I decided to dedicate myself to Next Step due to several circumstances and experiences I've had in my life. First, I was "that student" who was not informed that I had to apply for the Bright Futures scholarship during my senior year in order to receive the 75% tuition payment. I was a freshman in college and went back to my high school inquiring about the scholarship. I was informed that I had missed the deadline. As a result I incurred a tremendous amount of student loan debt with a degree in Anthropology.
During and after college I had a dream to become a professor and wanted some global experience. I decided to attend the University of Auckland in New Zealand for my masters. After one year of study and receiving a Post-Graduate degree I only incurred more debt with another degree that didn't provide many job opportunities. Thankfully, I acquired a job in Kuwait as a contractor on a military base to pay off my student loan debt and to do some soul searching.
After 2 years in Kuwait I found 2 things that I loved to do: listen to people and help them set goals that will lead them towards success in life. I journeyed back to the States, landing in the University of North Florida's School Counseling master's program . I became highly trained and certified in academic and career counseling. During and after graduating from the program, I worked for Communities in Schools as a College Counselor in St. Johns County and then as a School Counselor at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, FL.
Working as a School Counselor at Sandalwood was tremendous but overwhelming. After my son was born in April 2014 I decided to dedicate my time to my son, family and providing students with a one-on-one college prep resource outside of the school counseling office.