Angela Jimenez has been appointed graduate student counselor in the federally funded GEAR UP college preparatory program at Gompers Secondary School, San Diego. In the newly-created position, Jimenez, a graduate student majoring in school counseling at the University of San Diego, will work one-on-one with academically at-risk eighth and ninth graders at Gompers, helping to provide them with the support and motivation necessary for graduation and college admission.
The Jimenez appointment further enhances the scope of college preparation services that the Gompers GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) initiative provides 800 GEAR UP students at the school, says Elias Escamilla, Gompers GEAR UP director.
“Angela’s sincere interest and academic research into the problems and issues facing ethnically diverse student populations, in addition to her talent as a counselor and motivator, will provide a new dimension to our services, especially as we reach out more to academically at-risk students,” says Escamilla.
The GEAR UP initiative at Gompers is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a grant to the Student Educational Advancement Division of the University of California, San Diego, and the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP). GEAR UP exposes Gompers students to such academic and motivational services as online distance tutoring in math and science during class and after school with UCSD undergraduates, college campus visits, computer skill training, career and college financial aid counseling, and to workshops, cultural enrichment, and support group interaction for students and parents.
In her new post, Jimenez will be primarily responsible for directing a new GEAR UP initiative at Gompers the Scholars Coming Together Program in which she will serve as academic advisor and motivator to eighth- and ninth-grade students, especially those identified as having attendance and academic problems. The program will partner with existing academic, parental and motivational support systems at Gompers in monitoring the progress of at-risk students as Jimenez works with these students to develop a sincere commitment to learning and academic improvement, positive goal-setting, time management, citizenship skills, and to encourage them to serve as role models for other students once these skills are acquired.
“My goal is to empower and instill students with the confidence to accomplish whatever they set their minds to,” says Jimenez, a graduate of Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, and of Humboldt State University where she earned a degree in psychology. “I’ll never forget the encouragement my family, especially my uncle, gave me towards college,” Jimenez recalls, “and the motivation and college preparation I received from my AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teachers in middle school and high school. This is now my opportunity to help other students realize their potential.”