Meet our mentors

Donna Cisneros

I am a senior at Washington State University Vancouver and will be graduating with a major in Basic Medical Science and minoring in psychology. School has always been a priority for me because it helped me understand my surroundings by gaining knowledge from each class I take. Though, sometimes it is hard to know whether continuing the academic path is for you and that is why I chose to be a part of the College Access Program. I want to encourage the younger generation to continue their academic career to discover new pathways in which they can flourish.

During the COVID-19 period, it has been more difficult to maintain academic motivation but, what helped me is keeping an annotated, monthly view of a calendar. I found that having a schedule I can fully see and checking off assignments, meetings, or to do things, kept me motivated and on tract. For incoming high school seniors, I would strongly advice keeping something similar to the calendar idea. This may help reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling and increase a positive learning experience as it did for me.

Kaylee Dang

Hi! My name is Kaylee, I am a sophomore this year at WSU Vancouver and I am pursuing a major in Management Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science. Some facts about me is that I love drawing, I can play three instruments: guitar, piano, and the ukulele, and I have a cat named Toby :) . Last year I joined this program and although it was brief, I had an amazing time getting to know the students and my fellow coaches which is why I’m really excited to be a part of the program again this year! It was so much fun helping the students out with cool projects such as working with circuit boards, brainstorming new inventions, and diving into the world of coding. Although the program is going be a little different this time, I think it’s important that we continue to think positive and try to help each other out as much as we can. Some things that keep me motivated during these hard times would be starting off the day with a fun work out, listening to playlists that I spent hours curating and having fun zoom calls with friends. For all you high school seniors out there, I want to remind you that although these aren’t the most ideal circumstances, you’re almost there and you should be proud of what you have accomplished so far! Also don’t be afraid to reach out to new people! I met so many new people senior year who have become some of my closest friends to this day. I can’t wait to meet all of you guys and I hope you guys have a great time in the program!

Dev Desai

Howdy! My name is Dev Desai. I am currently a freshman at Clark College working on my prerequisites for a BS in Mechanical Engineering. I am also an AS100 Cadet at the University of Portland's AFROTC program! My main goal for the next 4 years is to be a viable candidate for the pilot career path in the United States Air Force. I am originally form Beavercreek, OH and moved to the Portland- Vancouver are back in 2017. My main get-aways are working out, cooking, Hiking, and hanging out with friends! With COVID-19 being the biggest obstacle in many of our lives this year, I joined CAP as a Mentor to help students figure out the next step! College is going to be tough and at the end of the day, it is nothing to take lightly. However, myself and everyone at CAP will give you the resources and advice so you can succeed in your goals for the future!

Aisha El-hoot

Hello! My name is Aisha El-hoot. I am currently a junior at WSU Vancouver, and I am pursuing a major in Neuroscience. I love to go hiking, capture nature through a lens, and spend time with friends and family in my spare time. I am excited to be joining the college access program this year to give back to the community by connecting with each of you as you embark on your journey. As your transition from high school to college, my advice is not to give up, keep pushing towards your goal, there will be obstacles, but you will overcome them. Always ask questions, you will never know how far those questions could get you. I hope you enjoy the program! I look forward to meeting you.

Maddy Westervelt

My name is Maddy Westervelt and I'm a senior at WSU Vancouver. Go Cougs! I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in English with an Emphasis of Teaching, and minoring in Comparative Ethnic Studies and History. In my free time I enjoy being outside, exercising, reading, doing crafts, and hanging out with friends and family. I volunteered for this program because it's a great way to give back to the community by helping the youth who are about to make amazing contributions to society! When I was in high school, I was in a very similar program and it helped me so much. It was awesome to have mentor I could trust and ask questions. Thanks to the program, when I started college, I knew what to expect and I felt prepared. As a future teacher I love to learn, and I really enjoy school. Covid however has certainly taken a toll on my ability to be my normal motivated self. It's weird to not feel like yourself, but this whole year has been crazy and so far from normal, so whatever you're feeling it's okay! My advice is to give it your best but be kind to yourself.

Janessa Wilson

Hello! My name is Janessa Wilson and I am super excited to be part of CAP. I am a senior at WSU Vancouver and look forward to becoming a secondary English teacher. When I’m not studying, I love reading, doing yoga, getting coffee with friends, watching T.V. (Community and The Midnight Gospel are my favorites), and playing with my two cats. As a former English tutor, I love empowering students as they discover their unique voice. With the hustle and bustle of school, it can be difficult to detect our strengths and find joy in how far we’ve come in our educational journey. As a volunteer, I aim to encourage students as they navigate senior year and beyond while celebrating their personal victories. In hard times like today, I find motivation by working with others, practicing gratitude, reminding myself of my goals, and listening to music in the morning to get pumped up for the day. My greatest advice for high school seniors is to try new things and challenge yourself but do not seek perfection. Learning, like many things, is a process, so do not be afraid to ask questions and lean on others. Grant yourself patience and give yourself space to experiment, fail, and try again. Find your passion and revel in it. Most of all, remember that you are enough just the way you are. Now that you’ve learned a little about me, I look forward to getting to know you.