Our co-founders, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, have a commitment to ending the cycle of multigenerational poverty and creating lifelong career opportunities for students in the Central Valley. Their work, with the support of their foundation and Wonderful Education, reinvents the educational experience for students across the region. This includes supporting the Wonderful College Prep Academy (WCPA) charter schools and running two nationally accredited, subsidized preschools, an innovative Career Pathways program, and a college scholarship program
Meet Ashlyn Riambon, a graduate of the University of California, Irvine. She is currently an employee at Wonderful Agency and has been actively involved in Wonderful Education since her days at Delano High School. We had the opportunity to sit down with Ashlyn and discuss the influence of Wonderful Education on her life, both personally and academically. We talked about how her past experiences have shaped her and how they continue to impact her current pursuits.
TWC: What role did Wonderful Education play in your educational journey and how did it shape your experiences and opportunities?
AR: I recognize that without the support and mentorship I received from Wonderful Education, I wouldn’t have had the same educational opportunities, met incredible individuals, or gained invaluable experiences. Witnessing the struggles faced by my friends who lacked similar guidance in navigating college applications, I felt grateful for the assistance and transparency I received.
My journey with Wonderful Education started my senior year at Delano High School, when I was uncertain about my future. While most of my family aspired for me to be in the medical field, I knew this was something I didn’t want to pursue. I discussed my concerns with a specialist at Wonderful Education, who helped me discover my passion for computers and creative arts. They introduced me to the field of computer science, which was new to me due to limited exposure in the Central Valley. This guidance was crucial because my immigrant parents lacked knowledge about this field and were initially worried. Thanks to the support from my Wonderful Education specialists, I was able to explore my interests.
WN: How did Wonderful Education specifically address your parents’ concerns about your future?
AR: There is a significant moment that stands out in my journey. One evening, Kate, the current senior director of Wonderful Education; John, the previous executive director; and Jonathan, my senior college prep specialist, came over to my parents’ house with pizza. We gathered around the dinner table, and it was evident that everyone had my best interests at heart. I had previously confided in my specialist about being apprehensive to discuss my career aspirations with my parents. Considering the generational gap and their limited knowledge of computer science, my parents had understandable concerns about the stability of pursuing the field. However, Kate, John, and Jonathan presented an evidence-based approach with compelling data, stats, and information about computer science, illustrating various career paths and potential salaries. The team played a significant role in showing my parents the possibilities and potential in pursuing computer science.
WN: In high school and college, would you say the Wonderful Education team was your voice of reason?
AR: Absolutely! Having this team as a voice of reason was a complete game changer for me. Back in high school, I had the privilege of working closely with Jonathan, who quickly became more than just a stranger to me. We delved into topics like SATs and college preparation, and he offered support during a time when uncertainties seemed to surround me. His expertise and experience with students from the Central Valley made it easier for me to open up, igniting a newfound confidence in myself.
Likewise, during my college years, I was fortunate to have Rene, who continues to work with Wonderful Education, as my coach. He became that comforting voice, guiding me through the challenges of college life, helping me adapt to higher academic standards, and offering valuable insights on personal struggles. Their collective support and guidance instilled in me the confidence to confront and overcome obstacles.
Now that I’ve graduated from the Wonderful Education programs, I aspire to embody the same level of support and care they demonstrated toward others, in every facet of my life. As I embark on this new chapter in my life at Wonderful Agency, I am filled with gratitude for the lessons I’ve learned from my team, and their dedication and genuine care have made all the difference in my journey.