Student News

Blind Hiker Climbs Katahdin
(July 14, 2014) 

Lynn Merrill is a second-year Cornerstone TRIO student at the University of Maine at Augusta.
Lynn Merrill always wanted to climb Katahdin but says that "life got in the way." After raising a family and losing her vision, the 57 year old finally made her dream come true.

Along with her guide dog Libby, her son Joseph and Chris Eastwood of the Fidelco Guide Dog service, Lynn climbed Maine's highest peak.

"We're doing it, Libby!" she repeated along the trail.

At the top of Katahdin she said, "If you lose your vision they say 'have a nice life." You kind of have to figure out what resources there are out there through the Division of the Blind and visually impaired of the state, but it's not what you would expect and you have to learn significant life functions and sometimes if you don't know about those resources you have to go digging to find out they help you with mobility motivation in living independently. You have to develop on your own, develop your courage on your own and realize you can do anything.

Lynn told NEWS CENTER that she wants to be thought of not as blind, but competent and confident. Her climb of Katahdin helps prove that and be... — Click here for more

Education at NICC Opening Doors to Family-Sustaining Career
(June 17, 2014) 

Jean Rolfe Weathering the economic recession has proven difficult for many families despite economic forecasts that show things are brightening and the fact that Iowa’s economy in particular is healthy and strong.

For single-wage earners such as Dubuquer Jean Rolfe, tough times haven’t lessened, but the constant struggle to make ends meet did prompt some soul searching and a different course of action. Determined to secure family-sustaining employment after a smattering of low-paying part-time jobs, Rolfe enrolled at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) to earn a degree in business.

“I have four children, ages 15-20, that I am raising alone, and I’m not receiving child support. As a single parent, it’s difficult. Once in a while you can feel like you’re dropping the ball, and as a mom, student and the breadwinner in the family, I have to keep those balls in the air at the same time,” Rolfe explained.

The Associate of Arts-Business Administration student will graduate in December 2014 and believes that the supportive faculty and staff at the NICC Peosta campus, along with financial aid assistance, helped make her success possible.

“The staff at is great and it’s more one-on-one there. I’m able to converse with the instructors and staff more personally at NICC,” she said.

Before she enrolled in 2011, Rolfe said that she reached the conclusion that part-time jobs with hourly pay wouldn’t be nearly enough to support herself and family; a college degree would open doors for something more permanent, solid and fulfilling.

“The last few years before I enrolled, I realized that I had to find something that would cover my financial costs and would offer a better living for me and my children, too,” she said. “I decided on a business program at NICC. I had taken accounting classes in... — Click here for more

Nampa Graduate Credits Upward Bound for Success
(May 20, 2014) 

Andres Correa Nampa High School graduate Andres Correa will fulfill his goal with TRIO Upward Bound this fall when he
begins courses at Boise State University, studying material science and engineering.

Upward Bound is a federally funded program that aims to provide support for low-income students and help them pursue post-secondary education. Correa has been involved with the program since he was in eighth grade, and said it helped him secure a paid internship this summer in the material science and engineering department at Boise State.

“It’s helped me out a lot, because it’s showed me how to get to college, helped me get money for college, and it’s also helped me become a leader,” Correa said.

He will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average, with one of his biggest achievements being the ‘A’ he received in Advanced Placement English.

“It was a struggle all throughout high school, but I worked through it,” he said. “As a freshman, I set my mind to it that I would get an A in English.”

Correa has a full-ride scholarship to Boise State and said he may go on to his master’s degree after finishing his bachelor’s. He has been active with “Teen Science,” which is Nampa High’s science team. — Click here for more

A Student for Others
(May 8, 2014) 

Tai Hoang Tai Hoang, a Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences senior graduating in exercise science, knows the value of a dollar — and is so grateful for the education he received that he has put a $1 away each week since his first semester senior year to donate back to the University. His reasoning was simple — he wanted to make a financial contribution to Creighton so others like himself could go to school. And in two short semesters he donated $400 to the Rev, Raymond Bucko, S. J., Scholarship Fund, to help other low income students.

Hoang is a remarkable young man. His family immigrated from Vietnam to the United States when he was 13 and he excelled at Papillion High School where he was an honor roll student. Despite only speaking English for the past five years, he received a Gates Millennium Scholarship and several academic awards to attend Creighton. At Creighton he has been enrolled in the Student Support Services Program, one of several federally funded TRIO programs, which provides academic support and financial assistance to first generation and low-income students. His will be pursing an advanced degree in public health following graduation.

“I am totally impressed by Tai’s tremendous sense of stewardship and commitment to Creighton. As a first-generation college student whose resou... — Click here for more

UW Student Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
(April 23, 2014) 

Josh Heyer If ever a student exemplifies the goals of the McNair Scholars Program, it is Josh Heyer, a University of Wyoming student from Windsor, Colo., who will graduate this spring with a triple major in geography, environment and natural resources, and Spanish.

Along the way, he has earned numerous honors for his academic accomplishments, including selection as an EPSCoR Fellow and as a student speaker at the UW College of Arts and Sciences Honors Convocation, and as one of the college’s top graduating seniors.

To top it off, he is the only UW student this year to be awarded a National Science Foundation Research (NSF) Fellowship, one of the nation’s most highly competitive awards for graduate studies. It offers, among other things, a three-year annual $32,000 stipend; a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance; and international research and professional development opportunities.

Heyer credits McNair Scholars Program administrators Zackie Salmon and Susan Stoddard for helping build his foundation for success. The McNair program prepares promising undergraduate students from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education to enter and complete a doctoral degree program. Services include a research internship, mentoring from UW faculty members, academic support and tutoring, and assistance with the graduate school application process.

Heyer qualified for the McNair program as a first-generation college student, as neither of his parents hold a college degree.

“Zackie and Susan have pointed me in the right direction, which has allowed me to network with various individuals on campus,” Heyer says. “During... — Click here for more