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We are pleased to note that for the 2011-2012 school year, College Forward filled 100% of our open program management positions (three High School Program Managers and one College Persistence Program Manager) with former AmeriCorps State members who have previously worked one-on-one with our students as College Coaches and College Persistence Coaches. College Forward has been a beneficiary of AmeriCorps support through the Corporation for National and Community Service and OneStar Foundation for eight years, and our organization has been shaped and improved by the intelligent, enthusiastic, and committed members who have served here. In 2011-2012, we are honored to sponsor 52 AmeriCorps State members, without whose dedication we would not be able to serve our students with our trademark quality and cost-effectiveness.
Lisa Fielder, CEO and Co-Founder of College Forward, B.A. Trinity University, M.Arch Rice University.
With a lifelong commitment to educational equity and a genuine affection for teenagers, Lisa's passion for leading low-income and first-generation students to college degrees has changed the lives of nearly 3,000 young Texans. Named Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011, Lisa also founded the Austin College Access Network with the facilitation of E3 Alliance, and was named a "Local Hero" in 2006 by the Bank of America Foundation for innovations in education access. As CEO of College Forward, Lisa focuses on strategic planning and leadership to support the design, implementation, and management of all programs that support the "CoFo" mission.
Greg Bellush, Chief Operations Officer, B.A. Miami University, M.B.A. Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Greg has shared his passion of the CoFo mission through his position on the Board of Directors since 2010. Prior to joining as a full-time employee, Greg was the Controller for Latin America for the Consumer business at Dell. He has assisted multinational corporations such as Dell and Continental Airlines with their finance management and pricing strategies. Between his undergraduate and graduate terms, Greg volunteered for two years with the U.S. Peace Corps.
Erica Gordon, Program Director, B.A. Sam Houston State University, M.S. Texas Christian University.
After six years as a successful software consultant, Erica decided to follow her passion for working with underserved communities by becoming an AmeriCorps member at College Forward. She served as a College Coach in 2008-2009, initiating several new projects and forming close relationships with her students at Del Valle High School, before joining the permanent staff as a High School Program Manager. After two years in this role, Erica was asked to manage special initiatives for the organization and more recently was promoted to Program Director. Erica enjoys volunteering in the community and has been involved with Special Olympics and the Boys and Girls Club.
Tom Young, Houston Site Director, B.A. Brevard College
As an AmeriCorps State member, Tom served with College Forward for two terms as a College Coach at Del Valle High School from 2009-2011. In his third year at College Forward, Tom joined the permanent staff to continue serving College Forward's Central Texas high school students as a High School Program Manager. Following his success in this role, Tom was promoted to our Houston Site Director in 2012 to lead programs and operations at our first expansion site. Prior to joining College Forward, Tom studied business and organizational leadership with an emphasis on management and entrepreneurship at Brevard College in North Carolina and also played on Brevard's men's basketball team. As a College Coach, Tom initiated a student athlete advising project for College Forward students who wanted to play sports at multiple NCAA division levels.
Carl Searles, Controller, B.B.A. University of Texas at Austin.
Carl has over twenty years of accounting experience within nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including seven years owning his own firm. He serves as Vice-President of Corporate Relations for the National Association of Black Accountants and is involved with the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Austin Chapter of Certified Public Accountants. His proudest endeavor, however, has been that of father and husband. He joined us in 2009 as College Forward’s first Controller, overseeing the financial and operational management and internal controls of the organization through effective and efficient system design, development, maintenance, and reporting.
Ray Blue, Chief Development Officer, B.S., University of North Carolina at Asheville, M.Div., Emory University
Originally from North Carolina, Ray moved to Austin in December of 2000 and immediately decided he was home. Prior to joining College Forward, Ray served as Senior Development Director at Dell Children's Medical Center Foundation and as Vice President of Development at United Way Capital Area. With over fifteen years of front-line experience in fundraising, strategic planning, and volunteer management, Ray brings a wide range of experience to his role at College Forward. He also serves on the board of directors for the Girls School of Austin and Hearts of Austin. Away from the office, you will find him working in the yard with his wife Sally and daughter Ruby, picking the guitar, fly fishing or running. His favorite color is green.
Austin Buchan, College Success Initiatives Manager, B.A. Trinity University.
Austin joined College Forward in April 2010 after serving as Program Manager and Community Organizer for the Solentiname Solidarity Alliance, a non-profit organization in rural Nicaragua. While in Nicaragua, Austin helped develop and implement a college preparation and persistence program for highly motivated, low income students. Apart from his non-profit work, Austin has experience in managing and organizing national political campaigns in Boston, MA and Boulder, CO. Austin served as College Persistence Program Manager from 2010-2011, and recently joined College Forward痴 new special initiatives team.
Monica Glasgow, Human Resources Generalist, B.A. Texas A&M University at College Station.
Monica joined College Forward after working for five years with at-risk youth in the Job Corps Program. While there, she served on the Risk Management and Outreach/Admissions Committees. As a first generation college graduate, Monica has extensive knowledge and understanding of the obstacles many of College Forward’s students face. Monica has a Professional of Human Resources (PHR) certification and is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). As the Human Resources Generalist, Monica works with other departments at College Forward to ensure the smooth functioning of the central office.
Andy Bedard, Technology Coordinator, B.A. University of Maine
Andy first joined College Forward in 2009 as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member, performing IT functions during his year of service. After leaving, he attended law school at Western New England School of Law for a year, then moved back to Austin and rejoined College Forward痴 staff as the Technology Coordinator. Andy studied Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Maine. His heroes include Tom Brady and Angus King, former governor of Maine.
Scott Del Rossi, Sustainability Manager, Bachelor of Architecture, Philadelphia University
Scott was a two-term AmeriCorps member at College Forward, serving from 2009 to 2011 as a College Persistence Coach, before joining the staff in summer 2011 as Sustainability and Process Manager. Prior to coming to College Forward, from 2007 to 2009, he worked for two different architectural firms as an intern architect. An active soccer player, Scott helps coach a number of youth soccer teams in the community.
Jessica DeGrado, College Completion Program Manager, B.A., Florida Atlantic University
Jessica first came to College Forward as an AmeriCorps College Persistence Coach and after two years in this role, was promoted to Program Manager. Over the course of her term as an AmeriCorps member, Jessica led the development of CoFo's Campus Mentor Program and grew it from 0 to 13 campuses in just 3 years, now engaging 56 mentors and over 220 mentees at universities across the nation. Jessica has represented CoFo at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service and in between successfully getting students from 2- to 4-year colleges; you can always find her cheering on her favorite team, the Miami Heat.
Chad Mann, Completion Program Manager, B.A. University of Idaho
In pursuit of his passion for college access and students, Chad moved to Austin in 2011 to serve CoFo as an AmeriCorps member. Over the last year, Chad has taken a lead role at CoFo and has been involved with the Austin College Access Network, has been a contributing member of the College Access for Undocumented Students Task Force (CAUST), and spearheaded the creation of the Place-bound Student Advising Committee (PSAC). Through PSAC, Chad has created an advising guide for place-bound students. In his spare time, Chad has followed his passion for the field of Sports for Development & Peace and will be presenting his research/thesis at the International Sociology of Sport Association World Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, in July 2012.
Lauren Contreras, High School Program Manager, B.A., Southwestern University, M.Ed., Harvard Graduate School of Education
After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Southwestern University in 2007, Lauren served with College Forward as a College Persistence Coach for two AmeriCorps State terms from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, she earned her master’s degree from the prestigious Higher Education Master’s Program at Harvard University and then served as Project Specialist at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, during the 2010-2011 academic year. Lauren gained valuable experience working on the opposite end of the higher education spectrum, but was excited to return to College Forward to once again serve our Central Texas students.
Martisha Smith, High School Program Manager, B.S.W., University of Texas at Arlington
With a degree in social work and nearly five years as Youth Services Coordinator with Communities in Schools in Tyler, Tish came to College Forward as an AmeriCorps College Coach in the 2009-2010 school year. After her AmeriCorps term, she became a Family Case Manager with the Salvation Army, working with homeless parents and their children. In summer 2011, Tish returned to College Forward to lead a team of AmeriCorps College Coaches as a High School Program Manager.
Erica Martin, High School Program Manager, B.A., Occidental College
While still in college, Erica served as an after-school youth coordinator for at-risk students. Her zeal for this line of work is what drove her to seek out CoFo as an AmeriCorps member. After serving two years in one of east Austin's toughest high schools, Erica joined the staff as a College Access Manager. As a first-generation graduate herself, Erica connects with the CoFo mission and excels in showing students how to become their own advocates.
College Forward has been a beneficiary of AmeriCorps support through the Corporation for National and Community Service since 2003; we are, in fact, an organization that has largely been created by the intelligent, enthusiastic, and committed members who have served here. To learn more, visit our AmeriCorps page.
In addition to AmeriCorps positions, College Forward occasionally offers college work-study opportunities. If you are interested in a work-study position with College Forward, please contact us at email@example.com