In the summer of 2013, Wilson registered a non-profit under the name “Dream Chasers.” Like most successful startups, Dream Chasers started out as little more than a rag tag group consisting of A.J. and a few of his closest and most trusted friends. Yet less than half a decade later, his non-profit has worked with over 5,200 students.

Dream Chasers led by AJ Wilson ’18, Rhea Drozdenko ’18, Julian Payne and Celina Cotton is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to closing the academic and opportunity gaps in the South and Midwest through peer mentorship, events and workshops, and community engagement.

The organization was created to “encourage the academic dreams of all students through education and training using various programs and a community of like-minded students” and so far it seems they’re on the right track.

Recipients were selected from a pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, parents, students, faculty, and community partners. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities, and potential for social impact.