The mission of the Office of Outreach and Relations with Schools is to recruit and attract students from diverse backgrounds to De Anza College, support prospective students in their transition from high school to college, and work in collaboration with college programs and services, local high schools, and communities to promote college access and success.
The Office of Outreach and Relations with Schools actively works to attract a diverse student population to De Anza College, through collaborative working relationships with high schools, school districts and communities throughout Santa Clara County. The goal of the Outreach office is to promote college access and success for all students, with emphasis on underserved and underrepresented students.
Staff members in the Outreach office provide information about campus programs and services to prospective students and their parents, through a variety of activities at area high schools. These include college fairs, career and college nights, presentations, info tables, student ambassadors, application workshops and placement testing.
The Outreach office also organizes De Anza campus tours and serves as a point of contact to support the successful transition of prospective students from high school to college.
Led by Rob Mieso, associate vice president of Student Services, the Outreach staff members draw on their academic and professional training -- and life experience -- to connect with students and their families. In a recognition of outstanding work, the Outreach staff was honored with a 2017 Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.
“Being able to connect to different resources on campus allowed me to be successful,” said Jesus Ruelas, a De Anza graduate and Karl S. Pister scholarship winner, who’s now an academic adviser in the office. “I feel connected to the community here, so now I try to fill that same role for others.”
“A lot of us (on the Outreach staff) are first-generation college students and so, for us, it’s kind of giving back to the community,” added counselor Erick Aragon. “We’re always in the schools, working with students that may not have a trajectory toward college.”
During the last academic year, the office held 200 outreach events, serving over 12,000 students in 38 high schools. Team members also organized four conferences that brought more than 1,300 high school students to the De Anza College campus, along with the annual New Student and Parent Open House, which attracted more than 3,000 students and parents in the spring.
A big part of that effort involves being approachable, said counselor Umar Douglas. “We do a little extra to make students feel like they’re stepping into a space where it’s like their older brothers and older sisters are here – as opposed to just being their counselors.”
“We understand there are a lot of challenges and barriers for students, who may not have thought about going to college, to actually take the initiative to come here,” added Erika Flores, student success program coordinator.
The outreach effort extends to parents, who may not have gone to college themselves, said Nubia Sanchez, school relations specialist. “It’s important that parents see their students in college and know their students belong here,” she said.
Outreach staffers also works with students after they’ve enrolled at De Anza, helping them with access to academic advising and counseling, education planning, peer mentoring and a food pantry for low-income students.
“I like that we get to help students in need. I was one, so that’s important to me,” said Ambrocine Rodriguez, administrative assistant. “I’m the first person most students see when they walk in our office. So I want to make sure they feel like their voices are heard, and that their issues can be solved in this office.”
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