Juana Hernández-Lira is originally from Estado de México, México, but was raised in Raleigh, NC, which she considers her hometown. She has over ten years of experience in college access and education and working with young adults and their families as they navigate educational systems. Juana served as a ¡Gradúate! Coach with the NC Society of Hispanic Professionals, program coordinator with Communities in Schools of Wake County, state director of Juntos for a Better Education Program, and a team leader at Haven House Services. She is currently a state representative for Spanish services with the College Foundation of North Carolina where she dedicates her time helping Spanish-speaking communities plan, apply, and pay for college and fostering positive relationships with education leaders to identify college access strategies for underrepresented students. As a Latina immigrant and first-generation college graduate, she understands the challenges immigrant populations face in navigating systems and accessing higher education in the United States. Juana believes that knowledge, preparation, advocacy, and connections can lead students to achieve their postsecondary educational goals.