ABOUT US

Program Overview

To address the prevalent opportunity and racial wealth gaps in our community, the Thunder Fellows Program – developed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Creative Arts Agency (CAA) – aims to unlock new opportunities in sports, entertainment, and technology for Black high school and college students in the Tulsa area.

Located in the historic Greenwood District, Thunder Fellows will apply data & analytics curriculum uniquely tailored to industries’ standards to gain proficiency in essential skillsets and hands-on experiences highly sought after by recruiters and talent acquisition teams. The 30-week program will also leverage a strategic pipeline of local & national corporations to provide exclusive access to mentors, professional coaching, and meaningful employment opportunities.



High-level student outcomes include:


Knowledge

Gaining deep understanding of high demand technical job functions and life skills

Intuition

Strengthening problem solving & critical thinking skills

Programming Proficiencies

Demonstrating competency with in-demand coding languages

Mentorship Opportunities

Receiving professional coaching from industry leaders nationwide

Networking

Growing personal and professional network


Tour

Photos of the Thunder Fellows facility, located in the historic Greenwood District in Tulsa, OK.

Key Dates

Our Team

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Cedric Ikpo

Executive Director, Thunder Fellows
P: 918.922.7091

Ikpo brings more than a decade of experience working in corporate social responsibility in professional sports. He comes to the Thunder Fellows Program from the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he worked on numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives, collaborating across NBA, WNBA and G League team markets.

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LaKena Whitley

Programs Manager, Thunder Fellows
P: 918.922.7092

Whitley has nearly two decades of teaching experience. She led KIPP Tulsa’s Computer Science and STEM programming, created KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory’s robotics program, and was a driving force behind their AP Computer Science and Computer Science Discovery programs.

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Ricky Graham

Operations Coordinator, Thunder Fellows
P: 918.922.7094

Graham spent several years facilitating peer-to-peer programming between college students and inner-city youth while at Sports Crusaders. He also led a team in assembling school buses for students across the country at Navistar International.

Meet the 2021 Thunder Fellows Cohort

2021 Thunder Fellows

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Chameka

Booker T Washington High School
Grade level: 10
What would be your dream job?
Owner of my own restaurant / cafe.
What is your favorite book or movie?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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Quincy

Crossover Preparatory Academy
Grade level: 9
Who is your hero?
My mom.
Who or what motivates you?
Failure motivates me to be better.

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Damarion

East Central High School
Grade level: 10
What would be your dream job?
A pro ball player or the CEO of a big game company.
What’s something you’re thankful for?
My life, being able to wake up everyday.

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Darion

East Central High School
Grade level: 10

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Nzinga

Will Rogers High School
Grade level: 9
What is your proudest moment?
When I became class president.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would either travel to Senegal or Le Mont-Saint-Michel.

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Daniel

Tulsa School of Arts
Grade level: 10

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Bryson

Central High School
Grade level: 10
What is your proudest moment?
Learning animation on my own.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Japan. A lot of the things I draw have been inspired by it.

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Preiyah

Booker T Washington High School
Grade level: 9
Why did you apply to Thunder Fellows?
To learn more about technology and to be a part of something that will help rebuild Greenwood.
What’s your favorite book or movie? The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

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Jace

Booker T Washington High School
Grade level: 9
What’s your proudest achomplishment?
Making the honor roll 3 years straight, making my school’s basketball team.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
P.E. or government/debate.

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Aniyah

Will Rogers High School
Grade level: 9

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Nyia

Muskogee High School
Grade level: 10
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Overcoming my injury.
If you could be a superhero, who would it be and why?
Supergirl because she’s smart and powerful.

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San'Ya

Union High School
Grade level: 9
Who is your hero? My brother.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Moving up in my hair business.

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Andre

KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School
Grade level: 9
Why did you apply to Thunder Fellow?
To learn more and get better at robotics.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
U.S. Government and P.E.

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Christopher

KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School
Grade level: 10
What are your hobbies?
I like to draw and play piano.
Do you volunteer? If so, where and why is that important to you?
I volunteer at John, 3:16 mission. It’s important to me because we help people.

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Harmonee

East Central High School
Grade level: 10
Who is your hero?
My dad.
If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?
Spiderman. He is a teenager and still saving lives, while in school.

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Malachi

KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School
Grade level: 9
What’s your proudest moment?
My proudest accomplishment is when I received the highest ACT score in my grade.
Why did you apply to Thunder Fellows?
I applied to help rebuild Black Wall Street.

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Rhyian

Booker T Washington High School
Grade level: 9
Who is your hero?
Kobe Bryant. What would be your dream job?
Orthopedic Surgeon.

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Marvenous

KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School
Grade level: 9
What would be your dream job?
Lawyer. What’s your favorite book or movie?
Sparkle, film by Salim Akil

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Keyon'Dre

Will Rogers High School
Grade level: 10
Who or what motivates you?
My great grandma and my mom. One of the 3 known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Getting double promoted (advanced two grades in school).

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Reece

Crossover Preparatory Academy
Grade level: 9
Who or what motivates you?
My late younger cousin. I live my life good because she couldn’t.
What’s your favorite book or movie?
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

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Luke

Edison Preparatory School
Grade level: 10
If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?
Spiderman because his powers seem like the most fun powers to have.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Graphic design.

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Jaya

Holland Hall
Grade level: 9
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Co-authoring a book.
What is your dream job?
Some type of doctor.

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Marvion

Crossover Preparatory Academy
Grade level: 9
What would be your dream job?
To be a real estate agent or a company owner.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Math.

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MaKaria

KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School
Grade level: 9
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Becoming the valedictorian.
What would be your dream job?
Becoming a doctor, actor, or a model.

PARTNERS

CAA
Google
Wilson
Post Oak Automotive
Oklahoma City Thunder

Enrollment

Application window open from August 2 – September 10, 2021

For the 2021-22 school year, the Thunder Fellows program is open to Black high school 9th and 10th graders on a space-available basis. In order to be considered for the program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Student must fill out Thunder Fellows application in its entirety by Friday, September 10
  • All three (3) references must submit their recommendations on student’s behalf by Friday, September 10
  • To the best of their knowledge, student must be able to commit to the full duration of The Thunder Fellows program (September 27, 2021 – June 2022)
  • Student must commit to taking personal responsibility for his or her future, working with peers, being intellectually curious, and being resilient in the face of obstacles