Colorado State University awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Mikaela Elder, a current participant in the Student Support Services Academic Advancement Center at Colorado State University, was recently awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.  Regarded as the most prestigious scholarship given to undergraduate students in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics, it is granted annually to about 300 college students from across the country.  The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by the United States Congress in 1986 in honor of former U.S. Senator and 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Its goal is to provide a continuing source of professionals in STEM by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

 

Her motivation to pursue a career in STEM has been influenced by her own personal life experience with a genetic condition.   Diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD) when she was twenty-one years old, Mikaela was determined to not to allow this health issue to negatively impact her from pursuing her goals.  In her words, “Though I struggle as times, I believe that POTS and MCAD have given me invaluable skills to manage stress and maintain a positive attitude, even through difficult situations.  This outlook has been an advantage to my education because I am now motivated by challenges instead of being intimidated by them.”

 

As a senior in the College of Natural Sciences at CSU pursuing a baccalaureate degree in biochemistry, Mikaela has conducted research involving proteins in relation to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.  She is also currently working on a bioinformatics project as well as a statistics research project involving methane gas at landfills.  Her career goal is to become a computational biologist for the Center for Disease Control or a medical institution where she can conduct research in mechanisms and factors affecting genetic diseases.  Her journey will continue after her graduation next May as she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computational biology or computational medicine.  “My research experience at CSU has shown me that research is my life’s calling,” Elder said. “I really enjoy the research process. I feel really fortunate to be at a place that prepares students to be amongst the best in the country.”

Montana TRIO Student Leadership Conference

In late March, the weekend before the MTASPIRE state conference, TRIO SSS programs across the state held the first (hopefully) annual TRIO Student Leadership Conference in Helena, MT.

Staff from several TRIO SSS programs planned the training over several months and put together a 3-day Student Leadership program.  Thirty-six SSS students from 6 different campuses gathered in Helena for a 3-day training on growth mindset, leadership styles, diversity and advocacy training. Anna SanDiego from Flathead Valley Community College led off with an engaging opening “Something from Nothing Fashion Show.” The conference continued with sessions led by Carlos Arce, Dr. Steven Seth Funk, Shanon Stober, and Jeff Folsom. Helena Mayor, Wilmot Collins was a special guest speaker. The conference concluded with a visit to the state capital to talk with legislators about the importance of access to higher education.

Student feedback was extremely positive; we hope Montana TRIO SSS programs will be able to continue this Leadership Conference as an annual event.

Sen. Thune visits DWU

Senator John Thune was on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus last week during the National TRIO Day. We talked with him about the reauthorization of higher education, and I thought it went well. In addition, one of our students did talk with Senator Thune, which was great to hear directly from a student. In the attached is a picture of Senator, student, and me Thomas Madut

TRIO Day in Colorado

TRIO Day was a huge hit! We invited all programs and their students throughout the state to celebrate with us in Denver at the State Capitol. We had over 100 attendees – the most we’ve seen so far, a lot of which had to drive for hours in the early morning to be there on a cold and snowy day! Also in attendance, were Senator Leroy Garcia, Representative Daneya Esgar, and Representative Colin Larson. We started the day with our Legislator Breakfast, where they addressed us as a whole and took questions. After the Legislators spoke, several students got up to share their own TRIO stories, which were raw, passionate, and inspiring. We then walked over to the State Capitol as a group to sit in on the General Assembly in the House of Representatives, where the TRIO Proclamation was read out loud to everyone. After the Assembly, we did our Service Learning Project. This year, we partnered with Project Angel Heart, which is a non-profit organization that prepares and delivers meals to those who are severely ill. We decorated brown paper bags in which the meals will be delivered in. After our Service Learning Project, we then had lunch, during which we spent time writing letters to our Representatives and Senators, which will be hand delivered during the Policy Seminar in March. To conclude our day, we unveiled a TRIO Promo Video, which we will use to hopefully recruit more TRIO professionals to get involved with ASPIRE and become members. We then heard more TRIO stories from students, and had some closing announcements. All in all, it was a fantastic day for both professionals and students. So many smiling faces, incredible stories, and love. For a lot of our students, it was their first time at the State Capitol, which made it even more of a great experience!

University of Montana food pantry opens

The ASPIRE Community Service Project at the 2018 ASPIRE Conference in Missoula, Montana was to help this project. https://kxlf.com/cnn-regional/2019/02/13/um-unveils-new-resource-to-combat-student-hunger/

ASPIRE members featured in TRIO podcast

First Generation Panel with Special Guests

December 20, 2018

First Generation Panel 

  • Panelists: Dr. Oscar Felix, Dr. Paul Thayer, Marilyn Thayer, and Andrea Reeve
  • Intro Music by: Makaih Beats (https://makaihbeats.net/about)
  • Transition Music by: John Russell
  • Audio Equipment and Recording: John Russell

 

https://juanrivas.podbean.com/e/first-generation-panel-with-special-guests/

Celebrating First Generation Students at MSU Denver

Celebrating first generation students and their hard work at Metropolitan State University of  Denver (MSU Denver).

May Student of the Month

Hattie Penny with EOC is proud to announce her choice for the May Student of the Month! Chelsie is a mom of three from Arapahoe, Wyoming who will be starting college this summer semester at Central Wyoming College. A GED graduate & first-time mom at 16, Chelsie originally started college right after attaining her high-school equivalency. Due to her infant’s life-threatening illness at the time, she had to postpone her dream. But Chelsie worked hard on gathering the documentation of her daughter’s illness & writing her petition letter to have her financial aid reinstated at CWC. Not only that, she worked on every scholarship app she could get he hands on & will have over $2,000 in institutional scholarships + Pell this summer. She will have all that plus her Sky People Higher Education scholarship for Fall semester. Chelsie is always willing to help others, especially if they are also college-bound. Her kids are excited that their mom will soon have homework too! Best wishes to Chelsie–we can’t wait to keep hearing about your success! Chelsie Wolf is a mom of three from Arapahoe, Wyoming who will be starting college this summer semester at Central Wyoming College. A GED graduate & first-time mom at 16, Chelsie originally started college right after attaining her high-school equivalency. Due to her infant’s life-threatening illness at the time, she had to postpone her dream. But Chelsie worked hard on gathering the documentation of her daughter’s illness & writing her petition letter to have her financial aid reinstated at CWC. Not only that, she worked on every scholarship app she could get he hands on, & will over $2,000 in institutional scholarships + Pell this summer. She will have all that plus her Sky People Higher Education scholarship for Fall semester. Chelsie is always willing to help others, especially if they are also college-bound. Her kids are excited that mom will soon have homework too! Best wishes to Chelsie–we can’t wait to keep hearing about your success!

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