Alumnus Bryan Coreas has been involved with the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) since he was a high-school student. Now, he is charge of PAYS educational outreach.
Bryan Coreas ’11 has been involved with the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) since he was admitted to the summer program as a high school student in 2004. He worked as a student coordinator while he was attending Pomona, and this year was hired as the post-baccalaureate fellow in charge of educational outreach. When his 16-month appointment ends, he plans to attend graduate school and become a math teacher.
“I started PAYS when it was still called the Summer Scholars Enrichment Program. Back then, there wasn’t an option to live on campus during your first summer, so I commuted from La Puente. It was amazing being at Pomona and getting to meet people from other schools, learning about other students’ experiences. I knew then I had to go to college. That’s where the program had the biggest impact for me.”
“During the school year, I would meet regularly with Laura Enriquez ’08. She was the only college advisor back then, and I remember her driving to all our houses, reminding us to keep our grades up and take our SATs. Laura, along with Wendy Chu, guided me in applying to a few colleges, including Pomona. When the acceptance letter finally came, I was at a conference for student government, so my mom called me to let me know. She was emotional about it. I was very calm: ‘All right, I got in.’ After I hung up, it sunk in, and a feeling of relief and joy set in.”
“I did research with Professor Roberto Garza-López and took a class from Professor Gilda Ochoa during the summer program, and both of them continued to have a big impact on me when I came to Pomona as a college student.They helped me feel I was part of a supportive community and made me think about what kind of impact I wanted to have as a teacher. One of the things I know I want to do is recreate what happened for me here—professors listening, inviting you out to grab a bite, really creating a bond with the students.”
Becoming a Teacher
“I got involved with the Draper Center during my first year. They needed Latino males to be role models for Pomona Partners’ weekly mentoring program at Fremont Academy and asked if I would help out. It was fun, and very different from what I’d been doing as a college student. It was also the first time I had hands-on experience in the classroom and it made me excited about the possibility of becoming a teacher.The next fall I started doing college advising with PAYS students and helped guide three high school students through the applications process.”
Shaping the Clay
“It’s been great to be back at the Draper Center and with PAYS. There have been so many changes in the program since I first came here, with the addition of more college advisors and community meetings in the residence halls that help students from all three classes get to know one another. As the post-bac fellow, I’m getting the chance to really dive in, to help shape the clay. After the summer, one of my projects will be working on developing a new Draper Center program for sixth- to 12th-grade students.”
“…Much is Expected”
“Pomona is a special place. It has given me a lot. Maria Tucker [director of the center] likes to say, ‘From those to whom much is given, much is expected.’ I believe in that ideology. I was given this opportunity and want to use it to the best of my ability.”