University Pathways

Paths Students

PATHS is a 4-year college access program that works with students from low-income schools and communities, providing them with support from their first day of 9th grade until their first day of college, ensuring that they are successful in their educational path.

Success in education is more than just good grades; success means being prepared both academically and socially, developing a cultural identity, and cultivating a sense of belonging within the wider community. PATHS believes the interconnected pathway between institutions of higher education, communities, school districts, and college bridge programs is vital for success.

Our Students:

The majority of PATHS students come from disadvantaged communities and identify as either immigrant, refugee, or Dreamer (undocumented students with and without DACA). It is PATHS’ goal to break down educational and social barriers, and assist students in succeeding both in high school and college, and ultimately contribute to the 21st century workforce.

Strategic Goals:

PATHS will work to:

  • Increase high school graduation rates of underrepresented students
  • Prepare students for higher education and build bridges to existing college first-year programs
  • Break stereotypes of underrepresented students by shining a light on the strengths of each individual and their achievements
  • Provide a sense of belonging through ongoing engagement with PATHS students and their communities
  • Develop meaningful and engaging programming that reflects multiculturalism, social justice, and self-advocacy
  • Create connections and personal experiences on which PATHS students can draw on to be successful

Meet Our Mentors

danika nakaiDanika Nakai

My name is Danika Nakai. I graduated from SLCC Spring 2022 with my Associates Degree in General Studies but now I am a full-time student at the University of Utah double majoring in Health, Society, & Policy, and Psychology. I am also doing premed, hoping to go to medical school to become a general surgeon. I love to play music and currently I am in the marching band here at the University where I play the tenor saxophone.

will prettyman
				Will Prettyman

Hi! My name is Will Prettyman! I am currently a senior at the University of Utah and am majoring in Community, Family and Human Development. I completed my first three years of college and Montana State University. I also have competed on a national level for Track & Field and have gained a lot of experience in leadership and direction. I am hoping to continue in my education and hopefully work in a career that is people centered.

This is my first year as a mentor at PATHS and I absolutely love it. All the kids are amazing and incredibly unique. I have had the amazing opportunity to work with these High Schoolers and they have taught me much more than I have taught them. I have loved getting to know each and every one of them, and cannot wait to learn even more about them!

Above all else I am Your Friend, Will

nevaeh olmedoNevaeh Olmedo

My name is Nevaeh Olmedo and I am one of your Path Mentors for the year! I am so excited to work with you. My goal is to help you all navigate a plan for life after high school and help you meet your own goals along the way.

I am a Junior here at the University of Utah, studying Economics. I am a first-generation college student, as well as a transfer to the U. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and going to the gym. I also love cats and I have an orange cat named Felix. I can't wait to learn more about all of you!

Alexis McDonald
				Alexis McDonald

Hi! My name is Alexis McDonald and I am one of the new PATHS Mentors. I am a freshman at the University of Utah and majoring in criminology. I am from Tucson, Arizona, but originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. I have moved around my whole life and have lived in 3 different states including Utah, Arizona, and Texas. Growing up I have always been active. I have been dancing for 16 years and still dance today. I have also done softball, martial arts, and color guard. On top of being in school and being a PATHs Mentor I am also a barista at a small café here on campus.

I am also a very adventurous person. I enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and I recently started rock climbing. I am always down for anything you have in mind. On top of all of that I love music. I am always listening to it and I even sing covers. I play ukulele, guitar, piano, and flute. My dream is to be able to write my own music and hopefully be able to perform in cafes and small local areas.

Paths Students

I learned how to collaborate with others and had the opportunity to meet new people. PATHS helped me to not be afraid of asking questions about anything, and helped me develop confidence.” - Current PATHS Student, Class of 2021