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Expanding Access While Providing a Professional Work Experience

A partnership with an Atlanta high school allows Georgia Tech to give students a glimpse of campus life as they work in an office

Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech has been a home away from home for Abraham Pizano for five years — even when he was in high school.

Pizano went to Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School about 2.5 miles from Georgia Tech. The school enrolls more than 500 students from families who couldn’t otherwise pay for a private, college preparatory education. While families contribute a portion of the $16,400 cost of education, the school fundraises approximately $5,000 per student. The remaining 60% of the cost is earned by the students, who work at area businesses as part of Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program.

In his sophomore year of high school, Pizano landed at Georgia Tech and worked in the College of Engineering’s dean’s office. He had never been to campus and wasn’t yet thinking of college, although he hoped to one day study engineering.

“I didn’t know much at all about Georgia Tech,” said Pizano, who grew up in Atlanta. “My only goal was to make some connections and do the best I could. That year, I set my heart and mind on Tech.” 

Pizano loved Georgia Tech so much that he returned to the dean’s office to work his senior year, then applied and was accepted as a student.

Once a 15-year-old sitting in Tech Tower, uncertain about what to do for college, Pizano is now a third-year civil engineering student with a focus on transportation systems.

“I came here in high school, loved the people, and kept coming back,” said Pizano, who stayed on in the dean’s office as a student assistant in 2020 and 2021. “My job in the dean’s office gave me a kickstart to my current success at Tech.”

Pizano said the work-study experience at Georgia Tech also taught him the pillars of working in a professional environment, an opportunity that isn’t typically available to high school students. It’s one of Cristo Rey’s main goals, with Georgia Tech playing a supporting role since the school was founded eight years ago.

Read more about the how Georgia Tech is expanding access through its partnership with Cristo Rey. 

Last revised November 14, 2022