Staff Announcements at the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust


June 5, 2014

New Executive Director at B.E.S.T.

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Jessica Suriano

Executive Director


Born and raised in Baltimore City, Jessica attended the Bryn Mawr School before earning a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Sociology from Loyola University Maryland.  Jessica began her career in professional service to nonprofits at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society overseeing the Team In Training marathon program and ended her time there serving as senior director of the organization’s three priority fundraising campaigns. Subsequently, Jessica was hired as the Director of Development for the Alzheimer’s Association Maryland Chapter where she was responsible for the creation and execution of the organization’s strategic development plan.  In 2010, Jessica joined B.E.S.T. as Director of Development & Strategic Initiatives.  In addition, she has led the program division of the organization.  Jessica has also served as a development and strategic planning consultant for several nonprofits in Baltimore.

B.E.S.T. Welcomes New Staff Members

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Khalil Uqdah
Director of Programs and Alumni Relations

Khalil Uqdah is a B.E.S.T. and Gilman School Alumnus, Class of 2006. During his tenure at Gilman, he served as President of the Black Students’ Union, Vice President of the Diversity Club, and Member of the Muslim Students’ Association. This commitment to community awarded Khalil the Redmond C.S. Finney Award for Diversity Achievements in 2006. Khalil attended Lehigh University and while there, lead the initiative to successfully create the administrative position of Vice President for Equity and Community on Lehigh’s campus. Khalil began his professional career at Travel Advantage Network in Glen Burnie where he was awarded the Summit Award for leadership. He continued his career with Aerotek in Connecticut where he excelled as a Professional Services Recruiter granting him a leadership role as an On-Premise Manager. Khalil returned to Baltimore after two years with Aerotek and spent a year working with The Aspen Group prior to joining the team at B.E.S.T. as the new Director of Programs and Alumni Relations.

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Crystal Lee
Director of Advancement

A Baltimore native and 1996 B.E.S.T. graduate of Garrison Forest School, Crystal Lee will join the B.E.S.T. staff in July as the Director of Advancement. After graduating from Loyola University Maryland, Crystal joined the Development staff of her alma mater, Garrison Forest, as Director of Alumnae Relations in 2000. She became the Director of the Annual Fund and Associate Director of Development in 2005, and for the next six years, oversaw record levels of Annual Fund success. In 2011, Crystal joined the Garrison Forest Admission team as Associate Director of Admission and was part of a team that yielded the highest Upper School enrollment ever. Crystal volunteers as a member of the Enterprise Women’s Network and as a member of the Board of Trustees for John Paul Regional Catholic School in Baltimore.