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2018 Gala Honors Stephanie Campbell and alumni working in the Inland Empire

Bright Prospect’s 2018 Annual Gala took place on April 20th at the beautiful Padua Hills Theatre in Claremont, California, where 250 guests enjoyed spectacular natural and city views.  That night, we celebrated the retirement of founding Executive Director Stephanie Campbell, who served Bright Prospect students for 16 years, and honored over 90 Bright Prospect alumni who work in the Inland Empire region, 30 of whom attended the event. We heard inspiring speeches from Bright Prospect alumni Jason Cordova, Director of Education and Workforce Development for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, and from Julianna Gomez-Anton, Assistant Director of Admissions at Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.  Many community partners gave video testimonials thanking Stephanie for her years of tireless dedication and the impact she has had on hundreds of Bright Prospect alumni from the region. She has not only helped underprivileged students achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals, but uplifted them, their families and communities as well. Thank you Stephanie, and we wish you well in your years of retirement.

Posted in News | View Post
University of La Verne Student Aspires to Medical School

 
Bright Prospect college student Silvestre Sanchez was born in El Monte, California to a single mother who struggled financially. At the age of 10, Silvestre and his mother moved to Pomona so they could be closer to his grandparents. His mother worked two jobs in order to give him the necessities and then some; the only thing she asked of him was to focus on his education so that he could provide a better life for his children. Silvestre dreamed about attending college but didn’t know how to get there. Then, during his sophomore year at Palomares Academy of Health Sciences, Silvestre met a few staff members from Bright Prospect. That allowed him to realize his dreams and goals to fruition, and led him on the path he is today. Bright Prospect guided him through the entire college application process, such as applying to various colleges, obtaining financial aid, and helping him decide which campus to attend.
 
After graduating from high school in the spring of 2014, Silvestre enrolled at the University of La Verne a few months later as an International Business major. However, during his second year of school, he changed his major to Biology because his younger brother’s premature birth inspired him to go into the medical field.  Silvestre struggled during his first year as a Biology major, but found a life and academic mentor in Dr. Jerome Garcia. Dr. Garcia saw his potential and offered him an opportunity to join his research lab to study physiological biochemistry. Silvestre is also collaborating with Mr. Decker at Keck Graduate Institute on a project that focuses on immune cell differentiation. The goal of the project is to determine the key proteins that regulate cell differentiation to target for immune therapies such as tissue-immune system communication and tumor regression. In the fall of 2017, he presented his findings at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research
 
Conducting medical research has been challenging yet satisfying for Silvestre because he has been able to work on projects that have the potential to help humanity. His other recent accomplishments include publishing an article on mitochondrial remodeling in the February 2018 edition of "Federation of European Biochemical Societies" Journal and working as a teaching assistant in the physiology and developmental biology department at the university. Silvestre also attended the Society of Toxicology Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, where he met world renowned Toxicologists, attended research presentations, and engaged in discussions regarding the future of research models. In his spare time, he volunteers at Queen of the Valley Hospital working with doctors and physician assistants in several departments. Silvestre is expected to graduate from the University of La Verne in the spring of 2018 and will be applying to MD and MD-PhD programs in the summer of 2018.

Posted in College Students | View Post
Bright Prospect College Student Interns at Hillcrest Retirement Community
 
Yasmin Chavez is an example of an ambitious Bright Prospect college student getting a head start on her career by taking advantage of opportunities that have come her way. She graduated from Ontario High School in 2015 and enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona as a Business Administration major with an emphasis in Management and Human Resources. Every year since the summer of 2015, the Bright Prospect College team has organized a weeklong event called Professional Development Week to expose college students to the professional working world by organizing workshops on interviewing, networking, resume writing, job searching, and more.

Yasmin attended Professional Development Week in the summer of 2016, and was invited back in the summer of 2017 to attend a different company tour and participate in the networking session. She attended the tour at Hillcrest Retirement Community in La Verne, where she met its CEO (and Bright Prospect board member) Matthew Neeley. Yasmin needed to complete a Human Resources Internship during her third year of school in order to graduate from Cal Poly within four years, so she reached out to Mr. Neeley for help. Mr. Neeley provided her the contact information to his Human Resources Department, where she now interns.  Yasmin enjoys working at Hillcrest due to the welcoming environment and has gained skills and experience she can apply to her professional career. As a result of the internship, she has found her passion and sees a future career in Human Resources after she graduates from Cal Poly Pomona next year. Yasmin is grateful to Bright Prospect for opening doors for her, and encourages other Bright Prospect students to take advantage of programming such as Professional Development Week and Career Exploration Day to further their professional goals. 
 

 
Posted in College Students | View Post
Sophomores Connect at Natural History Museum


One hundred and thirty-six Bright Prospect sophomores went on a Cultural Crew Connect to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County on Saturday, February 10th.  Crew Connects are a great opportunity for Crew members to bond with each other, meet students from neighboring high schools, and learn soft skills such as cooperation and peer relationship building. The Natural History Museum features the diversity of the natural and cultural world, so students interested in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and local history could find an exhibit that suited their interests. Crew members enjoyed a picnic lunch on the front lawn while their Crew Leader debriefed them on what to expect during the excursion. Students were tasked with writing down three interesting facts from each level of the museum, and set out on a mission to find all their sophomores coaches within one hour to take a photo with them. Afterwards, the crew members had an opportunity to explore the museum on their own.  Some of the exhibits the participants enjoyed included the Dinosaur Lab, the Becoming Los Angeles exhibit, the Gem and Mineral hall, and the different mammal halls grouped by continent.  At the end of the day, the sophomores came away with a fun, educational experience along with newfound memories.
 

Posted in High School Students | View Post
Junior Cultural Crew Connect at LACMA



Each year, Bright Prospect takes students on various excursions to art museums and concerts to expose them to the fine arts. Bright Prospect nurtures not only students’ academic development, but their social and emotional development as well, so that once they graduate from college they become well-rounded citizens.  On January 27, 180 Bright Prospect high school juniors went on a “Cultural Crew Connect” to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cultural Crew Connects are an opportunity for crew members to bond with each other and meet students from neighboring high schools.  Participants enjoyed a picnic lunch organized by their fellow Crew members, and the Crew Leaders debriefed their Crew members about what they learned at the last Crew Leader training. After lunch, the Crew Leaders led their Crew on a tour to find four recommended art pieces to look at. One of the students’ favorite exhibits was the Latin American Art exhibit because they had an opportunity to see pieces featured from countries their family members hailed from.  After the tour, crew members were free to explore the museum on their own. This year is the 10th anniversary of the popular art installation “Urban Light”, which features 202 restored, cast iron antique street lamps on display outside the museum.  It is a prime spot for professional and amateur photo sessions, and the students had an enjoyable time taking pictures, as seen here.
 

Posted in High School Students | View Post
Old-New Reunion 2017

 
One of the amazing opportunities for students in Bright Prospect is getting support and advice from the older students in the program – the ones who are just ahead of them in their college journey.  The annual Old-New Reunion is one of the best examples of this ethic of college students giving back to younger students from our community. The event is also a good opportunity for high school students to network with their upperclassmen peers (and possible future crew members), as well as to meet and bond with new staff members. On December 21, 45 college students came to the Village Conference Center to share their experiences with 85 high school seniors who recently completed the college application process.
 
At the Old-New Reunion, high school seniors are put in small discussion circles with students who are attending the types of institutions they are most likely to attend, such as community colleges, Cal States, UCs, and private schools.  They get a chance to meet students who attend the colleges they just applied to and ask questions about their college experiences. Topics for discussion included academics, financial aid, housing, studying abroad, working, social life, and adjusting to college life. Students also had the chance to take fun and festive photos at our custom photo booth with their old and new friends. At the end of the event, the high school seniors came away with reinforced confidence that older Bright Prospect students will be a resource for them at their college, and new insights to help them make the choice of which college to attend. We’re looking forward to hearing about those decisions at our College Decision Day events in May – stay tuned! 
 
Posted in News | View Post
Pitzer Preview Day 2017


One of the things Bright Prospect does is to expose our top high school juniors (those with a GPA of 3.8 and above) with the options of attending a selective liberal arts college.  Luckily, students don’t have to travel far to get a liberal arts college experience, since we have a cluster of those right in our backyard- the Claremont Colleges. The Claremont Colleges is a consortium of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges that includes Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College.
               
On Saturday, November 4th, 34 of our juniors attended a Bright Prospect event at Pitzer College called Pitzer Preview Day. The students who were invited to attend were all deemed private college eligible, due to their outstanding academic record. This event was a chance for current high school juniors to hear directly from Pitzer admissions officers, students, professors, and to familiarize themselves with the private college application process. Activities for the day included a campus tour, a mock class, a session on the private college application process, a college student panel composed of Pitzer students from Bright Prospect, and brunch at McConnell Dining Hall.

 Many Bright Prospect staff members and alumni graduated from private colleges, which generally offer several advantages, including excellent financial aid and the opportunity for personal growth by studying out of state and interacting with a broad range of exceptional students who come from all parts of the country and the world.  





Posted in News | View Post
A Fighter for Equity in Education

Chinedu Udeh, a Bright Prospect alumna, has been committed to the cause of equity in education ever since she and her twin brother had to persuade their high school counselor to allow them to take honors and AP classes so that they could be UC eligible, since not everyone was allowed to have access to those classes.

Now Chinedu is an Assistant Principal at an elementary school in Los Angeles, where she defines her primary role as “focusing on ensuring that the systems at my school provide all 560 students access to an equitable, transformative education.”

Chinedu joined Bright Prospect while attending Ontario High School. Through the program, she received assistance in understanding financial aid and the college application process, as well as exposure to many different colleges and universities that she hadn’t heard of.

Chinedu graduated from Ontario High School in 2008, and with Bright Prospect’s support, she attended Dartmouth College.  At Dartmouth, she majored in History and minored in Public Policy with an emphasis on education. When Chinedu studied abroad in Barcelona and London, she was able to see how the issues of race, class, and gender affected individuals' opportunities and outcomes in different parts of the world.

In 2012, Chinedu graduated from Dartmouth cum laude, grateful for her college experiences and knowing that she wanted to work in social justice. Through the Teach for America program, Chinedu was placed as a teacher at an inner-city school in Tulsa, Oklahoma for two years.  She was extremely dedicated to the well-being of her students and was much appreciated by their parents. Wanting to be back in California and closer to family, Chinedu moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and started working as a 4th grade teacher in South Los Angeles.  Once again, her dedication to her students shone through and she became an Assistant Principal at the school. This past August, Chinedu earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University in Educational Leadership, and will use the knowledge she has gained towards her career and in service to her students.

Chinedu is grateful for the guidance Bright Prospect provided her, and for opening up her eyes to the different opportunities in the world she didn’t know existed. She understands the struggle for equitable access to education, and wants to help students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds similar to hers.


Posted in Alumni | View Post
SoCal College Tour 2017

Every year during the fall, our senior and college teams take Bright Prospect high school seniors on a Southern California College tour so the students can visit local campuses and get a sense of the college experience when deciding which schools to apply to. On Saturday, October 14th, the staff took 40 students divided into two tour groups; one group went to Cal State San Bernardino and UC Riverside, and the other group went to Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. The students went on campus tours led by Bright Prospect college students currently attending those campuses. Participants also had an opportunity to pose questions to the college students (and possibly their future college crew members!) related to academics, social life, living on campus, extracurricular activities, and their college experience.  
 
Posted in News | View Post
Sophomore-Junior Crew Connect Fall 2017

On Saturday, October 14, 230 Bright Prospect high school juniors and sophomores convened at Ganesha Park in Pomona for the annual fall Sophomore-Junior “Crew Connect”. At each high school that Bright Prospect serves, Bright Prospect students self-organize into “crews” of two to six members. The mission of each crew member is to support each other in achieving their common goal of college attendance and graduation, as well as provide social and emotional support. Each crew has a leader who goes through a monthly leadership training program to develop the crew leader’s leadership, promote a community mindset, and share knowledge with their crew.

Monthly crew-related programming focuses on broadening students’ perspectives and building life skills through activities that require students to use initiative, planning, organization, communication and follow-through. The Crew Connect is an event where crew members strengthen their connections to each other and form new friendships across high schools and grade levels through games and team building activities. For lunch, the students enjoyed a meal from the TK Burgers truck. We’d like to thank all the students for participating that day, in addition to the staff and volunteers for their time and hard work. At the end of the day, the students went home with great memories and new friends. 
 


Posted in High School Students | View Post
Second Bright Prospect Alumnus to Earn Ph.D. Degree

Like many other Bright Prospect students, Charles grew up in an economically disadvantaged household. His family struggled to afford simple necessities such as clothing, a working vehicle, and rent on the family’s mobile home. Even though other students constantly teased him about his low income status, he didn’t let it interfere with achieving his goals. Charles wanted to attend college, but his family was unsure of which steps to take, and that’s when Bright Prospect came into the picture.

Bright Prospect guided Charles through the college application process and informed him of all the different opportunities he had access to. For example, before he joined Bright Prospect, Charles thought attending a small, private liberal arts college was financially out of reach for him. With Bright Prospect’s help, Charles attended Williams College in Massachusetts on a full scholarship after graduating from Don Lugo High School in Chino in 2007. In 2011, Charles graduated from Williams College with a bachelor’s in Chemistry, and enrolled in the Chemistry Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin.

At UT Austin, Charles spent a few years studying new ways of creating traditionally hard-to-manufacture pharmaceuticals. During his Ph.D. program, Charles found employment at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee studying separations chemistry, which includes new ways of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This past spring, Charles graduated with his Ph.D. in Chemistry and now works at MilliporeSigma, where he custom manufactures specialty chemicals for researchers around the world.  He credits Bright Prospect as being pivotal to his success during his undergraduate and graduate years.
Posted in Alumni | View Post
Professional Development Week Prepares Bright Prospect College Students for the Workforce

For the past three years, Bright Prospect’s College Team has planned Professional Development Week in order to prepare our college students to transition into the workforce. The idea for Professional Development Week was born when members of Bright Prospect’s Business Advisory Council remarked that many college graduates they’ve encountered lack both the hard and soft skills necessary to thrive in the professional world. In addition, some of the staff stated that they wished they had access to career-related resources while they were still in college, and did not want their students to lack such advice.
 
This year, Professional Development Week was held from August 8th to 10th. The three day series of workshops was open to all Bright Prospect college students from all institutions (community college, Cal State, UC, private school) and years, and they ranged from incoming first years to students who had recently graduated from college.
Workshops were presented by Bright Prospect staff, board members and local professionals.  Topics included: conducting a professional job search, writing resumes and cover letters, networking, preparing for an interview, understanding an employment offer, and financial literacy. An HR panel comprised of local professionals from Boeing, Hillcrest, and Fairplex discussed the qualities hiring managers look for in applicants, interview preparation, and company benefits and culture. The staff put on a fun fashion show to showcase the different types of appropriate – and inappropriate – outfits to wear on an interview. They explained the differences between casual, business casual, and business professional attire, and the expectations for different industries. The students also had an opportunity to take a professional headshot for LinkedIn, practice their interviewing skills, have their resumes reviewed by staff, and practice tie-tying.

The students read and discussed an article titled “How Liberal Arts Graduates Can Improve Their Labor Market Prospects,” which makes the case that if liberal arts majors attain proficiency in any of eight skill sets (computer programming, graphic design, sales, marketing, business, data analysis, IT networking and social media), they will double the number of entry level positions they would qualify for.  Students reflected on which of these skills resonated most with them and how they could further develop those skills.  

On the last day, small groups of students each went on a tour of a work site in the community, including Technip, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Hillcrest Retirement Community, Casa Colina, Inter Valley Health Plan, and Pomona City Hall. The tours gave the students insight into different types of careers available in a complex agency and the skills required for them. Professional Development Week culminated in a networking session, which gave the students a chance to practice their networking skills with local professionals from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and State Senator Connie Leyva’s office, among many others. We’d like to thank all the local professionals and board members who volunteered their time as workshop presenters and as participants in the networking session. 
 

Posted in College Students | View Post
Bright Prospect Alumnus Crunches Big Data at Buzzfeed

Ryan Mei is an example of a Bright Prospect alum who worked for a while out of state but moved back to the L.A. area as soon as he could.

Ryan’s story is remarkable.  He moved to the U.S. from China at the age of 16 knowing no English. His family was low-income, and one year his parents couldn’t even afford a birthday card so his mother ripped out a sheet of paper from a notebook and wrote “Happy Birthday” on it. To this day, he still carries it around with him in his wallet to remind him of his humble beginnings.

Within a few years Ryan mastered English and got perfect 800 scores on the math SAT and SAT2 tests. He was a valued member of the Academic Decathlon team the year the focus was on China!  Ryan graduated number three in his Ontario High School class.

With Bright Prospect’s support, Ryan attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He studied abroad in Germany, and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Economics and German Studies. After graduating from Dartmouth, Ryan spent five years working back east in data analytics in the corporate world, at Liberty Mutual. He moved to Los Angeles and worked for Red Bull.  Ryan recently accepted a position at Buzzfeed, where he leverages analytics to advise business strategies in order to drive viewership and engagement.

Without the help of Bright Prospect, Ryan would not be where he is today. Bright Prospect provided financial assistance for his college applications and provided resources his parents could not afford. This includes networking with college admission officers, reviewing his personal statement, and exposing him to selective private colleges.

In his spare time, Ryan writes for his personal finance blog geared towards millennials. His aim is to help other young people achieve their financial freedom, whether it’s paying down debt, helping out their parents, increasing their credit score, or achieving the homeownership dream. You can follow Ryan’s blog here: https://www.dollarsandsensela.com.

 

Posted in Alumni | View Post
Summer Academy 2017: Our Biggest One to Date


After many weeks of intense preparation by staff and 50 student volunteers, Bright Prospect welcomed its newest cohort of students at this year’s Summer Academy!  The week- long annual event is an introduction for rising high school sophomores and juniors to the Bright Prospect program and to the benefits and experience of going to college.
Summer Academy 2017 was held at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont from July 24th to 28th, and was attended by 220 enthusiastic students.  The week began with a Monday evening parent meeting to introduce the staff, familiarize the students’ parents with the Bright Prospect program and the benefits a college education can provide. Many of our parents had very limited access to education themselves, and as a result are unfamiliar with the college application process or even that financial aid exists.

Throughout the week, students participated in workshops such as what colleges look for in an applicant, financial aid and scholarships, an introduction to the different types of institutions such as community colleges, private liberal arts colleges, Cal States, and UCs, setting goals and personal growth, and building a Crew support team. Twenty Bright Prospect college students have spent their summer volunteering for Bright Prospect, and Summer Academy wouldn’t have been possible without them. The college volunteers served as tour guides leading the high school students around the different campuses within the Claremont Consortium such as Pomona College, Scripps College, and Claremont McKenna. Summer Academy participants also had the opportunity to ask the college volunteers about their experiences as part of the College Life Student Panel on topics such as paying for college, living on campus, academics, and social life.
Summer Academy is also an opportunity for students from the eight different high schools Bright Prospect serves in Pomona and Ontario to become comfortable meeting new peers.

The staff planned activities such as a scavenger hunt, a networking speed-meeting, and a game called “The Value of a College Education.” In this game, students from different schools were put into small groups and had to make budget choices for housing, transportation, food and entertainment based first on the wages of a worker without a college education, and then based on a salary earned by a professional with a four year degree, to impress upon the students that “the more you learn, the more you earn.” On Thursday, participants were treated to a field trip to Los Angeles, since many students lack the opportunity to venture far outside Pomona and the surrounding community. They went to the California Science Center, had a picnic dinner at the Hollywood Bowl, and ended the evening there with a classical music concert under the stars. Bright Prospect makes it a priority to take the students to different cultural outings to broaden their worldview and interests, and to help them develop into well rounded citizens in the future.

On Friday, participants broke into small groups by gender for the Young Women’s and Young Men’s Voices discussion, where they opened up about what motivated them to go to college. Quite a few students told emotional stories about their parents’ struggles and how that motivated them to achieve higher education so they can provide for themselves and their families in the future. Other students talked about making their parents proud and taking advantages of educational opportunities their parents didn’t have access to growing up. After Summer Academy, students will attend Bright Prospect programming at their respective high schools when school begins in the fall.

The staff would like to give a big thank you to our donors who make our programming possible, and to the hardworking college and high school volunteers who helped make Summer Academy 2017 a success!

Posted in High School Students | View Post
Career Exploration Day comes to Bright Prospect
          
    

One of Bright Prospect’s annual programming events is Career Exploration Day, which gives high school and college students an opportunity to learn about different careers by meeting local professionals from a variety of industries. The event, held on July 11, also gave the students a chance to practice and polish their networking skills, which will prove useful in the future when they search for employment. A plus is that many of our students and alumni have gained internships and employment through the connections made at Bright Prospect events such as Career Exploration Day and Professional Development Week.  In addition to the networking session, there were three different breakout sessions, with eleven speakers representing diverse industries such as education, counseling, political consulting, information technology, and operations.

Notable speakers included our own Greg Gillam, Director of Development at Bright Prospect; Peter Muhn, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Bright Prospect alum; and Ruth Doane, a software engineer at Google. During the breakout sessions the speakers shared knowledge and insight they’ve gained throughout their lives and professional careers. Some of the topics the speakers touched upon included what a typical day at work is like, challenges they’ve faced, what they like and dislike about their work, and how they got started in their fields. Bright Prospect would like to thank all the guest speakers who took time out of their busy schedules to come and impart words of encouragement and wisdom to our students!


Posted in News | View Post
Pre-College Retreat prepares Bright Prospect students for college
From high school seniors at College Decision Day to rising college first years
 

 
Pre-College Retreat is an important event because it bridges the transition from high school to college and gives rising college freshmen an opportunity to meet their college coaches and college crew. Unlike high school crews, in which students form their own crews, college crews consist of all Bright Prospect students who attend the same campus. To provide additional support, the Bright Prospect staff aims to keep students’ parents informed about programming and expectations during their son or daughter’s tenure in Bright Prospect. From June 19 to 23, Bright Prospect held its Pre-College Retreat at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. On the first day, the senior and college team held a parent meeting on what parents can expect when their child attends college in the fall. Topics of discussion included healthy communications, financial aid, Bright Prospect support in college, campus resources, a breakout session divided into commuters and non-commuters, and a Q&A session.

On the students’ first day, there were a few icebreakers and team bonding activities for the students to get to know one another, since many do not know Bright Prospect students from other high schools. One activity was called “Finding Your Crew”, and each student was assigned a different animal sound according to their college campus. The goal was for participants to find all of their crew members by making their crew sound while blindfolded. Many students reported that their favorite activities during the retreat were the scavenger hunt, No-Talent Talent Show (in which each crew performed a skit) and the Crew Affect, which involved participants anonymously tapping others seated in a large circle if they fit certain characteristics such as confidence, resilience, intelligence, generosity, etc.

Workshops held throughout the week included: Financial Literacy, the Bright Prospect Scholarship, Healthy Communications, Strengths & Careers, Health (drugs, alcohol and sexuality) and Mental Health (depression, stress, and anxiety). College coaches also went over topics such as how to access campus resources, what to expect during their first year, and how to make the best out of their summer. There were also breakout sessions so students could have their needs addressed according to institution (community college, UC, Cal State, and private school) and to commuters and non-commuters. On the last day, students were treated to a trip to Huntington Beach in order to further bond with their crew and college coaches. Activities included an allotment for free time, along with a crew sandcastle building competition. There was a unanimous consensus that this year’s Pre-College Retreat was the best to date according to student and staff feedback, with 180 students in attendance!

 
Posted in College Students | View Post
200 Students Attend Senior Day

Even though school is out, Bright Prospect is still busy buzzing with summer programming.  One such event helps former high school juniors transition into their senior year of high school.  On Senior Day, held on June 13, rising Bright Prospect high school seniors met their senior year coaches, with their junior year coaches helping facilitate the transition. The activities included a New Friends Bingo icebreaker for students to get to know students in the program who attend other schools. Senior team coaches Edgar Arreola, Karen Beckers, Chris Brown, and Jimmy Sanchez introduced themselves and went over the milestones and expectations of senior year, which included expected conduct and an academic calendar of important deadlines. Other presentation topics included standardized tests such as the SAT, types of institutions, majors, college research, college lists, and financial aid. 
Posted in High School Students | View Post
College Decision Days 2017 Recap

One of the most exciting (and stressful!) times during a high school senior’s year is deciding which college or university to attend in the fall, and is the right fit for them academically, personally, and financially. But then...it's time to celebrate that choice! During the week of May 12th to 19th, Bright Prospect held our series of College Decision Days at the nine high schools we serve in Pomona and Ontario. This year, 275 high school seniors are graduating and will move on to the next chapter in their lives.

The seniors announced their college decision in front of their peers, family members, school and district staff and administrators, special guests, and the Bright Prospect staff. They expressed many emotions during their speeches ranging from nervousness to pride and gratitude, and they thanked those who helped them overcome obstacles along the way. Many thanked their parents for supporting them and their teachers, counselors, and Bright Prospect coaches for guiding and believing in them. This year, Bright Prospect students were accepted into schools including Pitzer College, Swarthmore College, Princeton University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, University of La Verne, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton, Georgetown University, and Carnegie Mellon University, along with many other UC's, Cal States and community colleges. Bright Prospect would like to congratulate the graduating class of 2017 on their accomplishments! We will be there for them throughout their college years and wish them much success in their journeys. 



Posted in High School Students, Students' Achievement | View Post
Bright Prospect College Decision Days Are Approaching

Eight years ago, Bright Prospect started College Decision Days based on College Signing Days, where high school athletes announced which college they will attend in the fall.

This year, our series of events runs from May 15 to May 19. At each of our high schools, our graduating seniors announce their college choice to fellow Bright Prospect students, staff, parents, school personnel, and distinguished guests. Please come help our seniors celebrate their accomplishments and welcome the next exciting chapter of their lives. If you didn't attend last year, click here to view a recap video. 

This is an occasion where the students express what going to college will mean in their lives, and they thank those who helped them along this path. Below are the dates, times, and locations where College Decision Days will take place. If you're new to Bright Prospect and are interested in attending, please email Teresa at teresa@brightprospect.org to RSVP. We request that you arrive 15-20 minutes early before each event, and bring plenty of Kleenex, because you'll hear some very moving stories. 
 

Monday, May 15th

10:00 AM


Fremont Academy of Engineering & Design; 725 W. Franklin Ave. Pomona CA 91766

1:30 PM

Garey High School; 321 W. Lexington Ave. Pomona, CA 91766  


Tuesday, May 16th:

9:25 AM

Ganesha High School;1151 Fairplex Dr. Pomona, CA 91768

2:20 PM

Village Academy; The Village Movie Theater, Entrance 3, 1460 E. Holt Ave. Pomona, CA 91767

 

Wednesday, May 17th:

10:40 AM

Diamond Ranch High School; 100 Diamond Ranch Rd. Pomona, CA 91766

2:30 PM

Pomona High School; 475 Bangor St. Pomona, CA 91767


Thursday, May 18th 10:45 AM

Palomares Academy of Health Sciences; 2211 N. Orange Grove Ave. Pomona, CA 91767


Friday, May 19th 3:00 PM

Ontario High School; 901 W. Francis St, Ontario, CA 91762


Posted in High School Students | View Post
Bright Prospect 2017 Annual Gala a Huge Success


It was a night filled with excitement and inspiration. Approximately 300 civic dignitaries, business leaders, and community supporters gathered last Friday, April 7, to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of 16 Bright Prospect alumni working in the technology, engineering, and architecture fields at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona.

Alumni honorees Sahara Ibarra, an engineer at TechnipFMC in Claremont, and Anne Nguyen, assistant planner for the city of La Habra, told how Bright Prospect changed the trajectory of their lives and helped them overcome the obstacles placed before them. Jeroen Snjder, VP/General Manager of TechnipFMC and an industry honoree at the event, revealed how TechnipFMC’s objective used to be making a profit, but now he also prioritizes giving back to the community. He credited Bright Prospect with opening his eyes, saying he has been very impressed with the three Bright Prospect alumni currently working at TechnipFMC. Brian Staton, President/CEO of HMC Architects, was also honored at the Gala. “I am proud to support Bright Prospect because the mission of HMC Architects is to partner with clients and communities to serve the greater good, and HMC does this by specializing in designing schools and hospitals,” declared Mr. Staton.

Miguel Santana, President/CEO of Fairplex, spoke to the audience about how he sees himself in the students Bright Prospect serves, coming from a similar background of low income, immigrant parents. Like TechnipFMC, Fairplex also employs three Bright Prospect alumni. The 2017 Annual Gala was Bright Prospect’s most successful, highest-attended event to date. Along with our entire community, we congratulate all our alumni on their accomplishments and wish them nothing but continued success on their professional and personal journeys moving forward. We thank all of our past donors who made their achievements possible!
 
Posted in Alumni | View Post
Bright Prospect Sophomores Go to The Getty Center
On February 11, 150 high school sophomores in Bright Prospect boarded buses to the Getty Center for a fun-filled day of art exploration, and enjoyed a picnic among the lovely sculpture gardens.








Posted in High School Students | View Post
Bright Prospect High School Juniors Go to LACMA



Each year, Bright Prospect takes students on excursions to art museums and concerts to familiarize them with forms of art that they might not have been exposed to. Bright Prospect nurtures not only students’ academic development, but their social development as well, including this type of cultural experience, so they will take advantage of similar opportunities while in college.  On January 28, 150 Bright Prospect high school juniors went on a “Cultural Crew Connect” to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cultural Crew Connects are an opportunity for crew members to bond with each other in addition to meeting students from other Bright Prospect high schools.  Crew Leaders received special training prior to the trip to prepare them to lead their crew members on a scavenger hunt to find four previously researched art pieces, and lead a discussion after providing background information on each piece. Students enjoyed a picnic lunch, after which the students were free to explore the museum on their own. One popular exhibit at LACMA is “Urban Light”, which features 202 restored, cast iron antique street lamps on display outside the museum, and is a prime photography spot, as can be seen here. 



Posted in High School Students | View Post
335 College Students and High School Seniors Converse at Old-New Reunion 2016

One of the greatest benefits for students of being in Bright Prospect is getting support and advice from the older students in the program – the ones who are just ahead of them in their path to and through college.  The annual Old-New Reunion is one of the best examples of this ethic of giving back, and of helping younger students from our community succeed in their goals.  On December 20, 131 college students came to the Village Conference Center to share their experiences and advice with 204 Bright Prospect high school seniors who had just completed the college application process. At the Old-New Reunion, the high school seniors are put in small discussion circles with students who are attending the type of institutions they are most likely to attend, such as community colleges, Cal States, UCs, and private and out of state schools.  They get a chance to meet students who attend the colleges they just applied to and ask questions about their college experiences. Topics for discussion included academics, financial aid, housing, studying abroad, working, social life, and adjusting to college life. One point many college students emphasized was to ask for help and to take advantage of professors’ office hours. At the end of the event, the high school seniors came away with reinforced confidence that older Bright Prospect students will be a resource for them at their college, and new insights to help them make the choice of which college to attend. We’re looking forward to hearing about those decisions at our College Decision Day events in May – stay tuned! 




 
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Bright Prospect Alumna Julianna Gomez is New Asst. Director of Admissions at CGU Drucker School

Bright Prospect would like to congratulate our alumna Julianna Gomez on her new appointment as Assistant Director of Admissions at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. 
 
Bright Prospect would like to thank our donors, for making success stories like Julianna’s possible.
 
Julianna’s road to this achievement has not been easy.  Here is her story, in her own words.

I grew up in Montclair, CA, and was raised by a single mother, who worked in a low-income job as an in-home caregiver. Although she did her best to take care of me and my three siblings, her severe alcohol dependency created an unhealthy environment at home for us. My father was in an out of my life (mostly out), which is something that's always been a struggle for me. He also dealt with his own issues with alcoholism, which contributed to the toxic relationship between him and my mother. 

During my freshman year in high school, we were evicted from the home that we all grew up in. Because we had nowhere to go, we moved in with my great aunt in Montclair. Having to leave the only home I ever knew was a turning point for me, and my entire family. Although I grew up in an unstable environment, it was still "home." And when we got evicted, not only was it an even more unstable environment, but there was no more sense of "home." Even my mother became more lost and got buried deeper in her alcoholism. 

During that time, I turned to school, as I always did, as a means for escape. Education has always been the sunlight in my life. 

Bright Prospect has been a blessing in my life from the day I filled out the application to become a Bright Prospect Scholar. The staff, especially Stephanie, Tim, and Savoeun, made me feel like I was a special member of their family. Coming from a broken home, Bright Prospect became my safe haven and comfort. I used to keep my home life a secret from everyone I knew. I was too embarrassed to share the truth of my life, including my mother's alcoholism, not having a home, not having my father around, and being below the income poverty line. They were the first people that I shared that sensitive information with, and although it was scary, I was completely relieved to finally let go of my secrets. And they accepted me and my family, offered empathy and support, and led us to helpful resources. 

Without Bright Prospect, I don't know where I would be today. Before joining the program, I had no intention to apply to as many colleges as I did, especially not to private colleges. Bright Prospect opened my eyes to the possibilities for my future. Being a first-generation college student, I had no direction or role models in my immediate family when it came to seeking and applying for college. My favorite experience at Bright Prospect was doing a fall fly-In program at Colorado College. I got to visit the college, stay in the dorms, talk to college students, meet admissions counselors, and get the necessary exposure to understand what college had in store for me. 

After doing my research on colleges all over the United States, I decided on USC. The moment I stepped onto that campus, I knew it was the one. Even though I knew my financial aid would not cover the entire tuition, I took a chance knowing that I would somehow get scholarships and make it work. 

My college experience at USC was incredible! Not only did I get accepted into the most prestigious university in Southern California, but I also received a full ride as a Gates Millennium Scholar, and got accepted into the Norman Topping Scholarship Program (which is similar to Bright Prospect, but for USC students). 

My first year of college was definitely a transition, and culture shock. I went from being an over-achiever, one of the top students in my high school class, surrounded by people who came from similar backgrounds as me, to an average student surrounded by people from all different backgrounds, who were also over-achievers, and could carry on intellectual debates that I was not prepared or trained for yet. Luckily, I had the Norman Topping program, which became a family to me, and a safe place on campus to connect with people that were going through similar experiences as me. 

The best part about my college experience is the personal, professional, social, and educational growth that happened for me over four years of undergraduate and two years of my Masters program. I am a more well-rounded person today, than I was before entering college. 

While at USC, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and Ethnicity, with a minor in Urban Neighborhood Studies. I went straight into a graduate program at USC's Rossier School of Education, and got my Master of Arts degree in Education Counseling. I also joined my sorority, Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc., and got the opportunity to serve as the President of the Multicultural Greek Council on campus. 

Being a USC alumna has opened so many doors of opportunity for my career path. The Trojan Family Network extends all over the country and the world. I have connected with other alumni in my internships, jobs, and events. They are always willing to help with anything I need, and vice versa. 

I am currently the Assistant Director of Admissions for the Master of Arts in Management program at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. (Wow, that is a long title!) I am responsible for engaging with prospective students and helping them navigate the admissions process. 

It is only fitting that I work at a college, because, as I mentioned earlier, education has always been a ray of sunshine in my life. Education saved my life, and allowed me to flourish on a positive path in my career. 

Looking back, I see a common theme in each one of my internships and jobs, which is helping others pursue their passions in order to climb the personal and professional ladder. I think my background and experiences, and being a member of Bright Prospect, have inspired me to help others pursue their educational goals and career aspirations. My life has been changed for the better because of amazing opportunities like Bright Prospect, and I only hope to give the same to the people I encounter throughout my life and career. 
 
Posted in Alumni | View Post
Sophomore-Junior Crew Connect Fall 2016
On Saturday, October 15, 230 Bright Prospect high school juniors and sophomores gathered at Pomona College in Claremont for the fall Sophomore-Junior “Crew Connect”, an event where crew members strengthened their connections to each other and made new friendships across high schools and grade levels through games and team building activities. For lunch, the students enjoyed fare from the TK Burgers food truck.

The planning and implementation of the Crew Connect involved all the programming teams from Bright Prospect, from the sophomore team to the college team. We’d like to thank all the students who participated that day, in addition to the staff and volunteers for their time and hard work.

At the end of the day, the students went home with great memories, along with new friends. 




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New this upcoming academic year at Bright Prospect

Our grade-specific staff teams adjust programming as needed and always do their best to ensure that students are as prepared as possible to transition to the next grade and into the care of the next staff team. 

 

Our Sophomore Team:

To ensure a smoother transition to junior year, the sophomore team decided to set certain expectations from students earlier than before. At their first after-school meeting this year, sophomores were directed to create professional email addresses that will be used for everything related to college, and were taught some of the practices of communicating properly in today’s digital world.

 

Our Junior Team:

This year, the University of California application dropped its standard personal statement and instead opted for multiple personal essay questions. Our junior team proactively approached UC Santa Barbara’s admissions office, requesting insight into what the admissions officers were looking for in these essays. The team members then underwent a training session and are now passing on this knowledge to their students.

The junior team is also deepening their career guidance curriculum, providing workshops at each of Bright Prospect’s high schools to make students aware of majors offered and the different career opportunities that go along with these majors, so that students can then look for these majors when they apply for college as seniors.

 

Our Senior Team:

Bright Prospect’s senior team is conducting workshops in their after-school meetings to provide students with certain college survival skills, such as financial literacy, effective email communication, and the benefits of taking summer classes at community colleges. The team is also offering career assessment tests to their students to get them thinking about college in a more purposeful way.

The team is conducting monthly sessions on private colleges for students whose academic record makes them compelling candidates for selective institutions. These seniors had the opportunity this year to participate in an interview workshop in collaboration with Pitzer College to learn about the college interviewing process.

In addition to this, the team organized a SoCal college road trip. They took 40 students to UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton and another 30 to UC Riverside and CSU San Bernardino.

 

Our College Team:

College crews used to be small groups that were year-specific. Now each college will have one large crew which will include the entire Bright Prospect community on that campus. This will facilitate interaction between older and newer Bright Prospect students. These crews will be led by a Board of Crew Leaders (see photos), with representatives of all four years, all of whom underwent leadership training in the summer.

The college team also decided to change the structure of Career Exploration Day! In previous years different speakers came in over the course of two weeks and students could attend whatever sessions they wanted. Now, we have structured it more like a conference on a single day where multiple speakers will speak in different rooms simultaneously. This makes it easier for students to attend the sessions they want all at once instead of coming on several different days over two weeks.

Based on feedback obtained from focus group meetings with our community college students, the College Program staff has recently inaugurated the Transfer Peer Mentor Network, which pairs these students with other Bright Prospect college students who have successfully transferred from community colleges to four-year institutions, on a pilot basis.  Mentors assist their mentees with such issues as how to succeed while at a community college, resources they used to support themselves, what the transfer process was like, what their challenges were and how they overcame them, what is financial aid was like when they transferred, how they chose their transfer institution, and how they chose their major.

Posted in News | View Post
Pitzer Preview Day 2016


One of the things we do is to expose our top students, while they are in the 11th grade, to the option of attending a selective liberal arts college.  Fortunately we have a cluster of those right in our neighborhood – the outstanding Claremont Colleges.
                On Saturday, October 1st, 37 of our juniors attended a Bright Prospect event at Pitzer College called Pitzer Preview Day. The juniors who were invited to attend were all deemed private college eligible, due to their outstanding academic record. This event was a chance for current high school juniors to hear directly from Pitzer admissions officers, students, and professors, and to familiarize themselves with the private college application process. Activities for the day included a campus tour, a college class in sociology, a session on the private college application process, a college student panel, and brunch at McConnell Dining Hall.
                Many Bright Prospect staff members and alumni graduated from private colleges, which generally offer several advantages, including good financial aid and the opportunity to stretch oneself socially by studying out of state and interacting with a broad range of students who come from all parts of the country and the world.  
Posted in High School Students | View Post
Bright Prospect Offers First Summer Coding Camp


Collaboration with TXT, funding from Edison International and facilities provided Cal Poly Pomona made it possible
 
Until the school year that is just starting, there was a dearth of opportunities for students to learn how to code in Pomona.
 
To provide an opportunity for students to learn a skill that is generally regarded as a new basic literacy skill of the 21st century, Bright Prospect, in collaboration with TXT, offered a free two-week summer coding camp in July.  TXT, otherwise known as Teens eXploring Technology, is a non-profit that has been working with young men of color in Central and South-Central Los Angeles for many years, teaching them to be leaders and community problem solvers through developing apps and websites.  Their constituents not only learn to code during a twelve-week summer program based at USC, but learn how to work as part of a team, how to divide a project into smaller goals, how to be reliable and accountable, and how to speak publicly and make presentations.  The young men are challenged to think about leadership, about their community and family, and about previously unseen possibilities for their future.  
 
The executive directors of Bright Prospect and TXT, Stephanie Campbell and Oscar Menjivar respectively, met as participants in a non-profit leadership workshop in 2012.  This connection made four years ago resulted in this valuable collaboration.   Oscar is a Cal Poly Pomona alumnus who has long been desirous of bringing his program to Pomona. 
 
Bright Prospect was fortunate to finally be able to bring the TXT LEAD-CS (Leadership and Computer Science) program to Pomona this summer, to provide a condensed 2-week version of their program for up to 20 male and female Bright Prospect students, thanks to a generous grant from Edison International.  The program was conducted at Cal Poly Pomona, which provided use of a computer lab at no charge.  Participants formally presented the websites they designed at a “Demo Day”, and got to tour Yahoo headquarters in Playa Vista, where a dozen software engineers and designers took the time to converse and have lunch with camp participants. Both organizations hope this will be the first step toward bringing the amazing TXT program into Pomona in a more ongoing manner. 
 
We are pleased to report that this fall, AP Computer Science Principles is being taught for the first time at Fremont, Garey, Ganesha, Pomona, Diamond Ranch and Village Academy High Schools – all Pomona schools served by Bright Prospect.  Computer science is also being offered at the middle school level, through a partnership Pomona Unified School District has with Harvey Mudd College; it is called MyCS - Middle Years Computer Science.  Bright Prospect is proud to be a member of a community of partners that is making great strides in improving the life prospects for the next generation of residents.
 
 


 
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Professional Development Week Helps Bright Prospect College Students Prepare for Transition into Today’s Competitive Workforce

On July 26 - 28, Bright Prospect held its 2nd Annual Professional Development Week for current college students. Participants attended a variety of workshops such as how to conduct a professional job search, prepare for interviews, write resumes and cover letters, as well as a workshop on financial literacy. Professionals from the surrounding community volunteered their time to speak to students about their experiences, such as what employers look for in an applicant during the HR panel.
 
The students varied in age from college freshmen to those in their final year of school, and attend institutions such as private colleges, public universities, and community colleges. The program was born last year when members of Bright Prospect’s Business Advisory Board commented that many college graduates are unprepared for the workforce, and the idea for this set of workshops was set in motion.
 
Students had professional headshots taken for Linkedin profiles, had staff assistance in reviewing their resumes, and learned how to tie a tie. On the morning of the last day, groups of students toured work sites including Technip, Casa Colina, Sheraton, and Pomona Valley Hospital, to see the variety of departments and skill sets that are needed at large agencies.
 
Professional Development Week concluded with a social gathering where students had an opportunity to practice their networking skills with local professionals and business people, including former and current employees from Union Bank, Boeing, Pomona Hope, and State Senator Connie Leyva’s office.
 
Pedro Orellana, a finance major at Cal Poly Pomona, said he learned how important networking is in job searching and how to write a resume. Simon Rawlinson, a private wealth advisor from Union Bank, said he was impressed with the programming and commented that he wished he had received this information while he was still in college so that he could have been better prepared for life in his early twenties.
 
We’d like to thank all the professionals who graciously volunteered their time to advise our students during Professional Development Week, and we look forward to next year’s!
 
 
Posted in College Students | View Post
Bright Prospect’s First Summer Academy of 2016 a Huge Success



The Summer Academy is the intake point into the program for most new Bright Prospect students.  It is a week-long program full of eye-opening workshops presented by both staff and our own college students, and includes a field trip to the California Science Center and a concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  The Summer Academy is run twice on different college campuses  – the first session at Pomona College and the second at Harvey Mudd College.  115 rising high school sophomores and juniors attended the first session of Bright Prospect’s annual Summer Academy from July 19 to July 22.  A similar number will attend the second session during the first week of August.
 
Workshop topics included setting life goals, college life, what colleges look for in applicants, financial aid and scholarships, and a panel of our own college students attending UC’s, Cal States, private liberal arts colleges, Ivy Leagues and community colleges, who answered questions about their transition to college.  Students went on a tour of the Claremont Colleges, led by college student volunteers, including Israel, a Bright Prospect college student at Stanford. There were also some fun interactive activities, including the “Value of a College Education” game.  In this game, students broke into small groups and had to make budget choices for housing, transportation, food and entertainment based first on the wages of an employee without a college education, and then based on a salary they could earn as a professional.  In the course of the workshops Bright Prospect staff emphasized the importance of relationship building, and “the 4/40 rule,”  whereby you either work hard during the four years of high school, or work physically hard for the next 40 years.
 
On Thursday, the students went to the California Science Center to see the Endeavour space shuttle, followed by a picnic and an evening concert at the Hollywood Bowl. For most of the students, it was the first time they experienced a concert at the Bowl. They enjoyed hearing Rhapsody in Blue performed by world renowned pianist Yuja Wang, under the baton of LA Philharmonic Director Gustavo Dudamel. On the last day of Summer Academy, participants broke into small groups by gender for the Young Women’s and Young Men’s Voices, where they opened up about what motivated them to want a better life. Many students said that their parents’ struggles motivated them to go to college so they can provide for themselves and their families in the future.  The surprise keynote speaker to close out Summer Academy was Andy Hill, a long-time Bright Prospect supporter and former UCLA basketball player under legendary coach John Wooden. He left everyone a quote to live by, which was “The greatest competition is not between you and others, but between you and yourself,” and he encouraged the students to be the best they could be.
 
The Summer Academy gave students a warm welcome into the Bright Prospect program along with thought-provoking and informative workshops about the impact of college on their future quality of life, and it gave them a chance to bond with participants from other high schools served by Bright Prospect in addition to their own.  These students will start attending Bright Prospect meetings on their campuses as soon as school starts in the fall.
 
Watch the recap video of the first Summer Academy here: https://vimeo.com/175903171

Posted in High School Students | View Post
Career Exploration Day Prepares Bright Prospect College Students for the Future



On July 12, 50 Bright Prospect college students attended an exciting Career Exploration Day at the Bright Prospect office. Participating students attended one of two panel sessions, one of which focused on STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and the other focused on business, finance, and entrepreneurship. The speakers represented employers including Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Northrup Grumman, Splinterrock, University of La Verne, Union Bank, and Google.  Three presenters – a chemical engineer, a cardiac sonographer, and an aerospace engineer – are all alumni of the Bright Prospect program.
 
Panelists shared the twists and turns of their own career aspirations during their high school and college years.  They each conveyed what a typical workday is like, the challenges and rewards of their job, opportunities for advancement, and required skills and degrees. Afterward, there was a networking session where students could ask the panelists additional questions about their careers and exchange business cards.
 
Jessica Grande, Bright Prospect alum and a scientist at Danaher Corporation, told the students their career options are not necessarily limited by their major and that they can change majors or careers if they feel it’s not right for them. For instance, Jessica started at Cal Poly Pomona as a psychology major because she wanted to be a teacher, but later switched to engineering because she did well in math and enjoyed it.
 
Posted in College Students | View Post
Pre-College Retreat Prepares High School Grads for their College Transition


130 recent high school graduates attended Bright Prospect’s annual Pre-College Retreat, held at Pomona College from June 21 to June 23.  Over three days, the incoming college freshmen attended workshops in topics such as campus resources, scholarships and financial aid, financial literacy, healthy communications, mental health, drugs and alcohol, and personal strengths and career choices.

At the retreat, students met their peers from other high schools who will be going to their same college.  These students will be members of a college crew together.  The students also met their college coach – the member of the Bright Prospect staff who will be their mentor and go-to person.  The college coaches reminded the students that the transition from high school to college is challenging and may take some time to adjust to, but stressed that they have a support system in place such as their coaches, friends, crew members, family, on campus resources and advisors.

The students will be attending all types of higher education institutions such as private colleges, community colleges, the UC system, and the CSU system.

 

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Bright Prospect College Grad Admitted to Prestigious Princeton Fellowship Summer Program


Melissa Candell, a Ganesha High School alum and 2016 graduate of UC Berkeley, was one of 25 students nationwide accepted into the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program at Princeton University.

The PPIA is an eight-week summer program where participants take classes in public policy and international affairs to prepare them for graduate school and/or careers in those fields. The application process is very competitive, with roughly 500 students applying for 100 spots spread across four universities, which are Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, and the University of Michigan.

When Melissa was eight, she came to the U.S. with her mother and settled in Los Angeles and later in Pomona. Melissa saw her mom experience frequent job instability as a housekeeper, nanny and sweat shop worker. She struggled to earn enough money to make ends meet for herself and Melissa. They were so food insecure that one Christmas, her mother, grandmother, and Melissa split a tamale three ways because it was all they could afford to buy.

During her sophomore year at Ganesha High, Melissa heard about Bright Prospect. She wanted to join the program so she could obtain a good education and make a better life for herself and her mom. Before, she never imagined that someone in her shoes would be able to attend college, but Bright Prospect showed her that it was possible. Melissa chose to attend Mt. SAC because it was close to home and financially accessible, and she made it her goal to transfer to a four-year university. Melissa earned straight A’s at Mt. SAC and transferred to UC Berkeley.

Melissa says she is forever grateful to Bright Prospect for helping her through the college process and for securing the financial aid necessary in order for her to attend Berkeley.  She emphasizes that Bright Prospect is a warm, welcoming community where staff members genuinely care about the students and understand their struggles.  

Congratulations, Melissa, on your graduation from Berkeley and your admission to the PPIA program at Princeton!  We are so proud of you!
 
Posted in Students' Achievement | View Post
Bright Prospect College Decision Days: Emotion laden events filled with touching tributes




Top photo: Garey High seniors
Bottom photo: Pomona Unified administrators pictured with US Department of Education special advisor Julie Heinz on far right


Bright Prospect held its 10th annual series of College Decision Days at seven high schools it serves in Pomona, Montclair and Ontario. A total of 234 high school seniors from the Bright Prospect program are graduating and will move on to institutions  including Princeton, Columbia, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, and other outstanding UCs, Cal States, private colleges and community colleges.  At these events, the seniors addressed the 11th and 10th graders in the audience with words of inspiration. Students expressed gratitude to the school staff, teachers, parents, friends, Bright Prospect, and their Bright Prospect crew for providing them with the guidance and support during the daunting college and financial aid application process. Many local community partners and business leaders attended these events. Pomona Unified Superintendent Richard Martinez as well as other district administrators and school board members attended and thanked Bright Prospect for transforming the community. Pitzer Interim President Thomas Poon attended the events at Pomona High and Garey High to welcome Tori Ramirez and Jan Bragado respectively when they announced their decision to attend Pitzer College in Claremont.
 
A special advisor from the US Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Julie Heinz, flew in from Washington to attend the ceremony at Garey High. She said she was deeply touched by the stories students told of the struggles they faced growing up, and by how thankful they were that Bright Prospect transformed their lives. A senior from Garey High School spoke about her challenges growing up homeless and seeing her siblings put into foster care. When her family was food insecure, Bright Prospect provided her with gift cards to local grocery stores. Other students spoke about overcoming such issues as bullying, suffering from depression, experiencing loss of a family member, and coming from rough home environments.  Many attendees were misty eyed or had tears running down their cheeks, hearing about the resilience of these determined students from our community.
 
Bright Prospect founder and president Eric Garen addressed the students and reiterated that there are people who care about them, and that they are the future leaders of their families, their communities, and the country. We are all very proud of our graduating seniors and will honor our commitment to support them throughout their college years until they reach the goal of graduation.
 
Posted in News | View Post
REMINDER: College Decision Days is coming up!


We invite you to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating seniors from the Class of 2016 and to hear their stories! If you have school or work during the week, consider coming to one of our Saturday ceremonies for Ontario or Montclair High School. Please also note the updated locations of the ceremonies for those schools to be held at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont. You may send your RSVPs to teresa@brightprospect.org.
 
Monday, May 16th 10:30am
Pomona High School
475 Bangor St. Pomona, CA 91767
 
Tuesday, May 17th 9:30am
Ganesha High School
1151 Fairplex Dr. Pomona, CA 91768
 
Wednesday, May 18th 9:30am
Garey High School
321 W. Lexington Ave. Pomona CA 91766 
 
Saturday, May 21st 11:00am
Ontario High School
Harvey Mudd College, Shanahan 1430
301 Platt Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711
 
Saturday, May 21st 4:30pm
Montclair High School
Harvey Mudd College, Shanahan 1430
301 Platt Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711

Posted in High School Students | View Post
Apply now for Bright Prospect’s 2016 Summer Academy!






















We’re now accepting applications from rising high school sophomores and juniors for our Summer Academy!

Session 1 runs from July 18th- 22nd at Pomona College, and is for students attending Ontario, Diamond Ranch, Pomona, and Palomares Academy High Schools. Session 2 runs from August 1st - 5th at Harvey Mudd College and is for students at Fremont, Ganesha, Garey, and Village Academy High Schools. Come learn about the value of a college education, the application and financial aid process, relationship building, and make some new friends in the process. There will also be opportunities to tour the Claremont Colleges and go on fun field trips to the California Science Center in LA and a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The best part is, it’s all free, so sign up today! Applications are due on or before May 13th

Apply here: 

https://docs.google.com/a/brightprospect.org/forms/d/19Jses1vDmxwGiDxSoHYkXILkn0K4zxtzrJvwUt5NMeE/viewform


Posted in High School Students | View Post
Bright Prospect 2016 College Decision Days-You’re invited!


From May 13 through May 21 we will be holding our series of College Decision Days.  At these moving events held at each of our high schools, our graduating seniors announce their college choice to fellow Bright Prospect students, staff, parents, school personnel, and distinguished guests. This is an occasion where the students express what going to college will mean in their lives, and they thank those who helped them along this path.  You will hear some very moving stories!  Come help our seniors celebrate their accomplishments and welcome the next exciting chapter in their lives.  Here are the dates, times, and locations where College Decision Days will take place – please choose the one most convenient for your schedule, and bring plenty of Kleenex!

Key Dates 
 
May 13th 9:30am
Palomares Academy of Health Sciences
2211 N. Orange Grove Ave. Pomona, CA 91767
 
May 13th 2:00pm
Fremont Academy School of Engineering and Design
725 W. Franklin Ave. Pomona, CA 91766
 
May 16th 10:30am
Pomona High School
475 Bangor St. Pomona, CA 91767
  
May 17th 9:30am
Ganesha High School
1151 Fairplex Dr. Pomona, CA 91768
 
May 18th 9:30am
Garey High School
321 W. Lexington Ave. Pomona, CA 91766  
 
May 21st 11:00am
Ontario High School
Claremont Colleges
Exact location TBA
 
May 21st 4:30pm
Montclair High School
Claremont Colleges
Exact location TBA


If you haven’t RSVP-ed already, please do so to Teresa Wang, our AmeriCorps VISTA Communications Coordinator by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 6th, either by email at teresa@brightprospect.org or by telephone at (909) 623-9007 Ext 202, and let her know which ceremony you will attend. 
 
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Bright Prospect Student 1 of 20 Selected Nationwide for Prestigious Conservation Scholars Program


Bright Prospect student Ramiro Pinedo, Pitzer Class of 2018, is one of 20 undergraduates nationwide to be chosen for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), a two-year program dedicated to educating future leaders in environmental conservation. As part of the program, Ramiro will delve into environmental conservation through field research, leadership and professional training. Ramiro, a lover of the great outdoors who goes camping whenever possible, was drawn to the program’s focus on exposing early-career undergrads to the world of environmental conservation.  He plans to major in environmental analysis and minor in Portuguese at Pitzer College. The UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program was launched in 2013 by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The program aims to prepare a diverse group of students to lead the future of environmental conservation. It is administered by five universities: UCSC, Northern Arizona University, University of Florida, University of Michigan and University of Washington. Congratulations, Ramiro!
 
Posted in Students' Achievement | View Post
Bright Prospect 2016 Annual Gala: An Evening of Inspirational Stories Honoring Our Medical Alumni
DSC_1205

On Monday, April 4, 220 attendees gathered at the Sheraton Fairplex Convention Center in Pomona to honor 15 Bright Prospect alumni who have chosen to establish their career in the medical field.

Guests heard alumni speakers Dr. Julia Hoang, Bright Prospect’s first MD, and Dr. Lorenzo Ramirez, Bright Prospect’s first PhD, speak about how their families came from humble beginnings and how Bright Prospect changed the trajectory of their academic lives and careers.

Julia Hoang talked about how both her parents, a manicurist and construction worker, commuted to work in Las Vegas, and she would only see them when they came home on the weekends. Because of the mentoring provided by Bright Prospect, Julia maintained a 4.3 GPA at Pomona High. She later attended UC Irvine and graduated from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica in 2013. She was also able to secure 1 out of 4 psychiatric residency spots at UC Riverside’s School of Medicine (out of 600 applicants!) because of Bright Prospect’s outstanding recommendation letter. Julia is now in her second year of her psychiatry residency.

Lorenzo Ramirez shared that his father was a dairy farmer and his mother was a homemaker. While Lorenzo was in high school his father became unable to work due to an injury, and his family struggled to make ends meet. One of his teachers at Ontario High School introduced him to Bright Prospect, which put him on path to ultimately obtain a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. Lorenzo now trains dogs to detect signature scents of diseases such as ovarian cancer. He credits his love for animals to growing up on a farm in Ontario.

The keynote speaker of the evening, Richard Yochum, president and CEO of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, applauded those who choose to work in the medical field because of a passion to make a difference in people’s lives. Bright Prospect’s founder and president Eric Garen affirmed that Bright Prospect uplifts not just individuals served by the program, but entire communities, as about half of Bright Prospect graduates return to the communities they grew up in to pay it forward.

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Bright Prospect Student Presents on Breakthrough Medical Technology
Juana Rodriguez, a 5th year Chemical Engineering student at Cal Poly Pomona, went last week to Salt Lake City to present at AIChE, the annual meeting American Society of Chemical Engineers. She is presented along with Dr. Keith M. Forward, professor at Cal Poly’s department of Chemical and Materials Engineering.  

Their lecture is based on Dr. Forward’s newly developed method of free surface electrospinning.

Juana explains: “As medications make their way through the human body and go through the blood stream they cross many barriers. It is important that a medication must be soluble in water in order to pass these barriers and arrive at the targeted site of delivery. By using free surface electrospinning, a method developed by my professor Dr. Forward, we hope to make poorly soluble active pharmaceutical ingredients dissolve in the body a lot faster than some of the normal tablets used in medicine today."

She added: "I’m excited about attending the conference, because I want to learn more about how engineers are addressing health problems. When I graduate I hope to work in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Juana, the daughter of immigrants and the first generation in her family to go to college, is one of four children. Juana and her siblings are all engineering majors attending Cal Poly Pomona. Juana will be graduating in Spring 2016 and will become the first person in her family to earn a college degree!

“Knowing that Bright Prospect believed in me gave me the strength to not give up on my dreams,” says Juana.

Juana attended Ganesha High School, Pomona Unified School District.

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FROM POMONA TO OSAKA
“The only aspect stopping me from studying abroad was finances. Thanks to the support of Bright Prospect, I was able to qualify for the Gilman Scholarship.”Raymond Slu at Osaka University
 
Raymond Slu, a Pomona High School graduate and a rising sophomore at UC Berkeley, is a first generation college student from a single-parent household. Raymond graduated as the salutatorian of his high school class, and spent his first year of college working for the Berkeley Engineers and Mentors program, where he taught hands-on science and engineering activities to K-12th grade students.
 
Because of your support, Bright Prospect was able to help Raymond apply to and receive the Gilman Scholarship, a prestigious award which aims to help low income students study abroad, Raymond is abroad for the first time, spending his summer at Osaka University, one of Japan’s top universities. According to Raymond, he is spending his summer “immersing myself in a whole new culture, where I can expand my knowledge and network by meeting engineering and science professors and employers. This could potentially lead to a future internship in Japan.” With a passion for science and engineering and a desire to make a difference, it is no surprise that Raymond’s drive has taken him all the way to Japan. We can’t wait to see where it takes him next! 


Posted in College Students | 7 Comment(s)
Bright Prospect Alumna Heads STEM College Access Program Near Bryn Mawr
Ana Cordova, left, with her colleague at workAna Cordova  knows how lucky she was to be recruited in high school to participate in Bright Prospect, a program that helps high-achieving students from low-income families attend college.

“Bright Prospect believed I was capable of not only attending but also graduating from a four-year institution. I would have never heard of Bryn Mawr if it weren’t for them,” says Ana. “I am inspired by the work they continue to do with students back home in California.”

But Ana also knows that not every student has the support of such a program.
So when the opportunity came up to head Adelante—a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) college access program for middle school students in the Norristown Area School District near Bryn Mawr—Ana jumped at it.

“Toward the end of my senior year of college, I was unsure about the direction I wanted to take,” recalls Ana. “Being a first-generation Latina college graduate and a mathematics and physics double major, when I first read about Adelante I was surprised at how deeply I already connected with the project. It hit home.”

Adelante (“forward” in Spanish) was launched in January of 2014.  Adelante staff and volunteers meet with 10-15 middle school students from the Norristown Area School District weekly on Saturday mornings for college-prep workshops and STEM-related activities.

The goal of Adelante is that the students involved develop aspirations for higher education, enter high school ready to overcome any academic challenges they may encounter, and do it with the support of their peers and their parents.  Faculty members from a number of Bryn Mawr departments including geology, biology, physics, and mathematics have also been involved with the program.
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Bright Prospect is Recognized by The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence as a "Bright Spot in Hispanic Education"
White House Initiative
 






Every student deserves an education that opens opportunities. That is why the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence is recognizing 230 "Bright Spots in Hispanic Education" from across the country in honor of the Initiative's 25th anniversary. Bright Prospect is thrilled to be among these honorees!

Latinos are making progress but there is more work to do!

The Initiative seeks to encourage collaboration between organizations like Bright Prospect and other stakeholders focused on promising practices, peer advice, and effective partnerships, ultimately resulting in increased support for the educational attainment of the Hispanic community, from cradle-to-career.

To learn more about the Initiative and to view the Bright Spots in Hispanic Education National Online Catalog visit www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative.

The Initiative Executive Director, Alejandra Ceja, said: “There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential."
Flor at Wellesley Graduation

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