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Innovative Sports & Education Academy, Inc.

"positive impact on present and future generations"

Success Stories

Palika Makam


Honors BA in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University (Class of 2011)

MA in International Affairs (concentrating in human rights and media) from The New School (Class of 2013)


Palika is a filmmaker and journalist who recently began her own nonprofit organization, The Babel Project. The Babel Project teaches young people from around the world documentary filmmaking, photography and digital media skills as tools to become active, engaged and critically-conscious citizens. Years of coaching (starting age 8) from Lonnie Wooden and competitive tennis helped her to gain the confidence and drive necessary to start her own organization at just 24 years old. Lonnie not only taught her how to be confident on and off the court, but how to utilize a diverse set of skills on the court to become a smart player -- something that helped set her tennis game apart from other players her age. To this day, when she's in a fix, Palika still thinks back to her coach saying 'slow it down, think, anticipate.' It was the foundation that Lonnie laid for her that has helped her get to where she is today.

Mike Ross


In tennis, one must have a physical and mental discipline. There must be a strategy and ability to alter that strategy at pivotal moments in the game. Lonnie Wooden helped me develop a solid strategy in tennis, business, and in life. Lonnie started teaching me when I attended Lake Central High School and helped me receive a tennis scholarship at IUPUI. Playing Division 1 tennis for four years was extremely rewarding and has built lifelong friendships with my teammates. I am currently leading three offices for Brown & Brown, a national insurance broker. I have used the hard work and discipline Lonnie developed early in my tennis career to be successful in my business career and life.   

Awisi Quartey


BA in Political Science & Spanish with a minor in French & International Studies from Purdue University Calumet (Class of 2009),

Governor's Office of Constituent Affairs (GOCA) Fellow (Class of 2012)


Awisi is the Director of Policy and Training for Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. The Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission is a state agency that deals with human rights, legal advocacy and guardianship for persons with disabilities throughout Illinois. She is tasked with working on legislative and policy initiatives that ameliorate the live of individuals with disabilities throughout the state. Awisi is also a 1st year law student at The John Marshall Law School where she focuses on international law and human rights.

Awisi met Lonnie Wooden as a junior in college at Purdue University Calumet. Through tennis, Coach Lonnie helped Awisi to further develop her strategy, critical and analytical thinking as well as hard work and determination in pursuing her dreams and aspirations. Lonnie not only taught her how to be confident on and off the court, but how to utilize her diverse set of skills on the court to become a smart player in her professional as well as academic pursuits.