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BHSU honors TRIO students for hard work and dedication

 Brandi Hamilton
  Tyler Quenzer-Hays
Madison Houston  Gage McSpadden
Black Hills State University Student Support Services (SSS) has recognized four students for the spring semester who have demonstrated dedication in pursuing their undergraduate degree and served as leaders and mentors for other students.

The SSS has historically honored one outstanding TRIO student each year; however, starting this year they decided to recognize one student each month. The Federal TRIO Programs are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Susan Hupp, director of SSS at BHSU, said they decided to recognize four students each semester  with the hope that their good habits would inspire other students to raise the bar and work diligently to achieve their own personal and educational goals.

All the BHSU students who use SSS are either first-generation or low-income college students or students who have a disability. “Without supportive services these students typically graduate at a much lower rate than the average student,” she said. “With supportive services, however, their graduation rate consistently exceeds that of the general student population.” 

SSS students recognized during the spring semester include:

January: Brandi Hamilton, psychology major from Whitewood – Hamilton was recognized for her continuing efforts to reach out to other students with encouragement and support. “She is an example of what TRIO Student Support Services tries to instill in students by using her leadership skills to acknowledge students and help them feel comfortable in a new environment,” according to Peggy Madrid, SSS retention advisor.

February: Tyler Quenzer-Hays, psychology major from Sturgis – Quenzer-Hays was recognized for his work ethic and dedication to his education. He is proactive in finding a tutor or a study group so he is able to do his best in class. “He is not satisfied with mediocre effort or mediocre results; he has had phenomenal grades as a result of this effort,” Hupp said.

March: Madison Houston, special education major from Rapid City – Although she started off timidly in her first semester, Houston quickly stepped into a leadership positive as president of the TRIO Student Organization. “It is awesome to see the personal growth that has been evident since Madison began at BHSU,” Hupp said. The SSS staff hopes to have Houston as a peer mentor for this coming fall because of the outstanding skills she has shown in her transition into the collegiate environment. 

April: Gage McSpadden, psychology major from Rawlings, Wyo. – McSpadden is a great representative for BHSU and serves as a positive role model for other students, Madrid said. He works hard in everything he does from his grades and his track performance to his leadership on campus. McSpadden will continue to assist other SSS students this fall as both a peer mentor and a peer tutor.

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