Press

Washingtonian Of The Year 2018

Helping high-school all-stars get into college sounds easy, but there’s a reason Matheos Mesfin works tirelessly—even sleeping in his office—during application deadlines. Three years ago, the 26-year-old Ethiopia native founded IEA Councils, a nonprofit that places immigrant and first-generation East Africans in top colleges. Washington boasts the largest Ethiopian population outside Addis Ababa, plus many Eritreans, Somalis, and Sudanese. Yet when it comes to higher ed, Mesfin found that even multilingual kids with 4.0 GPAs didn’t consider the Harvards or Middleburys. Reasons ranged from lack of awareness about scholarships to parents who saw institutions outside DC as an “alien concept.”

The Washington Post

Matheos Mesfin traveled to the United States in 2007, coming from Ethiopia to reunite with his mother, who had lived here for some time. He enrolled in a D.C. public school, an educational transition that was a real culture shock. It was a school with a metal detector, something he hadn't encountered in his homeland. "It was a time where I had to sort of navigate by myself, find my niche, get involved," he said. That led to a nomination for a scholarship, which led to Grinnell College, a liberal arts school in Iowa. It was an unfamiliar place. He met a hipster there, he said, a dude who had "said no to shoes." So, that was a shock, too.

NBC 4 Washington

Matheos Mesfin traveled to the United States in 2007, coming from Ethiopia to reunite with his mother, who had lived here for some time. He enrolled in a D.C. public school, an educational transition that was a real culture shock. It was a school with a metal detector, something he hadn't encountered in his homeland. "It was a time where I had to sort of navigate by myself, find my niche, get involved," he said. That led to a nomination for a scholarship, which led to Grinnell College, a liberal arts school in Iowa. It was an unfamiliar place. He met a hipster there, he said, a dude who had "said no to shoes." So, that was a shock, too.

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