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October Student of the Month

Wyoming Educational Opportunity Center is proud of our highlighted Student of the Month for October!

In November of 2016, Mark Recchia took a huge chance, packed up his dog and a few of his belongings and took off for Wyoming, leaving behind family and friends. He needed a change and Wyoming offered exciting challenges and opportunities. He had been in biotech pharmaceuticals for many years, but he wanted to go back to school to finish his education. And, given his background, a degree in the medical field looked like a good fit.

 

Mark went to Workforce Services to look for employment and it was there that he learned about the Educational Opportunity Center at Gillette College. When I first met Mark, he was anxious to get back into school, but it had been a few years since he last took college classes.  At EOC, he found help navigating through the increasingly complicated process of college and financial aid applications. He started taking classes this fall and is applying to the Medical Assistant Program in the fall of 2018.

 

Mark has quickly embraced student life: he joined the Gillette College Science Association and got a work-study position in the College’s student help zone. Of Gillette College, he says, “It’s a great education and very affordable. The people here are super helpful and everyone is so nice.”  Today, he continues to tackle challenges with optimism and commitment.  If you run in to Mark, be sure to congratulate him on his efforts so far and wish him the best on what may be his greatest challenge yet: he and his girlfriend Amber are expecting their first child in May of 2018!

 

TRIO receives Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Center grants from Department of Education

TRIO receives Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Center grants from Department of Education

The University of North Dakota has once again been awarded both a TRIO/Talent Search and TRIO/Educational Opportunity Center grant from the Department of Education. The goal of these programs is to ensure secondary school graduation and increase the college enrollment rate and successful degree completion among low-income, first-generation participants as they make the transition from one level of education to the next.

May EOC Student of the Month

The EOC Participant of the Month that is Mr. Steve Chenoweth. Steve is a 55 yr old, LIFG, non-traditional student. He graduated in December 2015 with his Associate’s degree in Addictionology and plans to attend UW-Casper in the fall, majoring in Social Work. The reason I chose Steve is because he is not the typical EOC participant…meaning that I had to go beyond our usual “services” to fit Mr. Chenoweth’s academic needs. He needed assistance with things that I typically do not do – which made it a terrific challenge.

Meeting with Steve was not a typical FAFSA/scholarship/application appointment. He is legally blind and partially deaf. He had assistance from our local DVR, but mostly in the form of tuition assistance and book fees. I explained that UW-Casper offers the same disability services that the Laramie campus offers for students with documented disabilities. He had no idea – and sought assistance & signed up immediately. For the fall, he will be provided with a hearing device for the classroom, was granted longer time to take tests, and a different environment for taking exams (individual). I also helped Steve apply for the BSW program at UW-Casper. This was a 20 page application with MANY requirements. Getting this application completed was a huge accomplishment with all the letters required, and a tight time frame. With Kristi’s permission, EOC was apply to pay for his $30.00 application fee for the program. We were also able to set up tutoring services for him starting in August. Through the UW-Casper scholarship portal, Steve applied for 8 scholarships. He was granted one $1000.00 non-traditional, first generation scholarship.

Quite a few times, Steve wondered if all the work required to apply for this program was worth it, as he faced many obstacles. In May, he received notification that he was accepted into the BSW program at UWC – His dream of becoming a certified social worker will come true.

April Wyoming EOC Student of the Month

Charlotte Bohren is the Wyoming EOC student of the Month for April.  Sheridan EOC coordinator, Katherine writes: I met Charlotte back in Feb 2014 at the WIC office as I was just getting a good start in EOC.  She is a veteran and has two children, then ages 1 & 6.  She told me that day that “Yeah, I should go back to school.”  She had an Associate Degree (General Studies) from Sheridan College and had taken some time off from school.  We worked together to get her FAFSA done and with help from the University of Wyoming Outreach coordinator here, she was enrolled in summer session a few months later.  She is now completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice through University of Wyoming.   I visited with her several times, especially the first year or so as most of her classes were in the building where my office is.  She never forgot to remind me that “I would not have done this IF it weren’t for you.”  When I called her back in March to tell her the new FAFSA changes and that I was available to help her renew her FAFSA, etc. I was thrilled to hear that she was going to graduate.  Today she, accompanied by her husband and 3-year old stopped by to get her picture taken and pick up her graduation gown.  The little guy really got a kick out of getting in the picture!  Her husband is so proud of her, and I didn’t miss the opportunity to do a little recruiting.  (He will be calling me when he is ready to finish college.)  Charlotte has truly been an inspiration to me and contributes much to why EOC is a rewarding job!

March EOC Student of the Month

Ashley Garcia has been named the March EOC Student of the Month.  Ashley has shown enormous tenacity over the years.  She hesitantly began working on her GED several years ago, unsure if she would be able to attain her goal, but she stuck with it.  Within 5 months, she proudly held her high school equivalency certificate during the Family Literacy graduation ceremony.  Shortly after completing her GED, she enrolled in the Nursing program at Northwest College.  Being a mom with four kids is a big job, and with her husband unable to help with the kids at this time, she is operating as a single mother while pursuing her degree.  She rushes from class to class and then away to pick up the kids from school, managing to squeeze in working 20 hours a week.  While it is no easy feat, she keeps a positive attitude with her goal of being a nurse always ahead, keeping her moving forward!

Wyoming EOC Participant of the Month-December

Bonnie Straw, EOC Coordinator out of Evanston writes…The student I would like to recognize as the Uinta County TRIO/EOC outstanding student of the month is Coert Lindford. Coert comes from a family of 13. He left his family in West Virginia and came to Evanston to live with his grandparents after he graduated high school. He worked at several minimum wage jobs to earn enough money to attend WWCC. Out of necessity, he has had to support himself. He completed the CNA course so he could get a better paying job and continue his educational goal of becoming a RN.
               
Coert has a strong work ethic and has overcome many obstacles in his life. He always has a smile for everyone and is a pleasure to be around.

University of Wyoming – EOC student of the Month

Wyoming EOC Coordinator, Melisa Valtierra, has submitted October’s EOC Student of the Month!

Courtney Kudera is currently a freshman at the University of Wyoming in the pre-pharmacy program. Melisa worked with her last year when she was a senior at Little Snake River Valley in Baggs, WY.  As a student, Courtney was very involved and motivated, being that she was a first generation college student. She was involved in Student Council, FFA, National Honor Society, Science Club, and played volleyball, basketball and track. She hopes to eventually earn her Master’s degree and work in the Peace Corps when she completes school. Courtney also just recently won the TRIO EOC scholarship for Carbon County and is well on her way to achieving her dreams.