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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 2014-15 Student of the Month” Achievement Recognition board. The board, located in the Strive Learning Center, is themed Attitude: "Attitude Is A Little Thing that Makes A BIG Difference."

April 2015 - Casey Sigrist

SigristCasey Sigrist, a senior from Scottsbluff, Nebraska, has been named the Project/Strive TRiO Student of the Month for April.“This awards signifies all the time I’ve spent with Project Strive/TRiO, and it’s nice to receive it. Being involved has helped me form good relationships with the other students in the program,” Sigrist said.

Career-building and academic support services accessed through the program have been of great benefit for Sigrist who will graduate in business administration and communication arts in December 2015.

“Resume writing with Kris Koza was great. I know that her work with me on my resumes has helped me get interviews. Lisa Curtis helped me set up my schedule the past two years, and Jen Schaer and Sonja Dressel have put on some great events,” Sigrist said.

Project Strive/TRiO outings Sigrist has enjoyed over the past three years include a ropes course in Scottsbluff, a “Flashdance” production in Rapid City, South Dakota, and a special session on campus with motivational speaker Maria Pascucci.

Sigrist supplemented her classroom work by traveling with other CSC groups to “Meet the Pros” graphic design, public relations and advertising workshops in Rapid City, South Dakota, Omaha, Nebraska and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

She is also involved in many extracurricular activities. She is the former president of Chi Alpha, current treasurer of the Public Relations Club, and she has been involved in Nights of Country Swing, Eagle Dance Team, Combatives Club and Delta Mu Delta, a business fraternity. She also served as the CSC Elmo mascot for two years.

In addition to coursework and activities, Sigrist is a student worker in the King Library and worked as a lifeguard at the pool in Armstrong Gymnasium for a short time before it was closed. This summer, she plans to work at the Gering Garden Center with her sister. In August, she will be a New Student Orientation (NSO) leader for the third consecutive year.

Sigrist earned six credit hours for her internship with The Big Event, a traditional CSC day of service, in 2014-15. During the summer of 2014, she earned four credit hours through an internship in event planning for the city of Papillion, Nebraska.

“My co-workers and boss were fantastic. It got me used to handling the stress of event planning. I got to meet some famous people, including Lindsey Sterling and the mayor, David Black, the father of my friend, Mary,”

Both of Sigrist’s parents are Army veterans and have instilled an entrepreneurial spirit within her. “My parents have given me the tools to succeed. They have inspired me to try as hard as I can. My whole family has inspired me to go and do whatever I want. I know there are lots of possibilities for my future,” Sigrist said.

Sigrist has been accepted into the Disney College Program at Disney World January through August 2016. She plans to backpack across Europe for three months following the job at Disney World. From November 2016 until April 2017, she plans to work at the Stonyridge Vineyardon Waiheke Island, a 90-minute ferry ride from Auckland, New Zealand.

March 2015 - Dylan Bairn

BairnDylan Bairn of Gering, Nebraska, has been named the Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month for March.“I’m glad the staff thought highly enough of me to present me with the award,” he said.

Bairn appreciates the willingness of the Project Strive/TRiO staff members to help students. “Kris Koza helped me with my resume. It’s nice to see how much they care and want to help. Knowing they are there specifically to help students is a great feeling,” he said.

A senior, Bairn transferred to Chadron State College with an Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice from Western Nebraska Community College.

Project Strive/TRiO director Jen Schaer said Bairn shares his experiences as a transfer and reaches out to new students as well as those who have been in the program for several years.

“Dylan has been a great addition to Project Strive. He was not a stranger to the program because he participated in the TRiO program at WNCC,” Schaer said. Bairn, who is a member of the Blue Key National Honor Society, said he made a conscious decision to take his studies more seriously when he transferred to CSC.

“It made a big difference. I set my goal when I came here to graduate with honors so I spend a lot of time studying,” Bairn said. As a student who has turned around his academic career, Bairn is an effective tutor in criminal justice and justice studies.

Frances Gonzalez, coordinator of the Learning Center, said Bairn is competent and an asset to the college. “He does a tremendous job, gets along well with other tutors and students. He’s dependable and reliable. He’s caring and really wants the students to succeed,” Gonzalez said.

Bairn said he learned a lot about himself and his personality traits in a Myers-Briggs Personality Types test offered through the Project Strive/TRiO program. He found the test results particularly interesting since he has a psychology minor and is considering possibly earning a second bachelor’s degree in psychology in a few years.

He wants to work in jails after graduation May 9 and eventually move into a career in probation helping juvenile offenders and making a positive impact in their futures. “I can see where I will be able to help people in my career,” Bairn said.

February 2015 - Tayler Saunders

SaundersTayler Saunders of Thornton, Colorado, has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month for February.“I’m not sure how I earned this award, but I am thankful. It's super cool,” Saunders said.

One of 39 graduates of Eagle Ridge Academy in Brighton, Colorado, a charter school, in 2013, Saunders earned a full year of college credits from a nearby community college while in high school.

“Lisa Curtis has helped me plan out my classes which was complicated because I came to CSC with so many credits. Sonja Dressel has helped a lot with the stress of this semester. I love the Project Strive/TRiO advisers. They are amazing. I stop by almost every day or text them. I would encourage everyone to apply,” Saunders said.

Saunders, a communication arts major with an option in public relations, has been able to borrow textbooks through the Project Strive/TRiO program. She has also found many other useful resources such as headphones and other equipment when she stops by the office in the lower level of the Reta King Library. She said she chose CSC because it is affordable and the size of the campus is comfortable.

In February, she traveled with other communication arts majors to an American Advertising Federation “Meet the Pros” event in Omaha. She is excited to return the event in coming years as she makes plans for internships and begins job hunting her senior year.

Saunders was hired as a resident adviser the second semester of her first year. In addition to this position, she is a member of the Public Relations Club, the Nest, a sports marketing club, a student employee in the Sports Information office, a youth sponsor at the Chadron Community Church and an active member of the Residence Life Association.

During the first semester of the 2014-15 academic year, she worked in the football office, developing a travel manual and compiling a procedures manual for football travel operations. This semester, she began an internship in the football office making travel arrangements for the team and assisting with publicity.

This summer, Saunders will help with CSC football camp logistics, such as payment, lodging and meals for high school teams. She also plans to begin a new job in May detailing vehicles for Eagle Chevrolet.

January 2015 - Annie Johnson

JohnsonAnnie Johnson has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program January 2015 Strive Student of the Month. The elementary education major said she chose Chadron State College based on the small, personal campus.

She discovered that she was well-suited to be a teacher through assessments and years of experience helping younger children with the 4-H livestock projects. Her parents raise Black Angus on their ranch near Tuthill east of Martin. “I had a lot of good teachers growing up. My mom is a math teacher, my dad is a school board member and there are a few other teachers in our family,” Johnson said.

She thoroughly enjoys the education program at CSC and plans to return home this summer where she will continue her volunteer work with 4-H children as they prepare to show livestock entries in the Bennett County Fair.

Project Strive/TRiO Director Jen Schaer said Johnson has a great attitude and is an excellent student. “Annie is an excellent student and has a great attitude. She participates in many Strive activities and enjoys being with friends and meeting new people. It is an honor and a joy to have her be a part of Project Strive,” Schaer said.

Johnson said Project Strive/TRiO workshops on resume building and other topics have helped her meet new people. “It’s done a lot for me. It helped me get over my shyness. I especially enjoyed the ropes course in Scottsbluff my freshman year. That was a memorable opportunity for teambuilding with people I didn’t know even before I applied and was accepted into the program,” she said.

Johnson's adviser, Lisa Curtis, assists her with planning class schedules and stress related to college.

In addition to participating in Project Strive/TRiO, in September 2014 Johnson was elected to a one-year term as Student Senator representing the school of School of Education, Human Performance, Counseling, Psychology and Social Work.

“I knew some students on Senate and I was interested in the government part of it and getting involved,” she said. She has learned leadership skills by observing other senators, and has enjoyed the challenge of gathering information prior to voting. She said she plans to run for office again next year.

Johnson also participates in the Chadron State College Republicans Club and serves as the Newman House representative on the Campus Activity Board.

December 2014 - Frederick Culp Jr.

FrederickFrederick Culp Jr. has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program December 2014 Strive Student of the Month. Frederick Culp Jr. of Mililani, Hawaii, has celebrated many accomplishments during his four years at Chadron State College. The most recent recognition came as he was named the Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month for December. A few days later, he received his bachelor’s degree as part of the first graduating class to experience commencement in the Chicoine Center.

The benefits of the Project Strive TRiO program fostered Culp’s success in several ways. He said the staff members have provided positive reinforcement in addition to textbooks and tutoring. One of his favorite Project Strive/TRiO outings was to Custer State Park when the van took a wrong turn and the group had an adventure getting turned around and back on their route.

“I learned a good college work ethic in this program. I picked up study skills and got all my homework done. I see myself as a leader now,” Culp said.

Culp, known by most students as Freddy C, is recognized as a talented musician. In 2013, he won the Voice contest hosted on campus which qualified him for trip to Nashville to audition for the national television show. He lent his voice to many campus events including the annual spring Release concert. He often performed the national anthem before games and became a popular and entertaining DJ for campus dances, according to Billie Knifong, residence life manager.

"I volunteered my first year when they needed a DJ. I liked it and just got better and better,” Culp said.

Culp ran the 400-meter dash for the CSC men’s track team and anchored the 4x400 relay team which won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship in 2013 and 2014. The relay team also set two school records, indoor in 2012 and outdoor in 2014. The CSC track team, overall, placed 16th in the nation in May 2014.

“I wanted to get off the island (after a year of community college). Coach Baily offered me a scholarship and we just clicked. He will always be one of my all-time favorite coaches,” Culp said, referring to Ryan Baily, former CSC head track coach.

Culp’s work ethic extends beyond the microphone and the track. In addition to his studies in business administration information systems, he also worked in The Pit – the pool and pong-pong table section of the Student Center – for four years.

November 2014 - Nigel Jones

NigelSenior Nigel Jones of San Diego, California, has been named the Student of the Month for November. Jones speaks highly of the advisors and mentors who are part of Project Strive TRiO.

She said the services through Project Strive TRiO have assisted her with overcoming a math disability.

“They’ve helped me a lot. They are the reason why I stayed. They’ve provided me with resources, texts, tutors and positive reinforcement,” Jones said.

In addition to the help he has received in the Project Strive/TRiO program, Jones has also worked at the front desk in the program office for two years answering the phone, taking messages, assisting other students and helping with many other tasks as needed.

Jones decided to leave California and enroll at Chadron State College with several of his friends in spite of the rural setting and winter weather. His friends have all since graduated.

In May, he will receive his degree in criminal justice. Then, career plans for Jones include working in detentions for a year and then applying for positions in juvenile justice as a probation or parole officer.

Along with being involved in Project Strive/TRiO, living in the CSC residence halls for four years has been a good decision for Jones. He likes being in the center of campus life. He said his favorite hobby is watching sports of all kinds on television.

The kindness he has experienced in Chadron has made a lasting impression on Jones. “My dad is from a small town in Kansas. I think it might be similar here. I really like the people in Chadron. I’ve never been to a more friendly place. The people are so nice. You can make a place fun, but you can’t make the people nice,” he said.

October 2014 - Mikayla Gallagher

MikaylaMikayla Gallagher has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program October 2014 Strive Student of the Month. Gallagher, a legal studies major, is the Liberal Arts Student Senator and the Campus Activities Board vice chair of relations working with social media. She chose CSC based on a golf scholarship plus the scenery and reasonable tuition, she said.

She said the services through Project Strive TRiO have assisted her with overcoming a math disability.

“I love how they help you in so many different ways. I give credit to Project Strive for how successful I have been so far. They’ve really helped me with math. I got an A in pre-Algebra and I’ve never got an A in math before,” she said.

Not only is Gallagher overcoming challenges with math, but she even plans to apply for law school. This goal ties in with the careers of several close family members, but Gallagher made the decision based on her own experience.

She completed an internship with John Fitzgerald in the Lawrence County State’s Attorney’s office during her senior year at Lead-Deadwood high school and she also competed in speech and debate. She returned to work for Fitzgerald again the summer after she graduated.

“He was named Prosecutor of Year in 2012 for South Dakota so I know I’ve got a great mentor,” Gallagher said.

She is currently undergoing mentor training with Project Strive TRiO and will begin working as a mentor in January.

“I’m so excited. I know how it was as a freshman to feel lost. But if you go to class and you try, you are not going to fail. It’s important that students be proactive and plan their futures,” she said.

Gallagher is sure she has made the right choice in her major as well her college. She appreciates the CSC professors who hold her to a higher standard because they know her capabilities. She said she has friends who attend large universities where they do not have the same access to professors that she enjoys.

“The legal studies department is the best. It’s been fantastic coming to Chadron State and having a department that cares as much about your success as you do. You know you are in the right major when you like going to class, you like seeing your professors, they love being in class and they care. It’s so nice to have support from my advisor. I’m fortunate,” Gallagher said.

September 2014 - Jessie Krien

JessieJessie Krien has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program September 2014 Strive Student of the Month. She will graduate in May with a degree in general business and a minor in nutrition and wellness.

“I’m extremely honored. Not everybody gets recognized in this way,” Krien said.

Although Krein is not sure about her specific career path, she wants to work in public service like her mom.

She admires the long hours her mom dedicates to helping others as a middle school guidance counselor.

“My mom is very caring in her job. She doesn’t always think of her convenience. As I grow older, I’d like to be able to put people first,” Krien said.

Krien, a graduate of Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, enrolled at CSC after earning a full-tuition Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) scholarship. “I knew it would be a fit for me. My sister loves it here too,” she said, referring to CSC. Her twin sister, Jamie, is also attending CSC and won the Student of the Month award in November 2012.

Jessie is involved with Rotaract on campus and enjoys the flexible nature of eight-week courses.

Regarding her involvement with Project Strive TRiO, Krien said she enjoys her many opportunities through the organization each semester. “I pick up valuable tidbits of information along the way. Also I’ve been to Stomp, Mount Rushmore and a ropes course,” she said. In addition, she learned CPR, more about graduation requirements, how to use LinkedIn for professional networking and received resume assistance.


Previous Students of the Month

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