September 2019

Meet GRASP Alumna Felicia Baez

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What did you study? I attended George Mason University for my BA (2017) studying Integrative Studies with a concentration in International Studies and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I graduated with my Master's in Public Health in May 2019 from George Mason University.

What is the best thing GRASP has done for you? The best thing that GRASP has done for me is give me the opportunity to pursue my education without the fear of being alone. My family and I struggled financially, and being able to have resources is what helped me succeed as a student.

What are you doing now? Upon graduation I got a job with the Virginia Department of Health as an Opioid Response Outreach Coordinator. Part of my job is going out into communities and facilitating REVIVE training, which teaches people how to respond to an opioid overdose emergency with Narcan the nasal spray. I also am a returning GRASP mentor, and my mentee and I are excited to see how her semester goes.

What one piece of "educational advice" would you give to high school students? One piece of educational advice I would give students is do not let procrastination get in the way. Those who really want to do well work hard, study, and are on top of everything whether it means application deadlines, homework assignments, or scheduling meetings with your guidance counselor. Make sure you are excelling in your classes but also get involved and be a well-rounded student.

What is the biggest life challenge you faced relative to your educational path? The biggest life challenge I faced in my educational path was finances and balancing personal/family issues. Being a Black and Hispanic woman pursuing higher education is difficult to navigate, and I learned to lean on mentors and professors that genuinely cared about my well-being and goals. They helped me get where I needed to be.

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Our caring and dedicated GRASP advisors in more than 90 high schools and middle schools across Virginia help students navigate the financial aid process and guide them in determining their least-cost options, whether they’re aiming for community college, a university, or even the military. Often our advisors assist families with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that many never knew existed. And these enthusiastic mentors all call their role the most rewarding job they’ve ever had! With your support, we can continue to ensure career and college access for all.

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GRASP is a Virginia 501(c)(3) nonprofit. GRASP seeks to give ALL students in Virginia the opportunity to build fulfilling lives through post-secondary educational pathways.