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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.

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!

Celebrating First Generation Students at MSU Denver

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

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!

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

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.

Angel Project – TRIO Student Support Services

An event held at Colorado State University – Pueblo in conjunction with TRIO SSS programs.

Program makes holiday happier for CSU-Pueblo students and families

Once again, Christmas will be a little more merry for some little angels. Thanks to a host of bigger ones. For nearly 20 years, SunWest Credit Union has partnered with Colorado State University-Pueblo on the appropriately named Angel Project. This yuletide show of compassion provides gifts to the children of those CSU-Pueblo students who may be experiencing financial difficulties this season.

Upward Bound grant restored for University of Montana

Upward Bound grant restored for University of Montana

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.

Federal Budget Updates

* House and Senate reached an agreement for FY17
* This was signed into law May 5, 2017
* 50 Million increase (5.6%) TRIO Funding
* Language in bill provides increase funding for existing TRIO grant programs
* Increase grants awarded for FY17
*Allowing reading of grants that were rejected due to formatting
*FY18 TRIO budget is not safe (Trump proposed $92 Million in TRIO cuts)
CALL TO ACTION:
*Join Governmental Relations Committee for ASPIRE (contact Ally)
*Continue to call/write your congressional leaders on free time, advocating for TRIO
*Join COE Webinar 5/24/17 @ 1 p.m. (Eastern)
“Governmental Relations Summer Advocacy”