Kelly is a member of the College Advising Corps at Brown, an AmeriCorps program focused on strengthening college access in underserved communities through near-peer advising. Each year, recent grads are placed throughout Rhode Island's public high schools to serve as full-time advisers. She was born and raised in Rhode Island and is honored to return to her community to serve at her former high school.
Representing All of Me
Jennifer is a member of the 2014-15 College Advising Corps at Brown. The College Advising Corps’ mission is to serve first generation low-income minority students within the Providence Public High School District and ensure that they are provided access to the resources and preparation to apply to a four year university. Jennifer is currently serving her year at the Corps’ newest host site; Providence Career and Technical Academy, its only partnership with a vocational high school.
At PCTA, where I serve as the College Adviser, I keep a few items in my office to keep myself grounded: middle school pictures, a Brandeis mug, and a Guatemalan flag. I also keep flyers around from Youth Pride Inc. (a local LGBT drop in center), New Urban Arts (a local drop in arts center), and a College Visions hoodie. All of these are programs I was involved with in high school. I consider these items to be symbolic of my journey. They are meant to be shared, to prove that I would not be here today without the help of various community non-profits and mentors that supported me along the way.
As intended, these items bring up many questions and reactions in my office. Everything is fair game. “Miss, you went to Bridgham Middle School?”, “Miss, You’re GUATEMALAN?”, and “Miss, are you gay? But you’re Guatemalan!”
I often share stories with students about spending time in another country as a child, having to learn English through ESL classes, and - yes - the scary feat of having to come out to immigrant parents in high school. We also talk about growing up in Federal Hill, moving to Olneyville and skateboarding in Silver Lake and getting chimi’s on the South Side (but only from Johny’s Chimi truck). Then the inevitable “Stuck Rhode Islander” question comes up “Miss, you were able to leave this state, why would you come back?”
I find the students’ curiosity hysterical, and a great opportunity to talk about those questions they otherwise might dismiss.
This curiosity does not confine itself to the school. Last week my co-worker Belisa Santiago and I led a FASFA workshop for student involved with Young Voices, a Providence-based student advocacy group. There, a student’s eyes glittered when she learned we shared the same first name and both attended Classical High School.
When I said to her “Don’t tell me you’re Guatemalan as well?”, she exclaimed “WHAT!!??” as she fanned herself. “AND you went to Brown!” she screamed. “No,” I laughed, “Brandeis. I work for Brown”.
“OMG!! #GOALS!!” she cheered with her friend. I couldn’t control my laughter.
After the event she joined her group of friends to flood me with questions regarding my family, where they’re from, how long they’ve been here and how financial aid comes into play with immigrant parents. They felt safe; they felt hope, and I felt inspired.
These are the moments I cherish as a College Adviser, that make this work so rewarding. And they happen quite often. I get to pay it forward and be a face that my students can relate to. I can only hope that this makes their journey a little less isolating. It is incredible to witness my time as a young person growing up in Providence finally coming full circle now that I’m an adult. I explain this to my students and they pretend to understand.
Perhaps in a few years they will have taken my place, speaking to the next generation. At the very least, I am planting seeds and am anxious to watch them grow.
November 24, 2015
May 27, 2015
Aiyah is a second-year College Adviser with the College Advising Corps at Brown University, which serves first-generation college-bound, low-income students in Rhode Island to ensure that they are provided resources and guidance while navigating the various avenues to post-secondary success.
Aiyah is currently the College Adviser at the Community College of Rhode Island (Liston Campus) where he supports students in pursuing their Associate's Degrees as well as students who are seeking to transfer to four-year institutions. Following the CAC, he will be working as a nonprofit consultant until attaining a Master's degree in City Planning.
September 18, 2014
November 11, 2013
Mai is an Advisor in the College Advising Corps, an organization that seeks to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students who enter and complete higher education. Mai and eleven other recent college graduates work full-time as College Advisors in public high schools around Rhode Island.
November 1, 2013
Renata Martin '14.5 is an Access Scholar with the College Advising Corps, working on individual and group SAT preparation, essay writing, and financial aid programming with Providence high school students.
September 26, 2013
Tieisha is an Advisor in the College Advising Corps, an organization that seeks to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students who enter and complete higher education. Tieisha and eleven other recent college graduates work full-time as College Advisors in public high schools around Rhode Island.