June 2017

Alumni Spotlight, Meet Valentina Vega

What schools have you attended and what have you studied (high school and beyond)?

I graduated from J.R Tucker High School in 2012 and went straight to Virginia Commonwealth University. Spring 2015, I decided to study abroad in Brussels, Belgium for one academic year. I attended Vesalius College from fall of 2015 to spring of 2016. I came back to VCU and graduated in December of 2016. While abroad, I obtained a certificate in European Peace and Security Studies. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness with double minors in French and International Social Justice. ​

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What is the best thing GRASP has done for you? Easily, GRASP made me understand the importance of research. My GRASP advisor at Tucker, Mrs. Nelson* (see tribute below), made sure that I learned how to research for scholarships and really helped me understand the financial aid process. She was kind and always made me feel like I was the most important student in the world. I can honestly say that without GRASP, my college application process would have been much more difficult. What are you doing now? I am currently working as a Legislative Aide for a Virginia State Delegate. As a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship in 2012, I am able to continue my studies debt free beyond the undergraduate level. I hope to start a graduate program in the near future. What was your biggest challenge/adversity when trying to figure out your education path after high school? My biggest challenge was finding a career path that would allow me to serve my country and community while still earning a livable salary. At times, it was hard to find those aspects while still loving my job. It did not take me too long to fall in love with the security and international affairs sector, and I aspire to be a part of that community in the future.

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Hero's Corner

GRASP continues to receive support from individuals, businesses, and foundations, and for that we are forever grateful! This month we would like to recognize the following businesses and foundations that are providing their support to help us continue helping students, one individual at a time. Thank you to this month's Foundation Supporters, The Dave Matthews Band Bama Works Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, The Cameron Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

Join GRASP at "Live! at Stonebridge Summer Concert Series"

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GRASP would like to extend an invitation for you to join us for "Live! at Stonebridge," a summer concert series being held at Chesterfield's Stonebridge shopping center in support of GRASP. This series of three concerts on June 22, July 13, and August 10 will feature food, wine, live music from local bands, and craft beer from Chesterfield's Steam Bell Beer Works. While parking and admission are free, proceeds from sales of food and beverages will support GRASP's mission of providing in-school advising to high school students.


GRASP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable, college-access organization that assists students and families in reaching their educational goals.

* Mrs. Rise Nelson, GRASP Advisor pictured left, passed away in the fall of 2016. She impacted countless students. GRASP is forever grateful for Rise's years of service, wisdom, and friendship.