“Until colleges and universities scale up their support for first-generation students and students from low-income households, and until we drastically reform the financial aid system in the United States, I’m going to do whatever I can to support the College Visions effort.”
During this busy season, we really appreciate Nora taking the time to share some information about herself and why she supports CV. As Managing Director of Impact at City Year Providence, Nora knows the strengths and energy of young people in Providence, as well as the challenges they face. We are proud to have Nora on the CV team, and we hope you will read her insightful interview below!
Will you tell us a little about yourself?
Currently, I’m the Managing Director of Impact at City Year Providence; we’re an AmeriCorps program that deploys young leaders to six, incredible partner schools in Providence (two elementary, three middle and one high school), where they tutor and mentor students who need additional support to stay in school and on track.
I grew up in Cranston, RI with two public high school English teachers as parents; their commitment to teaching and learning certainly influenced my own academic experience and career path. I was privileged to work in the education policy office of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy right after college (Brandeis ’06), before coming home to RI to serve as an AmeriCorps member with City Year at Gilbert Stuart Middle School, which is now one of City Year’s longest standing partnerships.
After completing my AmeriCorps service, I headed to the Harvard Graduate School of Education (’09) to get a masters in education policy. In fact, I intended to study college affordability, but eventually fell in love with organizational leadership and partnerships in education, which ultimately brought me back to the City Year family as staff member for the last seven years.
How did you connect with College Visions?
In true RI fashion, I got to know College Visions through a network of family, friends and colleagues. Several years ago, my partner, Dan [Note: that’s Dan McGowen, reporter for WPRI12], wrote a profile on Simon and College Visions for the Providence Phoenix. A couple of years later, a co-worker invited me to a College Visions fundraiser. It’s hard not to fall in love with the College Vision’s mission and the incredible students who have benefited from the organization’s support.
What are the strengths you see among young people in Providence?
Every time I interact with the students City Year has the privilege of serving, I’m impressed and proud. The young people in our classrooms and communities are creative, ambitious, kind and engaged. Many are bi- or multi-lingual; many are recent immigrants or first-generation Americans who have demonstrated adaptability and resilience. These are strengths – assets – that will give them an edge; they are poised to be leaders in a diverse, global economy and community. We have a responsibility to empower them because, frankly, we need them to build us a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable world.
Why are you a College Visions donor?
Outside of my work with City Year, college access and affordability are the education issues I’m most interested in and passionate about. Professionally, I think College Visions is the perfect complement to and continuation of City Year’s work in the earlier grades; hopefully, our collective work can help thousands of students navigate their path to a lifetime of happiness and success.
And, while professional mission alignment and collective impact is important, it’s a personal connection to the College Visions mission that compels me to give. I think making higher education a possibility for every young person is a matter of equity. It’s a moral obligation, and increasingly, it’s an economic imperative. The CV staff are not only helping students explore their post-secondary opportunities, but they’re helping them unlock financial resources and helping them persist through a daunting transition from high school to college. Until colleges and universities scale up their support for first-generation students and students from low-income households, and until we drastically reform the financial aid system in the United States, I’m going to do whatever I can to support the College Visions effort.
Huge thanks to Nora for being such a thoughtful CV supporter! In this hectic season, it’s good to remember that we are all part of a community of young people and adults all bringing energy and commitment to the project of making our community stronger. We are proud to share this work with you!