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Central Wyoming College Student Support Services Graduates 78 Students on May 11th

 

In celebration of 30 years strong at CWC, Student Support Services graduates 78 TRIO students on May 11th! The following link shares our graduation celebration on April 25th!

April Student of the Month

The EOC Participant of the Month for April 2018 is Rodney. This was a very easy choice for me as the Natrona County EOC Coordinator, as he is the epitome of a TRiO/EOC success story! I am honored and privileged to work with Rodney, and I am in awe of his dedication to his newly found passion for education, his community, his service to others, and his sobriety.

I met Rodney in the spring of 2017 at the Casper Re-entry Center; he was in the Therapeutic Community (TC) unit for substance use related issues. In 2012, Rodney was in a vehicle rollover crash and lost his ability to walk. He lost his job, income, and was no longer able to provide for his family – financially or emotionally. “Long story short, my alcohol abuse landed myself in several trips to jail, depression set in and I didn’t care anymore, my last drink cost me a five year prison sentence leaving my family on their own. I knew I had to change me, and requested to be placed at TC in Casper Therapeutic Community Rehab. I learned about my disease & behaviors knowing I couldn’t return to that lifestyle.”

During a group presentation at CRC/TC, I met Rodney. He was very interested in the content of the presentation, and immediately signed up for EOC services in Casper. “Trio visited the facility and offered a new start; I signed up that day. I was released in August 2017 and registered for classes within days. My major is Electronics Technology at Casper College and now I am fulltime student.”

Rodney is finding a lot of success in his Electronics classes, and checks in frequently with the EOC office to discuss GPA, class schedules, and scholarships. He has received several scholarships and grants, and is on track to graduate at the top of his class in his major. His academic goals are right in-line with the Objectives outlined in our grant: “My academic goals are to receive an associate’s degree in Electronics in 2019. When I achieve graduation, I plan to attend the University of Wyoming to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Electronics.”

In addition to being a fulltime non-traditional student, Rodney is also the Resident Manager at The Hope House, a Sober-Living house in the Casper community. He frequently volunteers for other entities in our community. “My volunteer and community service is mainly CR (Celebrate Recovery) in Casper. I am a fulltime volunteer every Friday night or whenever needed if possible. I help cook, serve the evening dinner, and attend the evening services. I also help with the food bank prior to leaving for the night. I try to put in a minimum of twenty-four hours a month. I also volunteer at the 12/24 Club when they are in need of workers for their activities.”

I am honored to work with Rodney, and I look forward to his graduation(s) from Casper College and  the University of Wyoming in the future!

Natalie Pique – EOC Coordinator

Central Wyoming College Celebrates TRIO Student Support Services – 30 Years Strong

Student Support Services (SSS) celebrated 30 years at Central Wyoming College with an Open House on Wednesday, March 7th from 11:30 – 1 pm.  Student success stories were visible for all to appreciate. Student Support Services at CWC is an honorary program for students who are dedicated to their success. Over the past 30 years SSS has served over 6,300 students. The current SSS programs serves 410 students annually and is the largest SSS program in the 6 state ASPIRE region; Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

According to Jewel Dirks, SSS director at CWC from 1991-2001, “Linda Fossett wrote the original grant  under the auspices of Mohammed Waheed, the King of Grant Writing.  Janelle Pepper Chew was the first director, 1988-1990.  I think the original number served was something like 210.”  According to Dirks, “We upped the number of students served to 410 to get a better ratio.”

Dirks goes on to report, “We were pretty much an orphan during those first few years and housed in very crowded conditions in an upstairs room of the old library. Dirks goes on to say, “The computer lab and tutor lab came into being around 1995, which reflects the changed attitude that the college now has towards the importance of the grant.” The area was remodeled again during the summer of 2016 and has become a hub of student activity.

Dirks describes SSS as playing a key role in diversity development in the 1990’s–having several sub grants which included a Native American Film Festival. Dirks says, “The festival brought in some pretty neat international Native American stars and directors.  We also had projects which included some fantastic Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  We had an ongoing diversity newsletter and monthly meetings with the tribal leaders and reservation service agencies, and ongoing pot-luck celebrations—–any excuse to get together to eat. The push for improved relations with the tribes really came from our offices, then.  That preceded the college’s eventual commitment to a Tribal liaison officer, a position currently held by Ivan Posey.”

Marilu Duncan became Director for the project in 2001 and continued until her retirement in 2016. Duncan, who has been responsible for multiple diversity activities at CWC continued the program with a climate of acceptance for all students.

Marilu Duncan reports, “Under Jewel Dirks, Student Support Services became the voice of diversity and inclusion for students at the college. SSS is a safe haven for students and honors the richness of the student population. We are who we are because of all of us, not just one person. The flags in SSS represent the respect for all students who have been on our campus.”

For more than a decade, Duncan had been the director of one of the largest and most successful SSS programs in the nation. She has touched the lives of many students and helped them on their path to succeed.  In reference to her years with SSS Duncan exclaims “Oh, I love it! Without a doubt, these were the best 16 years of my life. I love the students, faculty, all of the people I worked with. This program allows students to follow their dreams! I am so proud of my American citizenship and everyone should have the opportunities that I have had.”

Following Duncan’s retirement, Deryle Matland too the position in 2016 as the current program manager. Matland is excited to be part of SSS in its 30 year celebration and believes in honoring the efforts of students, “First generation students often struggle with a dual identity, who they are at home with their family and culture and who they are as students.  There can be a lot of conflict with mixed messages for students. We strive to acknowledge the value and importance of their achievements in education and want them to know that being a first generation student is something to be proud of. When they it make to graduation, we are hugely celebrating their successes and the path they have forged for future generations!”

SSS Staff Quotes

“I just love seeing students succeed! They walk in afraid and two years later they are graduating and transferring to other colleges. It’s so wonderful to see them grow as individuals and do good things with their lives! “

Transfer Coach Paula Hartbank

“The TRIO SSS Mentoring Program provides students an opportunity to work with an experienced peer mentor who can relate to their unique challenges, but has the experience to help them work through these challenges to be successful.”

Retention Coach Matt Myers

“I enjoy working with the tutors and seeing them work with other students.  The tutors are available throughout the semester, to help students build self-confidence and develop skills to be successful in classes.  It is exciting to watch when students understand concepts, are proud of their work and form bonds with other students, by working with Student Support Services staff and tutors.  No two days are alike, that makes coming to work each day even better.

Skills Development Coach Lisa Appelhans

SSS Student Quotes:

“TRIO has been a source of great help since I started in CWC, from the staff, to Deb Starks (one of our counselors), to the tutors. You can always walk in and just talk to someone or get help.  There is always someone that at the very least can point you in the right direction, if not take you where you need to go. They are always happy to help. The tutors are very knowledgeable on their multiple subjects, if they don’t know the answer to a question they will help to look it up so they can learn as well.”

Student Crystal Santor

“Student Support Services, a.k.a. TRIO, has proven to be an invaluable resource in the pursuit of my aspirations here at CWC. Truly, I couldn’t have been successful without them; they are a 5 star asset?

Student Alan Morris

“TRIO and Student Support Services has really helped me transition. I am more comfortable and have more confidence going to college. I didn’t really know what I was going to do as far as school and SSS gave me the tools and skills I need. Now I’m able to reach and mentor other students, be involved in clubs, and even have jobs on campus. I graduate this spring and am looking forward to transfer to a 4 year school!”

Student Tapaynga Hill

Top Pictures: Students enjoying the 30th celebration

Bottom Left: Left to right Transfer Coach Paula Hartbank, Former Director

Marilu Duncan,Skills Coach Lisa Appelhans,

back Retention Coach Matt Myers

Bottom Right: Program Manager Deryle Matland, Former Director Marilu Duncan

March Student of the Month

Wyoming EOC Coordinator, Rico Lind-Gonzalez writes,

“The March Educational Opportunity Center Participant of the Month is Tony. He started this semester at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) majoring in Engineering. His future educational goal is to transfer to the University of Wyoming to finish a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. He is also a United States Navy veteran who is involved in the Student Veterans of America group on LCCC campus. One of the ways Tony plans on using his degree is to enhance his hobby of building and racing drag cars at the speedway. It has been a pleasure working with Tony because of his positivity and extra effort in applying for scholarships.”
 

Wyoming December Participant of the Month

Hello all! Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday break and ready for 2018!! I am happy to announce Maggie as the EOC Participant of the Month for December! Maggie is a current student at the Rock Springs Learning Center at Western Wyoming Community College. I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie last spring at a community presentation. When I met her, Maggie asked lots of questions about EOC services, possible future opportunities through higher education at WWCC and was super enthusiastic about becoming a participant of EOC. After my presentation Maggie confidently stated she would be in contact with me in the fall when she was ready to move forward in her educational goals. When October rolled around I got the call from Maggie- she was ready to move forward with the help of EOC! Since that initial meeting Maggie has enrolled & regularly attends HiSET classes, taken several tests, completed her FAFSA, and applied to Western Wyoming Community College with plans to attend classes this coming fall. Maggie plans to pursue a degree in Social Work or Criminal Justice with her ultimate career goal to become a Counselor.  I am beyond excited to see where Maggie will go with her career- she is a true go-getter and a hard worker that will have tons of success!! It has truly been my pleasure to work with Maggie on her higher educational journey!

November Student of the Month

Melisa at LCCC would like to announce the November EOC Participant of the Month, Mark. He is a current student at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. Mark is studying Liberal Arts and will be graduating this December. In the Spring of 2018, he will be transferring to the University of Wyoming to continue with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science. Mark is very motivated to continue his education and and take the next steps to secure his future. I have enjoyed working with him and can’t wait to see how he accomplishes his future endeavors.

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!

 

December Student of the Month

The Student of the Month for December is Samantha Roedel.  While she isn’t the typical model for success, she has withstood some insurmountable obstacles this semester and has come out better for it.

Samantha came to me on a referral from Adult Basic Education in Powell.  She should have been a junior in high school, but decided to take her HiSet rather than start over at a new high school after being moved to this area.  She passed her HiSet and placement testing, and she was ready to begin the process of applying for college.  She originally lived in Montana, but her mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness and moved to hospice.  At 17, so she moved in with her Dad and step-mom, never really knowing them in the past.   Having a learning disability her whole life, she wants to become a special education teacher to help students who struggle as she has.

When she met with me, she filled out the FAFSA and the Northwest College admissions application.  I also encouraged her to apply for scholarships and Student Support Services. She did connect with Student Support Services, and we have been working collaboratively to help her.  Sam and I talked about Hathaway, but later SSS discovered that she wouldn’t qualify for Hathaway because she would have been a senior this year and wouldn’t have access to that money until next year when her “class” would graduate.

Her situation changed drastically over the summer.  She met with me in the Fall because she needed to make a payment for her schooling, so I helped her fill out papers for student loans.  At that time, I learned that her mom had passed away.  She had also moved in to the dorms because her dad kicked her out of their house, stopped returning her calls and cut her off completely.  A little later in the semester, she was awarded the Point Architects scholarship which is a local scholarship arranged through Educational Opportunity Center in Powell.  She had the deepest gratitude.  As she went through the semester, she suffered with grief and anxiety.  After she moved out, her dad ended up going to the hospital, almost dying.  No one would give her any information on how he was doing, so she struggled to focus on school work.  Her grades were suffering, so she cut her course load in half.  While she only passed one class the Fall semester, she has shown incredible tenacity.  She kept trying until the very last day of the semester.  Up until a day before break, she didn’t know where she would go or who she would stay with over the Holidays.  Any one of the stresses of homelessness, the loss of her mother, her father’s illness and her learning disability would have been enough to quit school, but she continued to persevere even through the darkest of times.  She is an inspiration as someone who knows what she wants out of life and keeps working towards it regardless of heartbreaking circumstances.

Congratulations William Nolan!

The Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math Science programs through the University of Wyoming would like to congratulate our Laramie County Upward Bound Math Science student William Nolan on his signing with the University of Wyoming Track and Field team on November 9, 2016.

Will is currently a senior at South High School in Cheyenne.  Throughout his time at South, Will has excelled both academically and through his extracurricular activities.

Starting in the Fall, Will will be a sprinter and jumper for the University of Wyoming and majoring in computer engineering.

Will is an outstanding young man and we wish him well in his future endeavors.  Go Pokes!

The picture featured is of Will Nolan with his Upward Bound Coordinator Brandi Roesener after his signing. Photo courtesy of Christopher Edwards, South High School student

 

October EOC Student of the Month

The October Participant of the Month is Donald Whitmore. Donald was a new participant in 2016 and was referred by a fellow Casper Re-entry resident. He came to the EOC office and asked for assistance applying to Casper College. As I began my usual conversation about FAFSA, Compass testing, transcripts, and applying to school, he held his hand up and said “Whoa! You’re speaking a foreign language to me. I got my GED in Boot-camp – I don’t know all these things you’re speaking about!”
I realized at that moment that I was treating Mr. Whitmore like a number, not a person. Between FAFSA workshops, scholarship appointments, Financial Aid presentations, and numerous student appointments, I was in “go” mode trying to get through the busy EOC season. I set my office phone to voicemail, shrunk the screens on my computer, and shut my office door so that I could concentrate on what was important – the client. Something I had momentarily lost sight of.
Mr. Whitmore explained that he had been incarcerated for 3 years and was released in January 2016. He did not want to return to the life he had previously been living, and was interested in the Automotive Technician program at Casper College. He had concerns about paying for school, at which point I explained the Pell grant, FAFSA, and scholarships – in layman terms, understandable to people that do not work in the education world. We worked on his FAFSA and applied to CC. I explained that we would need to order his transcripts and locate his shot record for proof of MMR shots. We then talked about the Compass test and I gave him the link for practice test and a waiver for the $10.00 test. He was thankful for the waiver as he was looking for a job and did not have the money to spend on a test. This appointment lasted one hour and 15 minutes, not much longer than a typical appointment, but he had my focused attention the minute he held up his hand to slow me down.
Fast forward 7 months: I had a FAFSA & scholarship appointment with Donald on October 3, 2016. We renewed his FAFSA for the 2017/2018 school year and applied for scholarships through the CC Scholarship  portal. He currently has a 4.0 GPA and loves being a student. He would like to graduate with his Associate’s in Auto Tech and go on to get an additional degree in business. He hopes to run his own automotive shop someday. In the past seven months he has become a successful college student, got a full-time job, got married, and became a dad to a baby girl, Natalya Rose. He brought his wife, Juanita, to his appointment today – she wants to get her GED and asked if she could “join” EOC. I gladly handed her an application and asked her what programs she was interested in…without rushing her. Both Juanita & Donald said that they want Natalya to grow up with college educated parents.