Associate Director of College Advising
North Broward Preparatory School (FL)
What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
Growing up in Miami and graduating from a public school, I didn’t know that school counselors could assist with college preparation and planning. As a first-generation student who was an ESOL student, college was not the priority; instead, my focus was on graduating from high school. After navigating the educational system with limited support, I successfully graduated from a university, and life led me to where I belong. I was provided with my first opportunity to be a college adviser by a wonderful school principal who knew that life experiences can be a powerful motivator. He believed in me and my ability to connect with high school students and guide them to see that they could also go to a university. After that first year, I knew that I was right where I needed to be.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I truly enjoy the entire college application process. When I first meet the students (and parents), they have these ideas, some of which are feasible while others may not be. They’re uncertain about how to begin and lack confidence in their abilities. However, as they start their applications, they realize that it’s not impossible. In the end, when they receive the acceptance letter, they are overwhelmed with joy. The entire process is my favorite part of the work. It is never the same, varying from student to student, and I continuously learn something new. There is never a dull moment.
How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I had always heard about the association and read all the email information made available to nonmembers. This is how I learned about the roles of college professionals and how they assist students. I remember acquiring an old version of the Fundamentals of College Advising Counseling from our school librarian. I read that book cover to cover, and it was my first understanding of my responsibilities to my students as a college adviser. I still have the book; perhaps it’s time to get a newer version. I’m delighted to share that I finally attended my first NACAC conference this year. It was everything I had hoped for and more. One of my best experiences was seeing and meeting all the counselors I have been following on social media; it felt like I was meeting royalty.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
One of the challenges is students’ awareness of the diverse range of universities and colleges that can lead them to success. Unfortunately, more and more, I see students wanting the same options and thinking of the same careers. If there was more awareness, exposure, and social acceptance of individualized pathways, I believe that more students would complete a degree or certificate and be able to achieve their goals.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love to travel with my husband and daughter and explore new places. I also enjoy organizing, updating, or re-arranging my home; reading a great book, planning events for my church, and sharing a meal with friends and family.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Miss Honey from Matilda. She is Matilda’s teacher and mentor, known for her kindness, compassion, and her deep appreciation for education. Her life experiences have empowered her to champion what is just and fair. One of her notable lines is: “There is little point in teaching anything backward. The whole purpose of life is to move forward.”
Published Jan. 1, 2024