Support Team Testimonials

Dr. Cynthia Avery

Cynthia Avery

I have been working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for youth in foster care for the past 10 years. I recognized a need to support former foster youth, and students who were homeless or at risk of homelessness at the University of San Diego, and created the Torero Renaissance Program and Support Team. All of our students, particularly those who are vulnerable, who may not have the same level of social capital, and who may be disadvantaged should be treated with dignity and respect. The Bible tells us:

Psalm 82:3-4 New International Version (NIV)

3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;

   uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

4 Rescue the weak and the needy;

   deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith is a Financial Aid Advisor specializing in Scholarships within the Office of Financial Aid at USD. She hails from Tucson, Arizona but has also lived in Phoenix, AZ, and Colorado Springs, CO. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Sociology and Public Health from Arizona State University in 2013. She has 5 years of Financial Aid experience and 13 years of experience working within Higher Education and has volunteered with Child Crisis Center and Casa de Los Niños. Colleen's favorite event is the TRS end of the year luncheon at La Grand Terraza when we get to celebrate our graduating student's success, hard work, and hear their plans after graduation and dreams for the future. It serves as inspiration and motivation to continue serving underrepresented populations and a reminder of the importance of Financial Aid.

Amanda Taylor

Amanda Taylor

Amanda Taylor has been working in Residential Life at USD for almost four years. She currently oversees the Missions B Residence Hall and loves helping students get adjusted to college life at USD. Amanda received her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from the University of California, Riverside and her master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from NYU. Amanda is a San Diego native and loves being a part of the Torero family. Amanda is passionate about student success and helping students gain access to resources on campus. She loves working with the TRS program and is excited to meet our newest TRS students.
Krystn Shrieve

Krystn Shrieve has worked at the University of San Diego since 2000. She’s had the pleasure of telling the stories of hundreds of USD students, staff, faculty members, alumni, donors and trustees. Every day, she’s inspired by what they have to say, how they embrace their mission as Changemakers, and the countless ways they bring the Torero spirit to life. Krystn is the second of five children. Her youngest brother came to her family after spending his earliest days in the foster care system. He was just 2 years old. She was 18 and had returned home during her freshman year of college for Thanksgiving break. She became his sister, his godmother, and a member of his lifelong cheering squad — watching him graduate from high school, serve in the U.S. Marines, and become a father to three beautiful boys of his own. They call her Titi and as she looks into their sweet faces, she can’t help but remember the little boy — with big brown eyes and the faintest sprinkle of freckles — who sat next to her during the fateful Thanksgiving feast that changed her life.

It is in her brother’s honor that Krystn joined the Torero Renaissance Scholars support team. She vows to do whatever she can to help these talented students make the most of their Renaissance.