Upward Bound Staff
I have travelled to a number of countries throughout the world including Africa, Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I have lectured and presented in many universities, high schools and community centers throughout North America. My main interest is the organization of the poor.
I have worked in Upward Bound for over 30 years. Before joining the Mills UB family, I previously worked for the Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math/Science Programs at UC Berkeley. All that I’ve learned about the program has come as a result of the various capacities that I have worked including: activities coordinator, residential advisor, field counselor, associate director, and acting director. I am a graduate of UC Berkeley, earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare in 1981.
Gabriela Powell Cervantes
I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I attended Castlemont High School. I joined the Upward Bound Program because I wanted to prepare myself for a post secondary education and I felt that my school didn't have the proper resources to accomplish this task. After graduation and completion of Upward Bound, I attended UC Berkeley. I worked and volunteered with the UC Berkeley's program throughout my entire college career. In 2008, I graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry. Since then, I have worked with the UC Berkeley Upward Bound Program as a math and science tutor, tutor coordinator, and chemistry instructor. In 2012, I joined the Mills' Upward Bound family as the academic coordinator. I have also helped out as an occasional math and science tutor and chemistry instructor when necessary.
My willingness to help low income students comes from my own experience as a student and a staff member of the Upward Bound Program. I am firm believer in the statement that, "The one thing no one can take away from you is your education." Therefore, I feel that it is my duty to encourage students to take their education seriously.
I applied to the University of California, Berkeley without realizing how difficult it was to get in. I was accepted at UC Berkeley and majored in English. I received my BA with Highest Honors and was valedictorian of the English department in 1991. I went on to receive my Masters degree in English Literature at UC Berkeley in 1994. I began my PhD program and was nearly finished in 2000 when I was hired as an Assistant Professor of English at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. In 2005, I decided to return home, return to Upward Bound and finish my degree, but my degree plan was derailed by illness. However, helping my Upward Bound students get into the best colleges and universities in the nation has given me a very active and rewarding life.
I was born in El Salvador and my family and I came to the Bay Area when I was two years old. I grew up in East Oakland and went to school at Oakland Technical High. I joined Upward Bound during a very critical time when I could have easily ended up going down the wrong path. I am very grateful for the help and guidance I received. I feel strongly that without the program I would not have gone to the university that I attended and may have not received a degree at all.
Being able to come back and work for the program has been something that has been very fulfilling for me. It has allowed me to serve my community and attempt to repay part of the debt that I have. I also have some of the best experiences of my life working with the students in the program.
When I was an Upward Bound student, we would spend a weekend at UC Davis engaging in several “friendly” competitions between Northern California Upward Bound programs that included an academic decathlon, various sports, table games, and a dance. This event provided a unique opportunity to meet and socialize with Upward Bound students from our region. Unfortunately, the Upward Bound Games were eliminated in 1994.
I was born in El Salvador, we moved to the bay area when I was five years old. I have lived in east Oakland for over 30 years. I love calling Oakland my home because of the diversity in this city. I love supporting my bay area teams, traveling, and most of all spending time with my niece and nephews. I was introduced to Upward Bound my freshman year at Oakland Tech. UB made a huge difference in my life and my family’s. All my siblings followed in my footsteps and also participated in UB.
I was born in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico and moved to California at the age of nine years old. I attended Lindhurst High School. Throughout high school, I did not have many individuals who motivated me to thrive in school, except for my parents. My father has always told me that the only thing he can leave me of value would be an education; this constant reminder has helped me to never give up and always prove others wrong. I have faced many challenges, but the education I have obtained thus far has helped me to reach my goals and overcome any obstacles. Since graduation, I have attended Yuba Community College, CSU, Monterey Bay, CSU, Chico, North Carolina State University, and CSU, Sacramento.
Throughout all of my education thus far, I have obtained a bachelor of arts in psychology, master of arts in dducation with a concentration in higher education, and currently, I am working on a master of science in counseling. My path in education, has taught me that many times, I will face obstacles and want to give up. Other times, I will be the only person in the program who looks like me, but it’s up to me to change the statistics to motivate others. Now and then, I will want to quit, but I have many support systems that will pick me up and motivate me. Life is what you make of it, so remember to smile because it’s good for the soul.
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