2015 North Dakota ASPIRE
I graduated from high school in 2008 in Rolla, ND. I knew I wanted to further my education upon graduation, despite neither of my parents pursuing college degrees. I decided to attend Lake Region State College to pursue my two year liberal arts degree, knowing long-term I wanted to become a Social Worker. Upon a tour of LRSC – I was introduced to the TRiO – Student Support Services program and immediately felt welcomed. When classes began, I soon realized TRiO would become a huge part of my educational journey. In between classes, I utilized TRiO for studying and academic support and eventually took a work study position in TRiO where could help my fellow TRiO classmates. I did office work and offered tutoring to other students as well as running a weekly study lab. My TRiO advisor was Andy Wakeford, whom acted as my aid in preparing me for a successful transfer to a University of my choosing to achieve my goal of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Andy made sure I enrolled in all of the appropriate prerequisite classes at LRSC that the Social Work department would require. Andy drove me to the University of North Dakota, where I decided to pursue my social work degree, and joined me on a tour of campus and meeting my new campus advisor.
I graduated from LRSC in 2010 and was recognized with the college’s Who’s Who Award, which was a very meaningful achievement for me. I started attending UND in 2010 pursuing my Social Work degree. I met Mary Fredericks, my new TRiO advisor at UND, whom helped me map out the next few years of my educational journey. Mary helped me pick out my classes, offered emotional support with the transition, which proved to be challenging and overwhelming at times. I often found myself utilizing TRiO for a quiet, support place to study, complete homework and meet fellow TRiO students. I graduated in May 2013 with my bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a minor in chemical dependency. Shortly after graduation, I took the national Social Work board exam ad officially became a Licensed Social Worker. I started my first job at Altru’s inpatient psychiatry (where I had previously completed a 16 week internship) on an as needed basis and gained great knowledge and experience. I recently transitioned to the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks where I work for Kids First – a supervised visitation program that offers supervised parenting time for children and families.
I owe all of the above mentioned successes to the entire TRiO program and its caring, supportive staff. All of the individuals I met throughout my educational journey left a lasting impact on myself and my appreciation for programs available to students in need. Without the support of TRiO, students like myself may not have felt like the college experience and obtaining a college degree was within reach. At times when I felt defeat creeping up and insecurities setting in, the TRiO staff was always there to offer support and motivation toward successfully completing my educational journey. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for your support and mentorship. It means more than you know and your kindness, dedication and caring hearts leave a lifelong impression on the students you come in contact with. Thank you for all you have done.