Shawna Young


Shawna is a passionate leader in education who started her career as a teacher and then served as the executive director of the Scratch Foundation, Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) and MIT Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES). She dedicated her career to providing children from diverse communities with meaningful learning experiences that help them develop the skills needed to become leaders and innovators. Shawna has deep experience in leading and advising businesses, philanthropies, and nonprofit organizations, expanding fundraising networks, creating innovative programs and facilitating multidimensional processes.

Shawna received her BS in Chemistry from Howard University, Masters in Science Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, MBA from MIT Sloan, and Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Boston University. She lives in Cambridge, MA and Durham, NC and has a daughter in high school.

After years of experiencing the continued marginalization of Black people, Shawna realized that her work in educational access as a classroom teacher and nonprofit leader had only moved the needle incrementally. She turned my attention to understanding the root causes of the lack of Black freedom and wealth in her community and country, as a co-founder of Onyx.


"Although I grew up in a middle class family with my parents owning a home and a business, However, I did not have a deep understanding of how to do the same for myself. I had a lot of questions and shame in not knowing what I did not know. Then, I finally gained the confidence to ask questions to my mentors who were making multiple financial investments, which skyrocketed my personal knowledge of how to build my personal financial wealth. This remarkable group became the founding members of Onyx."