The fall semester will soon be upon us and a group of advisers in the UT Austin chapter of the Advise TX College Advising Corps are getting ready to hit the ground running at their respective high schools across Texas. Throughout the month of August, the recent college graduates will participate in a comprehensive training program to learn how to best prepare their students for their collegiate pursuits. The training consists of visits to colleges and universities throughout the state, professional development seminars, speaker events and more.
We visited with Shalom Hernandez, a returning Advise TX adviser, to learn more about her career path and how she is helping underserved high school students prepare for the road ahead.
What made you decide to join Advise TX?
I believe students from all backgrounds deserve to know about all of the resources and multiple opportunities that are available to help them grow academically and professionally. By serving as an adviser I get to be part of a national movement to help expose students from low-income, minority identities, and/or undeserved backgrounds to higher education, and to give them the tools to begin a pathway for future success.
How have you benefited from this experience?
Through this work I have gained a deeper understanding of the educational system in the U.S. Advise TX has given me experience in not only working with adolescents, but also in event planning, presenting, public speaking and advocacy. Many times, I am the first point of contact to students who have no background knowledge of higher education, and I am honored to be able to expose them to a world of increasing opportunities.
What is the most gratifying aspect of your job?
The most gratifying aspect of being an adviser and serving as a mentor to 17- and 18-year olds is when they come into my office smiling from ear-to-ear because they’ve been accepted to the college of their choice. I know that acceptance letter is the door to many more opportunities. If you’re an educator and want to make a difference, you should apply to be an Advise TX adviser. You’ll gain experience in the field, be supported in your year of service, and most importantly you’ll create a long- lasting impact in the community where you serve.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Within the span of 10 years, I want to have completed my master’s in educational policy/ law and be working with the government to create policies that have a positive and tangible effect in the U.S. education system.
Read more about Hernandez’s undergraduate journey at UT Austin, where she earned her degree in business administration in 2018 and served as president of the Subiendo Academy, Longhorn Chapter. Visit the Advise TX website to learn more about the program and how it is helping low-income and first-generation students in five regions of Texas enter the college pipeline.