Since 2009, The Urban Assembly has been improving upon our Summer Bridge program to help high school graduates enroll in college. The majority of UA students come from low-income and under-resourced communities and are also the first in their family to apply to college. Many of our students are tasked with getting to college on their own. In response to this need for support, the UA created a program that has scaled up beyond our network of schools as a model for urban districts across the nation. Because we recognized the changing landscape in higher education and the diverse needs of our student population, our Summer Bridge program has expanded to include supports for students seeking to pursue a variety of postsecondary pathways. Using an expertise in postsecondary access as well as career and technical education, our Summer Bridge program sets our students up for success in college and careers after high school graduation.
Alumni Success Texting Program:
The Alumni Success Texting Program was launched in the fall of 2016. The program supports up to 4,000 UA high school graduates each year through its strategically delivered text messages, which students receive twice per month.. These text messages are tailored to support students through their chosen postsecondary path - college or otherwise. During the fall semester, text messages focus on increasing alumni engagement and facilitating postsecondary navigation. In the spring semester, text messages focus on sharing useful and applicable resources and facilitating advocacy. Texting is an effective tool to increase postsecondary success because it fits well with our students’ preferred and most utilized form of communication
Angelina Lorenzo graduated from the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in 2014, and she earned her BS in Public Affairs from Baruch College in 2018. From 2014-2018, she participated in the UA's Bridge to College program first as a coach and then as a coordinator. In her current role, she supports UA alumni through our texting campaign, assists with the implementation of Bridge to College, and develops tools and resources that alumni and bridge coaches use to navigate their post-secondary lives.
Julissa Baez is a workforce development professional with an extensive background in training, learning, and development. She leads the UA's Alumni Success programming, supporting and engaging more 10,000 UA alumni as they navigate higher education and careers. Julissa first joined the UA as the Deputy Director of Career Readiness, where she was responsible for partnership development and compliance for our career and technical education schools. Before joining the UA team, Julissa led educational programming for Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC), the first and largest municipal initiative to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Prior to WE NYC, Julissa helped build training programs at higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations serving opportunity youth. Julissa holds a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University and a BA in Political Science from Baruch College.
Stephanie Fiorelli comes to the UA from Democracy Prep Public Schools, where she developed and launched alumni support programming for over three years. She has over ten years experience in higher education both as a teacher and adviser, and she has worked on behalf of low-income, first-generation college students in order to close the opportunity gap and drive up college graduation rates. At the Urban Assembly, she manages the Alumni Success programming and in particular, the text messaging campaign that allows the organization to scale post-secondary support to thousands of UA graduates.