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Early College Access Project

September 20, 2009

  • Angela Nusom
    Angela Nusom

Peel away the layers of the Early College Access Advocacy Project, one of 14 projects taking place through the newly launched Center for Community Engagement at Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and what emerges is a picture of students and professionals converging around a shared desire to create lasting change in the lives of young people who were once thought to have limited opportunities for success.

Angela Nusom is an Ed.D. candidate in Lewis & Clark’s Education and Leadership Program as well as a faculty member at Centennial Learning Center, an alternative high school in East Portland. Driven by a desire to better her students’ lives, she decided to develop a project to help them overcome barriers to college access.

Nusom forged a partnership with Mollie Galloway, director of research and assessment, and Andraé Brown, assistant professor of counseling psychology. Together, they created a curriculum that would guide students to explore the fundamental question: Why do some students go to college and others not?

“I didn’t think college was for me until someone actually started believing in me,” says 18-year-old Jessica Willis, one of 10 Centennial students who participate in the weekly program at Lewis & Clark. Willis now has 50 college credits and hopes to attend Lewis & Clark as an undergraduate this fall. “Now I can help other alternative school students realize they’re capable of college too.”

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