2023 Milken Scholars

Photo 9 of 21 LA Steven Li

Steven Li
University of Pennsylvania

Thanks to Steven Li, dozens of students in Southern California now have valuable work experience on their resumes. Steven founded and leads Project Talent Launch (PTL), a social entrepreneurship venture that creates paid internship opportunities for underserved high school students. Prospecting on LinkedIn, Form 990s and Chamber of Commerce directories, he raised $60,000 for more than 40 internships in Title I districts in Southern California. PTL has been featured in local news and received support from the City of Pasadena, Wells Fargo, law firm Latham & Watkins, the Idealab Charitable Foundation and the GoFundMe Gives Back program, among others. Steven earned a spot as the top fellow in the Dragon Kim Foundation's Fellowship Program, where he won the "Spirit of the Dragon Award," a $5,000 grant for PTL, and an opportunity to expand internships into Orange County. 

Steven is a graduate of Pasadena's Polytechnic School and is an AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commended Scholar. He received the Anthem Awards Young Leader of the Year and Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Awards. As senior class president, Steven broke fundraising records for "Fun Food Friday," an event showcasing local restaurants, built custom speakers and organized daily class events. Globally curious, Steven studied in Costa Rica and was a Polytechnic Global Scholar. The president of Polytechnic's Model United Nations (MUN), Steven led the team's 73 members to commendations at regional events and organized PantherMUN, the first conference run by high schoolers for middle school students in the San Gabriel Valley. 

As opinion editor and director of finance for The Paw Print, Polytechnic's award-winning monthly student newspaper, Steven recruited and mentored writers and editors, rebuilt the paper's subscriber list after pandemic closures and grew revenue 240% in three weeks. He interned at the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, helping streamline their Salesforce database to steward partners and donors. 

Steven will pursue business and international studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and plans a career in social entrepreneurship. 

All photos should be credited to "Milken Family Foundation" unless otherwise noted.

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