Cogswell First Year Student Joseph Fortuno Rides Junior Achievement Success To The White House and Beyond

Joseph Fortuno, from Hercules, California enrolled at Cogswell College after forming a startup in high school which produced a cookbook/encyclopedia focused on the medicinal and nutritional  properties of herbal recipes. He organized the project to compete in a Junior Achievement contest at his school. That first year, his group received no recognition, no awards, and little support. But, through perseverance and commitment to each other, that changed. They produced their cookbook, promoted and sold it at a variety of events and won the local, then national Junior Achievement contests. 

Five months ago, his startup, Herban Movement, took home the Microsoft Social Innovation Award at a ceremony in Washington, DC. At the beginning of December, he was asked back to Washington, this time to join other high school entrepreneurs to meet President Obama at the White House.

Joseph Fortuno (2nd from left) and other student winners from national entrepreneurship competitions meet President Obama at the White House

The Junior Achievement team from Hercules High School’s Academy of Hospitality and International Tourism took home the Microsoft Social Innovation Award in June at the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit.

Joseph, who credits his writing and blogging practice for expanding his capacity to commit and achieve, says, “Sometimes the world might push mercilessly against what you want, but there will always be something that will fuel your fire”. He started at Cogswell this Fall in the DMM program, to pursue is interest in the business aspects of the media industry. At the same time, he is working as a “student ambassador” with Gladeo, a Silicon Valley not-for-profit focused on career exploration.

Although early in his college career, Joseph Fortuno has brought Gladeo to the attention of Nando Gapasin, Executive Director of Career Services. Nando says, “Gladeo’s mission, to help young people discover the many career paths and options out in the world and equip them with the knowledge, tools and community necessary to help them pursue their dreams careers, not only aligns with our approach at Cogswell, but engages students at the very beginning of their college experience.” 

To read more about Joseph’s experience, visit his blog and watch the official West Wing Week video below.


December 11, 2015