UNO Orientation Night: So. Excited.


Students, family, and staff gather on UNO’s campus for College Bridge’s 2016 cohort Orientation.

Last Wednesday was College Bridge Orientation at the University of New Orleans. Just look at these beautiful people!

As we are wont to do at College Bridge, we talked a lot about why we were all gathered. We heard students and parents share important, thoughtful goals for the coming year. We imagined together how we’ll overcome challenges when they arise. And we celebrated our UNO College Bridge community.

And the bottom line is that we are just thrilled to get to work with these young people, their families, and their institution this year.

Darius Martin

Raffle winner and UNO freshman Darius Martin.

A special shout out goes to Carlos Gooden and the UNO Admissions team for their support, to College Bridge intern and rising UNO sophomore Asia Carter for documenting and lending a helping hand at the event, and to College Bridge alum Jesstillia Harris for attending and sharing her wisdom.

We can’t wait for the semester to begin!

Bryn Dyal(1)

Incoming UNO freshman Bryn Dyal displays her new College Bridge t-shirt.






An Interview with Asia Carter, UNO ’19


Asia Carter, University of New Orleans ’19

This summer, College Bridge is lucky to have the help of our marketing intern, Asia Carter, who is a rising sophomore at the University of New Orleans and a College Bridge student. She aced her first year of college, earning a 4.0 GPA.

As we welcome our 2016 cohort of freshmen, we caught up with Asia to more hear about her first-year experience and ask what advice she has for new college students.

Check out her wisdom below!

CB: Let’s start with your major. What are you studying?

AC: Marketing. First I was a psychology major, but I changed it. I’m good at school, but I didn’t want to stay in school for so long as you need to become a psychologist. I think a minor in psychology would help with marketing, though, so I’m planning to do that.

CB: Tell me about your career goals.

AC: I want to work for Google. If I could work for Google I’d be so happy. If someone asked you, “What’s your job?” and you said, “I work for Google,” that’s legit. I want to work on the creative side, but I don’t want to be the graphic designer. I want to come up with the marketing idea behind the design.

Managing your time is about finding what works for you, and that goes for study skills, too.

CB: You had a very successful first year of college. You had a 4.0 GPA and were on the Dean’s List! What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?

AC: Aside from doing it for your family or to make other people around you happy, ultimately you have to do college for yourself or you’re not going to be motivated. Managing your time is about finding what works for you, and that goes for study skills, too. For me, I’d practice studying with things I wanted to learn about that weren’t about school, and then use what worked for my school work. For instance, I’d listen to notes from class while I’d be at the gym because it works well for me to learn by listening. And, I’d say: take other people’s advice. You don’t have to always do what they’re advising, but you should listen and think on it and treat it like an option.

I’ve progressed a lot since my first semester by setting an alarm on my phone for everything.

CB: What was something you struggled with initially when you started college?

AC: Oh, man. Time management! I still struggle with this. I want to go to the gym, Chi Alpha, class, plus I tutor — finding time for myself is my struggle. But, I’ve progressed a lot since my first semester by setting an alarm on my phone for everything. I set it for class, the gym, everything. During the summer, I’ve been keeping a notebook of stuff I have to do each day. I make a checklist for myself. I’m going to add that to my alarm system when the school year starts.

During the summer, I’ve been keeping a notebook of stuff I have to do each day. I make a checklist for myself. I’m going to add that to my alarm system when the school year starts.

CB: What motivates you?

AC: I’m self-motivated, but I’m also motivated by different things for different reasons. What makes me stay at the summer camp I work at is the impact I can have on the kids I work with. I’m motivated to intern with College Bridge because it can help open doors. In life, it’s my family, because I love them so much.

CB: What’s your favorite thing about UNO?

AC: I don’t know! One of my favorite things this semester, just to be specific, was my economics professor. He’s so smart, and he gave great advice. He’d say simple things that really opened my eyes. And we’d have lots of interesting guest speakers. So, the professors are one thing I really appreciate.

Also, I really love Chi Alpha, which is a student organization that does prayer nights and other events. I love it because it’s weird to talk about Christian faith in the real world, but it helps with that, and it made it easier to meet new friends who have a similar belief system.

CB: What was your favorite class this year?

AC: Economics! The professor gave real life examples that apply to my life. And, economics messes with your brain because you don’t usually think like that. You never think of its principles, like supply and demand, in the real world, but econ explains it. And I’d also say my statistics class. I love math and I have a passion for it. I don’t think I’ll major in it, but I like that it bothers my brain when I don’t get something, and it makes me work ten times harder to get it.

CB: What is the biggest difference between high school and college?

AC: I like college better. I like the freedom to do what you want. And, it’s competitive. I like competition. I like that it asks me to think hard, like in my history class. You can’t just memorize. I have to take something in, meditate on it, and then say something about it. And, in college, you have so many choices of student activities and majors, you can see what you like, what you’re good at, what you’re not good at — and choose for yourself.

CB: We’re lucky to have you as College Bridge’s marketing intern! Can you talk a little about the projects you’re working on?

AC: Well, for instance, we worked on a welcome video for the incoming UNO and Loyola students who will be working with College Bridge this fall. We did a social media series on professionalism in college. For that, I made a series of Instagram pictures with quotes and tips in the caption. We’ll be posting them slowly over the next few months. They’re tips for being successful in college.

You should make it your job to meet people you think are important. You never know what or who they know.

CB: Thanks so much for sitting down with me, Asia. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

AC: You know, I think high schoolers usually get a speech about “They’re not going to help you in college.” There’s actually a lot of help out there. You just have to go and find it. Get help with grammar at the tutoring center, seek help from your teachers during office hours.

And the last piece of advice I’d give is about meeting people. You should make it your job to meet people you think are important. You never know what or who they know.

Selley Foundation Makes Start-Up Grant to CBNO

College Bridge is excited to announce a grant from the Selley Foundation, a donor-advised fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation that supports and capital and programmatic initiatives of organizations working in education, the arts, and the environment.

The Selley Foundation’s gift will help support the launch and expansion of College Bridge’s programs for the 2016-2017 school year.

Our work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and their belief in the capacity of the young people in our city. Learn more about our community of support on our investors page.

Profile: Erica Martinez, Founding College Success Coach

Erica Martinez head shot (1)Back in December, College Bridge launched a national search for our first hire. We were planning to grow in 2016, and we needed to find the right person to lead and expand our coaching program as we began to serve more students. Enter Erica Martinez.

Erica grew up in Mississippi, attending Mississippi State University and earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical psychology there. She has worked in youth counseling, mentorship, and crisis supports for more than ten years, and also brings experience with several non-profit startups. (Read more about Erica in her bio.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 10.43.01 AMSince joining the team, Erica has criss-crossed South Louisiana, meeting with students on campuses from Delgado and UNO to Southeastern and ULL. She’s helped Cohen College Prep alums finish strong in the spring semester, renew their financial aid (it’s FAFSA time, y’all!), and get ready for the fall. She coaches College Bridge’s marketing intern, Asia Carter (UNO ’19), and coordinates our peer mentoring program with with peer mentor leader Teddy Williams (Beloit ’18). She’s even found time to take some members of the College Bridge squad to a Zephyr’s game.

We can’t wait for you to meet her!


Peer Mentor Leader is Named McNair Scholar

Teddy Williams1

Teddy Williams, Cohen College Prep ’14, Beloit ’18, and 2016 McNair Scholar

Teddy Williams (Beloit ’18), a 2014 graduate of Cohen College Prep and student leader of College Bridge’s peer mentoring program, has been named a 2016 McNair Scholar at Beloit College.

A history major, Teddy is interested in civil rights, social justice, and racial institutionalization. His McNair research will focus on the history of race relations at Beloit College from the 1960s to the present. Teddy intends to pursue a joint Ph.D./J.D. in his graduate studies.

The prestigious McNair Scholars Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO office, and aims to prepare high-achieving undergraduates who are the first in their families to attend college or are members of underrepresented groups for doctoral studies and research. McNair Scholars conduct independent research as undergraduates and receive extensive support in preparing and applying for graduate study.

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Teddy Williams (Beloit ’18) greets fellow College Bridge student Gwen Essex (ULL ’18) at the end of the Spring semester

The U.S. Congress endowed the McNair Scholars Program in memory of Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair, a NASA physicist and the second African American to fly in space, after McNair perished in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

At College Bridge, Teddy is the adroit leader of our peer mentoring program, helping to support recent graduates as they transition to college.

Congratulations, Teddy!

Malana Mitchell Joins Board

We are so pleased to welcome media and public relations expert Malana Mitchell to the College Bridge New Orleans Board of Directors.

Ms. Mitchell is the award-winning Director of Public Relations for local PR firm Spears Group. Read more about Malana in her bio.

Carol Asher Joins CBNO Board

The College Bridge team is delighted to welcome Carol Asher as the newest member of our Board of Directors.

Ms. Asher has deep experience leading within and consulting to the New Orleans non-profit community, and a special interest in education and youth development. Read her more detailed bio here.

Our Why & A Profile of Paris

What is your why?

Last weekend, Paris and Sarah participated in the first-ever Community Summit of 4pt0 Schools, and got to attend a refresher session on the now-famous TED Talk by Simon Sinek.

At College Bridge, our mission statement focuses what we do and how we do it. We help public school students enroll and succeed in college — and we constantly reflect on how to evolve that work and do it better and better.

But the summit session was a great reminder that our why is slightly more complicated than that, because our why is about the nuances of individual students’ lives.

Recently, the alumni blog of Education Pioneers interviewed Paris in a two-part series about her story and what inspires her work with College Bridge — a series which tells our why in a slightly different way.

As the series helps to explain, our why is about helping individual students transcend obstacles to their success. Our why is about serving students who have worked hard in high school, and need a hand with the next step. Our why is about supporting the broadest possible swath of students in our city. Our why is about the long arc of a student’s experience on their road from high school graduation to a post-secondary degree.

Educational equity is one of the central social justice issues of our time, and the path to earning a college degree is riddled with unnecessary barriers for our most vulnerable students.

And of course, this is anchored in something much bigger. Educational equity is one of the central social justice issues of our time, and the path to earning a college degree is riddled with barriers for our most vulnerable students. At the heart of it, that is our why.




Share Out & Scale Up: College Bridge Featured on WWNO


College Bridge’s Paris Woods recording the interview at the WWNO studio

“What is education entrepreneurship, exactly?” asks WWNO’s Mallory Falk in a recent story on education entrepreneurship featuring College Bridge New Orleans and other education start-ups in the city.

As Mallory explains, “[an] aspect of education entrepreneurship is building connective tissue in New Orleans’ uniquely decentralized school system.”


And that’s part of how we see the role of CBNO: we link up students, families, high schools, and colleges at a phase of the educational process where links have historically been weaker, and where strengthening supports can make a huge impact for both individual students and our community as a whole.

Thanks to Mallory and WWNO for the opportunity to chat!