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Working Learner Advisory Council Members

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Council Members

Christopher Casanovas


One of my long-term goals is to have my own business and pay it forward to the community—to help those who don’t have the help that I had.


  • Age: 23
  • City: Coral Springs, FL
  • Hometown: Passaic, NJ
  • Area of interest: Electrical engineering


Nicholas D’Antonio


As a member of the council, I want to drive a conversation that focuses on non-traditional education pathways and how they can be improved.

Watch Nick’s video!

  • Age: 21
  • City: Washington D.C.
  • Hometown: Cherry Hills, NJ
  • Area of interest: Manufacturing


Anthony Davis


When I think about being a working learner, I see plenty of obstacles and challenges, but nothing feels better than overcoming them.

Watch Anthony’s video!

  • Age: 19
  • City: Roseburg, OR
  • Hometown: Sacramento, CA
  • Area of interest: Anthropology


Nicholas Gerber


Working and learning go hand in hand. And being both a worker and a learner has allowed me to foster new skills and learn about my occupational preferences.

Watch Nick’s video!

  • Age: 20
  • City: Worcester, MA
  • Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
  • Areas of interest: Political science, fashion design


Yadira Gurrola


Growing up in a Hispanic community, people thought I would never amount to anything, that I would drop out of school and not go to college. I made it my mission to make them eat their words.

Watch Yadi’s video!

  • Age: 19
  • City: Chadron, NE
  • Hometown: Scottsbluff, NE
  • Area of interest: Social work


Alan Jimenez


It’s not easy, but anybody can overcome adversity. You just have to allow yourself to dream, and ignore the voices that tell you you’re incapable.

Watch Alan’s video!

  • Age: 29
  • City: Bucyrus, OH
  • Hometown: Louisville, KY
  • Area of interest: Electrical engineering


Morgan Lamborn


Education comes in all forms. And in today’s world, every person has to find their own way to make it work.

Watch Morgan’s video!

  • Age: 26
  • City: Gainesville, FL
  • Hometown: Lake Placid, FL
  • Areas of interest: Business, higher education


Noreen Lopez


I am now prepared not just to continue my education, but to grow. Experience in the workplace has made me more respectful of the power an education can have when applied across all facets of one’s life.

Watch Noreen’s video!

  • Age: 27
  • City: Las Cruces, NM
  • Hometown: Las Cruces, NM
  • Areas of interest: Sociology, public sector


David Payne


Whenever you’re changing other people’s lives, there’s satisfaction in that…I’m putting the focus on other people, and seeing how I can help them.


  • Age: 29
  • City: Duquesne, PA
  • Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Areas of interest: Plumbing, ministry


Thierry Pierre-Charles


I think it’s important for all working learners, especially those just starting college or attempting to go back to college, to know you’re not the only person who’s struggling. There are others, and they’ve moved forward.


  • Age: 21
  • City: Amherst, MA
  • Hometown: Miramar, FL
  • Area of interest: Healthcare


Jennifer Quaye


College is only an option, and it’s not better or worse than any other. And you need to fully understand all of your options before deciding what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.

Watch Jennifer’s video!

  • Age: 23
  • City: New Haven, CT
  • Hometown: New Haven, CT
  • Area of interest: School counseling


David Rivera


I don’t want to wake up every day hating my job and knowing I am stuck there with dim future prospects. I want something to look forward to besides 5 o’clock.

Watch David’s video!

  • Age: 19
  • City: Lubbock, TX
  • Hometown: Austin, TX
  • Area of interest: Public sector


Krista Scott


In many cases, the challenges and opportunities I have faced outside of the classroom have contributed more to my knowledge than any lecture or book passage ever could have.

Watch Krista’s video!

  • Age: 27
  • City: Gainesville, FL
  • Hometown: Columbia, SC
  • Area of interest: Higher education


Jody Stroble


Traditional forms of education are important, but you should always strive to do a little self-educating. Knowledge is a tool.

Watch Jody’s video!

  • Age: 29
  • City: Claremore, OK
  • Hometown: Claremore, OK
  • Areas of interest: Higher education, sports management


Landon Taylor


I’ve had to take a slower path through school. But guess what, I’ve got as much life experience and actual work experience as the guy with the Ph.D.


  • Age: 23
  • City: Huntington Beach, CA
  • Hometown: Oakland, CA
  • Area of interest: Communications


Josephine Villanueva


Life satisfaction, when I think about it, is thinking of what makes you feel alive and actually pursuing it.


  • Age: 29
  • City: San Jose, CA
  • Hometown: San Jose, CA
  • Area of interest: Education



Crystal Wallace


It takes dedication, time, and energy to gain an education outside the workplace. For those who can, it’s worth it. For those who can’t? They’re the ones we’re going to spend the next year working for.

Watch Crystal’s video!

  • Age: 26
  • City: Raleigh, NC
  • Hometown: Roxboro, NC
  • Area of interest: Higher education


Sage Zephier


Just going to college and graduating would be life satisfaction for me. In my community, it’s a big deal if a Native American goes to college.


  • Age: 20
  • City: Wagner, SD
  • Hometown: Wagner, SD
  • Areas of interest: National Guard, military service
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