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Ben Carson’s Educational Background: Is He Qualified to Run HUD?

Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:

Ben Carson became our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on March 2nd of 2017. In this position, he’ll be responsible for fulfilling housing needs, ensuring the fairness of real estate, and putting plans in place to improve the nation’s communities. Before being nominated for President Trump’s cabinet, Carson ran against him in the Republican primary.

Long before dabbling in the executive branch, however, he was a neurosurgeon, author, and politician. He is one of the first doctors to successfully separate twins joined at the end and perform a successful brain surgery on a fetus while in the womb.  Carson would go on to set up the Carson Scholar’s Fund for “academic excellence and humanitarian qualities.” While he’s impacted the lives of hundreds of patients before, his new position affects millions.

Personal Life:

Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in Detroit on September 18th of 1951.  By the time he’d reached eight, his parents separated. His next few years were thrown into disarray by his family’s move to Boston, his mother’s attempt at suicide, economic difficulties, and his less-than-stellar education at a Seventh Day Adventist school out east. After reentering Detroit Public Schools, he found himself and his elder brother lagged behind academically. His mother responded by limiting television time and requiring that both sons complete two books a week. By the time Carson reached high school, the family had managed to turn their lives around. His grades followed.

The main issue facing Carson, however, was his violent temper.  In an NBC interview, he explained himself, “”As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers,” Aside from his mother, no one has verified the existence of these violent outbursts. This temper didn’t stop him from reaching success. After his high school graduation, Carson started on the path that would take him to a medical career.

Currently, Ben Carson is married and father to three sons. At the moment, he resides with his wife in Florida.


  • Southwestern High School: Ben Carson attended this Michigan school from 9th grade until his graduation. Closed in 2012, Southwestern High School was once a campus of the Detroit Public School district. This three-floored institution once served students from Boynton to Springwells Village.
  • Yale University: In 1973, Ben Carson graduated from this Ivy League institution with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In doing so, he joins the leagues of other famous alumni including Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, and Ansel Adams. Yale is a private research university currently located in the heart of Connecticut.  While open since 1701, the school did not introduce its first doctorate program until 1861. Yale currently has more than 12,000 students spread across its 1,015-acre campus. Its library is the third-largest in the United States.
  • University of Michigan: Carson didn’t wait long to continue his education. He enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School less than a year after obtaining his bachelor’s degree.  Within a few months of beginning his program, his faculty adviser suggested that he drop out. Carson ignored his device and settled on a new studying schedule. By his sophomore year, Carson began to excel academically. In 1977, he graduated with his M.D. and gained entrance to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
  • Johns Hopkins University: To finish both his residency and specialization, Carson enrolled in John Hopkin’s neuroscience program. He completed this last piece of his program in 1983. Also, known as Hopkins or JHU, John Hopkins University is a private, research-centric university located in Baltimore. Founded in 1876, it’s considered the first research university in the United States. The school boasts a student population of nearly 20,000 and an endowment that exceeds 3.3 billion dollars. Truly a global campus, JHU boasts campuses as far flung as Italy and Singapore.

Elaine Chao’s Educational Background: Would You Believe She has More than 36 Honorary Doctorates?

Why She Deserves Our Notice

A Taiwanese-American politician and our newest Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao is no stranger to the US cabinet. In fact, thanks to her leading of the US Labor Department under President Bush, she’s was the first Asian-American woman to ever hold a cabinet position.  She was also particularly notable in the Bush administration for being the only cabinet member to serve a full two terms. In Trump’s wet-behind-the-ear team, Elaine stands out. In her new capacity, Elaine Chao is responsible for advising President Trump on all matters relating to public and federal transit.

Personal Life and Educational Background:

The eldest of six girls, Elaine came into the world on March 26th of 1953.  While the family was Chinese in heritage, they were forced to flee to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War.  Three years after her father had arrived, Elaine and the rest of her family picked up and moved to New York. By the time she graduated from Syosset High School, the Chao clan was reaping the rewards of her father’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Following her high school graduation, Elaine enrolled at Mount Holyoke College to pursue a degree in economics.  While there, she represented the field hockey and equestrian clubs and worked as both a student recruiter and yearbook editor. After her 1975 graduation, Elaine Chao set her sights on earning a Harvard MBA. She did so in 1979.  Her education did not stop there. Our current Secretary of Transportation is also the proud recipient of 36 honorary doctorate degrees.

Elaine Chao is currently married to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Institutional Highlights:

  • Mount Holyoke College: Located in South Hadley, Mount Holyoke College is an all-female liberal arts college. Originally founded as Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837 it was the first member of the Seven Sisters. Holyoke’s 2,000-acre campus features an 18-hole golf course and two botanical gardens. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Holyoke is the fourth highest producer of Fulbright Scholars. The school currently offers more than 50 departmental and interdepartmental majors.
  • Harvard University: A private Ivy League university based in Cambridge, Harvard is particularly well-known for its business programs. Founded all the way back in 1636, this well-regarded institution is the oldest secondary school in the United States. Its roughly 20,000 students can choose from eleven academic units and three separate campuses. Its endowment, which measured more than 34-billion in 2016, is the largest of any academic institution. Famous alumni include 8 US Presidents, 62 billionaires, and 359 Rhodes Scholars.



Mike Pompeo’s Educational Background

Why He Deserves Our Notice:

Mike Pompeo is now the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He took over this position from Obama’s John O. Brennan on January 23, 2017. In his new position, he will assume responsibility for both leading the United States intelligence community and serve as a security advisor to President Trump. Prior to that, Pompeo served as the U.S. Representative for Kansas’ 4th congressional district from 2011 to 2017. In addition to being a staunch Republican, he’s also known for holding many of the same beliefs as the ever-controversial Tea Party.

Personal Life and Education:

Born on December 30, 1963, Michael Richard Pompeo is the Dorothy and Wayne Pompeo. He spent much of his early childhood split between Santa Ana and Fountain Valley, California. After earning himself a name as a basketball forward, Pompeo graduated from Los Amigos High School in 1982.  He then enrolled at West Point to complete his undergraduate education. In 1986, he graduated as his class valedictorian with a degree in mechanical engineering.  Immediately after graduation, Pompeo served as an army officer until he returned to school in 1991.

After his service in the military, Pompeo enrolled at Harvard University to complete his law degree. While there, he served as the editor of the Harvard Law Review.  Mike would go on to join Williams and Connolly as an attorney.

While serving in the House of Representatives, he voted on a variety of educational items. He voted to reauthorize the DC scholarship program, fund further abstinence education, and to revoke the items laid out by common core.

School Profiles:

  • West Point University: Better known as “The Point”, this military academy sits on a scenic bluff overlooking the Hudson River. Upon entry to this university, all students are considered “officers-in-training”; they’re commonly referred to as cadets. Students who make it through the rigorous admission’s process are given the chance to earn a bachelor of science degree in a major of their choice. Since its opening in 1801, The Point has managed to produce two U.S. Presidents and 75 Medal of Honor recipients.
  • Harvard University: Established in 1636, Harvard is one of the world’s most illustrious universities. Harvard University is divided into ten separate academic units. Its graduates include 242 Marshall Scholars, 359 Rhodes Scholars, and eight U.S. Presidents. Harvard currently possesses the largest financial endowment in the world.

Tom Brady’s Educational Background (Full Details)

Why He’s Earned Our Notice:

Tom Brady is a record-breaking quarterback for the New England Patriots. He’s one of only two players to win five Super Bowls, the only player to win all five on the same team, and the only player to do so while playing quarterback. In his 15 seasons with the Patriots, Brady has accompanied them to the Super Bowl on seven separate occasions. This well-known player has been rewarded for his hard work. He’s the proud recipient of four Super Bowl MVP awards and holds the record for most appearances in the postseason. Forbes estimates Brady’s net worth at $540 million.

Personal Life and Education:

The only son born to Galynn and Thomas Brady, the younger Brady spent much of his childhood in California. He, along with all three of his sisters, was raised in the Catholic faith. As a boy, the future quarterback regularly attended games at Candlestick Park. It’s there that he first saw his hero, Joe Montana, dominate the gridiron. Before enrolling at the University of Michigan, Tom Brady completed his primary education at Junipero Serra High School.

Tom Brady excelled both on and off the football field. He graduated in 1999 with a 3.3 GPA. While his degree was in general studies, Brady rounded it out with minors in both psychology and business administration. In addition to his work in football and academics, his college resume includes a variety of part-time jobs and volunteer work. After he finished his bachelor’s degree, Tom Brady wiped his hands clean of education.

In 2009, Brady married Gisele Bundchen. The couple welcomed a son later that year and a daughter, Vivian, in 2012.


  • Junipero Serra High School: Commonly known as JSHS, this school is a Catholic-faith centric institution base out of San Mateo, California. It currently serves male students in grade 9 to 12.  Junipero focuses on five core values: faith, wisdom, service, community, and leadership. As of 2016, JSHS hosts roughly 900  high school students.
  • University of Michigan: Founded in 1817, UoM is Michigan’s oldest university. Since its founding, the school’s campus has grown to cover more than 780 acres. Due to its strict academic rigor and highly-focused approach to research, UoM is considered one of the best universities in the United States. With a body of living alumni totaling well over 500,000, University of Michigan possesses one of the largest alumni bases in the world.

Dwayne Johnson’s Educational Background

Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:

Dwayne Douglas Johnson, better known as The Rock, is an American producer, actor, producer, and singer.   The first third-generation fighter of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., Johnson’s emerged with 10-world and two intercontinental championships. While he’s now retired from full-time wrestling, many consider him one of the greatest wrestlers to ever hit the ring.

Nowadays, however, you’re much more likely to see Johnson on the silver screen. His film career started with 2002’s The Scorpion King. Johnson’s gone on to make a name for himself with The Fast and Furious franchise. Most recently, he voiced Maui in Disney’s Moana.

In 2013, Forbes listed Johnson as one of the most powerful celebrities in the world.  Time Magazine would later announce him as a nominee for its 100 most influential people in the world. In short, even if you hate wrestling, it’s hard to escape The Rock’s influence. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Personal Life and Education:

Dwayne Johnson was born in Hayward, California on May 2, 1972.  With two generations of professional wrestlers before him, his love of the sport developed early. He wasn’t just knowledgeable in the ring, however. A truly international man, The Rock spent much of his life bouncing between New Zealand, Hawaii, and California. He did lay down roots long enough, however, to graduate from Bethelem’s Freedom High School. When it came time to attend college, Dwayne didn’t fall back on his family’s wrestling expertise. It was his prowess on the football field that earned him a full-ride to the University of Miami.

That school made a huge impact on Johnson’s life. Within Miami’s hallowed halls, Dwayne would go on to both meet his first wife and play for a national football championship. In 1995, he graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies with concentrations in both criminology and physiology. Dwayne Johnson is the father of two young girls. Anyone interested in reading up on The Rock’s life can pick up his best-selling autobiography, The Rock Says. . ..


  • Freedom High School: Freedom Hill High is a densely-populated public school located in the heart of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It’s practically popping at the seams. In 2015, its enrollment numbered close to 1900. With a history of poverty and poor test scores, Freedom High is not exactly the crème-de-la-crème. In 2015, test scores showed that just 57-percent of students were progressing adequately in both reading and literature.
  • University of Miami: Often referred to as UM, the University of Miami is a private research university located in Coral Gables, Florida. It’s a pretty large school. At the end of 2015, it served as home to nearly 17,000 students. Those enrolled at UM can choose between 116 undergraduate, 105 masters, and 63 doctoral degree programs. Unlike Freedom Hill, this school is anything but shabby. In 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked UM as the 44th best national university in the US.

Drake’s Educational Background

Why He Deserves Our Notice:

Audrey Drake Graham, better known as Drake, is a Canadian-born producer, actor, singer, and songwriter.  He first shot into the public eye in the early 2000s after assuming a role in Degrassi: The Next Generation. Audrey didn’t dream of making a career out of teenage angst, however. In 2007, Drake departed the series to pursue a career in rapping. He flourished. His albums smashed box office records and captured the public imagination. In fact, he holds the record for most charted songs by a solo artist. His second studio album, Take Care, netted him a Grammy.

His success goes far beyond the mike. Drake also owns his own record label and clothing line.  School, however, was never quite his thing.

Personal Life and Education:

Aubrey Drake Graham was born in Toronto on October 24, 1986. His parents represented a rather odd coupling of African-American Catholic drummer and a Jewish-Canadian English teacher. While the couple did not last long, divorcing five years after Drake’s birth, they helped him to become the person he is today. He was raised almost solely by his mother in a small department in Toronto. While he proved himself skilled in the arts, especially drama, Drake never had an easy time at school. For much of his youth, the future superstar was the target of rampant bullying.

Drake dropped out of Vaughan Road Academy at 15 to pursue an acting career.  In 2012, 10 years after dropping out, Drake went back to school to earn his high school diploma.  Shortly after graduating, Drake tweeted about the achievement, “97% on my final exam. 88% in the course. One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight, I have graduated high school!” he wrote.  In short, finishing his education made him as elated as winning a Grammy.


  • Vaughan Road Academy: VRA is a Toronto school located in the multicultural Oakwood-Vaughan neighborhood of Toronto. Since 1998, Vaughan Road Academy has offered all students a chance to join its international baccalaureate program. For any future Drakes, the school recently launched its INTERACT program; this highly-flexible program offers the artistically minded a chance to pursue their dreams. The Toronto District School Board’s website starts the school’s summary by saying, “Vaughan Road Academy holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the community and its students.”

Nikki Haley’s Educational Background

Why She’s Earned Our Notice:

On January 27, 2017, Namrata Haley, better known as Nikki, became Trump’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In her new role, she’s responsible for protecting U.S. interests at meetings of the United Nations. Nikki Haley previously served as the Governor of South Carolina. She’s one of only two Indian-Americans in U.S. history, and the first woman in South Carolina, to hold a gubernatorial position.  In 2016, Time magazine singled her out as one of the year’s most influential people.

Personal Life and Education:

Born January 20, 1972, Nimrata Randhawa is a second-generation Indian-American. Her father, Ajit Sing Randhawa, worked as a professor at Voorhees College. Her mother, Raj Randhawa, would go on to open her own clothing shop in 1976. At the age of 12, Haley started to help out in her mother’s clothing shop. The Economist characterized Nikki Haley as “an extreme watchfulness about overheads and a sharp aversion to government intrusion.”

Nikki Haley graduated from the local Orangeburg Preparatory Schools in 1989. After that, Nikki enrolled at Clemson University to complete a accounting. In 2015, the University of South Carolina granted Nikki Haley an honorary doctorate in public service. As governor, Haley supported a variety of initiatives meant to improve school performance.

While raised a Sikh, Haley converted to Christianity in1996. She’s currently married to Michael Haley and mother to two children.

School Profiles:

  • Orangeburg Preparatory Schools: Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, Inc. is a college-preparatory institution serving students in preschool to twelfth grade. The staff at this highly-rated institution make it their goal to provide a high-quality and comprehensive education. Its current dual-campus structure resulted from the 1986 merger of Wade Hampton and Willington Academies.
  • Clemson University (CU): Based out of South Carolina, CU serves more than 20,000 students across its seven academic schools. Classed as a school with high-research activity, U.S. News & World Report ranked Clemson 23rd out of the country’s public universities.
  • University of South Carolina (USC): USC is a public research university based in South Carolina. Its main campus covers more than 300 acres of downtown Columbia. While not as highly-ranked as Clemson, USC is consistently ranked as an “up-and-coming” university by the S. News & World Report. The school also possesses one of the best-rated international business programs in the country. The school currently serves 33,000 students across its more than 350 programs.

Mick Mulvaney’s Educational Background

Who the Heck is Mick Mulvaney?

Confirmed on February 16, 2017, John Michael “Mike” Mulvaney is the current director for the Office of Management and Budget (OBM). In his newest role, Mulvaney oversees and manages the budgets of various federal agencies. Furthermore, it’s his job to prepare and coordinate activities surrounding the President’s annual budget. With over 10 years’ experience in the South Carolinian legislature, Mulvaney was the first Republican in more than 100 years to represent the state’s 5th congressional district. Before discovering his passion for politics, Mike worked as a lawyer out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Experts estimate his net worth at approximately $2.6 million dollars.

How Educated Is He?

Shortly after his birth, Mulvaney’s family moved to Indian Land, South Carolina. While there, the future OMB director attended and graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School.

After earning his high school diploma, Mulvaney enrolled at Georgetown University to complete his degree in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance. He would go on to graduate with honors in 1989. However, his pursuit of enlightenment did not end there. Mick enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to obtain his law degree. With the help of a full-ride scholarship, he graduated in 1992.

School Profiles:

  • Georgetown University: Georgetown is a private research university situated in the heart of Washington D.C. Since its founding in 1789, the university’s grown to include nine separate schools and forty-eight programs of study. Its nearly 18,000 students have access to some of the largest student-ran businesses in the world. This prestigious university only admits 16.4-percent of applicants. So, before you apply, make certain you have all your ducks in a row.
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: One of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina systems, UNC’s been open since 1795. This fact makes it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Its nearly 30,000 students can choose from nearly 70 majors spread across 14 different colleges. All undergraduates spend their first two years focused wholly on the liberal arts. Of its more than 550 organizations, its student-run newspaper, student-run radio station, and men’s basketball team receive the most publicity.


Betsy DeVos’ Educational Background

Why She Deserves Our Notice:

Sworn in as the Secretary of Education on February 7th, Betsy DeVos is just another controversial pick in an already eclectic cabinet. Best known for her vehement support of for-profit, private, and charter schools, DeVos is also a strong proponent of parental choice and school autonomy.  Many people worry that her policies will hurt public schools. While she admitted to being skeptical about the federal government’s roles in such institutions, the staunch Republic went on to insist that “great public schools” should remain available to all families. Until her resignation or the end of the Trump era, she will serve as the driver of educational policies in the United States.

Before assuming her current role, DeVos held a variety of positions in both the private and public sectors. From 1996 to 2000, and again from 2003 to 2005, she served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican party. She was also integral in helping to advocate for and build the well-regarded Detroit charter school system. Throughout the years, Betsy has held high-ranking positions in many educational organizations. Her family also supports a charitable foundation that aims to drive change in education, community, arts, leadership, and justice.  A number of large donations to the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation

Personal Life:

DeVos was born to Elsa and multi-billionaire industrialist, Edgar Prince, on January 8th of 1958.  Suffice to say, her childhood was one of both affluence and opulence. It was also heavily steeped in religion. Betsy was raised a devout member of the Christian Reformed Church of North America. She’d go on to be influenced by one of the founding fathers of Christian Democracy, Abraham Kuyper. This wealthy heiress had to educate more than just her spirit; she had to nurture her mind as well.

She completed her primary education at Holland Christian High. Shortly after her graduation, she enrolled at the Michigan-based Calvin College.  While there, Betsy was highly active in both school politics and academics. Four years later, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. At this time, she’s made no effort to continue her education.

Her family is one of Michigan’s wealthiest. Her husband, Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos Jr., is the heir to the Amway fortune and a major donor to conservative political causes.  His father, who owns the Orland Magic, is the 88th wealthiest individual in the United States. In addition to being the wife of a wealthy business owner, Betsy is a mother to four grown children. All of them, unsurprisingly, attended private schools.


  • Holland Christian High School: Holland Christian High School is the only grade 9 to 12 building in the Holland Christian Schools system. While the district started in 1901, this building was not opened until 1924. This school offers students more than 11 different clubs, a renovated auditorium, and an advanced science lab. More than 90-percent of students that graduate from this private school attend college. In 2009, this building was home to roughly 850 students.
  • Calvin College: Founded decades before Holland Christian High School, Calvin College has been continually operating since 1876 Named after famous Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, this liberal arts college comes with a religious slant. Recently, the school has added a new political science building, a conference center, and a high-end hotel. Enrolled students can choose between more than 109 different majors. The school currently serves around 4,000 students.


Ryan Zinke’s Educational Background

                  Ryan Zinke

Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:

On March 1st, Mark Zinke joined Donald Trump’s cabinet as the Secretary of the Interior. In doing so, he becomes the 52nd person to hold that position and the first Montanan to occupy a cabinet position. Before joining the current administration, this Navy SEAL served two years in the Montana Senate and two more in the legislature. While in the house, Zinke used his power to support troops in the Middle East and battle against both the affordable care act and more stringent environmental regulations. In his new job, he’s responsible for the management and conservation of our nation’s national resources. Considering his pessimistic views on both climate change and environmental protectionism, his nomination is rather ironic.

Zinke made a name for himself in the military. In 22 years, he rose from the rank of a Navy SEAL to that of a Navy Commander. In 2004, he was elected as the acting commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in the Arabian Peninsula. Less than four years later, he would establish the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command and work as its “Dean” until his 2008 retirement. For his more than two decades of service, he was awarded two Bronze Stars, four Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, and two Defense Meritorious Service Medals.

While serving as commander, Mark founded a property management company by the name of Continental Divide.  He would late pass this company on to his family and retain an advisory role.

Personal Life and Education:

While he was born in Bozeman, Ryan spent most of his young life growing up in Whitefish. The son Ray Dale Zinke and Jean Montana, Ryan grew up in an All-American, “blue collar” family. By the time, he reached high school, however, his football skills earned him the notice of numerable college recruiters. He would go on to play linebacker, and later offense, for the University of Oregon.

In 1984, Zinke graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. After taking a few years off, he would go on to earn a Master of Business Administration from National University in 1993. Ten years later, he enrolled at the University of San Diego to complete a Master of Science in Global Leadership.

Zinke is currently married to his wife Lolita and father to three adult children. He splits his time evenly between Washington D.C., his hometown, and Santa Barbara.

School Profiles:

  • University of Oregon: Commonly referred to as UO or Oregon, this public research university is nestled in the heart of Eugene, Oregon. Founded in 1876, this university has been classified by Carnegie as a hotbed of “research activity” and is home to the oldest honors college in the United States.
  • National University: Founded in 1971, this nonprofit institution is currently headquartered in La Jolla. NU offers a wide variety of courses for adult learners across its numerous campuses. Classes are typically no more than a month long. This school offers heavily reduced tuition to active members of the military.
  • University of San Diego: This private Roman Catholic University allows gives its students a choice between more than 42 majors.  USD’s undergraduate programs have been recognized by many publications, including Bloomberg Businessweek, for their academic rigor.  By and far, however, USD’s MBA is its claim to fame.



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