Service Spotlight: Improve Your Tomorrow Mentor, Analisa

January 31, 2022

Analisa was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 2012. In 2017, she graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Science degree in Biology. Analisa is currently in her 2nd year of a Ph.D. program at UC Davis. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in Education with an emphasis in Science and Arg Education. For her doctoral work, Analisa is interested in understanding what and/or who accounts for hostile science environments in higher education settings. Her work focuses on centering Black students’ stories of triumph in such environments and using their stories as transformational agents in driving sustainable change in higher education science environments.

Analisa is committed to helping students of color, particularly Black students, access and succeed in higher education. She has years of experience teaching in both K-12th and higher education settings. As a product of the California public school system, she has previously worked for nonprofits around the Bay Area, including 100% College Prep and Aim High, which are organizations devoted to supporting and aiding underrepresented youth in succeeding in public school & higher education. She is now serving as a Community College Mentor with Improve Your Tomorrow, where she is helping young men of color get through college.

Improve Your Tomorrow staff caught up with Analisa to learn more about why she became a mentor—read more of her incredible service story below!

1. What made you want to become a mentor? 

I became a mentor fellow because the calling was on my life. I’ve always thrived in higher education and I’ve always felt compelled to take up roles in programs where I could directly work with and assist students. Specifically, I consider myself a co-conspirator (as Dr. Bettina Love calls it) and I strive to help guide students along the higher education pipeline. Not simply through telling them what to do and what not to do. More than a title, I actively live and breathe the same suggestions and/or lessons I share with my students. Being a mentor keeps me grounded in other students. It humbles me. It gives me a glimpse into a world where there is so much intelligence, brilliance, and talent that runs the risk of going unnoticed. I consider it a privilege to be able to work with some of the brothers I have encountered while at IYT. For these reasons and more, this is why I became a mentor.

2. What kind of impact do you think the mentor fellowship program has on students? 

I believe the mentor fellowship program allows for students to see that there is Black and Brown excellence in their communities and that if college and beyond is their destination, this program will have checkpoints along the way to help assist them along their journey. These checkpoints come in the form of mentorship sessions, study sessions, pop-ups, brotherhood meetings, emergency grants, college tours, and more. I believe that when students reflect on this mentor fellowship, they see resilience, authenticity, and compassion. The impact of the program goes beyond the students themselves but can spill over into their communities.   

3. What lessons or experiences do you think you’ll continue to hold with you after this experience?

I live for the “Ah-ha” moments – For the times when something finally clicks and a brother understands what he needs to do for a course, or just in terms of his overall life. I live for the moments where a brother trusts me enough and feels comfortable that he can disclose information to me, and that he knows that I will not take this information for granted and assist him to the best of my ability. Whether that is by offering a suggestion or simply listening – Being consistent, authentic, transparent, and compassionate pays off, not for me, but for the success of the IYTCC brothers. These are the experiences that I will continue to hold on to from this mentoring program.

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