This Fall we are excited to launch our Student Ambassador program! 

This program gives our students the opportunity to gain real world writing experience as they produce writing for the GUA website and newsletter. They will receive feedback, edits, and advice from our Graduate Assistant who is also an English MA student, Ashton Ray. Ashton has five years of professional writing experience, and she's excited to work with each of the students as they begin their own writing careers. 

The ambassador program was designed to help any GUA student with a passion and interest in writing get their start in professional writing. Each month, the students will be asked to write at least one article that will be published on the GUA website and featured in the newsletter. They'll write on topics that give us a peek into the life as a GUA student, allowing us to see how GUA is impacting the lives of those it was designed for, directly from their perspective. We hope that this experience will increasae the students' responsibility and interest in the world of writing. We're excited about where it's headed!

This month, we're excited to introduce you to our first class of ambassadors! 


 Meet Our Ambassadors

Jaliyah Robinson


My name is Jaliyah Robinson and I am from Union Springs, Alabama. I am currently in the 11th grade. My interests include reading, spending time with family and friends, learning new things, and traveling. I am a varsity cheerleader for my school. A fun fact about me is that I have a 4.2 GPA. My dream job is to become an anesthesiologist. A place I would love to visit would be Dubai. GUA has improved my life by granting me this amazing opportunity to be apart of this program. I am exciting to learn what this amazing program has to offer me!  


Maria Byrd


My name is Maria Byrd and I am an 11th grader at Southside High School in Selma Alabama. Some favorite things of mine include animals (any species), cheesecake, science and history. I am honored to be a part of this program. The things that I know that I am going to learn and what is expected from the program really excites me.


Edgerrin Moore


My name is Edgerrin Moore and I’m from Selma, Alabama. I attend Southside High School and I’m in the 11th grade. I’m a very hardworking and eager person. My favorite sports are basketball and football. My favorite food is lemon pepper wings. One day I planned to have my own company. Also one day I loved to visit Dubai. GUA has changed my life by giving me opportunities to succeed.


Maricela Castro

Maricela Castro

My name is Maricela Castro and I am very excited to be part of this program! I am a 16-year-old Latina and am currently an 11th grader at Bullock County High School. My hometown is Union Springs, AL. My interests are movies, animals, photography, self-improvement, art, music, and animations. I like all kinds of food. Fun fact, I do not like seafood at all! I do not know what is my dream job yet, but a place I’d love to visit is Acapulco, Mexico, because it is where my parents use to go all the time as kids. GUA has improved my life for giving me opportunities to improve my skills and preparing me for college.

Brishada Youngblood

Brishada Youngblood

My name is Brishada Youngblood. I’m from Union Springs, Alabama. I attend Bullock County High School. I am currently a junior. My interests are learning new things, maintaining my 4.2 GPA, and helping people. This year I plan on doing track and field. Something that’s interesting about me is that I do my best at everything I do. You will never see half work come from me. My favorite food is chicken and fries. My dream job is to become a nurse practitioner. I would like to visit Dubai. GUA has improved my life by offering the experience of going to university camps. This really opened a door because I could really see whether or not I want to attend that university.

Tahliah Wilfong

My name is Tahliah Wilfong. I'm sixteen years old. I'm from Spring Valley, New York but live in Union Springs, Alabama. My favorite colors are blue, black, grey, and white. I'm in the eleventh grade and attend Bullock County High School. My favorite hobbies are reading, writing, drawing, singing, dancing, and cooking. My dream job is to become a cardiologist. I’m interested in doing hair and exploring the world in so many different ways. Going places I have never been before. Sports I would like to play are basketball and track. A fun fact about me is that I'm a very nice and caring person. I do not like to see people fail. I like helping people make it to their next grade. My favorite foods are hot wings, fries, eggs, rice, and chocolate. The place I'd like to visit is Dubai. GUA has changed my life because I don't have to worry about how am I going to pay for the college funds and financial aid and other stuff.


William Bonner


My name is William Bonner, and I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am currently living in Selma, Alabama. My school is Southside High School, where I'm in my sophomore year. I am interested in reading, Greek mythology, drawing, and origami. A fact many do not know about me is that I am part Native American on my mother’s side. My favorite food is fried shrimp. I wanted to be an optometrist when I was younger but now I am uncertain. A place I always wanted to visit was Athens, Greece. I wanted to visit Athens because I really like Greek mythology.

Shamirial Smith


Hello, my name is Shamirial Smith. I am 16 years old and I am from Selma, Al. I am a junior at Southside High School. I also attend Wallace Community College dual enrollment program. I am currently enroll in the Patient Technical Care program. My favorite food is breakfast burritos. In addition, I am the captain of the Southside High School Flag Line. My dream job is to become a Journalist because writing is a passion of mine. I am not really a fan of sports, but basketball is a sport that grabs my attention. A place I will like to visit is Paris. One major fun fact you should know about me is I love to have fun. GEAR UP Alabama has improved my life by making me realize that good opportunities do not always come around. People did not have the programs we have today back in the old days. Therefore, everyone should cherish everything that comes towards them.

Tekajah Lewis 


Hello there! My name is Tekajah Lewis and I am currently 17 years old. I currently go to school at Booker T. Washington High School in the historic town of Tuskegee. I am a junior dual enrollment student as well. When I graduate high school in May of 2020, I want to reside in Atlanta, Georgia and get into my dream college: Georgia Institute of Technology. (If i don’t get in, I have some back up colleges to choose from). I hope to fulfill my dream of being a computer scientist and dealing with the components of setting up computers to securing the software and mainframe data of servers. For me, education is a must in today’s society so you can never stop learning. I hope you got to learn more about me. 

Lacey Lantham 


My name is Lacey Renae Latham. I am the oldest of three children. My parents are the late Robin Spencer and Corey Latham. At the age of 11 exactly one month before my 12th birthday my mother died and I went to live with my grandmother. I have a very supportive family whom I love dearly. My family has pushed me toward being a great person. My hobbies are playing sports. The sports I love are basketball, softball, volleyball,and cheering. The only thing I dislike is seeing a person being bullied. My passion is helping others.

I am a Junior attending Pickens County High School. This past school year was very challenging. I held a 3.6 grade point average and played 3 sports, and I am also a cheerleader. There were several days I didn’t think I wasn’t going to make it. I made it, by the grace of God. I am looking forward to my junior year. My main goal is to graduate from high school and attend college. I have not decided what my career is going to be this time. I have narrowed it down between being a nurse or a radiologist.

Josh Williams 

Hello my name is Joshua Williams I’m a 16 year old junior who attends Gordo High School. I am one of the school's band drum major. I am also very proud of my school and I take full advantage of its extracurricular activities. I’m an all A student and I have successfully completed 18 hours of college hours and looking forward to completing more. I’m thankful for this opportunity from Gear-Up and I plan to take advantage of it.

If you know of a GUA student that would make a gret fit for our ambassador program, have them email Ashton Ray at Stay tuned for the future writing from our incredible ambassadors!