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Pre-College Programs Adds Personnel
January 17 , 2007

A trio of new personnel is giving fresh energy to the office of Pre-College Programs (PCP), the Calvin College department dedicated to giving at-risk youth access to post-high school education.

Tasha Paul, Amy Maffeo and Sherrie Watkins join Pre-College Programs at Calvin.  In the background is the director, Rhae-Ann Booker.Tasha Paul, formerly an associate director of admissions at Calvin, is joining the office as the first assistant director of Pre-College Programs.

In her new position, Paul will supervise established efforts such as Pathways to Possibilities (the original PCP effort that works through churches to give at-risk students exposure to higher education) and the Entrada Scholars Program, a summer college immersion experience for high school juniors and seniors.

Paul will also oversee the two-year-old Aspirando Alto, a post-high school access program geared to Latino students and the brand new P2P Excel, a program funded by a $100, 000 grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education that prepares African- American young men for college.

She is enthusiastic about her new role at Calvin.

“I think there’s already a strong foundation of programs in that office, and I’m eager at the creative possibilities that are out there to continue to build into what already has been started," Pauls says, "for the benefit not only of the populations that we’ll serve but for the benefit of the places they’ll go. The institutions will benefit from the presence of these students just as much as the students will benefit from being there.”

Paul, who last year oversaw Entrada on an adjunct basis, is eager to connect with the young people served by Pre-College Programs.

“I think that the population served here are largely underrepresented people of color, and I think that they are brilliant and full of unrealized potential,” she says. “Their strengths are often overlooked, so I’m really looking forward to working with these brilliant minds and connecting them to a wonderful education and watching how that will blossom and grow.”

She is also eager to introduce the young people to one of her passions: Latin dance.

“There’s going to be salsa everywhere,” she says. “It’s so much fun, and the kids loved it during Entrada.”

Pre-College Programs has also hired a new coordinator for Pathways to Possibilities.

Amy Maffeo, a 2000 graduate of Calvin and most recently high school teacher in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, will oversee the 14 church partnerships in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Kalamazoo that compose Pathways West Michigan.

“She’s going to be great,” says Paul. “I think her teaching experience—the way she connects with youth— and her work in curriculum development are going to be wonderful additions to the program.”

Also new to Pre-College Programs is office administrative assistant Sherrie Watkins. Watkins, who formerly worked as an administrative assistant at the YWCA (she served battered and sexually assaulted women) and the American Cancer Society, loves her new job.

“I like the program. I like what it’s about and how it’s helping students and children,” she says. “I love working with the new team. It’s a good fit. It’s like I’m finally home."

Rhae-Ann Booker, the director of Pre-College Programs since its 1996 inception, is excited about the trio of new personnel.

“I look forward to experiencing the different ideas and new approaches the staff will bring,” she says. I’m excited about the addition of a new position—the assistant director role. We are broadening the work of Pre-college programs. The efforts to date have been pretty focused on AHANA populations, and we’re going to broaden our approach to working more with schools and with different populations. We all have great skills, great expertise and, together, we will make a great team.”

~words and image by communications and marketing staff writer Myrna Anderson