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SCCC student now helps other students succeed PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 January 2018 13:21

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By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times



Alex Widener is an academic and career advisor for Seward County Community College’s Student Support Services (SSS) grant.

She is also a former SCCC student who transferred to and graduated from Fort Hays State University.

Widener talked about the TRiO federal grant program, which the SSS grant is administered under, her experiences as a transfer student and the recent articulation agreement between SCCC and Fort Hays.


Q: What is TRiO?

A: TRiO is a federal grant program. There are seven grants underneath TRiO ranging from junior high age to graduate school. Our grant is called Student Support Services or SSS. We serve undergraduate students.

To be eligible for TRiO, you have to be first generation and/or income-challenged based on taxable income and/or have a documented disability. Our definition of first generation is neither parent has a four-year degree.



Q: What is your job description?

A: I’m the academic and career advisor. I advise all the TRiO students. I help them pick out their classes every semester, make sure they’re on the right track to graduate. If they are interested in certain career paths, we help do research on that. If they need to add or drop a class due to a financial aid appeal, I’m that person.



Q: Were you a transfer student before the articulation agreement with Fort Hays State?

A: We did have the articulation agreement with Fort Hays at that time. It was in 2007. It might not have been as specific as the one we have now, but I was able to transfer to Fort Hays to the business program as a junior.



Q: What was it like transferring from Seward to Fort Hays?

A: It was actually really easy. It was scary at first. I really hadn’t been away from home that much. As far as the academic part of it, it was really a smooth transition. My whole degree transferred, and I was able to go in as a junior. I only had a couple of undergraduate or 300 level electives that I had to take that I wouldn’t have been able to take here anyway. Other than that, I went right into my major, so it was pretty smooth.



Q: What was your degree?

A: I started out as a business management major there, but I changed my major three times before I finished. I ended up with a Bachelor’s of Science in organizational leadership.



Q: How much of an impact does the agreement for students transferring to Fort Hays?

A: It’s actually huge. There might be six different degree options that they can go there with. It’s such a piece of mind for them. They don’t feel like they’ve wasted their time or money here. They have an associate’s degree and can transfer right into a bachelor’s degree program. If something happens and they’re unable to finish their bachelor’s degree, they still have that associate’s degree to fall back on. It’s just really smooth for them, and that’s huge because there’s a lot of colleges that they want to transfer to that not every class transfers. Sometimes, that does feel like wasted time or money.



Q: What’s your recommendation as far as future agreements?

A: It’s awesome. The more places we can have articulation agreements with, the better. We give our students more options, and they don’t feel tied to one or two colleges.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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