College Advising Corps

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“Every year hundreds of thousands of low-income students face barriers to college access and success. Low-income students often lack the guidance and support they need to prepare for college, apply to the best-fit schools, apply for financial aid, enroll and persist in their studies, and ultimately graduate.”


About our Program

The College Advising Corps (CAC) at Duke University works to increase the number of low-income, First Generation College and underrepresented high school students in rural North Carolina who enter and complete higher education. Duke currently has 18 college advisers in central North Carolina high schools. The program is sponsored by the John M. Belk Foundation, AmeriCorps, The Anonymous Trust and The Duke Endowment.

Even many of the highest-achieving disadvantaged students — young men and women who are well qualified to continue their education beyond high school — do not consider attending a four-year college, and many who say they plan to apply, never do. The national student-to-guidance-counselor ratio of 467:1 means that the average student spends 20 minutes per year talking to his or her counselor. Moreover, low-income and first-generation students are particularly underserved, with many never seeing a college adviser.

Our Advising Model
  • Emphasizes a near-peer model so advisers are close in age to the students they serve.
  • Works in partnership with colleges and universities across the state, drawing on their infrastructure and resources.
  • Serves the whole high school, rather than a cohort of particular students, to foster a school-wide college-going culture.
  • Participate in a national external evaluation to quantitatively measure outcomes and qualitative results.
  • Focuses on best-fit colleges, encouraging students to attend schools that will serve them well both academically and socially.
Program Eligibility

In order to comply with the National College Advising Corps “near-peer” advising model, all adviser candidates must meet these requirements in order to be considered for employment:

  • Advisers should have a successful academic record.
  • Advisers are hired for a one-year service commitment with an option to be re-hired for a second year. Advisers cannot serve with the Advising Corps for more than two years.
  • Advisers must demonstrate a commitment to public service as evidenced by previous work in the community and/or among the targeted populations.
  • Duke advisers receive intensive training before serving in a high school, completing a five-week practical curriculum that focuses on college access, college admissions, financial aid, student services, diversity, community service, and professionalism.
Partner High Schools
  • Bartlett-Yancey High School (Caswell County Schools)
  • Cedar Ridge High School (Orange County Schools)
  • CE Jordan High School (Durham Public Schools)
  • City of Medicine Academy (Durham Public Schools)
  • Garner Magnet High School (Wake County Schools)
  • Hobbton High School (Sampson County Schools)
  • Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design (Wake County Schools)
  • Lakewood High School (Sampson County Schools)
  • Lee County High School (Lee County Schools)
  • Midway High School (Sampson County Schools)
  • Northern High School (Durham Public Schools)
  • Orange High School (Orange County Schools)
  • Person High School (Person County Schools)
  • Riverside High School (Durham Public Schools)
  • Smithfield-Selma High School (Johnston County Schools)

Meet Our Advisers

Ben Reingruber

My name is Ben Reingruber, I recently graduated from Appalachian State with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing. I attended Durham Public Schools from elementary school through high school and have worked various jobs in the Durham area since I was 15. I have strong ties to the area and I am looking forward to contributing to the betterment of the community. I spend most of my free time watching/playing sports (mainly Basketball), listening to music, lifting, reading and going out with friends.

Jaime Ceballos

Hello Everyone! My name is Jaime Bueno Ceballos and I’m a recent UNCG ’22 double degree graduate in Community Recreation & Event Planning and Communication Studies. My background is heavy in my passion for civic engagement and event planning. In past roles i’ve served as Director of Unity for UNCGs’ Fraternity & Sorority Association and served as a Community Engagement Intern for the Greensboro Police Department & currently the Greensboro Fire Department. In my free time I’m a lover of the arts, I enjoy playing the saxophone, piano, ukulele, and some guitar as well as going to concerts and exhibits.

Nicholas Davis

Nicholas graduated from William Peace University in May of 2021. There he obtained his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Nicholas hopes to one day pursue a career in acting. In the meantime, he passes on the knowledge that allowed him to get to this point (and occasionally performs an idle tap dance as well.)

Gaelyn Dent

Gaelyn is the current adviser serving Hobbton High School in Sampson County.

Bernice Meja


Hi, my name is Bernice Meja! I’m originally from Durham, NC however I reside in Canada and my parents are from Zimbabwe. I graduated Duke this past May where I majored in Physics and Philosophy. I enjoy playing rugby, listening to music, watching anime and Youtube, and hanging out with friends. I’m really excited about becoming a College Advisor and making a positive impact in a student’s life.

Chaz Beauchamp

My name is Chaz (Charles) Beauchamp and I am originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. In May I completed my degree in neuroscience and plan to pursue work in related fields post-DCAC. My main hobbies include tennis, gaming, and reading. I enjoy being active, learning new things, and thinking deeply.

Jayda Bernard

My name is Jayda Bernard and I had graduated from William Peace University as an honors student holding a BA in Simulation & Game Design. Over the past 5 years, I have been passionate about community service and helping students thrive within an educational environment where, not only can they hone on their dreams but also themselves. Being a first generation college student, I strove for leadership from being a Student Coordinator for the orientation team to being a Resident Assistant on the WPU campus. In doing so, I have received student leader of the year award for 2 years as well as Miss.Peace during my senior year. My mission and personal interest is helping those to have easier access to their future with higher education.


Jaida Torain

Hello! My name is Jaida Torain, and I am from Haw River, NC. I am a proud graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I am excited to serve as a College Adviser because I understand that the college application process can be stressful, and I would like to help students navigate that. Furthermore, I enjoy encouraging students to strive for greatness and embrace all opportunities!

Emma Schmaltz

Hey everyone! My name is Emma Schmaltz and I’m from Wichita, Kansas. At Duke I studied environmental science, marine biology, and chemistry! After graduating in May of 2020, I started working full time as a research technician for the Oceans and Human Health Initiative (through the Medical Oncology department of Duke Health and the Nicholas School of the Environment) continuing the research I was involved in during undergrad. In addition to my love for science, I enjoy making music (I retaught myself to play piano and bongos over quarantine), hiking, art, and reading. Some of the things I am most passionate about include environmentalism, education, and community outreach. I look forward to working with the students of Southern Lee High School and supporting them as they navigate their post-secondary plans.

Lydia Hendrick

Hi, my name is Lydia! I’m a first-generation college student from Oxford, North Carolina. I graduated from Duke with a major in Biology and a certificate in Documentary Studies. My favorite part of being a College Adviser is showing students the range of possibilities that are open to them. In my free time, I like to paint, take photographs, play piano, and hang out with my cat.

Kaylee Jones

My name is Kaylee Jones and I am a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Child and Family Development. I graduated from Midway High School and am excited to be returning back to serve the community I grew up in. My goal as a CAC Advisor is to make sure all high school students are aware of the vast opportunities available to them to further their education. I am excited to have the opportunity to play a role in helping these students develop a plan and follow through with the next steps in their education.

Daniel Scott-Blakeney


I’m a business management graduate from NC A&T State University, class of 2022. My passion is being part of an organization that impacts young folks into following their dreams. It’s an honor and privilege to share my experience to the young generation & guide them to a career path that their interested in fulfilling. LIVE FOR LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!!