Foundation Staff

Emily Harrison

In a world with remote work, telehealth check-ins, and virtual classes, what could it look like to have personalized, remote advising for college students?

That’s a question the KIPP Forward team thinks about every day as we build out KIPP’s Nudge Enabled Remote Advising program, a.k.a NERA.

Our charge at KIPP is ensuring students are prepared to go to and persist through college. Truth is, the persistence part can be tough. In my own college experience, I didn’t have the support of an advisor until I declared a major my junior year. With a determined mindset of my own (plus the help of some math-whiz dormmates guiding me through freshman calculus) I had a positive college journey. But, I can’t discount the invaluable role a college advisor plays in making persistence a reality.

In high school, many of us have a close and trusting relationship with a teacher or advisor who’s helping us think about our future. Navigating college without that type of connection isn’t easy.

NERA fills a gap for KIPP alumni in college who don’t have access to traditional advising but absolutely would benefit from features like encouraging messages during midterms, step-by-step tips on tackling the FAFSA application, or advice and resources when they need financial support. And, all NERA advisees are also assigned to a real human advisor whom they can contact any time when they need more assistance.

I’m so energized by this work because of the potential to make tools like NERA just as effective and as high-quality as traditional in-person advising. I start work every day with a vision that KIPP alumni will be supported and encouraged by the work my team and I do. Plus, I see this impact going well beyond KIPP. I’d love to see a NERA-style advising program for every high school grad pursuing a degree or credential, no matter where they live or where they go to school.

KIPP has always been a trailblazer in the education space, and I’m excited to see us continue the tradition of providing students with innovative tools and support through NERA.

Emily is the Director, Postsecondary Continuous Improvement. 

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