You are seeing this message because your web browser does not support basic web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing and what you can do to make your experience on this site better.

The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

Terms of Use ▼

View all interactive cases

Staying on the Path Toward College Interactive Case: Meet Rachel Marquez, Community College Outreach Program Director     

“Your lives consist of many worlds,” Rachel began, “and each world contains all the different people or groups in your life, like a family member or a friend, or sports teams, classmates, and church groups.”

Rachel Marquez walked into the high school cafeteria to have some lunch. Rachel had directed the community college outreach program, Más Allá, since its start 6 years earlier. Más Allá (connoting the meaning “beyond” in English), rep­resented a long-term partnership between the town’s community college and the larger nearby university. Its mission is to engage girls and boys into a program that builds long-term networks for academic success and support for pathways to college.

The program currently enrolls 500 low-income youth and offers tutoring by college students, Saturday academics and summer institutes, family engagement activities, and academic guidance from sixth grade through high school to help students stay on track to college. Upon graduation from high school, students are awarded $2,000 scholarships to attend the community college.

Más Allá also uses a research-based partnership with a local university to better under­stand students’ and families’ perspectives about resources and challenges for getting into and succeeding in college (see Supporting Data for a summary of research findings). While Rachel ate, she thought about two of the latest problematic trends developing from their research, namely, that it was harder to engage older youth and boys in the program. 

Rachel thought, “It’s the older youth who are under more pressure from their peers to join gangs, ditch school, spend their time going to parties, and not attend program activities. Many of them also need to work and make money. And a lot of boys are not applying to the program even as early as sixth grade because even then they think it looks ‘uncool to be a nerd.’ Some older boys have just stopped coming altogether. These patterns worry me, and I struggle with how I can keep more kids involved. We just received a grant to buy new digital equipment. Maybe that will bring them in.”   

Just then, Rachel caught the fleeting and embarrassed eye of a boy sitting amidst his other friends in the cafeteria.

Next, complete three short reflection questions and click "done" to gain additional insights. Please note: Once you click "done" your responses are no longer retrievable.You may want to copy and paste your responses into a word document.


image of Paulo, sixth grader image of Paulo's parents image of Paulo;s math teacher image of college student and family friend of Paulo image of community college outreach program director arrow
small image of a data table image of 6 characters in this teaching case
Paulo, sixth grader
Paulo’s parents Math teacher College student and family friend Community college outreach program director Up Next -> Supporting data Piecing it all together


© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project