Meet the Corps
The Southern California College Advising Corps is pleased to introduce our Program Manager, Ara Arzumanian, and our three College Advisers for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Ara Arzumanian (B.A., University of California Irvine) is the program manager of the Southern California College Advising Corps for the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice. Mr. Arzumanian comes to USC from Proyecto Pastoral where he oversaw three youth programs and the development of a new mentoring program in Boyle Heights.
Prior to Proyecto Pastoral, Ara was the Vice President of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles overseeing several programs and managing mentoring for over 1,500 matches. He developed a new corporate partnership model with Union Bank winning the National Rising Star Award.
Before joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ara had been tapped by the international non-profit, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) to direct the Generation Next Mentorship Program (GenNext). As the director of GenNext, Ara assembled the team that grew the program five times in size and increased its services to students with the award of a prestigious US Department of Education Grant. During his tenure at GenNext, Ara served as the chair of the Glendale Healthy Start Collaborative and sat on Glendale Unified School District’s Student Attendance Review Board and the violence prevention committees of five schools.
It was his experience as a youth outreach worker with the City of Glendale’s Youth Outreach Program that brought Ara to AGBU’s attention. He was a member of the three-person team that developed it from the ground up, providing intensive case management to students facing high risk factors. Specializing in violence intervention/prevention, direct street outreach, runaway recovery and cross-cultural peace-making, Ara and the team worked with over 1,800 students in five years.
Due to his experience and expertise in the field of youth development, he has been invited to guest lecture at USC, CSUN and CSULA on youth development and issues facing at-risk youth. Ara earned a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of California, Irvine. A long time student of martial arts he has also achieved a black sash in Ying Jow Pai Kung Fu.
Jessica Garcia, Makiah Green, and Davis Vo work in the Garden Grove Unified School District high schools as full-time college advisers.
Davis Vo (B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara) is a graduate of UCSB who grew up in Garden Grove, CA. Following graduation, he conducted behavioral sciences research at Carnegie Mellon University and Northwestern University. Davis is an advocate of continuous learning and growth, and believes that everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, deserves the opportunity to achieve. It was these values that motivated him to begin spending time at the Tiger Woods Learning Center, where he connected with students through career orientation/exploration programs and academic support. As a part of the College Advising Corps, Davis is ecstatic to be a resource for students and educators at Los Amigos High School, and hopes to improve the college outcomes for the students from his hometown.
Jessica Garcia (B.A., University of Southern California) is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. Jessica Garcia was raised in Santa Fe Springs, California. She graduated from Santa Fe High School in 2009. After countless conversations with her high school counselor, teachers, and parents, she decided to take an untraditional route to USC—opting to go to community college and transfer. She enrolled at Rio Hondo College, where she realized her passion for working with students while running a Physics workshop for the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program. After transferring to USC, she continued to work in education as a research assistant for the Spanish Preschool Early Literacy Assessment (SPELA) Project. She is thrilled to continue working to better the lives of students as a College Adviser with the Southern California College Advising Corps and Santiago High School.
Makiah Green (B.A., University of Southern California) is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. Makiah Green majored in English-Creative Writing for the sole purpose of increasing college access for underrepresented students. Currently a graduate student in the USC Master of Professional Writing program, she plans to transform the world through television, film, and the written word. Makiah is a longtime proponent of educational equity and is eager to serve the students of Garden Grove High School as a College Adviser with the Southern California College Advising Corps.