Allison Palmer, a New York Life Leader in Residence for 2011–2012, is shaping the Center's college access efforts. (Read about the work of her fellow Leader in Residence, Alwyn Cohall, M.D., here.)
Who to admit? With a batch of college applications spread out before them, the four readers debated the merits of the applicants. One offered stellar SAT scores; another had great recommendations. Should they give more weight to varsity athletics or to an impressive lineup of extra-curricular activities?
Luckily, no one’s future was riding on the decisions. The task was a simple exercise designed by Allison Palmer, one of the Center’s two New York Life leaders in residence for 2011-2012. Her goal was to help the team members, college access fellows under the Center’s new Partners for Change Fellowship program, gain an insider’s view of the college admissions process.
Palmer, founding director of the New Settlement College Access Center in the southwest Bronx, has been transforming lives for more than decade. Over the past 10 years, she has built the College Access Center (CAC) from a small drop-in space to a thriving organization with a staff of 11, serving approximately 700 students a year. The CAC now offers one-to-one college counseling, financial aid advice, an intensive College Explorers program, leadership training, and SAT prep. A wall of college banners from schools such as Binghamton, Pomona, and Brown are a testament to the center’s effectiveness, as are visits from graduates who stop by to reconnect and say “Thank you!”
Now as a New York Life leader in residence, Palmer is shaping the Colin Powell Center’s college access efforts. Her work includes guiding CCNY students Cyndi Gonzalez, Stephanie Guzmán, Whitley Jackson, and Shodan Rodney as they conduct in-depth research on the barriers to college access and success for low-income first-generation youth. She is also supporting the students' efforts to become effective college access volunteers and to collaborate on a college access Website for New York City students. More