Andrea Lee, an academic advisor at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, says her life’s journey has brought her full circle. Not so long ago, she was in her student’s shoes – struggling to find the path that would lead her to achieve her academic and professional goals.
Back in high school, Andrea was a high achiever but didn’t have a way to go to college financially. She also wasn’t surrounded by a college-going culture. Most of the girls who were her classmates never completed high school.
The Take Stock in Children Sarasota program inducted Andrea when she was in middle school and the rest is — as they say — history. Andrea blossomed with a dedicated caring adult by her side. Unlike many of the peers at her school, Andrea graduated from high school with straight As, received dozens of college acceptances, and earned a scholarship to go to college.
Today, as an academic advisor, Andrea sits across TSIC college students and it’s her job to make sure they’re on the right track for success. She relates to their challenges and is passionate about guiding them on their varied pathways to success in college and beyond.
Andrea says Take Stock in Children changed her life because the program made going to college a reality for her. The scholarship and the support of a mentor provided her with tools to reach her academic goals. Perhaps, Andrea says, the most important impact of Take Stock was the validation from the staff and her mentor that she was someone worth investing in. This validation drove her to keep developing herself and to never be afraid to reach for new heights.