CAP Through our Eyes: Gloria Medina

In this series, we feature individual CAP staff members and dive into their unique perspectives on college access, education, the role of our grant programs in the community, and more. This month, we highlight Gloria Medina, Program Director for Appalachian College Advising Corps. Learn more about how Gloria and her team support high school students across the region and find out why she feels so confident about the future of education in Western NC.


Tell us about yourself including your position, what you do, and how/why you got involved with CAP.

I serve as the director of the Appalachian College Advising Corps, a grant-funded program that places recent college graduates in Western NC high schools to serve as full-time college and career advisers. In partnership with two amazing Assistant Program Directors, my position involves recruiting, training, and supervising 23 college advisers, managing day-to-day program operations, managing relationships with school and district partners, and grant writing and administration. Prior to serving in this role, I was an Assistant Program Director with AppCAC for about two years. 

I served as a college adviser for my first role after undergrad, so when I saw the position posting for the AppCAC Assistant Program Director back in the spring of 2020, I knew that I wanted to get involved. Little did I know that AppCAC was part of such an amazing department - College Access Partnerships! 

What would you want people to know about the grant program with which you serve?

I want people to know that we have some of the most knowledgeable, passionate, and hardworking advisers I have ever encountered! I am confident that this amazing team could answer any college access question someone dropped into their group Google Chat. The way they serve their students and school partners is top-tier, and I am thankful to know them and work with them.

I would also want folks to know that, even though our folks are called “college advisers,” they are at their school sites to provide support for any post-high school dreams students may have, including 2-year degrees, 4-year degrees, trade and technical programs, military, and workforce. Our ultimate goal is for every high school student in Western NC to be able to make an informed decision about their next steps. 

I think something that often surprises folks when they learn about our program is the adviser benefits. In addition to a living allowance (like a salary), advisers receive a $7,395 education award (can be used for past or future educational expenses), the ability to defer student loan payments while serving, an opportunity for free graduate school through the Equity Fellows program, 100% employer-covered health benefits, and ongoing professional development. Just as advisers support their students, program staff are there to support advisers with their next steps, whether it be career or graduate school.

What do you perceive to be the biggest point of pride for CAP?

The talent! We have so many amazing, skilled, and intelligent people working in our department. It is incredible to see all of the work folks are doing and all of the exciting projects that are taking place. I also think the amount of grant funding secured and managed by CAP is impressive, given how complex grants can be. However, I think the biggest pride point is how much CAP gives back to Western NC. It is astounding to think about how many thousands of students, families, and educators have been touched by a CAP program. I am so proud to work for an organization that has a sole purpose of giving back to the community and the region I call home.

How have you seen the impact of CAP in our community?

It is one thing to see the numbers and the statistics that show the impact of CAP. However, it is amazing to think that each of those numbers represents a student, an educator, or a family member who has been impacted. Each of our College Advisers has a story about a student they have worked with that is so moving it would bring folks to tears - about a student who, with the help of their adviser, has overcome incredible odds to pursue their goals. Empowering even one person to follow their dreams is a worthwhile pursuit. When you multiply that by thousands and then consider how future generations may be affected, the full impact is truly immeasurable. 

Please share your thoughts on the role of CAP as it pertains to the future of education.

I think CAP does a wonderful job of adapting to the changing needs of students, families, and educators in our region. If there is a challenge taking place with education in Western NC, you can almost bet that CAP either already has a program that seeks to address it or they are actively seeking and writing grants to try to address it. Though no one can know what the future holds, I think if CAP continues to be responsive to the needs of our community, we will be on the right path!

CAP Through our Eyes: Gloria Medina
Published: Apr 5, 2024 10:10am