U.Va. student selected as participant in Forbes’ Under 30 Scholars Program

Diana Wilson earned opportunity to attend Under 30 Summit free of charge


“This experience has been phenomenal to teach me about the process of life,” fourth-year College student Diana Wilson said.

Courtesy Diana Wilson

Fourth-year College student Diana Wilson was selected to attend Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 summit through the Under 30 Scholars Program. The program provides an opportunity for high-achieving students to attend the Under 30 Summit free of charge.

The summit, held Oct. 1-4 in Boston, is described on the Forbes event page as a combination of “compelling content, celebrity entertainment, one-on-ones with big-time investors, an impactful day of service, startup competitions and more.” General admission tickets to the event cost $595, while the premium option costs $1,895. 

“This program basically allows college students who have been exceptional during their time at whatever university they’re at to be able to come to the Forbes conference for free,” Wilson said. “The only things you have to pay for is your travel and your housing while you’re there.”

Wilson said Jopwell — a hiring and recruitment agency focused on diversity — nominated her for the scholars program. 

The goal of the conference is to allow participants the opportunity to network with successful entrepreneurs and to hear popular speakers give talks. This year’s speakers ranged from investors to fashion designers to chefs. The Forbes 30 Under 30 list, published annually, recognizes “game-changers” in a variety of fields. 

“This experience has been phenomenal to teach me about the process of life,” Wilson said. “We had various speakers who were very successful at different ages, but they all went through a process of doubting themselves, they all went through a process of extreme amounts of failure. And they are now looking back ... appreciating those failures, appreciating those times when they thought they weren’t keeping pace with their peers, and seeing where they are now is phenomenal.”

This year’s list of speakers included actor and investor Ashton Kutcher, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-Mass). Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, another headliner at the summit, gave a keynote address on the second day.

“One thing that Kendrick Lamar said … [was] that you have to think beyond the moment,” Wilson said. “To think beyond the moment, and plan beyond the moment, because whatever is happening right now doesn’t truly reflect your life or the success you might have or the impact you can make on someone else’s life — that’s probably the most beneficial advice I got from this conference.”

Taylor Culliver, the Under 30 Scholars program coordinator at Forbes, said the Under 30 Summit seeks to helps its attendees network, find jobs and internships in their fields, build a sense of community with their fellow scholars and leave feeling inspired to pursue their career goals.

“The whole point of the Under 30 Summit is to bring together the innovators, speakers and movers of the Under 30 list that we produce every year as well as other entrepreneurs and other people who are inspired by the work they’ve done and who aspire to be a part of that list one day,” Culliver said. 

Correction: This article previously misstated that the Under 30 Scholars Program is only open to underrepresented and minority students. This article has been updated to state that the program is open to high-achieving students more generally. 

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