Welcome, Vanessa Egerton!

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Vanessa joins the BRYC Community as our first Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In this part-time role, she will provide our Fellows with individual and group counseling services beginning in October.

Vanessa is a New York City native who found her way to the South and hasn’t looked back. She was selected as a Posse Scholar and attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in educational and child studies. She later went on to pursue her master’s degree in social work from Barry University in Miami, FL. Vanessa has always had a passion for working with the next generation; since the age of five, she wanted to become an educator. Her experience working with youth ranges from working in a group home setting as a therapeutic attendant, to being a social service worker in a child placement agency, to serving as a student support counselor at a public charter school prior to relocating to Baton Rouge. She is currently the Director of Treatment at a local alternative placement school, where she provides individual and group social-emotional support to middle and high school students. When she’s not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies (everything from old black-and-white movies to current dramas), attending live music performances, and practicing photography.


Welcome, Laura Hawkes!

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Laura joins the BRYC Community as our new Director of Operations and Recruitment. In this role, she will ensure that BRYC’s facilities and IT infrastructure support program delivery and drive student and volunteer recruitment and admissions. Laura will officially begin her work with BRYC on July 31.

Laura Hawkes’ Education

Originally from the Chicagoland area, Laura attended Washington University in St. Louis as a John B. Ervin Scholar where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology. After completing her degree, Laura served in the Teach For America South Louisiana Corps where she taught sixth-grade science for two years. After her corps commitment, Laura worked in several roles at Bethany Church in Baton Rouge ranging from Operations Coordinator for its youth internship program to the Dean of Student Life at Bethany College, Bethany’s first bible college to offer higher education degrees.

Laura’s experience ranges from education to nonprofit operations. Recently she earned her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill . She is excited to be a part of the BRYC Team!

Technically Speaking: June 2017

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Technically Speaking” is a monthly blog series about BRYC’s partnership with Immense Networks to leverage technology in support of student achievement. The first installment is written by Executive Director Lucas Spielfogel. In the coming months, BRYC Fellows will be taking over writing this series.

Executive Director Lucas Spielfogel

When I first met Darren Kattan of Immense Networks, I was frustrated. Despite partnering with a number of IT firms over the years, BRYC’s technology infrastructure was spotty at best. Only one of our four printers worked reliably, and our student Wi-Fi couldn’t support more than ten users at a time. We had invested time and money in external support — but to no avail.

Then Darren came to BRYC and everything changed. He immediately dug in and offered to donate his time and expertise to bring BRYC into the 21st century, technically speaking. After a few Saturdays of Darren being around, everything was running smoothly. Students could use their phones and laptops, staff were able to print, and we no longer had to just hope our WiFi would work with more than 70 people drawing from it per night.

Darren’s hard work and generosity didn’t stop there. He immediately took on the daunting task of updating and integrating our student data storage and communication systems, making BRYC’s programmatic efforts more effective and increasing our staff’s productivity. Copying and pasting multiple pieces of data into system after system quickly became a thing of the past, and we were freed to focus on our most important work, supporting our Fellows.

Darren and Immense Networks have saved BRYC upwards of $12,000 in hard IT costs, but his value to our organization is immeasurable. He has saved our staff innumerable hours of futile troubleshooting and remains willing to take on whatever new venture we throw at him.  With Darren’s support, BRYC is strategically leveraging technology to streamline processes and maximize student-facing work. We are profoundly thankful to Darren and Immense Networks, and we look forward to more technological evolution in the weeks and months to come!

Meet Dr. Saundra McGuire

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 Dr. Saundra McGuire, Baton Rouge Youth Coalition

Saundra Yancy McGuire, Director Emerita of the LSU Center for Academic Success and Retired Assistant Vice Chancellor and Professor of Chemistry, is an internationally recognized chemical educator, author and lecturer who has travelled the globe promoting sure-fire strategies to help students, including those underrepresented in science and math professions, to be successful in their coursework and careers. Prior to joining LSU in 1999, McGuire spent eleven years at Cornell University, where she received the coveted Clark Distinguished Teaching Award. Her latest book, Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation, was released in October 2015 and is a Stylus Publications best seller.

The Education of Dr. Saundra McGuire

A proud native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. McGuire received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, magna cum laude, from Southern University, her Master’s degree from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. in chemical education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she received the Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Promise.

Accolades For Dr. McGuire

Among Dr. McGuire’s most recent accolades are the 2017 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students to Pursue Careers in the Chemical Sciences and Induction into LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction. In 2015 she received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Lifetime Mentor Award and in 2014 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. She is an elected Fellow of the ACS and the AAAS. In 2007 the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring was presented to her in a White House Oval Office Ceremony. She is married to Dr. Stephen C. McGuire, a professor of physics at Southern University. They are the parents of Dr. Carla McGuire Davis and Dr. Stephanie McGuire, and the doting grandparents of Joshua, Ruth, Daniel, and Joseph Davis.


Welcome, Chelsea Werner

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Chelsea Werner, Baton Rouge Youth Coalition

Chelsea joins the BRYC Community as a College Counseling Director. In this role, she will be working with Ms. LaShawn to support what next year will be a cohort of 100 Senior Fellows as they work to navigate the college application process! Chelsea will officially begin her work with BRYC in June.

Chelsea Werner’s Education

Originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, Chelsea attended the University of Miami where she earned her BA in Marine Affairs and Policy with minors in Biology, Sociology, and Economics. After earning her degree, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and led community service initiatives in the Little Havana, Liberty City, and Overtown neighborhoods of greater Miami. During this time, she also began mentoring young men involved in the criminal justice system through a program called Empowered Youth and developed a strong interest in how our justice system functions – or doesn’t, as it were. She returned to the University of Miami a year later to earn her MS in Marine Affairs and Policy with a focus on youth environmental education programs. She also spent time as a Resident Scientist in a local middle school through a National Science Foundation fellowship and tutored in the athletic department at U-Miami in her spare time. After completing her thesis, Chelsea joined Teach for America South Louisiana and moved to Baton Rouge to teach middle school science. Over the past two years, she has also served as a College Mentor to two wonderful BRYC Fellows and is extremely excited to support Senior Fellows full-time moving forward. In her free time, she loves to read (Beach Music and Between the World and Me are her favorites), spend time outside near the water, and watch sports.