Access Alumni
Success Stories

Access has helped over 80,000 students achieve their dream of attending college.

Brittney Madison-Shorts

Brittney Madison-ShortsAccess Alumna

Education: Booker T. Washington High School; B.S. Norfolk State University; M.A. Norfolk State University

Current Position: Spartan Seminar Professor at Norfolk State University

“I began my journey with Access during middle school when I had the opportunity to participate in Access camp during the summer at Old Dominion University. I obtained valuable insight into the college life and a wealth of knowledge in career exploration. Furthermore, once I graduated from high school Access awarded me a 4 year scholarship to continue my education. I am forever grateful for Access because I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree debt free.”

Phillip Killbrew

Phillip KillbrewAccess Alumnus

Education: IC Norcom High School; B.S. Virginia State University; M.S. University of New Haven

Current Position: Contracting Officer Representative

Access has allowed me to attend college as an individual who was first generation and coming from a low income background. My love for education was increased through Access. I owe my success to my parents who pushed me in the steady direction and Access who help fine tune my appetite for learning.”

Caleisia Smith

Caleisia SmithAccess Alumna

Education: Churchland High School; B.S. Old Dominion University; The Apprentice School

Current Position: Electrical Production Planner & Scheduler at HII NNS

Access College Foundation opened so many doors for my future when I graduated high school. My Advisor helped keep me on a successful path while in college with helpful resources that strengthened my networking skills and even soon job searching corporate capabilities when I completed college. I am truly grateful and thankful to Access College Foundation for lighting the way for my career! I want rising students to know the sky is not the limit always choose to go beyond that!”

LaNeisha Ruffin

LaNeisha Ruffin Access Alumna

Education: Lakeland High School; B.A. Norfolk State University; M. Ed Liberty University

Current Position: School Counselor at Lakeland High School

Access played a critical role in my matriculation to college. As a first-generation college student, I am forever grateful for Access!

Ariel Arison

Ariel ArisonAccess Alumna

Education: Indian River High School; B.S. University of Mary Washington

Current Position: Software Engineer—Masslight

“My high school Access advisor helped me get to college. As an independent, first generation student, I had to find the opportunities available to me on my own. I don’t think I would have known how to file my FAFSA, apply for loans, schedule tours, or do the things required to get into a good university, without my Advisor. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I was given, I wouldn’t be where I am now without the scholarship I was awarded.”

Christopher Spellman

Christopher SpellmanAccess Alumnus

Education: Indian River High School ; B.S. Old Dominion University; M. Ed. Clemson University

Current Position: Assistant Director for Student Leadership Development at Clemson University

Access has supported me with the financial assistance needed to access a quality higher education, and provided me with the guidance and mentorship to become successful.”

Cedricka Dalton

Cedricka DaltonAccess Alumna

Education: Churchland High School; B.S. , Norfolk State University; Master in Engineering Old Dominion University

Current Position: Engineer at Strategic Systems Programs at the Washington Navy Yard

Making a Difference: Access has helped me become the person that I am today.”

Cedricka is giving back to Access by serving on the Board of Directors, she has created a book scholarship and volunteered her time during many Access events.

Randy Tripp

Randy TrippAccess Alumnus

Education: Booker T. Washington High School; B.S. and M. Ed. William and Mary

Current Position: Director of Scholarship and Alumni Services for the Ron Brown Scholarship Program

Making a Difference: “I learned about Access in high school when I needed assistance with SAT prep and enrolled in a SAT prep course. My advisor also helped me apply for scholarships” 

Randy is also a member of our Alumni Committee.

Kristal Audain

Kristal AudainAccess Alumna

Education: I.C. Norcom High School; B.S. University of Richmond

Current Position: Product Manager at Groundworks

Making a Difference: Access gave me the opportunity to apply to my dream schools through application fee waivers. Not only did I apply to those schools but attended one of them.”

She is still very active with Access and is a member of the Board of Directors, where she sits on the Marketing Committee.

Ladaja Kennedy

Ladaja KennedyAccess Alumna

Education: Maury High School; B.A. and MS Ed Old Dominion University

Current Position: Academic Advisor at Kent University

Making a Difference:Access provided me the guidance and support I needed to complete two back-to-back degrees through Old Dominion University, from the support starting from high school through graduate school. They provided me with ample information and opportunities for development and growth. The volunteer experiences guided and assisted me in becoming a higher education professional. I would like to thank Rachal Weaver for all that she does and all of Access for reaching out and helping students bridge the gap and feel prepared to attain a degree.

Her words of wisdom to others, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou.

Wade Jernigan

Wade JerniganAccess Alumnus

Education: Oscar F. Smith High School; B.S. Virginia Wesleyan University; M.S. Old Dominion University

Current Position: Test & Evaluation Engineer and Instrumentation Engineer at NAVSEA

Making a Difference: Access significantly helped in high school with applying for SATs and ACTs and applying to scholarships and colleges. In college, Access helped financially with providing me the Access scholarship, assisting the financial aid process, and mentoring throughout the college process.”

Cierra Morris

Cierra MorrisAccess Alumna

Education: Churchland High School; B.S. Norfolk State University

Current Position: Government and Public Services Analyst for Deloitte

Access helped lessen the load of student loans and my Advisors motivated me to step out my comfort zone. They also assisted me in finding a great post grad job.”

Christelle Holloman

Christelle HollomonAccess Alumna

Education: Lakeland High School; B.S. Old Dominion University

Current Position: AVP of Marketing at CityWorth

Making a Difference: Access helped me find and open many doors that I never knew existed. Those opened doors have led to so many incredible opportunities and experiences. I’ve found success in many aspects of my life – earning my bachelor’s degree, landing internships, finding a career I’m passionate about, relocating to a different area, creating a new family – and I truly believe Access was the catalyst to it all. I’ll always be grateful for the impact they have had on my life, I wouldn’t be here without them!”

Have a story of your own?