Ana 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.