When Zacch Estrada-Petersen, a 2005 UNC Charlotte graduate, became a member of the UNCC Alumni Association Board of Directors in summer 2014, it came with an expectation to make annual financial gifts to the University, through any avenue. With so many negative images and views about Black males in America, most notably the cradle-to-prison pipeline, coupled with the lack of Black males in essential and lucrative STEM fields, he decided to do something to change the narrative.
Enlisting the assistance of fellow alumnus, 2007 graduate Kevin Jackson, together they pledged a $25,000 scholarship endowment gift over 5 years to the University, specifically targeted to Black males majoring in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. The goal is to provide critical financial support to these students, as well as mentorship, networking opportunities, and the moral support needed to keep them focused on the finish line.
Zacch Estrada-Petersen is a 2005 graduate of UNC Charlotte with a B.S. in Accounting, and backgrounds in Spanish, journalism and music. During his time at UNCC, he served as a staff writer, opinion editor, and ultimately Managing Editor of the University Times student-run newspaper. As a UNCC senior, he founded The Voices of Eden Gospel Choir, a student organization with which he is still very active. He has worked as a Senior Accountant for the Charlotte office of a New York-based multi-national diversified-media company since 2008.
In addition to serving as a board member and Chair of the Campus Engagement Committee on the UNCC Alumni Association Board of Directors, he also serves as Co-Marketing Chair on the board for the Charlotte chapter of Habitat Young Professionals, and Social Media Chair for 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte.
Kevin Jackson is a 2007 graduate of UNC Charlotte with a degree in Software and Information Systems. Prior to enrolling at UNCC, he served in the U.S. Army for 5 years. Kevin interned as a software engineer at IBM during his senior year of college, and currently works as a middleware engineer for one of Charlotte's premier financial services companies. For three years, he volunteered as a group fitness instructor at the UNCC fitness center.
As of fall 2016, he is a member of the UNCC Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is passionate about making sure students from all backgrounds have access to the fields of science and technology as a viable career option. As a champion of education, he believes in protecting the dreams of today's youth, and ensuring a bright and promising future for all those who seek it.