Apr 16 2024

Postsecondary Spotlight on Peer-to-Peer Advising

Grantmakers for Education

Virtual

April 16, 1:00 pm ET

Slide Deck

Across the country, public education systems are increasingly focused on improving college retention and ensuring that graduates secure jobs that ensure economic and social mobility. At the same time, these institutions are not resourced to meet these goals for all of their students. For example, counselor caseloads are too high to provide the individualized support students need to navigate the complexities of higher education and career planning. Furthermore, there are not enough well paid, career-connected internships to meet the needs of all students. Most impacted by this lack of support are students who are first-generation and come from low-income communities.

This webinar will present a scaled peer-to-peer advising model that simultaneously expands navigational and relational support to students, creates needed career development opportunities for students in broad-access public institutions, and acts as an engine of institutional change. Panelists include a college student positioned as a peer advisor, an administrator working to integrate the model campus-wide, and the director of a nonprofit organization that provides model development and peer advisor training. This session will help the education grantmaking community to better understand key issues of education equity from practitioners working daily to address declines in enrollment and persistence, learn about a cost-effective innovative model to address these challenges, and identify ways that funders can support the sustainability and growth of this program model.

While others are welcome to attend, this event is intended for members and education grantmakers.

There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. By registering for this program, you agree to our Learning Environment Commitment. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.

About the Series

Started in 2024, the Postsecondary Access and Attainment (PSA2) Impact Group’s Postsecondary Spotlights webinar series explores high-impact topics on student retention, graduation and institutional success. Topics include peer advising, student mental health and wellbeing, scaling training programs and more. This series is designed to connect funders to promising practices transforming higher education and to provide guidance on often-overlooked opportunities to invest in today’s college students. See other events in the series here.

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About the Speakers

Dr. Lori Chajet

Dr. Lori Chajet
Co-Director and Co-Founder
CARA NYC

Lori Chajet co-founded College Access: Research & Action (CARA) in 2011, with the goal of creating an organization that would ensure first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color have the knowledge and support needed to enroll in and persist through post-secondary education. She has acted as its co-director since, seeding, growing and amplifying its programs within and, increasingly, outside of NYC. A former high school history teacher and staff developer, Lori has been involved with school change in New York City since 1993. She completed her doctorate in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she focused her research on college persistence for low-income students. Prior to founding CARA, Lori was Acting Director of The Institute of Urban Education at Eugene Lang College/The New School. She has served as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College and Eugene Lang College. Lori earned a BA from Brown University in Educational Studies and Public Policy and an MA in Social Studies Education from Columbia Teachers College.


Rebecca de Jesus

Rebecca de Jesus
Associate Director of Freshman Onboarding and Advising
Queens College

Rebecca De Jesus currently serves as the Associate Director of Freshman Onboarding and Advising Services in the Academic Advising Center (AAC) at Queens College (QC). In this role, Rebecca oversees the administration of a comprehensive new student onboarding program that facilitates a smooth transition for incoming students and ensures necessary support to advance their academic success. With sixteen years of experience in higher education, Rebecca has expertise in academic advising, program development, and student support services.

Rebecca established and grew the AAC’s first Peer Advising Program, in collaboration with CUNY Service Corps and generous support of grants funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Petrie Foundation. Designed to leverage the existing advising services, the Peer Advising Program provides freshmen and transfer students with a network of experienced peer mentors who offer guidance and support. Rebecca also serves on the steering committee of QC’s 2024-26 Middle States Reaccreditation Self-Study and co-chairs a standard that examines the design and delivery of the student learning experience.

A native of Long Island, NY, Rebecca holds a BA in psychology with a minor in student services and counseling from CUNY Queens College, and an MA in higher education administration from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at CUNY Baruch College. She remains committed to learning promising practices in higher education to better serve the needs of students and the college community.


Jonathan Reid

Jonathan Reid
Senior Program Officer
ECMC Foundation

Jonathan T. Reid oversees a portfolio of grants focused on increasing the number of college students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including low-income and first-generation populations, who pursue and attain postsecondary credentials. Alongside his teammates, Jonathan ensures alignment of external activities, programs and grantmaking with the strategic vision and organizational goals of the Foundation.

Jonathan has spent the last decade working on grant-funded nonprofit projects and in higher education, implementing programs focused on health education and community engagement. Prior to joining ECMC Foundation in June 2022, Jonathan was a senior program officer with the LA84 Foundation where he managed a diverse portfolio of grants and launched several funding initiatives. His experience also includes working for Beach Cities Health District, Playworks, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Jonathan’s professional career and personal pursuits are defined by working collaboratively on initiatives that actively empower under-resourced communities to pursue the best possible quality of life. Currently, he serves on the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Advisory Committee, is a co-chair of the Postsecondary Access and Attainment Impact (PSA2) Group at Grantmakers for Education, and sits on the board of directors of School on Wheels, a nonprofit that provides free tutoring and mentoring to children experiencing homelessness. Jonathan is also an Eagle Scout.

A native of Bronx, New York, Jonathan completed his bachelor of arts and master of public health at New York University.


Laura Silverman

Laura Silverman
Director of Academic Advising
Queens College

Laura Silverman has spent the past 30 years on staff at Queens College, the majority directing student advising. As the Director of the Academic Advising Center (AAC), she works at scale with the undergraduate student population at all stages of their academic life to develop and successfully pursue an educational plan. Laura has expanded the Center’s programming and initiatives, including the Fall 2017 launch of the College’s four-year graduation guarantee program, “QC in 4.” Operating as an opt-out model, QC in 4 expanded freshman enrollments by 12.8% in its first year, as well as increased the 3–4 year graduation rates of the inaugural cohort by 22.5% (which graduated during the pandemic). Laura oversees the AAC’s peer-to-peer mentoring programs for first-year freshmen and transfer students, as well as the NYC Department of Education’s Early College Initiative, CUNY Reconnect for adult and returning students, and Project ExCEL of the CUNY Black Male Initiative to support underrepresented students.

Prior to working at Queens College, Laura worked at Comedy Central and an entertainment law firm. A first gen public college student from Long Island, NY, Laura used her liberal arts degree to pivot into higher education. She began in QC’s Office of Honors and Scholarships where she managed the QC Scholars and Transfer Honors programs. Laura graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a BS in Communications and Journalism and received an MA in Media Studies from Queens College.

When not supporting students or the Advising team, Laura is DIYing around her home in Queens, or can be found riding her 2003 Harley Davidson Anniversary Sportster or driving her 1967 Ford Mustang convertible throughout upstate NY or PA. Sometimes in accompaniment is her husband, Jeff, and their two fabulous rescue mutts.


Selina Singh

Selina Singh
Student
Queens College

Selina Singh is a senior at Queens College studying psychology. She serves as a peer leader and peer fellow in Queens College’s peer-to-peer advising program. A first-generation college student, Selina was born in Guyuna, immigrated to NYC when she was one, and graduated from a large public high school in Queens, NY. She plans to attend graduate school next fall, to pursue a masters in Mental Health Counseling. Selina’s hobbies include baking, thrifting, and listening to true crime podcasts.

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