AK College & Career Advising Corps

Alaska College and Career Advising Corps

 
Currently, fewer than 50% of Alaska high school graduates promptly pursue education beyond high school. Whether this is due to a: belief it is unnecessary, perception it is out of reach, or lack of encouragement and assistance, many young Alaskans never pursue the many high skilled careers which require postsecondary education and training.


The Alaska College & Career Advising Corps (ACAC) can bridge these gaps. ACAC places committed recent college graduates in high schools as near-peer mentors. ACAC guides work with counselors and school staff to get students on track for entry into college and career training pathways. In classroom presentations, group workshops, and one-on-one, guides engage students in candid conversations about their future. They help them:

  • Explore careers and develop a career plan
  • Research and apply to college and postsecondary institutions
  • Apply for financial aid including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and scholarships
  • Register for appropriate tests including the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and ACCUPLACER

 

Fresh from their own college experiences, Alaska’s College & Career Guides can easily connect with students interested in skilled careers but who otherwise might fall through the cracks. The guides’ intensive training and orientation program focuses on college access, admissions, financial aid, student services, diversity, community service, and professionalism.

ACAC, an initiative of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education funded by a federal College Access Challenge Grant, is one of 19 state-based programs of the National College Advising Corps. The program began in the spring of 2009 when ACPE placed the first College & Career Guides in Anchorage’s Robert Service High School. The program expanded to Bartlett High School in 2010 and Bethel Regional High School in 2011. In 2012 the program expanded to five new schools including; Kodiak High School, Lathrop High School, Nikiski High School, North Pole High School, and Skyview High School. The Kodiak guide also works students in the seven village schools around Kodiak Island.

In 2013, in addition to adding East High School (Anchorage), Kenai Central High School, and Soldotna High School, the “Distance College & Career Guide” was piloted with Seward High School. The distance program leverages limited in person time with students at their school with ongoing web based support through Skype, Google Hangouts and social media platforms. In 2014, Delta Junction High School joined the distance pilot, and a partnership with the STEM of VTE Consortium, an Alaska Native Education Equity Grant program lead by the Chugach School District brought distance based services to students in the 25 schools from five School Districts that are members of the consortium (Chugach, Iditarod Area School District, Kenai Peninsula School Districts’s Project Grad, Kuspuck School District, and Yupiit School District).

In 2015 through a partnership with local funders, an ACAC College & Career Guide was placed at Nome-Beltz High School. Most recently, a partnership with a second Alaska Native Education Equity Grant will bring a College & Career Guide to work with students in the North West Arctic Borough School District (based in Kotzebue) in Spring 2016 and the Bering Strait School District (based in Nome) in Fall 2016.

For more information on the Alaska College & Career Advising Corps contact Greg Monrad, ACAC Program Manager at (907) 269-7971 or greg.monrad@alaska.gov.

Guide Profiles

  • Bethel
  • Bering Strait School District
  • NSBSD/Barrow
  • Kodiak
  • Nome-Beltz
  • NWABSD/Kotzebue
  • STEM-VTE Program

Bethel

 

Hometown/High school:

My College/Degree:

Phone/Email: 907-543-3957 x2613 / @alaska.gov

Personal Biography:

Why I went to college:

 

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

 

 

Bering Strait School District

 

Yet to be hired

Hometown/High School: Vacant

My College/Degree: Vacant

Phone/Email:

Personal Biography:

Why I chose to go to college:

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

 

 

NSBSD/Barrow

 

Yet to be hired

Hometown/High School: Vacant

My College/Degree: Vacant

Phone/Email:

Personal Biography:

Why I chose to go to college:

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

 

 

Kodiak

 

Yet to be hired

Hometown/High school:

My College/Degree:

Phone/Email: 907-486-7551 / @alaska.gov

Personal Biography:

Why I went to college:

 

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

 

 

Nome-Beltz

Caroline Proulx

Caroline Proulx

Hometown/High school: Overland Park, Kansas / Blue Valley High School

My College/Degree: Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame, Indiana) / Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and History

Phone/Email: 907-488-3761 x19407 / caroline.proulx@alaska.gov

Personal Biography:

Why I went to college:

I always knew I wanted to continue my education after high school. I wanted to study topics in more depth and make my own choices about what subjects I studied. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college, but I knew a bachelor’s degree would give me the knowledge and experience I needed to pursue a variety of careers.

I also wanted to prove to myself that I could be independent and live hundreds of miles away from my parents. College was an incredible time of personal growth for me as I learned important life skills like organization, time management, making new friends, learning to stand up for myself, and being able to bounce back from my mistakes. Most importantly, it gave me the self-confidence to move to Alaska after graduating. This beautiful state has been my home for the last two and a half years, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

My college search was a stressful, confusing experience. I couldn’t have navigated the process without the help of my parents, older brothers, and teachers. I want to give back and be one of the guiding people in lives of my students. I believe everyone can be successful in college if given the right tools. I believe every student should feel like they have options for pursuing education after high school. I want to make sure lack of knowledge about resources or fear of high costs are not keeping our young people from achieving their potential.

 

NWABSD/Kotzebue

 

Yet to be hired

Hometown/High School: Vacant

My College/Degree: Vacant

Phone/Email:

Personal Biography:

Why I chose to go to college:

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

 

 

STEM of VTE Program (Chugach SD, Iditarod Area SD, Kenai Peninsula SD/Project Grad, Kuspuk SD, and Yupiit SD)


Melissa Sales

Melissa Sales

Hometown/High School: Kalihi, Hawai'i/Farrington High School

My College/Degree: Alaska Pacific University/Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies, concentration in Marine Biology; Honolulu Community College/Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, minor in Marine Biology

Phone/Email: 907-269-7995 / melissa.sales@alaska.gov

Personal Biography:

Why I chose to go to college:

Growing up my parents told my sisters, and I that we had 3 options: 1. Get a job and pay rent, 2. Join the Military, or 3. Go to college. So I always knew I would go to college, I just didn’t know how I would get there. Of course when it all happened I ended up working and attending college at the same time. At the age of 16, I was obsessed with the ocean. I was at the beach 6 out of 7 days of the week. I knew I wanted to study Marine Biology, and I knew I had to go to school for it. School in general didn’t come as easy to me as some of my friends, however Marine Biology was my passion, and I was going to work as hard as I had to until I got that degree.

Leaving home (Hawai’i) was not an option for me (at first) as my first priority before school, or work, or anything else, was my family. I have 4 sisters, and I am the 2nd oldest so I had to help out at home. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I actually left Hawai’i. I had been going to college fulltime since 2007, and after getting my AA degree at a community college, I moved onto a university that was huge. It had classrooms with 200 seats in them, and it was hard. I discovered I needed a smaller community, and teachers that knew me by name who helped guide me to succeed. That’s what I got when I moved to Alaska. I enrolled at Alaska Pacific University, and left home. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I left my family; my community, my friends, my home, and at times I almost gave up, but then stuck with it and graduated two years later. Even though it was the hardest thing I could do, to leave my home, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made because along with the education, I also gained something that I can take back home, and help my family, and community in a way I couldn’t before.

College was hard. It’s supposed to be challenging. However, it is also super rewarding. When you finish, get your degree, and gain skills to contribute to your community and family, it’s a pretty powerful thing. You now hold the potential to change many people’s lives, and that is ultimately what pushed me to keep working, and to get my degree. I found something I was passionate about.

Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:

I chose to be a College and Career Guide because I didn’t have someone like that for me. I was a first generation student from a low-income community, with a graduating class of around 850 people. The college prep classes were reserved for students who showed higher potential. I had to figure everything out on my own; even up until the day I was turning in my graduation application (which I didn’t know I had to do). So I want to change that. I really believe anyone who wants to attend any kind of postsecondary education, should be allowed to, but should also get the same type of support as the “students who excel academically”.