Alumni Board Member Daniel Figueiredo

        Daniel Figueiredo                 Alumni Board Member

Why I am proud to be a Bottom Line alum:

I am proud to be a Bottom Line alum because it means that I am part of a group of people that defied the odds to get where they are. Every Bottom Line student had above average obstacles in their life, but through determination, will, and support from Bottom Line we are in positions to do great things.

 


 

What advice I have for Bottom Line Alumni:

Advice I would give to Bottom Line Alumni is to get involved with Bottom Line and with your community. It’s important to stay grounded in what helped you get where you are today and to help others have similar opportunities.

 

Bottom Line Alum & Access Team Manager ShaCara Telemaque

BL Alum & Access Team Manager
ShaCara Telemaque

What is your experience as an alumni who is now working at Bottom Line:

“Being a former student, counselor, and now a manager Bottom Line has shown me that the interactions that we have with our students today, can greatly influence who they become later. As a student, my relationship with my counselors were the highlights of the program, besides the financial aid support. Bottom Line has done an amazing job of picking staff that genuinely want to support students—and that’s exactly why I wanted to work here. It’s an amazing feeling to see a student’s relief when they know they’ll be taken care of at Bottom Line, just like I was.”


What advice do you have for Bottom Line Alumni:

“Share the knowledge and skills that you further developed while being involved in Bottom Line and after. If your job involves recruiting, tell Bottom Line. If you want to do some volunteer hours, tell Bottom Line. Remember, current students are looking for life experiences and professional development just like you were. No one is a better expert at life beyond high school than you, so share your story!”

 

Help support Sarah and Bottom Line!

Sarah has been with Bottom Line in a variety of functions for over 10 years, and is currently our National Access Program Director. She is also running the Boston Marathon for us in April!  If you wish to help Sarah reach  her fundraising goal, you can do so here.  A donation of just $15 will fund a care package to a Bottom Line student!

 

Sarah’s favorite part of working at Bottom Line: 

Sarah Place Bottom Line's National Access Program Director

Sarah Place
Bottom Line’s National Access Program Director

I love that Bottom Line has a culture of continuous improvement and accountability.  Staff at all levels are constantly asking, “how can we do this better?” and take an active role in improving the way we serve students.  We strive to be the best at what we do because Bottom Line students deserve to receive the highest quality services.  I also live for reading college essays!

 

Sarah’s advice for alumni:

Please stay in touch!  Not only do we love hearing updates about alumni, but it could also benefit you to stay active in our network if we ever have the chance to connect you to opportunities.  Our current students are always looking to expand their networks so you could also have the chance to give back to your community by being an active part of the Bottom Line community.  We want to continue seeing you go far!

 

 

Yaritza Peña Alumni Board Member

Yaritza Peña
Alumni Board Member

Why I am proud to be a Bottom Line Alum …

“Bottom line values developing meaningful relationships with their students and other stakeholders, and I am proud to be a part of an organization that genuinely cares about the success of all its students. I can personally attest to this as I have always felt supported and encouraged by the staff and my counselors. I also owe a lot to Bottom Line for noticing systemic injustices and actively doing something about it. As an alum, I have witnessed firsthand the powerful impact of the organization’s mission and alumni. Bottom Line boldly provides a voice to those without a microphone.”


What advice I have for Bottom Line Alumni …

“Take the time to learn about yourself, and truly figure out what you want to do, and what your passions are. From there, develop short and long term goals, and push yourself to find concrete ways to accomplish them. Lastly, never forget those who helped you along the way, and be there to help push them in the direction of their dreams as well.”

 

Idaliana Medina Alum & Career Counselor

                Idaliana Medina               Alum & Career Counselor

Q: What is your experience as an alum now working at Bottom Line?

A: “I think as an alum of Bottom Line who came back to work for the organization, I realize how important the work that Bottom Line does is. As a student, I’m sure I didn’t always come to meetings (Sorry, Yorky, Ali and Michelle) or I didn’t listen to what my counselor had to say. I realize now that they were just looking out for me, and they had my best interest in mind. It feels good to be working for the company that helped me become who I am today.”


Q: What advice do you have for Bottom Line Alumni?

A: “Take advantage of the services that Bottom Line offers to alumni! We have a lot of connections with different companies and are always posting new jobs on our hiring board. These can definitely help you in your careers! We also have alumni events that are great for reconnecting with your fellow alumni and for networking! Take advantage!”

Melissa Pena Alumni Board Member

Melissa Pena
Alumni Board Member

Why I am proud to be a Bottom Line Alum … 

“When I reflect on all I have accomplished to this day, I feel a sense of appreciation in my heart knowing all of the support I received along the way. Throughout high school and college, my support system not only consisted of an amazing group of family and friends, but also of incredible organizations such as Bottom Line.”


What advice I have for Bottom Line Alumni … 

“My advice for alumni is to continuously dream bigger, take risks, share wisdom gained through experiences and sacrifices made, and expand your reach by paying it forward. There is always a generation to learn from before you, as well as a path of influence to leave for those after you.”

Alum & Success Counselor - Joe Bogle

Alum & Success Counselor – Joe Bogle

Joe Bogle is a Bottom Line Alumnus and is currently a Success Counselor in Jamaica Plain as a part of the Bottom Line Staff! Joe came across Bottom Line while attending City on a Hill and and went on to enroll and graduate from Bridgewater State University in 2013 earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Education and double minors in Psychology and Social Welfare. Today, Joe is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Education at Salem State University.

 

High School: City on a Hill
College: Bridgewater State University ’13 / MA Candidate Salem State University
Position: Success Counselor
Company: Bottom Line

 

What is your experience as an alum who is now working at Bottom Line: As an alumni that now works at Bottom Line, it has been satisfying to be on the counselor side where now I can directly impact students on a daily basis. It has also been a rewarding experience to work with students that come from a similar background and having the ability to help them successfully navigate their way through college is one of the most gratifying feelings.

 

What advice do you have for Bottom Line Alumni: Be sure to stay in contact with Bottom Line for future endeavors. We’re always looking for our alums to stay engaged and active even when they have graduated. Bottom Line can be a great resource for alumni to reach out to for academic, professional, and volunteer opportunities.

Alumni Board Member – Cristina Rodrigues

Cristina Rodrigues a member of Bottom Line’s Inaugural Alumni Board. Cristina was born in Boston, is the daughter of Cape Verdean immigrants and was a first-generation college student. She first came to Bottom Line while attending Milton Academy and went on to enroll and graduate from Brown University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, and Africana Studies. She then went on to receive a Juris Doctor (JD) Degree from Harvard Law School. Today, Cristina is a public defender at the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Cristina is immeasurably grateful to Bottom Line for the huge role it played in her college and career success.

 

High School: Milton Academy
College: Brown University ’10 / Havard Law School ’13
Position: Public Defender
Company: Committee for Public Counsel Services

 

Why I am proud to be a Bottom Line Alum: I am proud to be a Bottom Line Alum because I believe so deeply in the mission and method of Bottom Line. Like most people, I was really overwhelmed applying to college. There were so many forms and so many decisions – and as extraordinarily supportive as my parents were, a lot of the paperwork was foreign to all of us. During that process, my Bottom Line counselor was supportive, patient and always willing to walk me through the paperwork. Bottom Line helped me not only get into college but also get a financial aid package that worked for my family. I appreciate all that Bottom Line did for me, my siblings and so many other first-generation college students. I believe first-generation students, students from working class families, students from immigrant backgrounds, students of color and other marginalized groups have a tremendous amount of talent, capability and priceless perspectives. Bottom Line is doing the amazing work of helping us all realize our potential – which is critical for both our personal success and the futures of our communities.

 

Cristina’s Advice for Bottom Line Alumni: Even with the biggest tasks, just take things one step at a time. Break things down into smaller pieces. Get done what you can today. Ask for help before you need it. Take advantage of resources and community. Be grateful. Plan ahead for tomorrow. Get done what you can tomorrow. And repeat.

Marquisa Gaines: Alumni Board Chair

Marquisa Gaines is the appointed chair of Bottom Line’s Inaugural Alumni Board, and is an alum of Bottom Line’s second class. She first came to Bottom Line while attending Another Course to College (ACC) and went on to enroll and graduate from Hampton University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. Today, Marquisa is a Senior Real Estate Reporting Analyst at Eaton Vance, one of the oldest investment management firms in the country.

 

High School: Another Course to College

College: Hampton University, Class of 2002

Position: Senior Real Estate Reporting Analyst

Company: Eaton Vance

 

Why Marquisa is Proud to be a Bottom Line Alum: As a Bottom Line Alum, I am honored to represent this wonderful organization and all that it stands for in such a huge way. Bottom Line exemplifies what it takes to be successful when you remain patient and dedicated to following your dreams and reaching your career goals, something I’ve instilled in my daily goals and self evaluation of my life.

Marquisa’s Advice for Bottom Line Alumni: As a Bottom Line Alum, I think it is important to give back to the very organization that prepared and set you up for success. In addition, always remain humble and true to yourself, as you never know what goals can be achieved or results attained with your authenticity. Lastly, understand there will be trials and tribulations. What matters however, is HOW you handle such adversity.

 

BLalumni-14

Access Counselor, Evan Soken preps his student for the big May 1st deadline

My student lifted their eyes to the wall thick with college pennants, searching for their future school. Each flag was surrounded by a cluster of colorful stars, each star bearing the name of a student who had committed to that college from the Class of 2016. A smile of recognition flickered across their face as Northeastern caught their eye. “It’s so high! How am I supposed to get up there?” they exclaimed. “You think you can jump that high?” I laughed. After taking a beat, they took a running jump and slapped their star directly below the Northeastern pennant as applause rippled through the room.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons in the college access world. Every piece of the process comes with unique challenges and rewards, but especially as a second-year counselor at Bottom Line, the weeks leading up to May 1 are the culmination of months of student work. May 1 is National College Decision Day in the United States — the day when nearly every college in the country requires that students commit to a college by sending a deposit to secure their place in the class. At Bottom Line, we plan for this day all year. From the first time we meet with a student during the summer before their senior year, we are thinking about how to troubleshoot all the obstacles that might stand between them and a good-fit, affordable, post-secondary option on May 1. As we partner with students to build a diverse college list, edit countless essays, complete the FAFSA, and troubleshoot financial and citizenship issues we are always thinking about giving the student as many options as possible. By the time April rolls around, students prepare to have one of their final meetings in our Access Program: the Award Analysis Meeting.

While there are many valuable meetings and services that students participate in during their senior year, the Award Analysis Meeting is a game-changer. Using an Excel tool that helps breakdown financial aid letters into government/institutional money and federal loans, we estimate the cost of their different colleges for freshman year. Then we take it one step further and estimate the four-year cumulative cost and monthly loan repayment for each college as well. Financing college is one of the most significant barriers low-income, first-generation college students face. Fluctuating financial aid and lack of clear information about paying for college often result in student dropout. This meeting with students is meant to empower them to think about the long-term consequences of their different college choices. It pushes the counselor, the student, and their family to think in concrete, specific terms: What is your plan to pay your first bill in August? Where is that money coming from? Will you have access to that money over four years? While these conversations are almost never easy or simple, walking through these tough questions with all parties involved dramatically increases a student’s ability to confidently make a choice that will move them towards their college degree.

At the end of the day all the services we provide are about giving students the tools to make a college choice that will set them up for success — not just for next year — but for the next four years, as they earn their degree, and the next ten years as they start their post-college lives. People often say to me, “This must be such a rewarding time of year for you!” It is rewarding, but the reward doesn’t belong to me—it belongs to my students who have used the resources available to them to advocate for themselves, to grow, and to learn. This is their moment and I am privileged to have been a part of it.

-Written by Bottom Line Access Counselor, Evan Soken

 

Rosellen Feliz. Bryn Mawr

Rosellen is off to Bryn Mawr!

Jean.Northeastern.FoundationYear

Jean will attend Northeastern Foundation Year in the fall!

Dorchester Counselors

Our Dorchester Access Counselors rep their alma maters!

Brandon Bennett Guallpa.Swarthmore

Brandon commits to Swathmore!