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.
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 EOC Participant of the Month that is Mr. Steve Chenoweth. Steve is a 55 yr old, LIFG, non-traditional student. He graduated in December 2015 with his Associate’s degree in Addictionology and plans to attend UW-Casper in the fall, majoring in Social Work. The reason I chose Steve is because he is not the typical EOC participant…meaning that I had to go beyond our usual “services” to fit Mr. Chenoweth’s academic needs. He needed assistance with things that I typically do not do – which made it a terrific challenge.
Meeting with Steve was not a typical FAFSA/scholarship/application appointment. He is legally blind and partially deaf. He had assistance from our local DVR, but mostly in the form of tuition assistance and book fees. I explained that UW-Casper offers the same disability services that the Laramie campus offers for students with documented disabilities. He had no idea – and sought assistance & signed up immediately. For the fall, he will be provided with a hearing device for the classroom, was granted longer time to take tests, and a different environment for taking exams (individual). I also helped Steve apply for the BSW program at UW-Casper. This was a 20 page application with MANY requirements. Getting this application completed was a huge accomplishment with all the letters required, and a tight time frame. With Kristi’s permission, EOC was apply to pay for his $30.00 application fee for the program. We were also able to set up tutoring services for him starting in August. Through the UW-Casper scholarship portal, Steve applied for 8 scholarships. He was granted one $1000.00 non-traditional, first generation scholarship.
Quite a few times, Steve wondered if all the work required to apply for this program was worth it, as he faced many obstacles. In May, he received notification that he was accepted into the BSW program at UWC – His dream of becoming a certified social worker will come true.
Ashley Garcia has been named the March EOC Student of the Month. Ashley has shown enormous tenacity over the years. She hesitantly began working on her GED several years ago, unsure if she would be able to attain her goal, but she stuck with it. Within 5 months, she proudly held her high school equivalency certificate during the Family Literacy graduation ceremony. Shortly after completing her GED, she enrolled in the Nursing program at Northwest College. Being a mom with four kids is a big job, and with her husband unable to help with the kids at this time, she is operating as a single mother while pursuing her degree. She rushes from class to class and then away to pick up the kids from school, managing to squeeze in working 20 hours a week. While it is no easy feat, she keeps a positive attitude with her goal of being a nurse always ahead, keeping her moving forward!
Jesus Aparicio is a graduating senior from the Colorado State University Upward Bound program. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Weld County recently selected Jesus as a Youth of the Year Finalist. Jesus (the Monfort Club winner) will represent Weld County at the State level competition down in Denver on March 23rd and will be speaking at their Elegant Night event on April 23rd at Embassy Suites. Jesus is also a semi-finalist for the Dell Scholarship and will be attending the University of Northern Colorado in the Fall. The Boys and Girls Club and his TRIO family are very proud of Jesus and the journey he has taken to this point, overcoming significant obstacles to still achieve remarkable success and a truly great future.