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:


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


Strengthening problem solving & critical thinking skills

Programming Proficiencies

Demonstrating competency with in-demand coding languages

Mentorship Opportunities

Receiving professional coaching from industry leaders nationwide


Growing personal and professional network


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

Key Dates

Our Team


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.


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.


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.


Post Oak Automotive
Oklahoma City Thunder


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