Student Story Archives - The Campaign for College Opportunity

Intern Series: Christine Avila

BeFunky CollageBy: Christine Avila, introduction by Aileen Zhong, Policy & Programs Associate at the Campaign for College Opportunity

At the Campaign there is nothing we love more than working with passionate students who are eager to make a difference in the world and who remind us exactly why we fight so hard for college access and completion. Every year we have the opportunity to watch talented students cultivate the skills to become effective student advocates in the policy making process and develop strong leadership skills. This summer, we were excited to host our high school intern, Christine Avila, who joined us from the Harvey Mudd College Upward Bound program – a program that helps low-income, first-generation college bound students gain the skills necessary for college success. Christine is an embodiment of everything we look for in our student leaders. We hope you enjoy her story!

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I almost fell through the cracks, but now I’m a PhD student

As a student in California public higher education, I’m very proud of the Campaign for College Opportunity’s accomplishments. It’s because of the Campaign’s work that other students won’t have to go through what I went through. A little over a decade ago, I was moving through the California system of public higher education. I started at a Cal State, then moved to a community college, and eventually transferred to UC Irvine. It’s important to share that from a young age, I was, by most standards, on track to attend an excellent university after graduating from high school. During high school, I earned A’s in my summer courses at UC Berkeley and my local community college. I graduated valedictorian of my high school and earned multiple scholarships. But as I moved between sectors of our higher education system, I felt lost because there was no structure in place to help me navigate the complicated transfer process. I was floundering and began questioning whether I was college material at all. Read More

Grateful for students like Toni Gomez

The list of all we are grateful for is long at The Campaign for College Opportunity, especially as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary and the major policy victories that are helping to improve higher education in our state. But, first and foremost we are grateful for the amazing and persistent college students who help make California a better place.

Students like Toni Gomez who have lived close to the edge of poverty and know that college is the key to a stable future. We met Toni in 2010 when she worked on the Student Success Task Force to develop recommendations for improving student success in community colleges. Toni’s courageous decision to share her own story of poverty and the challenges she had to overcome to succeed, made her a powerful and authentic voice in the Capitol. She put a face to the unnecessary barriers students face.

Toni had faced significant financial aid obstacles that almost made her give up on her college dream. Read More