal path to success. When asked to describe their experience with TGR Foundation in one word, they shared “with gratitude,” “it was inspiring” and “life changing.”
You too can be a part of the ultimate Vegas Experience and the legacy of supporting students on their path to success through TGR Foundation. Join the Tiger Jam waitlist for the 2023 event, donate to TGR Foundation or become a mentor to an Earl Woods Scholar today.