UNF student creates college transition program

Wesley Leblanc

Embedded Within. Courtesy of Courtney Lynch
Embedded Within. Courtesy of Courtney Lynch

One year ago, Embedded Within wasn’t even an idea. Today, it’s a prominent weekly mentoring program that takes place at Terry Parker High School.

Last year, Courtney Lynch noticed a poster stuck to a pole at UNF. The poster read of details about Upstream’s upcoming pitch party. From this, Lynch read a way to make a difference.

After noticing a distinct lack of preparation, and even excitement, for college among students in high school, Lynch decided that she was going to get involved. And Upstream’s pitch party was her answer.

After a presentation at the pitch party detailing her idea for Embedded Within, a program meant to help transition high school students into college, Lynch was awarded $5,000.

Lynch immediately got to work using this money to help bring Embedded Within to fruition.

Embedded Within eventually made Terry Parker High School its home with the help of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID).

AVID is a global nonprofit organization that strives to push students to higher standards in an effort to help them reach their goals. At Terry Parker High School, there are students enrolled in an AVID class. These students attend this class just as you would any other. This class is meant to prepare students for the transition from high school to college.

Embedded Within works with this AVID class by providing students with a mentor from UNF.

Lynch is not only the director of Embedded Within, but a mentor herself who goes at least twice a week. But according to Lynch, “mentors can go anytime they want, as many times as they want.”

The goal of these mentors is to give the Terry Parker students in the AVID class the social support they need to be successful in college.

“We are there to be their friends, to be their mentors and to talk to them about college,” said Lynch.

Clean-up day. Courtesy of Courtney Lynch
Clean-up day. Courtesy of Courtney Lynch

Sometimes, Embedded Within works with students to complete community service projects, such as clean-up days.

Beginning soon, students from Jacksonville’s Edward Waters College will begin acting as mentors for Embedded Within. Lynch strives to get as many involved as she can, but finding consistent mentors is sometimes a struggle.

“The biggest problem we have is consistency with the mentors,” said Lynch. “I’ve reached out and I’ll be meeting with EWC next week to get them involved.”

Lynch is unsure about the future of Embedded Within, as she’s planning to attend graduate school soon, but this program is not one she plans to leave behind.

“I don’t really know what will happen with my program, so I just know that I need to finish out the year strong,” said Lynch.

Beyond grad school and the foreseeable future, Lynch wants to transform Embedded Within into something bigger.

“My goal is to make it a nonprofit,” said Lynch. “Maybe not here in Jacksonville, but I’d like to take Embedded Within wherever I go.”

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