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Student of the Month

The Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month award recognizes outstanding students who are members of the organization. Each month, a participating student is selected for the award based upon her or his work in Project Strive/TRiO and other activities on campus or in the community. Award winners will receive a plaque from Project Strive and have their photo placed in the “Project Strive/TRiO 2016-17 Student of the Month” Achievement Recognition board. The board, located in the Strive Learning Center, is themed "The race goes not always to the swift but to those who keep running.  You have powers you never dreamed of.  You are capable of doing things you never thought possible.  There are not limitations on what you can do."

September 2016 - Barbara Pieper

PieperBarbara Pieper of Mitchell, Nebraska, has been named the September Student of the Month for Project Strive/TRiO.

Pieper, an education major with a focus in middle school math and science, is also a math tutor in the Learning Center in the King Library. She said her favorite Chadron State College class so far has been human biology with Dr. Wendy Jamison. Pieper said it was this class that gave her the inspiration to focus on math and science.

“Dr. Jamison’s biology class was my favorite, because it really opened my eyes to the world of science. We also did so many activities that I can eventually apply to my own classroom,” Pieper said. Pieper knew she wanted to become a teacher at a young age, but she just needed direction about how to accomplish it. “My great aunt attended Chadron State so I knew of the place. My great uncle also explained the great education programs CSC offered. So, at that young age I decided I would attend CSC and become a teacher,” Pieper said.

Pieper is also active outsideof her education courses. She is part of the Newman Club, Newman Bible Study, Residence Life Association, Revive and Night of Country Swing. In her free time, she enjoys farming, gardening, reading and crafting. Amanda Lewin, retention specialist at Project Strive/TRiO, works closely with Pieper and said she is not only an asset to Project Strive, but to CSC. “We really enjoy having Barbara in our program. She is a bright young woman who is very motivated. She participated in many events last year, including several of our crafting activities. We chose her for Student of the Month because she is active in our program and a leader on CSC’s campus,” Lewin said.

Pieper’s day-to-day schedule is busy and orderly, but even so, she finds time to let loose. “Honestly, the stress-relieving activities we do at Project Strive are my favorite. Whether it is coloring or just blowing bubbles, it is nice take a step back and do something mindless to relax,” Pieper said.

October 2016 - Kevin Coy

CoyKevin Coy of Davenport, Florida, has been named the October Student of the Month for Project Strive/TRIO.

Coy, a health and physical education major, took an interest in physical education while working at a Boys and Girls Club in Lake Wales near his hometown in Central Florida.

“I was attracted to physical education and health when I helped out at the Boys and Girls Club in Lake Wales. We taught them all kinds of sports and it was a great learning experience,” Coy said. Coy was initially drawn to Chadron State to play football and further his education. He has found great comfort in Project Strive/TRiO and specifically the staff, who are never afraid to lend a helping hand.

“Project Strive is great because they are always open. The staff doesn’t just treat you like a student and only worry about school. They worry about your academics, and your personal life,” Coy said. Jennifer Schaer, director of TRiO, works with Kevin regularly. She says no matter what the day brings, Coy is always optimistic. “Kevin is an excellent student and when he comes into the Strive offices he is always smiling. He will come in and share the good days and also the bad days. On the bad days, when he leaves, he leaves with a smile,” Schaer said.

Of the classes Coy has taken so far, he said Donna Ritzen’s Teaching Individual and dual sports as being his favorite. “In that class she taught us the importance of properly explaining and teaching games. The class itself was hands-on and fun, but I also learned a lot of skills that I can use in the real-world,” Coy said.

Last year Coy a football injury, but has recovered to be one of the main tailbacks for the Chadron State football team this season. Schaer says Coy’s knack for pushing himself is evident in the classroom too. “He did not let is injury get him down and he used this experience to come back to be stronger and more determined. Kevin has aspirations to be a PE teacher and coach and he pushes himself in the classroom to learn, grow and discover new ideas and techniques that will help him in his future career,” Schaer said.

While Kevin stays busy on the football field and in the classroom, he still has time for another one his passions: part-time barber. “I cut all kinds of hair, but mainly mo-hawks and fades or anything done with clippers. I don’t do scissors. ‘Come and get you a quality Coy cut,’ that’s my saying,” Coy said.

November 2016 - Gabriela Perez

CoyGabriela Perez of Sioux City, Iowa, has been named the Project Strive/TRIO Student of the Month for November.

Perez, a nutrition and health major, discovered Chadron State College while joining a friend on a campus visit. Even though it was smaller than the other schools she visited, there was something that stuck with her. “I felt very welcome. It was a lot different than my other college visits, because Chadron was smaller. But, the people here are what really attracted me, “ Perez said.

Perez’s two favorite classes at CSC have been Foundations of PE (HPER 122) taught by Dr. Dawn Brammer, HPER associate professor, and Food and Meals Across a Lifetime (FCS 236) with Erin Norman, applied sciences instructor.

Jennifer Schaer, director of TRIO, has worked with Perez since her inclusion into the program. According to Schaer, Perez is an excellent example for other students in the program. “I think Gabby’s greatest quality is that she really cares for people. She will go out of her way to help out a fellow cheerleader or student. She is always smiling and positive and has been a great role model to others in Project Strive,” Schaer said.

Perez’s favorite activity at Project Strive/TRIO are the modge podge activities. The activity uses modge podge, a type of permanent white glue, and other objects to form creative artwork, which sometimes include inspirational or positive quotes attached to them. No matter the day, Perez knows she can expect a positive environment in the Strive/TRiO center. “Everyone’s so positive and your friends are there. I love going in and being able to talk to anyone and everyone. It makes my day,” Perez said.

After graduating high school from Elk Point Jefferson in Elk Point, South Dakota, a neighboring community to Sioux City, Perez was interested in medical studies. Upon completing a few biology classes and shadowing surgeries, Perez found her niche. “Well, I’m not the best with blood and it makes me pass out, but I wanted to do something in the medical field. Massage therapy interested me, because it is less invasive, but you still get to help people,” Perez said.

Outside of class, Perez is a cheerleader, works at the CSC visitor desk and helps teach youth gymnastics at the Chadron Arts Center. This semester she also helped start the Love Your Melon Club which sells hats and beanies, with part of the proceeds going to pediatric brain cancer research.

December 2016 - Tierra Snyder

Tierra SnyderTierra Snyder of Beatrice, Nebraska, is the Project Strive/TRiO December Student of the Month.

Snyder, a business management major, knew of Chadron State College at an early age and decided after growing up in astern Nebraska, it was time to branch out. “My sophomore year of high school I decided that I wanted to go away from home. Chadron was on the other side of the state, and it had the small college feel I was looking for, so it was a perfect fit,” Snyder said.

Snyder is active within CSC campus life, as well as the community. She is part of the Student Senate and Campus Activities Board (CAB), participating in the Parking Committee and Activities Fee Board (AFB). She is also the CAB rep for Phi Beta Lambda, secretary for The Nest and a member of Xi Delta Zeta.

Outside of campus, Snyder works part-time as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Chadron Community Hospital and does work-study at the Northwest Community Partnership. With such a busy schedule on campus, Snyder believes scheduling and the right people make her community participation possible. “I’ve met so many nice people at the hospital and partnership. My schedule is pretty busy on campus, so it helps that they are so flexible and understanding with my time,” Snyder said.

Snyder’s favorite class so far is Aging and Death (FCS 320) taught by Russ Seger. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and watching movies. Her career goal is to become a nurse practitioner, but regardless of the position Snyder wants to be involved in the medical field. “I’m majoring in business, but I want get into an accelerated nursing program after I get my degree. If that does not happen, I would still like to do something in the medical field, probably on the administrative side,” Snyder said.

Jennifer Schaer, director of Project Strive/TRiO, works with Snyder frequently. Even though Snyder has a full schedule, Schaer sees how she makes time for everything. “Tierra is very organized. She is part of Senate and CAB and also works two jobs. She enjoys being busy and being involved. Tierra also makes times for her friends and family. Others have seen how busy she is and that she is great at balancing everything going on in her life,” Schaer said.

While Snyder enjoys Project Strive for many reasons, one reason stands out. “I love the people there. They are very honest with you and help with just about anything. It is nice to go in and socialize, because you can talk to everyone and know they care about you,” Snyder said.

January 2016 - Joel Milos

Joel MilosJoel Milos of Bellevue, Nebraska, has been named the January Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month.

Milos, a double major in business administration and rangeland management with an option in wildlife management, enrolled in Fall 2015. He chose Chadron State College after receiving a Board of Trustees Scholarship and others. An eastern Nebraska native, Milos said he liked CSC was far away, yet still in Nebraska. Milos earned college credit during high school, allowing him to reach junior level status by his second year at CSC. He also averages 16 credit hours per semester.

His work ethic shows he is a motivated, strong student, according to Katy Kuhnel, academic adviser for Project Strive/TRiO. “Since his first day in Project Strive/TRiO, Joel has demonstrated a tireless, quiet drive to succeed. He consistently tackles heavy course loads, achieving high grades and rarely voicing complaints,” Kuhnel said. Milos was first introduced to Project Strive during his first weekend at CSC. He joined the organization right away and said he hasn’t regretted his decision. “The staff is always here to answer all of your questions and give you advice,” Milos said.

His favorite Project Strive/TRiO event has been pet therapy – an event where pets were available for students to play with during finals week to get a break from studying. He also finds career related events, such as resume building and interview tips, to be helpful in preparing for his future. Milos said his favorite class was Rangeland Hydrology (AGRI 348). “The class looked into the effects management choices have on water that is available and how water moves through rangelands,” Milos said.

Over the summer of 2016, Milos worked in Yellowstone National Park. Milos’ love for travel led him farther from CSC as part of his capstone class, Cuba Libre (HUM 401) in January. Milos said the trip to Cuba was his favorite CSC experience so far. Milos has also been involved in the Wildlife and Ag Club and said he enjoys hiking at the Nebraska National Forest, fishing, and reading in his spare time.

Milos plans to graduate in the spring of 2019 and potentially attend graduate school. Graduate school or not, though, Milos plans on working for the National Parks Service. His passion for the outdoors is one he hopes to continue throughout his career, according to Kuhnel. “Joel has shown a curiosity for the natural resources world and the field that awaits him upon graduation will surely lead to a fulfilling, successful career,” she said.

February 2016 - Jessy Bale

Jessy BaleJessy Bale of Folsom, South Dakota, was named February’s Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month.

Bale, a social work major, said she chose Chadron State College because she was unsure what she wanted to study, and it was close but still far enough away from home. “I like that it is a small school and small campus,” Bale said. Her desire to help others also led her to major in social work. She said she wants to help people, especially during tough times. “I want to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Bale said. Bale has a history of helping others. Throughout high school, she volunteered with the Good Samaritan Society in New Underwood, South Dakota, as a dietary aid and housekeeper. She is also active in college.

As a member of the Social Work Club, Bale participates in community projects including visits to Prairie Pines Lodge. She said the club’s current project is finding ways to help the homeless population in Chadron. In addition to her involvement in social work classes and the Social Work Club, Bale works with the department’s professors as a work-study. Rich Kenney, assistant professor in Counseling Psychological Sciences and Social Work, notices Bale’s participation in his classroom. “I consider myself fortunate to know her as she is one of those students a professor appreciates having in class,” Kenney said. “She is hard-working, conscientious, and takes her education seriously. She has a wonderful sense of humor and genuinely seems to enjoy learning.”

Bale said she enjoys activities provided by the Residence Life Association and is grateful for the professor-to-student ratio that allows students to know their faculty members on a personal level. Her favorite class has been Services to Child/Families (SW 331). Bale said the class involved mock counseling sessions and visits to schools and prisons. Bale joined Project Strive/TRiO as soon as she arrived at CSC. Bale said her older sister, who also attends CSC, was involved and explained the benefits and resources that the organization offered. Bale’s brother also attended CSC. Jen Schaer, director of Project Strive/TRiO, said Bale is a great member of the organization. “She always has a smile on her face and comes to each activity ready to learn something new and different,” said Schaer. “She has encouraged other students in the social work area to join Project Strive by sharing the benefits that Strive offers.” Bale said her favorite Project Strive/TRiO events involve creativity, such as painting and decorating items. She also attended the recent National TRiO Day festivities on campus. “The staff is always there when you need them, whether it’s for school or just to listen,” Bale said.

In her spare time, Bale said she enjoys going for walks, drawing, watching movies, and listening to music. Future plans for Bale include graduating in May 2019 and entering the work force. She is still undecided about whether she wants to work with children or in a prison system. “Jessy is a go-getter and she will be great as a social worker,” said Schaer.

March 2016 - Devin Fulton

Devin FultonDevin Fulton has been named the Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month for March.

Fulton, a social science education major, said he has wanted to teach since he was in the sixth grade. “I’ve always wanted to teach,” Fulton said. “If I was going to teach a subject, I wanted it to be something I was excited about.” Fulton said he has chosen to pursue a career teaching middle schoolers. “I want to be a positive, male role model for children, especially those who don’t have a positive, male role model in their life,” Fulton said.

Fulton took a year off from school after graduating high school. He spent the year trimming trees and said he benefited from his year away from education. “The break helped me to mature, improve my work ethic and have a better understanding of what is at stake,” said Fulton. Dr. Pat Beu, senior director of student affairs, realizes Fulton’s maturity. “Devin Fulton is mature beyond his years,” Beu said. “He was an excellent student in my class, is focused on his goals and is motivated to be a successful college student.”

Fulton, a Glenrock, Wyoming, native, said he had heard of Chadron State College through a few of his high school teachers who were alumni. He decided to drive to Chadron and said the Ponderosa pine forest contributed to enrolling at CSC. Fulton’s first year at CSC has proved to generate more likes than just the Ponderosa pines. “I love my professors,” Fulton said. Fulton’s favorite classes have been Intro to Teaching (EDUC 131) with Dr. Lorie Hunn and Composition I (ENG 135) with Dr. Nathaniel Doherty. Fulton said he really enjoys classes that include discussion and the perspective of the professors. Fulton said he also likes that he is away from home. “It gives me a chance to figure out who I am,” Fulton said. “It gives me a chance to be my best self.”

According to Fulton, CSC students Luis Hernandez and John Murphy have been positive influences. Fulton interacts with Murphy when working for CSC Live Productions where Fulton works as a color commentator. Fulton also keeps busy by staying involved with the Spring Daze committee and Upward Bound. He will be a team leader for Upward Bound this summer. Fulton said he discovered Project Strive/TRiO during a New Student Orientation information fair. “I thought it looked neat, and it is,” Fulton said. Fulton said he appreciates that Project Strive/TRiO is designed to serve students. He also appreciates the humble, home-away-from-home feeling the program provides. “We really enjoy having Devin in our program,” said Amanda Lewin, Project Strive/TRiO retention specialist. “One of his best qualities is his willingness to try new things and help people,” Lewin said. “I look forward to watching him grow and reach his full potential.” Fulton’s favorite Project Strive/TRiO activity is pet therapy. He also appreciates career and fitness planning events. In his spare time, Fulton enjoys tie-dying T-shirts and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

April 2016 - Dean Michel

Dean MichelDean Michel has been named the Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month for April.

Michel, a Chadron State College sophomore, is majoring in History and plans on adding a museum studies minor. Michel said he knew about CSC through football but didn’t consider the school until three weeks before his high school graduation. “I saw an ad in the newspaper and applied,” Michel said.

The small-town atmosphere and caring residence hall advisers are what Michel said he likes about CSC. Having the opportunity to meet and befriend people with similar interests has been Michel’s favorite aspect of college. He said he enjoys being able to talk to other driven students about politics, history, philosophy and other understandings of the world. Michel said he also enjoys the personal relationships he has with his professors. “There are so many great professors here,” Michel said.

Michel said his favorite class has been History of the Pacific Rim (HIST 373) taught by Dr. Kurt Kinbacher. Kinbacher, associate professor of communication and social sciences, said Michel is an adventurous researcher. “He takes on a variety of different topics in the classes I have had him in,” Kinbacher said. “It seems he has broad intellectual interests.” Michel discovered Project Strive/TRiO during his Personal Health and Wellness (HPER 233) class taught by Jennifer Schaer, director of Project Strive/TRiO. Michel said he appreciates the program’s counseling services and enjoys the common meeting place for friends who are also in the program. “I enjoy being able to come to Project Strive and talk with the staff,” Michel said.

Sonja Dressel, Project Strive/TRiO’s licensed student counselor, said Michel brings much to the Project Strive/TRiO community. “He’s an avid reader and amateur movie critic, so I am always happy to hear his thoughts on the books he is reading and movies he’s seen,” Dressel. In addition to his studies, he is also involved in extracurricular activities. Michel is vice president of the Chess Club and will be a writing and history tutor in the Tutoring Center next year. He spends his free time reading, writing, playing video games and playing pool with fellow Work Hall residents. Plans for Michel after graduation include getting a master’s degree in history and possibly a doctorate. “I’ve really enjoyed CSC,” Michel said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself.”


Previous Students of the Month

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