Meet The College Advisers

Cassandra Blackwell, VCAC Adviser

Cassandra Blackwell

College at Wise 2016 | Biology
Wise County

I serve as a college adviser because I believe every student possesses the ability to further their education and pursue their postsecondary goals. I am passionate about sharing information that is available, but not widely known, to allow opportunity where it might not otherwise exist. I am excited for the opportunity to provide academic, career, and personal support along each step of the process. This way, every student not only hears their choices are achievable, but believes it as well.

Allyson Clement, VCAC Adviser

Allyson Clement

CLAS 2016 | American Government
Henry County

Being from Patrick County, VA, I serve as a college adviser in order to impact students that are from other rural areas. I believe that a postsecondary education is achievable for any student that is given the proper resources. I am a college adviser in order to be that resource for my students at Bassett High School.

Taylor Dowd, VCAC Adviser

Taylor Dowd

CLAS 2015 | Anthropology and History
Henry County

Planning the next steps after high school can be daunting, and sometimes students just need a little guidance to help them tackle those steps and reach their goals. I am a college adviser because I believe in my younger peers and want to provide them with resources and support that can facilitate their transitions.

Sabrey Garling, VCAC Adviser

Sabrey Garling

CLAS 2015 | English
Fluvanna County

Having gone through the college search and application processes on my own, I know the potential issues students might face. Some students may have several reasons why they can't go to college and often overlook the reasons why they can. I strive to help such students see their collegiate potential.

Carly Gordon, VCAC Adviser

Carly Gordon

CLAS 2015 | Spanish and Psychology, Minor in Global Sustainability
Greene County

I was very fortunate to have a strong support system of family and friends in high school who were encouraging of the college going culture and my desire to attend a four year university. Even though my path had some bumps, my graduation from the University of Virginia is due entirely to this support system. I know that not every high school student has this resource available to them, so I believe it is my job as a college adviser to fill in those gaps for my students. Every high school student should have the opportunity to fulfill their post-secondary school dreams, and I can’t wait to help my students do just that!

Shanice Hardy, VCAC Adviser

Shanice Hardy

CLAS 2015 | Women, Gender, & Sexuality with a Concentration in Gender
Pittsylvania County

I serve as a college adviser because I was a low-income, first-generation college student and I tried to do everything on my own until I met my high school college adviser. She helped me get to the University of Virginia. I want to be that resource for today's first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students especially in a time where college is seeming more and more inaccessible to these groups. I feel a sense of responsibility to help the youth coming behind me and Virginia College Advising Corps is one way for me to do that.

Katelyn Hebel, VCAC Adviser

Katelyn Hebel

CLAS 2015 | English and Religious Studies
Nelson County

When I was applying to college, I had a strong support network in my parents, teachers, counselors, and peers. There was never any question that I was going to college because my parents went to college and my friends were all going to college. My goal in VCAC is to be that kind of support network for the students at Nelson County High School because I believe that everyone should have the chance to reach their full potential.

Samantha Karp, VCAC Adviser

Samantha Karp

CLAS 2015 | Psychology and Women, Gender & Sexuality, Minor in Bioethics

I chose to serve as a college adviser because I have always been excited about and interested in the college process, and wanted to help younger students reach their potential in postsecondary education. VCAC allows me to work directly with students in every stage of the process, especially those who may not have seen any type of postsecondary education as a possibility. I'm so excited to work with and be inspired by these students!

Julie Kusnerik, VCAC Adviser

Julie Kusnerik

CLAS 2015 | Sociology and Women, Gender & Sexuality
Orange County

I am a college adviser because I believe in all of the amazing things that my students can accomplish. I care about helping them set and achieve the best post-secondary education goals for themselves. Being an adviser means being a resource for all students. It means not only teaching and advising students, but helping to inspire them. The work that VCAC has accomplished is truly amazing and I am excited to be a member of this wonderful team!

Kaitlin LaGrasta, VCAC Adviser

Kaitlin LaGrasta

CLAS 2015 | Anthropology and Spanish, Minor in Art History
Louisa County

My goals are to demystify higher education and to show every student that it is achievable. Serving with the College Advising Corps means being a mentor who helps to create a college-going culture in a high school and in the surrounding community. I serve as a college adviser because I want each student to achieve their dreams!

Lindsey Rosenthal, VCAC Adviser

Lindsey Rosenthal

CLAS 2016 | Linguistics
Patrick County

I serve as a college adviser to help decrease inequality in access to higher education. I want to make sure all students at PCHS have the resources and individualized attention they need to plan for success after graduation, and I'm thrilled to work alongside each student in their exploration of post-secondary opportunities.

Lyons Sanchezconcha, VCAC Adviser

Lyons Sanchezconcha

CLAS 2016 | Spanish

I serve as a college adviser because I believe in equal opportunity for all, and because my greatest passions are education and helping others. Many of my students' struggles parallel my own when I was considering post-secondary options, and I want to help them realize their potential and succeed after high school.

Sass Sloce, VCAC Adviser

Sass Sloce

College at Wise 2016 | Sociology, Minor in Business

I serve as a college adviser because I want to help my students find the best path for their future. Whether it be going to college, in to the work field, or other path, I want to be able to help them along the way.

Stephanie Tamayo, VCAC Adviser

Stephanie Tamayo

CLAS 2015 | Spanish and Sociology
Amelia County

I was lucky enough to have a college adviser when I was in high school and I wanted to give the services back. I want to encourage students to aim high and be the voice that tells them that they can and to help them realize their potential.

Sarahbeth Vernon, VCAC Adviser

Sarahbeth Vernon

CLAS 2015 | Media Studies and French

Some of my favorite memories from childhood take place in the Northern Neck. It's as if I've come home. While I grew up in Richmond, I also spent much of my childhood in the Northern Neck. So, I wanted to help a community that has brought me so much joy, kindness, and peace. There is such a need in rural communities for college access, and I couldn't think of a better way to give back to a place that has given me so much. I am passionate about education, and college access to low-income students. There is much that needs to be done, but every single student has potential to change the world. I want to help them find their right path.

Kelia Washington, VCAC Adviser

Kelia Washington

CLAS 2015 | Cognitive Science, Minor in Global Studies in Education
Pittsylvania County

The type of resource that a College Adviser provides is invaluable and unfortunately, was not available to me while I was trying to navigate college applications and scholarships. Although I was able to make it through successfully, that was not and is not the case for many students. I want to be that resource. I want to be there for these students, especially for those that might not have anyone else.

Laura Widener, VCAC Adviser

Laura Widener

CLAS 2016 | Women, Gender, & Sexuality with a Concentration in Gender Studies, Minor in English

While attending UVA, I discovered my ability to act as a resource to other students through my participation in various student organizations. VCAC allows me to interact with high school students as a resource to help them reach their post-secondary educational goals. I am excited to provide Charlottesville High School students with the tools to achieve those goals!

Colin Williams, VCAC Adviser

Colin Williams

CLAS 2015 | Government and African-American Studies, Minor in History

I serve as a College Adviser because I believe that the students I work with are capable of achieving at the next level of education and realize their lifelong dreams. They just need that little push, and I hope my own successes, along with the resources at my disposal, will motivate them to forge ahead in their pursuits.

Kiana Williams, VCAC Adviser

Kiana Williams

CLAS 2015 | Anthropology and Women, Gender & Sexuality, Minor in Media Studies
Buckingham County

I serve as a college adviser because I believe all students should be given the opportunity to succeed and follow their passion. As a low-income, first generation student myself, I know what it's like being on the other side of the situation, and how difficult it can be without someone to motivate you and remind you that no matter the odds, college is indeed possible with the right resources. I see so much potential in each and every one of my students in Buckingham County, and if I can be that extra push they need, then I know I have done something meaningful with my two years in the program.

Nia Wilson, VCAC Adviser

Nia Wilson

CLAS 2015 | Foreign Affairs and East Asian Studies

I serve as a college adviser because I want everyone to have an opportunity to go to college and succeed. I think the College Advising Corps does a great job of helping students realize that college is not only an option for them, but a place where they can thrive. Becoming a College Adviser is an incredible opportunity to serve the community and help students reach their education goals.

Donnell Wright

Donnell Wright

CLAS 2016 | Sociology

I serve because I was once in their shoes. A first generation student who wanted to do something with my life, but did not know how. I want to help mold their dreams and aspirations as they matriculate into higher education.

Robin Yeh, VCAC Adviser

Robin Yeh

CLAS 2016 | Media Studies

I’m very thankful for the support system of friends and family throughout my college application process. However, I recognize that many students do not have equal opportunities to achieve their postsecondary goals. I serve as a college adviser because I want to support them during a potentially stressful and confusing stage in their lives. I am excited to be a resource to help students reach their full potential.