NSHSS Member Event at UCLA

Meet us in beautiful Los Angeles, California!

Members joined NSHSS on UCLA's gorgeous campus for a Saturday filled with networking, educational workshops, and honoring NSHSS members. Students had a chance to learn more about UCLA and explore their campus for a day while meeting fellow NSHSS scholars, parents, and educators!

The event featured an informational session about UCLA, a UCLA Student Panel, NSHSS Partner workshops, an exclusive College & Career Fair, and the NSHSS Member Recognition Ceremony, where each member in attendance was awarded an honor medallion for their scholarly success!

April 1, 2023, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Ackerman Union, Los Angeles, CA

Thank you to our collaborating sponsors!

Attendees checked in with a digital or printed copy of their tickets, and members will receive name badges in the Ballroom foyer.

NSHSS provided a catered continental breakfast for attendees.

Attendees had the chance to gather information from College & Career Fair exhibitors.

NSHSS welcomed attendees to campus, then NSHSS Collegiate Council Member and former UCLA Bruin Ambassador Simran Athwal guided them through an informative presentation about the University of California, Los Angeles!

At a loss for how to sum up the entirety of your identity in a single essay? Members discovered how to brainstorm effectively, pick the ideal prompt, minimize essay overlap, and make the mundane more analytical and insightful in their personal statements. Great Expectations College Prep discussed how to develop a personal statement to help students find what makes them unique and stand out in college and scholarship applications!

Our NSHSS Partner, ARMY ROTC, hosted an educational workshop discussing information valuable for students. Army ROTC is a leadership development program that concludes with commissioning as an Army Officer in the Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard. These options and scholarship opportunities to cover full tuition at your academic institution were discussed.

Our partner, the Central Intelligence Agency, presented information about the special opportunities available to NSHSS members in high school, college, and even post-graduation. CIA provided a glimpse into some of their personal experiences working for the CIA and discussed opportunities for student programs and employment after graduation.

Attendees had time to explore and tour the UCLA campus.

Attendees visited nearby eateries for lunch on their own.

Members were invited to return to our college fair and continue conversations with admissions representatives and top corporate leaders.

A panel featured local California universities as they discussed their admissions process, academics, campus life, and more, with live Q&A at the end! The panel consisted of California State Bakersfield, Loyola Marymount, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), the University of San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley!

In this session, members learned about the resources and online courses available through UC Scout, which is a program from the University of California that offers 65 A-G-approved online courses, including 26 AP® courses. All courses are self-paced, asynchronous, and offered in the fall, spring, and summer.

NSHSS members heard from students at UCLA about their transition to college, what it takes to be a successful student at UCLA, and what life is like on campus with a live Q&A!

This presentation provided an overview of unique programs offered to high school students as well as newly admitted students at UC Berkeley. The session briefly explored the Pre-College Scholars program, Freshman Edge, Global Edge (study abroad), Dual Degrees (study abroad), and Fall Program for First Semester students.

Members heard from NSHSS Collegiate Council Executive Board Co-Vice President Helena Coloma about her tips and tricks for transitioning from high school to college, getting out of your comfort zone and making new friends away from home, staying on top of the college workload, and more!

Members heard congratulatory remarks and received their own NSHSS honor medallion.

See the Highlights on our Instagram

Check out the NSHSS Ambassador Social Media Takeover of the UCLA Member event on the NSHSS Instagram!

Meet the Speakers

Helena Coloma

Collegiate Council Vice President of Member Engagement

Helena Coloma is a Pre-Med/Pre-Dental undergraduate student majoring in Biology at Harvard University. She has also attended UC Berkeley, had an internship with NASA, and is a former Miss Teen California and Miss Michigan. Helena is the Collegiate Council Executive Board Co-Vice President of Member Engagement and is a two-time NSHSS scholarship winner, including the 2018 STEM Innovation in Artificial Intelligence $1000 Scholarship and 2021 Collegiate Council Leadership $1500 Scholarship.


Central Intelligence Agency

Nawana graduated from North Carolina A&T State University (HBCU) with a BS in Electrical Engineering.  She built non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons then manufactured fiber optic amplifiers before being recruited by the Agency.  Nawana spent the first 14 years of her career working in technical operations and lived overseas for 12 years straight.  In 2012, Nawana returned to the Washington, DC area and turned her focus from operations to talent.  A few positions Nawana has held since then are Diversity Recruiter, Student Program Manager, Intelligence Instructor, EEO Officer and now the Mid-Atlantic Regional Recruiter.  Lastly, along the way, Nawana obtained a Master's in Management from Webster University and Master's in HR from Georgetown University!

Jen Kaifesh

Founder, Great Expectations College Prep

Jen Kaifesh is the Owner/Founder of Great Expectations College Prep and has provided standardized test preparation and college counseling services to high school students for nearly 20 years. She founded the organization in 2006 and created a curriculum that has helped thousands of students develop a narrative that is both authentic and unique, enabling them to differentiate themselves from other applicants and thus earn acceptance at some of the best colleges in the world! But more importantly, she has assisted students to gain acceptance into colleges that perfectly fit their needs.

Katie Carrigan

U.S. Army ROTC

First Lieutenant Katie Carrigan was born and raised in Albany, Louisiana. She attended Loyola University New Orleans, where she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and was commissioned as an Active Duty Military Police Officer in 2019. After completing the Military Police Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, 1LT Carrigan began her career at Fort Carson, CO. As a Platoon Leader for 127th Military Police Company, she completed a short-notice deployment to Kuwait and Bahrain to assist civilians during Operation Allies Refuge. With this, her platoon was integrated into a Joint Task Force alongside Navy and Marine personnel. Following platoon leadership, she became 127th Military Police Company's Executive Officer. 1LT Carrigan currently assists the Bruins Battalion with multiple tasks, including instructing, recruiting, and mentoring Cadets.

Adra Bowman

UC Scout

Adra has been working in education for over a decade. After an unconventional K-12 education that included taking courses through homeschooling, public school, private school, community college, and more! She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, after high school and then the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for graduate school. She taught high school in Las Vegas and English as a second language in Santiago, Chile, before returning to California to work in undergraduate admissions at her alma mater, UCSB. She now enjoys combining the knowledge and skills acquired throughout her career to do outreach for UC Scout and increase access to college prep courses for high school students. In addition to her passion for education, Adra loves teaching fitness classes and spending time with her husband and their two cats in her spare time.

Eden Nasher

University of California, Berkeley Summer Sessions

Eden Nasher (he/him) serves as the Program Coordinator for the Pre-College Scholars program with its four different tracks (virtual, residential, non-credit and commuter) under UC Berkeley's Summer Sessions and University Extension collectively known as SSALLEX. He manages the lifecycle of each incoming student starting with admissions and recruitment all the way to program completion. In addition to supporting students, Eden works with parents, legal guardians, and high school/private counselors to help address any questions or concerns. Professionally, Eden lived and worked with youth in different parts of the world including Yemen, Egypt, Southern California, and the Bay Area. He holds a BA in anthropology from the American University in Cairo and an MA in higher education leadership studies from the University of San Diego, which he attended as a Fulbright scholar. He is specifically passionate about access and working with students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, as well as first generation students.