McKenzie Reisenauer succeeds against the odds

McKenzie Reisenauer succeeds against the odds

We root for people beating the odds because we admire their grit and determination, and we hope to find a bit of that in ourselves. McKenzie Reisenauer is one individual who doesn’t have to hope for that, because she’s the one doing it.

U-Mary TRIO Program offers leg up to First Generation Students

U-Mary Trio Program Offers Leg Up to First Generation Students

Bismarck – Enrolling in college is often the first step in earning a degree. But for first generation or low income students there might be a few more challenges along the way. The Pell Institute found low income and first generation students were nearly four times more likely to leave school after their first year.

Three UND McNair Scholars Presented at the 75th Annual National Plains Anthropological Conference

Presenting at the Great Plains Anthropological Conference was a great experience. I presented my paper on cultural education as a tool to cope with the discrimination Two-Spirit people face. This paper meant a lot to me because most people do not know what it means to be Two-Spirit and the cultural aspects behind that. I knew that Two-Spirit people were hidden in anthropology for a long time because of prejudice even though they have always been around in various American Indian Tribes and have great importance. After I gave my paper, I was surprised by all the feedback I received. A lot of the professionals in the room were unaware of the suicide, assault, and depression statistics that impact the Two-Spirit community. My paper also won the Mary Jane and FredSchneider Student award. I am honored that I got to represent the McNair and American Indian Studies programs.  Flint Devine


Flint, Caitlyn and I had the opportunity to present at the Plains Anthropological Conference on October 5th.  This year the national conference was hosted in Bismarck, ND.  Being from Bismarck, it was nice to have a home-court advantage.  Unfortunately, Patrice and Dr. Hans told us they could not make it, but last minute Patrice surprised us! It was an exhilarating experience and our papers were well received.  Sashay Schettler


Attending the 75th Plains Anthropological Conference this year was more than rewarding. Through this experience, I was exposed to three learning opportunities: 1) attended and presented at my first conference, 2) it allowed me to make connections with other people in my field of study, Anthropology, which will be useful in future endeavors, and 3) I was able to take my first step towards what I want to do, which is enrich the learning of others regarding the American Indian paradigms. I thoroughly valued this experience, and am grateful for the opportunity I was given, as it has now given me confidence to further attend and present at conferences, but it has also solidified the fire and passion I have towards my majors, both American Indian Studies and Anthropology.  Caitlyn Shoulder

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.

Upward Bound students spend summer at UND campus

A car wash fundraiser may not seem connected to convincing more students to enroll in college, but there is a correlation through UND’s Upward Bound program.

A federally funded program, Upward Bound assists first-generation and underprivileged high school students on the path to higher education.

Phillip Coghlan, the program’s assistant director, said the summer class of Upward Bound students held a car wash last weekend to raise money for the college visits and other trips they take throughout the summer.

“It’s just a fun way to get the kids out and involved with the community,” he said.

For six weeks, 65 students from the region will live on campus at UND and take classes. Those in ninth through 11th grades will take high school-level courses from local high school teachers in math, science, language arts and a foreign language.

The students are mentored and live in dorms with college students, some of whom attend UND, Coghlan said.

Students in the Upward Bound Bridge program who have graduated from high school will take nine credits of college courses at UND free of charge.

“It will act as a bridge, hence the name, that will help them into college,” Coghlan said.

The program is also open in the fall to 88 students. An application process is required through high school guidance counselors to students at Grand Forks Central High School, East Grand Forks High School and seven other schools in the surrounding area, including Grafton, N.D., Devils Lake and New Town, N.D.

Students qualify based on income or being a first-generation college student, and Coghlan said UND’s Upward Bound staff visits with students about 25 times throughout every school year.

He said they help those in lower grades with academic skill building, SAT and ACT assistance and planning while seniors see help with college applications and scholarships.

“It’s about helping students actually overcome the ins and out of applying to a school and how that works,” Coghlan said.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and has an annual budget of $394,416, according to UND’s website.

Upward Bound is part of UND TRIO, which has grown from three to five branches of programs to help first-generation, low-income students attend and graduate from college.

The summer Upward Bound group will have more carwash fundraisers June 19 and 26 in the parking lot near Hugo’s on 32nd Avenue South.

TRIO Celebrates 50th Anniversary at UND

UND TRIO Programs will celebrate its 50th anniversary of being on campus, Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Alerus Center. TRIO was originally conceived by Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration as part of the “War on Poverty” to help American students from all populations reach academic success. In 1966 UND applied for and received its first TRIO program, Upward Bound. Since that time UND TRIO has grown to include five programs serving more than 2,500 participants a year. Each of the five programs targets a specific population of students who are primarily low-income and/or first-generation Americans interested in pursuing successful college careers. The TRIO Programs include:

                                                           Program        Population

                                                 Talent Search        Middle and High School students

                                             Upward Bound        Students Grades 9-11

              Educational Opportunity Center      Adults interested in college

                         Student Support Services        Students currently enrolled at UND

                                            McNair Scholars        Juniors and Seniors at UND interested in a Ph.D. research field

The celebration will recognize UND, out of more than 2,800 TRIO programs in the country, as one of the longest continuously funded programs. The Feb. 25 events at the Alerus Center include Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President Emeritus of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), who will discuss social change and college access since the 1960s at 10:00 a.m. in the Alerus Ballroom 2. This event is open to all UND staff.

To see the impact TRIO has made at UND, view this video:

Director of Development & Community Relations

A Lot of Hats – Busy Mom Juggles Nursing School, Family and Much More

Danica Kochis-Belleque didn’t expect to find herself to still be in school while in her 40’s to pursue a career in nursing. But that’s exactly what she’s doing.

Danica is currently a second year student at Lake Region State College in Devil’s Lake, ND. Originally, she graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder and earned her bachelors degree in Environmental Biology with a teaching certificate. It was there she met her husband who was in the Air Force, prompting her to move to numerous locations across the country. In Nebraska, Danica earned her masters degree.

After her husband retired from the Air Force in 2008, Danica and her family moved to Minneapolis where her husband entered seminary. While there, Danica taught for two years, but due to budget cuts, her contract was not renewed.

“That prompted me to look into the medical field,” says Kochis-Belleque. “I entered school and became a certified medical assistant and got a job in a family practice clinic. I did everything there from taking x-rays to lab work, injections – you name it, I probably did it.”

After her husband completed seminary in 2012, the family picked up and moved again to Devils Lake, ND.

“There wasn’t really a need for medical assistants – as they’re not as common here as they were in Minnesota. I wanted to take care of patients and be with them, which is why I then decided to go back to school for nursing.”

Danica says despite wearing the many hats she does (wife, mother, pastor’s wife, volleyball coach and more), she says school has always come fairly easy for her, which has allowed her to pursue her career in nursing.

“Going back to school still requires a lot of discipline and time management. I’m fortunate that my husband works and that I’m not having to work in addition to my other activities such as managing our house and three kids. But this journey has required me to be diligent in my studies and making school my priority. My husband and kids have been incredibly supportive. As a military family, we’ve had to learn how to make it work wherever we are and how to get the job done and that plays an important role in how we’re making this journey work.”

Danica’s advice to those who are thinking of going back to school like her, is to simply make it work.

“Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Perhaps for some, going back to school means taking out loans or doing without the new car they had hoped for. I have many classmates that work and I feel for them. Just be prepared to be diligent and ready to give your life to it. I know my kids are looking forward to graduation simply to have their mom back. To put it simply, going back to school is a lot like getting pregnant, there’s no convenient time for it. So if you’re thinking of going back to school, you might as well do it now.”

Danica notes that her life experiences have played a vital role in aiding her in her studies.

“My focus is better. I also have higher expectations of myself than I had at 20 because of my life experience. Life had stuff to teach me that I couldn’t have learned in a classroom. That will make me a better nurse – growing up, having kids, all of those experiences.”

Upon graduation, Danica will be precepting in the local hospital’s OB department. She also hopes to be cross trained in almost every department to keep her job ever changing.

“I think I’d like to continue to wear a lot of hats because I enjoy the intellectual stimulation. I can completely see myself getting into flight nursing because I’m the adventure seeker in the family. And I’m open as to wherever the path will lead.”

Printed with Permission

Kyle Martin

Associate Director

ND Center for Nursing

Mobile: 701-388-0574

MSU TRIO’s November Newsletter

Hello All!

Below you will find MSU’s POWER Surge Newsletter for November, 2015!

POWER Surge November 2015

November Newsletter page 1 November Newsletter page 2November Newsletter page 3


Talent Search students collaborate with Spirit Lake Youth Inter-Agency

Cankdeska Cikana Community College’s TRIO Talent Search collaborated with the Spirit Lake Youth Inter-Agency to take 23 high school students from Four Winds, Devils Lake, Warwick and Minnewaukan schools to the Youth Leadership Conference held in Park Rapids, MN on April 24-26, 2015.  The three days was spent at the Boy Scouts Camp Wilderness where the students engaged in various leadership and team building skills.  They were also given the opportunity to attempt the rock climbing wall and the zip-line obstacle course.  The night time activities consisted of bowling and a movie for all to enjoy!