Futureology counselor wins WACAC award

CUSD Futureology counselor Bea Nguyen was the recipient of the Steve Hankins award, presented by the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) at the annual conference in Spokane Wash., on April 18. Bea is in her fourth year as a Futureology counselor, currently working full-time at Aliso Niguel High School. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized for this award because I truly believe in Steve Hankins’s mission of following college admissions ‘not as a way station in life, but as a life’s calling’,” Bea said of the recognition. “While attending college is not everyone’s goal, I think all students deserve to have it as an option and to know that we believe that they can achieve it if they want. Supporting students in their post-secondary planning journey gives me immense joy and there’s nothing else I’d rather do.”

A counselor for over 14 years, she has her B.A. in English from UC Irvine, and her M.A. in Educational Counseling and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from Chapman University. During the award presentation, Bea was lauded for her work with CUSD students, including meeting with them personally and hosting webinars to help demystify the college admissions process. She was also noted for being an excellent team builder for the Futureology counselors, creating professional development opportunities and supporting group projects.

“Bea is such a wonderful resource to have on our campus at Aliso Niguel High School,” said Rick Nichols, ANHS Assistant Principal for Guidance. “She has an exceptional ability to connect with students on a personal level, and she is adept at helping them navigate the complex and often daunting college application process. She supports our students and families from day one with finding the right college fit to supporting students with essays, the application process, and financial aid. We are incredibly blessed to have her support the students and families at Aliso Niguel High School.”

Bea currently serves as the Secretary on the WACAC Board. She was eligible for this award since she has become focused on counseling through the lens of college admissions. 

“I have worked with Bea on the WACAC Executive Board this past year and, as secretary, she quite literally keeps the organization together,” said Breanne Boyle, a college advisor and former WACAC President. “It’s important for us to have detailed minutes from our board and business meetings and having someone that has such attention to detail like Bea has made everything run more smoothly for us. She started as secretary-elect, where she was supposed to have a year to learn the role, when our sitting secretary had to step down for personal reasons. Bea was asked to take on the full role almost a year early and she didn’t hesitate or falter when asked to do so. We are incredibly lucky to have someone like Bea supporting WACAC and I hope we will see her growing in her leadership in the organization.”

The Steve Hankins award was established in recognition of a consummate professional who dedicated himself to encourage new counselors to consider admissions as not a way station in life, but as a life’s calling. Steve was instrumental in the development of WACAC from a fledgling organization into a growth and service organization in the 1990’s, including founding both the WACAC and NACAC college fairs in California. He was probably best remembered as a person who was always the one who would ask “newbie’s” if they had dinner plans before a college night and if they didn’t, he’d invite them along. The Steve Hankins award is presented to a secondary school or independent counselor who has five or fewer years of experience in the profession and has shown an active interest in WACAC by serving on WACAC committees, volunteering to help with WACAC conferences, events, fairs, etc., and a dedication to serving the needs of students.

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