Keshia Meszaros, a DCTC TRiO/Upward Bound student
Keshia Meszaros, a Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) TRiO/Upward Bound student and South St. Paul High School senior, has been selected as a Dell Scholar. She will receive a $20,000 scholarship, dispersed in increments of $5,000 annually during her undergraduate coursework.
Keshia, who plans on attending the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with the goal of becoming a lawyer, is one of four students from Minnesota chosen for this prestigious scholarship, and one of 250 recipients selected nationwide.
She has been part of the Upward Bound/TRiO program at DCTC since ninth grade, and, like many TRiO students, has had many obstacles to overcome in her life. However, she credits much of her success to her Upward Bound experience.
“Upward Bound has become a second family. They have been there through everything,” said Keshia. “Melody [Geiger] and Joel [Bisser], my advisors, have supported me through every decision I have made. I have a positive outlook on life now. I am able to trust people again, and it is because I could tell them everything without them telling other people.”
The federal TRiO programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support students form disadvantaged backgrounds. Upward Bound is one of several TRiO outreach programs, supporting participants in their preparation for college entrance.
“Many of our seniors this year started with us as ninth graders when our program was in its first year. This is just one example of what we have been working toward for the past four years. We are so proud of Keshia. News like this is the reason why I love my job. As a former TRiO student, I feel fortunate to be able to help students in this population reach their goals, just as others helped me. It is a challenging, yet extremely rewarding job,” said Geiger.
Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families, and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college and, ultimately, higher education, with the goal of increasing the rates at which participants enroll in and graduate from postsecondary education institutions.
The DCTC Upward Bound program is directed by Joy Kluttz and serves South St. Paul and Henry Sibley High Schools. Students are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA, attend the tutoring/homework sessions at least twice a week and one Saturday per month, and participate in community service activities outside of school.
“Youth like Keisha are the reason I enjoy working in TRiO. She has persevered through many obstacles to pursue higher education. It’s dedicated and caring people such as the DCTC TRiO/Upward Bound advisors and tutors that make all the difference in a young person’s life. She is the proof that TRiO works,” said Kluttz.
Keshia plans to continue her participation in TRiO by joining the TRiO/Student Support Services program at the University of Minnesota.
The Dell Scholars program is a need-based scholarship that recognizes academic potential in underserved and low-income students. In addition to the financial support the program offers, recipients also have private access to educational resources, become part of a private scholar networking community, and receive educational tools to assist in meeting the requirements and challenges of college studies, such as a Notebook PC and printer.
To learn more about the Dell Scholars program, visit www.dellscholars.org . For more information on TRiO programs, visithttp://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/index.html