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RISE is a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging and supporting the under-served youth of Santa Barbara in their transition to higher education and beyond.


Whether your plans involve going straight from high school to a four-year university, transferring from a two-year college to a four-year college, attending a vocational trade school, or if you are just not sure yet...


We will help you find your perfect fit and make sure you have all the resources you need to pursue that route with confidence.

Our mentorship is completely free.

Our Team

Our Team
Clarissa Strayer

Co-Founder / Program Director

Clarissa was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She attended Saint Martin’s University as a first-generation student, where she played soccer, majored in Political Science, and was Managing Editor of the student newspaper.


Before moving to Santa Barbara, Clarissa was a College Coach Lead at College Access Now (now College Possible), where she mentored first-generation students from low-income families through the college application process.


Upon landing in Santa Barbara, Clarissa led college test preparation workshops and tutored clients at Collegebound Santa Barbara, and has since worked in sales. 


Development Director

Ryan is originally from Washington, D.C. but has lived most of his life in Santa Barbara. 


He attended Dos Pueblos High School and went on to graduate from Westmont College, where he played baseball and studied Communication.


Starting in college, Ryan mentored youths on the east side of Santa Barbara as a Young Life leader for five years.


Ryan's professional expertise lies in business development and building client relationships.

Jascylette Aviles

Co-Founder / Operations Director

Jascylette is a Silicon Valley native, raised by first generation parents. Before moving to Santa Barbara, she obtained her Associate's Degree in Psychology from Mission College in Santa Clara.  Jascylette then transferred to UCSB to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Religious Studies with focus on Politics of the Americas.

Jascylette worked as a Business Operations Specialist, then as a Financial Analyst at a consulting firm that advised start-up businesses nationwide.  There, she created, developed, and enhanced operations processes for emerging companies.

Now, Jascylette is returning to the academic field of psychology by pursuing a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University to ultimately become a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.

Alex LeBrun

Communications Director

Originally from Orange County, Alex has lived in Santa Barbara since he started his PhD program at UCSB in 2017.


Prior to pursuing a PhD, he received a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor's Degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Because he attended three of them, Alex is a fervent supporter of public universities and their service to communities.


While currently earning his PhD at UCSB, he teaches Introductory Ethics courses and is the Co-President of the Graduate Student Association.

We want all young adults to have the opportunity to pursue higher education, no matter the obstacles.

Our Mission

RISE empowers under-served students from the Santa Barbara community by mentoring them through the college application process.

Our goal is to equip students with the resources necessary to navigate the journey to higher education with confidence.

Our Mission
RISE Kickoff Pizza Party 2022-Aug.jpeg

Our Vision

RISE envisions a world where all under-served students can access and graduate college despite the systemic issues plaguing our nation's education system.

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