Justine R. Cheung, MSW – Bridging Success Program Coordinator
I’m Justine Cheung and I have been the Bridging Success Program Coordinator since June 2015. The work I do with the Bridging Success is extremely gratifying! I have the opportunity to engage with some extremely talented and resilient students who have experienced foster care. They are excited and ready to start a new life and being able to support them as they make these big transitions is an awesome thing to witness. I’m also extremely impressed with the amount of support Bridging Success and its student receive from ASU staff and faculty. Also, our community partners are always there to help our students with outside resources. It’s just AMAZING how our community is able to wrap around these young people so they have every chance of succeeding!
I currently hold an undergraduate and graduate degree from ASU’s School of Social Work, and am currently pursuing my PhD. After graduating with my BSW, I worked in the public mental and behavioral health care system, specializing is in peer-support, trauma informed care, and mental health recovery. Once I completed my MSW degree, I spent a year working with ASU’s Refugee Resettlement Committee and conducted research on Social Entrepreneurship. Research is an important part of my life and as a professional social worker I recognize the importance it plays and the responsibility I have to empower others to have the life they dream of.
Cynthia Alaffa – Bridging Success Lead Peer Mentor
My name is Cynthia Alaffa and I am a junior pursuing my undergraduate degree in Social Work. Through my first year at ASU I did a lot of exploring of majors. I started out as a nursing major and then switched to education and now I am in social work. I was very narrow minded on what I wanted to do, but once I started college my mind began to grow. I was able to explore more of who I am. I discovered I really enjoyed working with youth and want to help them grow and discover hidden features about themselves. As a result I chose to major in social work and I feel like I am home now. I started with Bridging Success as a student in the program August of 2015. I returned to the program as a peer mentor for 2016-2017 school year and lead peer mentor for 2017-2018 school year. Bridging Success has been a huge part of my college experience. I believe working as a peer mentor has helped expand my passion for wanting to pursue my undergraduate degree in Social Work. Through the next few years that I am here at ASU I hope to continue as a peer mentor for the program and see other students in the program grow. I am very pleased to be working with bridging success as a peer mentor and I cannot wait to see this program grow.
Kalah Villagrana – Management Intern
My name is Kalah Villagrana and am a second-year Masters student in the Social Work and Public Administration concurrent degree program. I am originally from Rockford, Illinois and came to ASU as an out-of-state student to study Elementary Education-English as a Second Language. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I began working in college access and success programs for high school and college students. My passion is to support and advocate for children in the child welfare system to ensure that all children have equal educational opportunities and outcomes. I currently work for Community Outreach in University College. In my work, I develop and coordinate access and success programs for underrepresented students at the university, including the Bridging Success Early Start program. I am very excited to be part of the Bridging Success family and to support amazing Sun Devils!