From the moment students walk into the college and career center, Andrea Gorman’s warm and friendly attitude immediately welcomes them into an environment commonly associated with the stress of essays, grades and tests. A first-generation college student herself, Gorman emphasizes the fact that all students have the potential to be accepted into college and upholds that it does not need to be a stressful procedure.
“I want all students to know that you can absolutely [make it to college],” Gorman said. “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Gorman’s mother wanted to attend college, but her family believed that a job working as a secretary would be more desirable. Despite meetings with her guidance counselor, her mother’s parents would not back down.
“[My mother] always felt that she was denied an education,” Gorman said. “I’m pretty sure I went to my kindergarten teacher and said, ‘I am going to college because this was something that my mother couldn’t do.’ As the oldest of three children, I decided that I was going to go college and make up for what she couldn’t have.”
Gorman’s family history with her mother is part of the reason she views education as such a high priority.
“[My mother’s experiences] made education so important and valuable to me,” Gorman said. “[Growing up,] I held education on a pedestal, I respected it, I knew it was something I wanted, and I never took it for granted. It’s something I will do for the rest of my life. [My mother’s experiences] made me curious and they made me a lifelong learner.”
In high school, Gorman’s teachers pushed her to follow a career in medicine, eventually leading her to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. However, while working at a job in a local hospital, Gorman realized that medicine was not entirely her calling.
“I learned that I wasn’t as interested in the patients who were connected to tubes,” Gorman said. “I gravitated to their families. I wanted to stand with their families and give them support. So that’s how I realized I really wanted to go more into counseling.”
After graduating from Wellesley College, Gorman became one of its alumni admissions representatives in the Bay Area and also conducted interviews for prospective Wellesley students.
She began to see things falling into place.
“I think at that point I said, ‘I love this,’” Gorman said. “[Educational counseling] kind of connects the two: education which is so important to me and [counseling] because my goal is to help students achieve their educational goals.”
Gorman then decided to take an extension program at the University of California, Los Angeles, in order to receive her Certificate in College Counseling. She moved on to complete her practicum at Mountain View High School, and began volunteering with the AVID students at Los Altos High School in 2011.
As the new college and career center coordinator, Gorman wants to put some of her own touches on the center in the years to come. She aims to keep the center moving in an organized way and make it a welcoming place for all.
“Overall, I really would like this center to be a place where students feel comfortable, freshmen through seniors,”
Gorman said. “Long term, I think I want to be able to put my own personality into it. [I want to] do some fun things to bring students in here so they are excited about applying to school.”
Gorman’s passion for education has led her to consider three jobs throughout her lifetime: teacher, counselor and librarian. She believes that her new position as college and career center coordinator encompasses them all.
“I love this [position],” Gorman said. “Everything I have done in my life has absolutely prepared me for this position. My background, my high school teachers who encouraged me to go to college, being a first-generation student, and raising my children and going through the college process with both of them.”