Featured Fellow: Mario Estrada Earnest on Being Your Authentic Self

Mario Estrada Earnest is a data guy.

While there was a time when Mario was not sure what do to with that title. His journey through the 2017 Surge Fellowship has led him to take ownership of it in a big way.

Mario’s Dream

As Director of Special Projects at Intrinsic Schools in Chicago, Mario has not only developed systems that help the school run more efficiently, but he has connected with the students on a personal level.

“It’s just so important to me that we provide role models to students of color, people who look like them or grew up in places like they did,” Mario said.

While Mario loves his job, he has also been perpetually aware that he could be doing more, and his Surge journey has pushed him to take the next step. Mario is launching a business venture—a data analytics consultancy—which he envisions connecting him even more with improving the way education institutions serve communities of color.

“I’m really excited to bring data expertise in partnership and collaboration with school leaders around the Chicago area and beyond.” Mario said. “I’m looking to work with foundations, schools and districts to help people make better decisions that benefit our students.”

Mario’s Background

Mario’s passion lies in public education. His experience as a student and educator in both public and private institutions shaped his perspective on the disparities in opportunity for today’s young people. Mario is dedicated to bringing educational and economic parity to Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods. Though he met opportunity with preparation, much of his opportunity was and continues to be inaccessible to millions of youth throughout our nation. He believes students should be deciding “which college” rather than “if college.”

Mario began his professional career as a management and strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, advising Fortune 100 company executives across a variety of industries and functions. He quickly learned how to navigate the business world, gaining experience in C-level strategic decision making, as well as the skills needed to successfully create change and execute those decisions. At his core, Mario is a thinker and a change agent. Along with his work for Intrinsic Schools, Mario serves as an advisor to National Louis University’s Harrison Professional Pathways Program.