UVA Selects 36 College Advisers to Help High School Students Follow in Their Footsteps

This year’s Virginia College Advising Corps will fan out across Virginia to help students from 40 high schools find their way to higher education.
August 20, 2018

Those who have just finished their own college experiences are some of the best to guide their slightly younger peers to higher education.

This is the mission of the Virginia College Advising Corps, through which recent graduates of the University of Virginia, UVA’s College at Wise and several other schools will spend the next year guiding high school students toward college.

Thirty-six graduates from 2017 and 2018 make up the corps. They will spend the next academic year in Virginia high school counseling offices, working with students who might otherwise not think about higher education. The advisers help students navigate financial aid questions, arrange college visits and assist with college preparation.

“Statewide, the trend has been for postsecondary enrollment rates to remain steady; however, we see an increase in enrollment rates from our partner high schools,” said Joy Pugh, director of the Virginia College Advising Corps. “This amounts to thousands more low-income and first-generation students going to college who wouldn’t have without the support and assistance of a college adviser.”

The program started 13 years ago at the University of Virginia and has since expanded into a national non-profit that operates in 14 states. This year in Virginia, 36 college advisers will serve 40 high schools; since the program began, more than 120 UVA graduates have spread across the commonwealth to assist high school students in their higher education decisions. The advisers make a two-year commitment to the program.

“Our program works because of the incredible people who become college advisers,” Pugh said. “The dedication that they have to their students, and to serving these communities, is genuine and tireless. They are providing information, advice and encouragement at a critical turning point in a young person’s life.” 

Rebecca Richardson of Danville, a first-year adviser who is returning to her hometown, sees this as an opportunity to help people like her.

 “If it weren’t for my community and high school resources, I am 100 percent sure that I wouldn’t have become a student at the University of Virginia,” Richardson said. “My teachers, mentors – and not to mention the thousands of dollars in scholarships – allowed me to experience some of the best years at an amazing university.

“However, I recognize that these resources don’t come easy to all students. Being a college adviser means bridging the gap between high school students and their post-high school goals. It means committing to them, as students, and making sure that they have the information and guidance needed throughout such an important time in their lives.”

The advisers help the high school students explore all of their higher education options, not just UVA.

“Every student deserves the opportunity to access higher education,” Pugh said. “There are many paths available – a four-year school, two-year school, certificate programs, trade schools, etc. – but executing the steps to make that plan a reality is essential. We work with each individual student to determine the best path for them, taking into account academic match, cost of attendance and many other factors. And then we ensure that each step is completed, whether it is taking the SAT or ACT, filling out college applications, submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or anything else necessary for that student’s success.”

This year’s College Advisers are:

• Jeffery Allgood of Chicago, a 2018 African-American studies graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at William Fleming High School in Roanoke.

• Amina Bracken of Richmond, a 2018 women, gender and sexuality studies graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at Armstrong High School in Richmond.

• Allie Brickey of Clintwood, a 2017 communication and leadership studies graduate from UVA’s College at Wise, who is a second-year adviser returning to Central High School in Norton.

• Kayla Brooks of Chesapeake, a 2018 foreign affairs and Middle Eastern studies graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at Harrisonburg High School.

• Grace Clements of Moncure, North Carolina, a 2018 psychology graduate from UVA’s College at Wise, who will be a first-year adviser at Magna Vista High School in Ridgeway.

• Kristopher Coachman of Chicago, a 2018 African and African-American studies graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at Petersburg High School.

• Madison Compton of Lebanon, a 2018 sports management graduate with a communications minor from UVA’s College at Wise, who will be a first-year adviser at J.I. Burton High School in Norton.

• Ryan Coyne of Winchester, a 2017 economics graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser returning to Amelia County High School.

• Victoria Fubara of Richmond, a 2016 psychology and Spanish graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who will be a first-year adviser at Huguenot High School in Richmond.

• Katherine “Kat” Faunce of Fairfax, a 2018 psychology graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at Tunstall High School and Dan River High School in Pittsylvania County.

• Daniel Hamm of Wytheville, a 2017 media studies graduate from UVA, who is a first-year adviser working at Covington High School.

• Jo Jones of Buies Creek, North Carolina, a 2016 English and history graduate from Campbell University, who will be a first-year adviser working at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.

• Kendall Jordan of Richmond, a 2018 psychology and Spanish graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at George Washington High School in Danville.

• Andrew Lynch of Ridgeway, a 2018 foreign affairs and music graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at Bassett High School in Henry County.

• Meghan Madler of Newport News, a 2017 kinesiology and philosophy graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser who is returning to the Lancaster and Northumberland County schools.

• Jordan Meadows of Richmond, a 2017 psychology graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser working in Dinwiddie County High School.

• Abigail Osei of Alexandria, a 2017 psychology and religious studies graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser returning to T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria.

• Kiley Overstreet of Lynchburg, a 2017 Italian studies graduate from UVA, who is a second-year college adviser working in the Greene County Public Schools.

• Charles Haden Thomas Parrish of Fluvanna County, a 2018 African and African-American studies and sociology graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser working in the Fluvanna County High School, from which he graduated.

• Shamecca Perkins of Northfork, West Virginia, a 2017 psychology and Spanish graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser working in the Martinsville City Public Schools.

• Amy B. Pressey of Williamsburg, a 2017 biology and anthropology graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser returning to Charles City County.

• Dasmen Richards of Fayetteville, Georgia, a 2018 foreign affairs and African-American studies graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser working at Randolph Henry High School in Charlotte County.  

• Rebecca Richardson of Danville, a 2018 politics graduate from UVA, minoring in urban planning, who will be a first-year adviser working at Galileo High School in Danville.

• Jenna Rieden of Herndon, a 2017 psychology graduate from UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences and youth and social innovation graduate from the Curry School of Education, who is a second-year adviser returning to Rappahannock High School and Washington & Lee High School in Westmoreland and Richmond counties.

• Charity Robinson of Greenville, North Carolina, a 2018 psychology graduate from Liberty University, who will be a first-year adviser working at Patrick County High School.

• Kianna Rollins of Fredericksburg, a 2018 sociology graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser working in the James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg.

• Brandon Shields of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a 2018 developmental psychology graduate from Liberty University, who will be a first-year adviser working at King and Queen Central High School in King and Queen County.

• Lia Slaton of Alexandria, a 2018 philosophy, neuroscience and psychology graduate with minors in English and computer science from Washington University in St. Louis, who will be a first-year adviser at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg.

• LucyGordon Smith of Richmond, a 2017 American studies and English graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser serving at Nelson County High School.

• RayQuan Smithers of Caroline County, a 2018 sociology graduate with study in criminal justice from Virginia Wesleyan University, who will be a first-year adviser working at Sussex Central High School.

• Sierra Swisher of Swoope, a 2017 youth and social innovation graduate from UVA, who is a second-year adviser returning to Orange County High School.

• Kayla Taylor of Marion, a 2017 youth and social innovation graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser at Caroline High School.

• Shweta Tembe of Richmond, a 2017 graduate with a degree in psychology from UVA, who is a second-year adviser returning to Louisa County High School.

• Morgan Tyree of Lynchburg, a 2017 psychology graduate from UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences and a youth and social innovation graduate from the Curry School of Education, who is a second-year adviser returning to Gretna and Chatham high schools in Pittsylvania County.

• Timmy Vadasz of Mechanicsville, a 2018 youth and social innovation graduate from UVA’s Curry School of Education and economics graduate from the College of Arts & Sciences, who will be a first-year adviser at Buckingham County High School.

• Liz Wachter of Luray, a 2018 women, gender and sexuality studies graduate from UVA, who will be a first-year adviser working at Charlottesville High School.

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications