Jordan Kronen calls Washington home, as he moved there from a suburb outside Miami, Florida when he was 12. His father is a small business owner, recruiting for technology companies, and his mother a paralegal working in a law firm. But his main influence comes from his grandfather, “Poppie.” “He served in World War II in Germany and in the Pacific theater and even has a patent from his work as a member of a military commission that designed a suit to withstand both high and low temperatures for combat pilots and space travel,” explains Jordan Kronen, with beaming pride.
Born in the USA 27 years ago, Idia Irele grew up between Nigeria and the U.S. and moved to Boston when she was 10. Her family followed her father, Professor Francis Abiola Irele, a Nigerian academic who taught African and French literature at Harvard University. When asked about her studies, she states very factually that she was an undergraduate in Government and International Relations (Smith College), and has a Masters in International Education Policy (Harvard University).
“I was just lucky enough to be able to listen to myself when I had to make a decision”, he recalls. His choice was to study at the only public architectural school in Rabat, l’Ecole nationale d’architecture (ENA). Getting admitted there was like “winning the jackpot”, he remembers, since only 60 students are selected each year among 3,000 applications. “It was the right place, and it turned out to be great”.
In Brighton and London, she studied Film and TV, then creative writing, majoring in sociology and journalism. She realized during her first year at University that she could learn a lot out of experience, besides theorical knowledge in the classroom. « On the ground, I taught myself how to network », she says. At the time, she had two part-time jobs, working as a receptionist and at a gym. There, she discussed so much about styling with a fashion designer who came to exercise, that she got invited on a shoot.
Promoting equality and equity, « meaning that the people with less access to education, health and resources will achieve the same », soon became her raison d’être. After school, she was able to attend University. A « historical accident », as she calls it. It was still impossible for Black students coming from a poor background to study in the early 2000’s, because of a historical systemic racist and elitist selection process.
His passion led him straight to study medical neuroscience at the University of Sussex in Brighton, without going for the classic path of medicine studies. He is now a PhD candidate in Molecular Genetics at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad & Tobago.