Adriana Ongay (’19) has joined the Philadelphia Education Fund as the organization’s College Access Program Coordinator.
Founded in 1985, the Philadelphia Education Fund creates equitable access to opportunities for students by providing resources and expertise that build paths to college and career success. The organization’s College Access program offers guidance to low-income, students of color, and first generation college-goers in grades 9-12.
As Coordinator for the College Access Program, Ongay supports high school students in their journeys to post-secondary education under a range of responsibilities. In addition to advisement, she hosts webinars with college and university representatives, professionals from the community, and on other topics related to college and career readiness.
The position with the Philadelphia Education Fund builds on the experience she gained in her time with UA Little Rock TRIO Talent Search, a federally funded pre-college program providing educational support to middle school and high school students in Arkansas’ Jefferson and Pulaski counties. Both the College Access Fund and TRIO Talent Search program are funded by the same grant.
“When I was offered the position, it felt like the perfect marriage between my life in Little Rock and Philadelphia,” said Ongay, who was born and raised in Philadelphia. “I think that coming into this new position I will be able to build up the skills I developed at my previous position and continue helping students.”
As a Clinton School student, Ongay partnered on multiple field service projects related to education and student development. She worked with Real Images on her final Capstone project, developing an academic curriculum to empower girls through self-esteem building workshops. The workshops covered topics that included self-image, media, relationships, and education and career planning. As an additional part of her Capstone work, she coordinated one of UA Little Rock Children International’s after-school programs.
“While developing a curriculum for Real Images’ MIRROR Project, I noticed the gaps that existed in our education system,” Ongay explained. “While working for Children International, I witnessed first-hand the positive impact educational programs can have on a student’s academics and behavior. These experiences solidified my decision to work in education and for programs such as TRIO Talent Search in order to help students receive equitable opportunities and be able to pursue their passion.”
Her International Public Service Project took her to Panama to work with Give & Surf, a nonprofit that services Panamanian communities through education and community development. She conducted a needs assessment to assist in the launch of a community center that provides local residents with resources and services to increase opportunity and access to education.
As a first-year student, Ongay and others worked with EAST Initiative – which stands for Education Accelerated by Service and Technology – to better understand the unique opportunities and challenges of technology-focused and project-based learning to students.
“My practicum, IPSP, and Capstone really helped to find my ‘why’ and what I am passionate about,” she said.
In addition to her Master of Public Service, Ongay is a graduate of Millersville University with a degree in government and political affairs with a minor in Latino studies.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.