From First-Gen Scholar to Billion-Dollar Success


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As one of 10 brothers and sisters, Karoom Brown '00 had to put in what felt like 10 times the effort to become the first in his family to graduate from college. He always had a passion to excel and exceed, and when he brought that passion to Johnson & Wales, he began a journey that would lead to him handling billion-dollar contracts.

But the road wasn’t always smooth. He had to hold down a full-time job with Lucent Technologies while attending school as an undergraduate, which caused his grades to suffer.

Part of my success was that I graduated with experience AND a degree, which was not normal. KAROOM BROWN '00

Karoom Brown

“In order for me to be able to work full time at Lucent and finish my degree on time, the professors and the school offered extra tutoring and flexible classes,” says Karoom. “But part of my success came from graduating with experience and a degree.”

Eventually he turned his grades around, and pursued his Master of Science in Information Systems Management from New York University’s Tandem School of Engineering, where he graduated valedictorian.

Karoom has since worked his way to the top of his field, as the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of Leidos Health. And he attributes much of his success to the practical skills gained and support given during his time at JWU.

Now he aims to apply his work ethic to helping others, and volunteers with the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warriors, and Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health. Meaning the work that he started at JWU will affect the lives of many that come after him.