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BHSU co-hosts 2009 regional ASPIRE Conference

Black Hills State University recently co-hosted the 2009 Regional ASPIRE Conference with the South Dakota TRiO programs. Speaking at the conference, Dr. Linda Byrd-Johnson, TRiO Director for the U.S. Department of Education. Pictured left to right Dan Benge, outgoing ASPIRE President, Byrd-Johnson, and Ryan Ross, incoming ASPIRE President.

Black Hills State University recently co-hosted the 2009 Regional ASPIRE Conference with the South Dakota TRiO programs. Over 250 TRiO participants from Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, and South Dakota were in attendance.

The conference theme was, “The Difference is YOU,” and highlighted the opportunities for TRiO staff to make a difference in educational access and success for first-generation, low-income students, and students with disabilities.

Pre-conference sessions included the Leadership Development Institute; “ADHD, Executive Functions and Learning” by Dr. Robert Arnio; CAS Standards; and a round-table discussion on the upcoming Student Support Services grant competition.

The conference opened with motivational speaker and chalk artist, Matt Lewis, who has previously presented at BHSU. An experiential learning opportunity was provided for the group at the Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials.

Dr. Linda Byrd-Johnson, TRiO Director for the U.S. Department of Education, and Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC, were in attendance to provide updates on funding issues and regulatory changes for TRiO programs.

According to Susan Hupp, director of Student Support Services at BHSU, many great comments were made about the conference. One attendee said “I have to admit, it was the best conference I have attended in the seven years of being with ASPIRE.”

The event was organized by staff from the BHSU TRiO programs—Student Support Services and Upward Bound. Cody McMichael, assistant director of Student Support Services served as the Conference Chair. Other BHSU TRiO staff, including Carol Gritts, director of upward bound; Mike Erz, academic coordinator of Upward Bound; Peggy Madrid, retention advisor of Student Support Services; Juli Larson, academic coordinator of Student Support Services; and Susan Hupp, helped with the planning and hosting of the conference.

For more information about TriO contact 642-6824 or Susan.Hupp@BHSU.edu.

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