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A total of 13 recent University of Virginia graduates have moved from walking the Lawn to walking the halls of high schools as members of the Virginia College Advising Corps.
Fiona Charles, 23, of Castries, St. Lucia, and Virginia Beach, who graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences as a dual major in African-American studies and sociology, will be an adviser at Fluvanna County High School.
The College Advising Corps, which began at U.Va. as the College Guide Program, places recent University graduates in high school guidance offices, where they help students with the nonacademic aspects of preparing for college.
“Many low-income, under-represented and first-generation students are at risk for not persisting through the hurdles of college applications, and particularly, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” said Joy Pugh, who directs the program. “Our college advisers spend time one-on-one with these students – with every senior at most of our partner high schools – in order to ensure that these steps get completed.”
Charles, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or a law degree, was a member of the Young Women Leaders Program, Student Organization of Caribbean Awareness, Fashion For a Cause and a Madison House volunteer. She was also a volunteer for the City of Promise project through the Curry School of Education’s Youth-Nex, The Center to Promote Effective Youth Development.
“My own personal experiences have led me to understand that higher education can alter the trajectory of an individual’s life,” she said. “I believe in VCAC’s mission to aid students in their quest to pursue higher education. As a corps member, I hope to see an improvement in the college-going culture in my area.”