UW grads advising high school students throughout Wyoming

Dec 14, 2012 Eddie and Dee Amend, Riverton

Recent University of Wyoming graduates are going into schools and serving as full-time college advisers to convince local high school students about the importance of higher education.

Riverton residents Faith Helton and Molly Sullivan are among the advisers. Helton, who has a degree in business administration, is helping at Rock Springs High School, and Sullivan, a humanities and fine arts major, is assisting at Rawlins High School.

The adviser for Riverton and Wyoming Indian high schools is Aaron Taylor, a secondary education social studies/political science major from Newcastle.

The unique program --Wyoming College Advising Corps --is offered to increase access to higher education. It is based on a national program, with the primary goal of raising the rates of college enrollment and completion among low-income, first-generation-college and underrepresented high school students.

College advisers have been assigned to local Wyoming schools the past two years, increasing from six UW graduates last fall to 11 this school year, said Becky Vinzant, the manager of the College Access Challenge Grant program at UW. The CACG has 12 initiatives to increase higher education awareness among the state's high school students.

Participating schools in the Wyoming College Advising Corps are in Big Piney, Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Evanston, Kemmerer, Pinedale, Powell, Rawlins, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sheridan and Torrington.

Many of the targeted teens in the high schools are well-qualified students who face different obstacles to pursuing higher education, such as a lack of information about college admissions and financial aid.

The UW graduates help to knock down those barriers, Vinzant said.

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