During her junior year, Katherine, a student from Ossining High School, was accepted into the Latino U Scholars program and matched with her volunteer College Coach, Missy Closter. This was Missy’s first time as a College Coach; with guidance from LUCA and her commitment to our mission, she was ready for the journey ahead.
The pair have been working together since the summer of 2021 meeting mostly via Zoom, but when possible, they met in person at their local library. Missy and Kathy have developed a great relationship, learning so much from one another. This fall, Katherine will become the first in her family to attend college at Lehigh University where she will be studying medicine! Learn more about Katherine and Missy by reading our interview with them below.
What was it like working together as a Coach and Scholar? What’s something that you’ve learned from each other?
We have a great working relationship – true partners. As a Coach, timelines and goals to meet were set for Kathy. As for Kathy, it was evident she was determined and worked hard. We both learned it is important to keep an open mind. From Kathy’s point of view, it is to keep all options open. As a Coach, I have learned a lot about Kathy and her culture.
Kathy, what are your career goals and aspirations?
K: I have always been driven to help people, so in the future, I hope to work in the healthcare field and improve public health.
What are you most excited about in this new chapter as you graduate high school and become the first in your family to go to college?
K: As a first-generation student, I am eager to finally experience college life and discover new people and interests. Also, I am excited to continue my education and keep making my family proud.
What is the most rewarding part of having Missy as a Coach?
K: Having the opportunity to work with Missy as my Coach has been one of the greatest privileges I have received as part of LUCA. I genuinely appreciate her kindness and immense support throughout the whole college process. Her daily affirmations and comforting words have been of great help to me on days when I felt overwhelmed and confused. I loved how she always kept me on top of my deadlines; it was useful since I had multiple things going on at school. I have been blessed to meet Missy and will always respect and admire her.
Missy, how has your experience been as a volunteer College Coach?
M: My experience as a volunteer College Coach has been even more rewarding than I expected. I truly believe that there were moments when I was more excited about submitting the college application or finding out what the admissions decision would be. I believe this because I have gone through the process with my own three children, and I recognize it is not a simple or easy one. If you are the first person in your family to embark on this journey, it can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult. Watching Kathy go through the process was a “metamorphosis” (quoting her Common App essay )- a young sixteen-year-old girl who knew she should go to college, yet it was this abstract place in her mind. Now, college is on the horizon, plus it’s an actual place she has visited! Kathy is ready to start her next chapter….at Lehigh University.
What is the best part about working with Kathy?
M: I have been humbled and have learned so much about Kathy and her community. Hearing about Kathy’s life, whether it is about her younger years in Ecuador or her day-to-day life in Ossining has been eye-opening. Kathy is mature beyond her years, and I have learned so much from her.
What are your hopes for Katherine’s future?
M: My hope for Kathy is for her to have a college experience where she learns just as much outside the classroom as she does in the classroom. Learn about yourself, dedicate time to a community that is important to you, laugh with new friends, research something meaningful, dream big and go for it!
What message can you share about the rewards of being a College Coach at LUCA?
M: As a LUCA College Coach, the opportunity to work with an amazing young lady who has truly become part of my family! I have met her parents and brother. Kathy has met my family via Zoom but she also had the privilege of visiting Lehigh with my daughter as her tour guide for the day. Kathy once asked me what happens to our relationship once she graduates from Ossining HS. I told her she has my contact info in her phone, I hope she uses it and I will always be here for her. She is part of the family now!! Thus, this opportunity has enriched my life.
Where did you go to college? And what is your favorite college memory?
M: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ask any alum and they will tell you that there was nothing better than hanging out with friends at the iconic Memorial Union Terrace overlooking Lake Mendota. More recent graduates may claim watching a football game and doing the “Jump Around” at Camp Randall Stadium; however hard it is to admit, that was before my time when the team was in the cellar.