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!
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!
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
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
Wyoming EOC Coordinator, Rico Lind-Gonzalez writes,
The February student of the Month is Kristi. She has been an Educational Opportunity Center participant for three years starting when she attended a community FAFSA Completion Night. She has worked for the last two years on pursuing her degree in Psychology, seeking specialization in Child Psychology. She is the founder of the new Northwest College Psychology Club. Recently, she was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease, which was quite a struggle to get diagnosed. Prior to this diagnosis, she had also overcome many other personal obstacles. No matter what she came up against, she met it head on and kept fighting for answers as she does every day in her classes. Adjusting to her new normal has been a challenge, but she keeps moving forward.
She is a hard-working, non-traditional student who balances life with her fiancé and her 4 year old daughter as well as a job and her studies. She also has two adult children, Alexis (22) and Timothy (19). She has maintained a 3.96 GPA, and she is the Wyoming All-state Academic Phi Theta Kappa Winner. She will be attending the state awards to receive this honor on February 21st, 2018. She was chosen as the EOC Point Architect’s Scholarship winner this Fall as well. She is an amazing student and person. I couldn’t imagine anyone else being a better candidate for these great honors.
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!
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.
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!
The Educational Opportunity Center Participant of the Month is Hailey Fry. Hailey is a senior at Cheyenne Central High school. She plans on attending the University of Wyoming this fall. She will be majoring in Business and minoring in Political Science. She will be putting herself through college and one main goal she has is to be the first in her family to go and graduate from college. She is involved in multiple activities around Cheyenne and in school while maintaining a high GPA. She is very determined and has made sure to get out and involved in multiple aspects of society. Recently she has worked as a page for the 64th Wyoming Legislature. By going to the University of Wyoming she wants to stay in this great state and help improve it. She knows that most young adults between the ages of 18-25 leave Wyoming. To her, this is a problem and she has plans to change this and to involve youth in politics and government. A big future goal of hers is to become a House of Representatives Legislator. By doing this she knows that her voice and opinion can make a difference for the better. One day with the help of her college education she will be a legislator and improve the lives of the 584,153 citizens of Wyoming. I see incredible things in Hailey’s future!