Glendale, AZ – Connecting with a program that helps new students navigate college, inspired Abreanna Autote to pursue a degree and career in nonprofit management.
Abreanna explains, “I was undecided for a very long time, and I actually started out as a science major wanting to pursue a degree in veterinary science. However, throughout my time at Glendale Community College I realized that that’s not what I want to do. And, through working with the Excel Program:
“I realized that I have a passion for helping students to succeed, and seeing them succeed. And so now, I’m planning to transfer to the ASU Downtown Campus and pursue a (bachelor’s) degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.”
Abreanna, age 21, was born and raised in Phoenix and graduated from the e-Institute Charter High School. She’s currently attending Glendale Community College, and as mentioned plans to transfer to Arizona State University to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
Abreanna is among the students who receive specialized mentoring services through College Success Arizona’s team of highly skilled “Success Advisers,” and its partnership with the Excel Program, which serves students at Glendale Community College and other community colleges. Abreanna’s Success Adviser is Matt Sotelo, “Matt has been a great help throughout the years. I’ve been in the (Excel) program for two years now and he’s been such a help. Actually, it was this semester that I finally decided on a degree, and he helped me find the degree that kind of just clicked with me. So, Matt really played a key role in helping me decide what my major is going to be.”
Abreanna adds, “The Excel Program is a student success program at Glendale Community College, Estrella Community College, and Gateway Community College. Basically, our goal is to help support students throughout their education at the community college level, and help give all of the resources and support they need to graduate and move on to university.”
Research shows that first generation students who have an academic adviser are far more likely to graduate from college. Abreanna says there is no doubt about it, “I’ve seen it in the Excel Program, even in my role. Many of the students in our program are first generation, and I hear about their struggles throughout high school and even at home – how sometimes their family doesn’t exactly support their decision to go to college, which can be detrimental to their success. So, it is important that the students have someone to help them keep going in college, and provide guidance and encouragement, when they don’t have anybody else in that role.”
For many students, family support is critical in their education, “My family has played a huge role in encouraging my college education, and my mom is an alumnus from Glendale Community College. Ever since I was young, she always instilled that college is a great opportunity that I should take advantage of, so I’ve always had that backbone to support me.”
Meanwhile, Abreanna has some advice for middle and high school students considering college, “I would definitely say ‘go for it and reach for the stars.’ You can really do anything you put your mind to, and even if there are obstacles, you will be able to get through them. And, when you get to college, definitely get involved because there are so many opportunities out there.”
So far as which nonprofit she may work for in the future, Abreanna is keeping her options open, “There isn’t anything specific at the moment, but I know that I plan to further my education and hopefully get a doctorate (degree) one day. But, I want to work in a program in an at-risk area for at-risk youth, because they lack a lot of support, and I want to help support students from the high school level get into community college.”
Beyond the books, Abreanna says she keeps busy, “I’m involved a lot on campus and believe it or not, that helps me to de-stress, being involved in clubs and organizations. I’m an officer in Phi Beta Kappa, and we’re always pretty active – I’m always giving back to the community and to our campus, which is awesome. I’m also involved in Woman Rising, which is a great network of women pursing degrees, and I also love to play video games.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income backgrounds, your tax-deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.