Scholars to College

Serving students in grades 9-12

Scholars to College ensures that high school students challenge themselves academically and personally and explore their unique leadership potential, ultimately becoming high school seniors who are scholarship-eligible, college-ready, and admissible to their best-fit colleges and universities.

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Scholars to College is a free, cohort-model college readiness program serving high school students in grades 9-12. The program is designed to assist ambitious, academically-focused, and underrepresented first-generation students from Durham County and prepare them for success at selective four-year colleges and universities. Through weekly small group instruction, one-on-one guidance from a dedicated College Readiness Counselor, and summer enrichment opportunities, students receive holistic support in the areas of college planning, personal management and leadership, academic skill development and career exploration. To date, nearly 100% of our Scholars to College graduates have been accepted to college.

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students enrolled.
100 %
of seniors graduated high school on time.
More than
$ 2 million
awarded in scholarships and gift aid.

Meet the Scholars to College Team

Nikole Nickerson

Director of College Readiness
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Nikole joined the Emily K Center team in May 2022 as our director of college readiness. Nikole is well-poised to guide our high school students on their paths to college, having received an undergraduate degree and Master of Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Public Administration from Clemson University. She is also currently pursuing her doctorate in education at Appalachian State University.

Favorite book: The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Favorite school supply: Definitely a fresh new planner

Monserrat Banda

College Readiness Counselor, Class of 2026
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Monserrat joined the Emily K Center team in the summer of 2021 working with our elementary and middle school students. During 2022, she transitioned into the role of college readiness counselor with our Scholars to College program. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Monserrat is no stranger to the Center — she is a proud Emily K Center alumna and we’re so glad to have her on our staff team!

Favorite school supply: Sticky notes!
Best advice ever received about education: Make learning fun however you can! (I used colored gel pens for my notes.)

Joshua Crump

College Readiness Counselor, Class of 2027
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Joshua joined the Emily K Center in 2021 as a college readiness counselor. In this role, Joshua works closely with students in our 2025 Scholars to College cohort. A proud North Carolina Central University Eagle, Joshua earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the school.

Favorite book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Favorite college course: Diversity and Family Transition

Ginny Larkin-Thorsen

College Readiness Counselor, Class of 2025
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Ginny began her role as college readiness counselor for the Emily K Center Scholars to College program in early 2022. She is currently working closely with the Class of 2022 as they make their college decisions. Ginny earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MPA from North Carolina State University.

Favorite late-night college snack: Frozen garlic bread
Favorite school supply: Notebooks and pens!

Shanice Green

Scholars to College Program Assistant
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Shanice joined the Emily K Center in September of 2021, serving as our Scholars to College program assistant. Shanice earned her undergraduate degree from North Carolina Central University and received her M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Favorite school supply: Colorful pens
Favorite late-night college snack: Peanut M&Ms

Volunteer With Scholars to College

Scholars to College Subject Area Tutors work with our high school students in a one-on-one setting in a variety of subjects, with the greatest need in math and the sciences. Volunteers in this role have expertise in a subject area relevant to high school coursework and experience tutoring or teaching. The time commitment is generally one hour per week during after-school or early evening hours, depending on student schedules. Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer subject area tutor should contact our team at (Please include your resume!) Tutoring for the 2023-2024 school year will be offered Mondays and Tuesdays from 5-7:30PM and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:00–6:00PM. 

Student Spotlight

Meet Oyinkan and Oyinda, Class of 2020

Twins Oyinkan and Oyinda first came to the Emily K Center as elementary school students in our Pioneer Scholars program and recently graduated with the Class of 2020. During her time at the Center, Oyinkan was involved with the National Honors Society and had an internship with Duke University Hospital. Oyinda took full advantage of the summer enrichment activities available to her during her time in Scholars to College, including a summer immersion program at Wake Forest University which allowed her to learn more about a career in medicine. Both Oyinkan and Oyinda are currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill and now participate in our Scholars on Campus program. Oyinda recently shared, “My past ten years at the Center have shaped me into who I am today.”