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Shanté Elliott

2023–2026 Fellow: TasselTurn

Shanté Elliott is a social impact founder who has combined book smarts with life smarts in founding TasselTurn. TasselTurn is an EdTech nonprofit improving transition outcomes for foster care-involved and housing-insecure youth through educational attainment. Given the mobility rates of this demographic of youth, TasselTurn leverages technology to boost high school graduation rates, connect youth to post-secondary programs and reward youth for achieving competency-based goals. Less like homework and more like academic advising in your pocket, TasselTurn’s platform allows youth to request and get matched with an education coach within minutes!

As a lived experience founder, Shanté is passionate about demonstrating that she is no anomaly, and with intentional support, consistent guidance, access, and opportunity all foster-involved youth can achieve what has become one equalizer in her life: a college degree.

Before founding TasselTurn, Shanté was appointed a Presidential Fellow in the Office of the President for the University of North Carolina System, working to increase college access and retention of first-generation college students. At the community level, Shanté served as a director at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County, where she was responsible for recruiting and training members of the local community to serve as advocates for children and youth in foster care.

As a scholar, Shanté designs digital learning environments that promote positive youth development and educational identity formation for learners with a history of foster involvement. She has presented and keynoted several conferences, including SXSW EDU and Paving the Way to Educational Success Conference by the Philadelphia Department of Education. In addition, she has been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Reader’s Digest. In 2019, she was named a Women of Worth Honoree by L’Oréal Paris.

Shanté earned a master’s in education policy from Loyola University Chicago and dual baccalaureate degrees in English Literature and communication from Fayetteville State University. She is a doctoral candidate in learning science at Northwestern University. Shanté currently resides in Chicago, IL by way of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

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