Each year, College Possible Chicago welcomes a new team of AmeriCorps members, who dedicate a year of service to supporting students as near-peer coaches. The term kicks off with a three-week orientation in August, known as “Welcome Weeks.” During this time, AmeriCorps members dive into trainings about the College Possible coaching model, curriculum and the diverse needs of the students we serve.
All our coaches bring a commitment to service and a desire to improve higher education access and success. Get to know three of our new AmeriCorps members and learn what motivates them to serve with College Possible Chicago.
Liz, college access coach, Amundsen High School
Hometown: North Riverside, IL
Alma mater: DePaul University, B.A. in sociology
Liz discovered her passion for mentorship while attending DePaul University. As an undergraduate, she served as a peer advisor to a group of freshmen, as well as an orientation leader for incoming students. “I truly loved both of these experiences,” said Liz. “They showed me the impact a mentor can have in helping students transition into college and navigate this new phase in their lives.”
She knew a career in social work was her eventual goal but wanted to gain more first-hand experience working with young people before pursuing her master’s degree. The AmeriCorps role with College Possible Chicago was the perfect fit, offering her the chance to grow her skillset as an advisor and mentor, while making a meaningful difference for students.
As a coach at Amundsen High School, Liz guides seniors through the complex college admission journey, helping them through common hurdles like the FAFSA, scholarships and personal statements. “My AmeriCorps service with College Possible Chicago provides me valuable insight into the city’s school system and direct experience working with youth and their families,” said Liz. “This knowledge will be extremely valuable in my future career.”
Isaiah, college success coach
Hometown: Houston, TX
Alma mater: University of St. Thomas (Houston, TX), B.A. in liberal arts
Isaiah has always been a strong advocate for educational equity. “As a first-generation college graduate, I’m very passionate about providing young people, especially those from under-represented backgrounds, with access to the resources they need to succeed,” said Isaiah.
As a former College Possible Texas (previously College Forward) student, he knows personally how impactful a mentor can be in navigating the college process. Inspired by the coaching he received in the program, Isaiah signed up as a peer mentor in his junior year at the University of St. Thomas, volunteering to share advice with younger College Possible students throughout Texas. After graduation, he decided to continue this work full-time, moving to Chicago to serve as a College Possible AmeriCorps coach.
In his role with College Possible Chicago, Isaiah works 1:1 with college students, through virtual and in-person visits, helping them select majors, renew financial aid and scholarships, and connect to resources and peer networks on campus. “I’m excited to bring my own perspective to this service, coming from a first-generation background myself,” he said.
Isaiah aspires to build a career in the higher education and nonprofit sectors and knows his time with College Possible will move him closer to this goal. “Serving as an AmeriCorps coach will give me the tools needed to be successful in any future workplace,” said Isaiah.
Feza, college access coach, Mather High School
Hometown: Des Plaines, IL
Alma mater: DePaul University, B.A. in political science
When Feza graduated from DePaul University last spring, she knew law school was in her future, but wanted to gain a few years of work experience before applying. A political science major, she was drawn to the field of criminal defense law, hoping to serve as an advocate for individuals in under-invested communities.
An AmeriCorps year of service with College Possible Chicago offered her an opportunity to build professional skills while supporting a mission that was personally meaningful to her.
“Being a first-generation college graduate and coming from a low-income background, I want to help guide students who are navigating the same path I did,” said Feza.
As a College Possible access coach, she advises high school students – many of whom are the first in their families to go through the overwhelming college process. She knows this experience will benefit her going forward, giving her direct insight into the nonprofit field and access to a wide-ranging network of professionals she can learn from as she advances in her career.
Interested in learning more about how you can make an impact through service? Applications for the 2024-25 AmeriCorps service year at College Possible Chicago are now open!