Meet the Upward Bound Team
Joann has worked in higher education for over 20 years, establishing programs and partnerships that foster access, opportunity, and success in higher education. As the Upward Bound Program Director, she is responsible for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the federally funded college preparatory program. In her work with students, Joann often draws from her own experiences as a first-generation college student and Upward Bound alumnus. Inspired by her own experiences with multiple opportunity programs, she is committed to improving educational outcomes for students, especially underserved student populations. When she is not working, you can find her running along the Delaware River waterfront or planning her next travel adventure. Joann earned a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University, an M.A. in Urban Education from New Jersey City University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy from Fordham University.
Francesca completed a PhD in philosophy at Cornell University in 2019 and has been working as a college access/success professional in Philadelphia since 2016. She grew up in Rome, Italy, and completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in the U.S. She is a passionate, committed educator with 10+ years of experience teaching, advising, and advocating for students from cohort groups under-represented in post-secondary education. She has taught philosophy and writing across the nation, in TX, NY, and PA, from community colleges to Ivy League institutions. As an advisor, mentor, and coach she has holistically supported hundreds of students to gain admission to and succeed through college, working with non-profit organizations, in Residential Life, and as an AmeriCorps member in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. She joined Penn in 2017. She believes it takes a village for each one of us to succeed. Her goal is to build relationships with students, families, and staff, and to mobilize resources to support UB students to get into and thrive in college.
Ms. Thomasina helps students to stay on track so they can participate fully in all that UB has to offer. She’s the go-to person about submitting any important documents, report cards, and receiving a stipend!