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.”
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 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!
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
Season of thanks: Missoulians share what they’re thankful for this year
Braylee Crawford looked forward to Upward Bound every summer before she enrolled at the University of Montana.
“When I heard that the program was basically on the chopping block, it really devastated me,” Crawford said.
This year, the U.S. Department of Education initially denied $1.7 million in grant funds for the Upward Bound program at UM based on a clerical error, according to the program director. UM had failed to double-space one of the application’s 65 pages, as had some other campuses.
U.S. Sens. Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Steve Daines, a Republican, were among the elected leaders who successfully advocated for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to reconsider applications based on the merits.
When Crawford — a freshman from Browning majoring in human biology for premed — learned the program would be funded after all, she said she was thrilled, not only for herself, a college student, but for high school students who will also have the chance to participate in Upward Bound and learn they have an opportunity to attend a university.
“I was so, so happy,” she said, “because not only would I get to continue to enjoy the benefits of TRiO, but I know students from not only my community but around the state would be able to enjoy the benefits of Upward Bound.”
— Keila Szpaller
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
The University of Montana will receive money to support first-generation college students and ones from low-income families through Upward Bound, after initially being denied a grant due to a clerical error, according to news releases. U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines announced Wednesday that the U.S.