A Story of Success from Canal Alliance’s UP! Program
Caterin Duarte Reynosa, a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), shines brightly as an example of the profound impact of Canal Alliance’s University Prep (UP!) program. From entering the program in middle school to now embarking on a successful career as a software engineer with Target, Caterin’s journey illustrates the importance of the continuous support — both academic and personal—that UP! offers our students.
Joining the UP! Program: Creating a Pathway to Success
The UP! program’s after-school support, including tutoring, academic workshops, and counselling, helped Caterin stay focused on her studies, especially during challenging times. Whether she struggled with an algebra problem or needed advice on college applications, Claudia Garcia, Canal Alliance’s College and Career Senior Manager, was always ready to provide the needed assistance.
“When I felt like I was in a limbo because of my visa status, Claudia would be there on the phone, helping me navigate the complexity,” Caterin shared. This level of individual attention and care not only facilitated her academic journey but also helped Caterin feel seen and supported in her unique and often challenging circumstances.
The Canal Alliance Scholarship: Bridging Financial Gaps
Caterin’s time in college was substantially impacted by the Canal Alliance scholarship she received. “It gave me the cushion I needed, helping me focus on my studies rather than worrying about living paycheck to paycheck,” she said. Thanks to Canal Alliance’s direct financial support, Caterin was able to afford necessary expenses such as transportation and books, and importantly, she graduated debt-free.
From UP! Participant to Workforce Success
Canal Alliance’s influence didn’t end with Caterin’s college graduation. The program’s skills and experience workshops were instrumental in her successful transition into the workforce. “I learned practical skills, like reading an offer letter and understanding taxes,” Caterin said. These workshops, she noted, came in handy when she met with a recruiter from a program called MLT and secured an internship that led to a job offer from Target.
Caterin’s journey underscores how UP! goes beyond academic support. Through programs like the financial literacy workshop, students gain real-world knowledge that’s invaluable in their adult lives. “Now that I’m out of college and think back on it, I truly appreciate those workshops,” Caterin said.
Caterin’s Advice to Current UP! Students
For students currently enrolled in the UP! program, Caterin’s advice is clear: “Take advantage of all the resources Canal Alliance offers.” She added, “You may think of this as something you’re forced to do, but remember, not everyone gets this opportunity. They hold your hand and help you get through all the obstacles.”
Caterin’s story is one of resilience and success, one made possible in part by the support of Canal Alliance. As she embarks on her career as a software engineer, she carries the lessons and skills gained from the UP! program. With Canal Alliance in her corner, she steps into the workforce not just as the first in her family to secure an office job, but as a shining example for many who dream of following a similar path.
Caterin’s success story is a testament to the impact of Canal Alliance’s UP! program, shaping the futures of students like her and countless others. We invite you to continue supporting us in creating more success stories. Together, we can empower the next generation to conquer obstacles and reach their dreams, just as Caterin did.