The Crusader Newspaper Group

Chicago Scholars’ 35 Under 35 Awards recognize young leaders making an impact on Chicago

Chicago Scholars to Highlight 35 Young Professionals’ Accomplishments at Fourth Annual UnTied Gala

Chicago Scholars recently announced that it will be highlighting the professional and philanthropic accomplishments of Chicago’s young leaders at the organization’s fourth annual UnTied Gala. The college-themed anti-gala will be held on April 27 at Moonlight Studios (1446 W. Kinzie St.). Hundreds of Chicago’s business professionals and young leaders will gather to support our city’s remarkable talent and recognize this year’s “35 Under 35.”

The 35 Under 35 Awards were created in 2015 to recognize diverse, talented young professionals making an impact on the Chicago community. These young professionals are the city’s next generation of CEOs, political geniuses, innovators and thought leaders who believe in building a greater Chicago.

Chicago Scholars is excited to announce that My Block, My Hood, My City Founder Jahmal Cole will be honored as a 35 Under 35 leader. Cole is a tireless volunteer, role model and passionate advocate for education reform and improving schools in Chicago. Cole is the author of “The Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Community Organizations,” “Athletes & MC’s” and “50 Excuses: To not Follow your Dreams.”

“It’s an honor to receive an award for supporting at-risk youth in Chicago from an organization whose work has such an impact on the population I work with,” says Cole. “I believe it is our duty to get out in the community and to give back. If we don’t engage with this work it speaks to our integrity as a community and a city.”

Another 35 Under 35 honoree is Nicole Paprocki, Chicago Scholars’ alum and program director at Scholars de Salud, a pipeline program for high school students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in health careers in the Pilsen community.

“In addition to helping me navigate the path to and through college, Chicago Scholars instilled within me and my peers that we would be the next generation of great leaders to make an impact in our city,” said Nicole of her time as a Scholar. “My positive experiences as a Chicago Scholar inspired me to help others to explore their passions and potential.”

Other honorees include Kyle Hendricks, pitcher for the Chicago Cubs; Natalie Bookey-Baker, director of Chicago engagement strategy at the Obama Foundation; and Troy Pryor, filmmaker and executive producer at Creative Cypher.

Award recipients are selected from a highly competitive group of nominees who possess outstanding professional accomplishments and are committed to making a difference in Chicago. The selection committee, made up of Chicago Scholars staff and members of the Chicago Scholars’ associate board, evaluates candidates based on their demonstrated leadership in both their careers and their communities. The committee accepts nominations between September and November, and requires candidates to either be from or currently living in the Chicago area.

Chicago Scholars will be highlighting each honoree in the 35 days leading up to the event on social media, in addition to featuring a profile of each honoree on the Chicago Scholars’ website. At the event, Chicago Scholars will host a VIP reception prior to the gala where they will present the 35 Under 35 with their awards.

The 35 Under 35 VIP Awards Ceremony & Reception begins at 6:00 p.m. and is followed by the UnTied Gala at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the 35 Under 35 VIP Awards Ceremony & Gala are $125, while tickets to attend only the Gala are $90. Sponsorships are available at the $1,500, $3,000, $6,000 and $10,000 levels. If you are interested in attending, sponsoring or learning more about the event, visit

About Chicago Scholars: 

Chicago Scholars is a one-of-a-kind 7-year mentoring and leadership development program equipping many of Chicago’s brightest and most driven students from under-resourced communities with the tools and mindsets they need to realize their college-to-career dreams and become the city’s top leaders of tomorrow. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Chicago Scholars fulfills its mission by serving scholars during the three transitional periods known to be particularly difficult for first-generation college students from under-resourced communities: the transition from high school to college, the years spent navigating college, and ultimately, the transition from college to career.




Recent News

Scroll to Top