Meet the Team

Learn more about the Take Stock in College staff, who author this blog and serve Take Stock in College scholars at all of Florida’s 40 public colleges and universities.

From top left to right:

Carrie Garcia is the Associate Director of Postsecondary Student Engagement at Take Stock in College. She studied at the University of Florida and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Communications Studies and a minor in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. Before working with the Take Stock in College team, Carrie worked for almost seven years with Take Stock in Children of Broward County. In 2018, while working full time, Carrie decided to get her Master’s degree in Business Administration at Florida International University. She has always had a passion for helping others and making a difference in the world. Carrie loves her furbabies, hanging out with family and friends, and ice cream.

Ashley Gastel is the Associate Director of Postsecondary Partnerships at Take Stock in College. With over 10 years of experience working in education, her career focused primarily on working with first-generation students. As a first-gen student herself, Ashley was the first in her family to graduate with a high school diploma and graduate college with a degree. In her current role, she focuses on student engagement projects for Take Stock in College. She is currently working on building Sunny, the Take Stock in College chatbot. In her free time, Ashley plays video games with her 7-year-old and 3-year old sons. She is a self-proclaimed Super Smash Bros Champion!

Jeremy Jones joined Take Stock in 2022 as the Associate Director of Postsecondary Retention and Student Support for Take Stock in College. Jeremy has mentored and served underrepresented student groups on several campuses where he earned the mentor of the year award in 2020, the Excellence award for the Collegiate Male Institute through NASPA. Jeremy has helped the University of Central Florida increase their retention rates for first-generation college students. His passion is building a community around underrepresented students so they can reach their full potential. He lives by “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish in life.”

Dr. Shama Grimmage also joined Take Stock in 2022 as the Associate Director of Postsecondary Retention and Student Support for Take Stock in College. She spent 10+ years in higher education helping professionals and students create success that is balanced, with previous experience in higher education administration and teaching. It is her desire as a leader in higher education to help students reach their full potential by promoting a supportive and nurturing environment that highlights best practices in teaching effectiveness, support and that is conducive to student success. “When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many, you can change the world”- Shai Reshef