Marilyn Valenzuela is an AmeriCorps alumni who just completed her term working with the Peer Coach Program- a program that focuses on college preparedness and access for high school students selected to participate. Marilyn is currently a Senior at the University of Arizona studying, “Russian with minors in government public policy.” 

Marilyn worked with 20 Peer Coaches throughout her term, “my role as their peer coach team lead I try to be a role model to the students and give them peace of mind about college. It seems scary in high school and allowing them to understand that there is always time and space for questions, and they always have my support is a big part of my job. I wanted to be accessible to help ease their mind about the college process.” 

Being in school and working at the same time Marilyn balanced a lot of responsibilities, but she tied this into her strengths. Marilyn said, “‘I think one of my strengths is being organized- I like knowing what my goals are and how to help students achieve them. With the peer coaches I feel like they enjoyed the structure, and I was able to balance school work and doing AmeriCorps.” 

This work also relates directly to what she wants to do in the future, “ would like to graduate from college and apply to jobs with the state department or try and get an internship with them to use my Russian language skills.” The peer coach program helped her towards this goal as Marilyn explained, “My ideal job would be to be a foreign service office, it was through a foreign service officer that I learned about the role I applied to within AmeriCorps. In the future as a foreign service officer I would use my skills working with youth to communicate with them more effectively, and speak about the importance of studying abroad. Ultimately, I would love to make going abroad more accessible/free for students and I was able to share with the peer coaches going abroad is a way to enrich their options/outlook. 

Serving as a mentor Marilyn also was responsible for giving advice to students questioning their future. “My best advice was when it comes to choosing what the peer coaches study in school to remind them it is not just limited to what we consider to be successful like the stem field; there is more out there they should explore.”


Marilyn, thank you for all that you do! We wish you the best of luck in the future!