One Jump to Inspire Students


By Neeraj Salhotra

 HOUSTON: As a first-generation Indian-American, I have seen family and friends come to the US with nothing but $5 in their pocket, yet experience the prosperity of the American Dream. My parents’ hard work and influence helped me gain acceptance to Rice University, and knowing that this country has given much to me, I feel inspired to give back.  Currently only 1 in 10, low-income students graduate from college, and I therefore joined Teach for America to help pass on the American Dream my parents experienced. Comparing my students’ lives to my own, I realized something inherently unfair–my students worked harder than I did but had trouble realizing their aspirations because their communities simply could not provide the resources that I had. Alongside three other Indian-Americans: Karthik Soora, Shiroy Aspandiar, and Timeer Amin, I created to connect students to transformative opportunities.

One Jump grew out of our student Jorge’s experiences. Jorge came to the U.S. knowing neither English nor the importance of school; he failed 4th grade. Initially, he had no plans to attend college and believed his future lay in construction. His life was transformed after he attended a Cornell engineering program that let him live there for one week. Now believing that college was possible, he worked tirelessly and became the first in his family to graduate high school and will now attend the University of Rochester on a nearly-full scholarship to major in mechanical engineering.

However, Jorge’s story is the exception, not the rule. Low-income students do not all have access to these opportunities, and there is no system that inspires and connects them. One Jump aims to close this gap by inspiring students to take the leap to college.

One Jump is creating a website that will inspire students through motivational videos and connect them to a database of eligible summer enrichment opportunities searchable by subject matter, university, and region of the country. Once students are accepted into these programs, One Jump will connect them to a scholarship and crowdfunding.  Through One Jump we will ensure that students like Jorge, regardless of their income, can experience the same American Dream so many of us have lived.

Find out more about OneJump at