By Sara Allan, Gates Foundation
Valerie Gonzales is an inspiration. A recent college graduate in Fort Worth, Texas, she navigated challenging circumstances as a college adviser during the pandemic to support and guide high school students as they strove to make their own transition to college. Always willing to brainstorm career options in her office or track down a student at their afterschool job to make sure they completed application paperwork, Valerie is a trusted partner to her students and a testament to the power of individual relationships in students’ lives. Sadly, the kind of help she provides through the College Advising Corps is not universal in high schools across the country.