Kelly Bail, SSS senior from Buffalo, helped to create a new banner for the South Dakota ASPIRE program. Pictured are Kelly Bail, Juli Larson, Peggy Madrid, Cody McMichael, and Susan Hupp following the SSS Student Recognition Banquet held on April 24.
All TRIO staff from Black Hills State University attended the South Dakota ASPIRE Conference held in Aberdeen this spring. BHSU hosts two TRIO programs: Student Support Services and Upward Bound. Susan Hupp, Cody McMichael, Juli Larson, Peggy Madrid, Carol Gritts, and Veronica Feeney represented BHSU at the conference.

At the business meeting, Cody McMichael was elected as president-elect of South Dakota‚Äôs Aspire program.  His term will run from October 2009 to October 2010. Hupp also served as president from 2006-2007. The president of the South Dakota ASPIRE program also serves as a member of the regional ASPIRE Executive Board.

McMichael has served as the Chair of the ASPIRE Financial Aid Committee for three years and has also been selected as the Conference Chair for the Regional ASPIRE Conference that will be held in Spearfish in October 2009.

Gritts has served as the secretary/treasurer of South Dakota ASPIRE since 2002 and as the Development Chair for the six-state ASPIRE region for more than ten years. She has also served on the ASPIRE executive board and the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) at the national level. The ASPIRE program for the region consists of South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.

Madrid served as co-chair for the South Dakota ASPIRE meeting in Aberdeen in April, which is the same time that South Dakota also hosted TRIO staff from North Dakota. Larson and Feeney served on the conference planning committee as well. Larson has also served as the Chair of the ASPIRE Awards Committee for three years and now serves as chair of the ASPIRE Achievers Committee as well. Their involvement at the state, regional, and national level provides an additional opportunity to advocate for college access for first generation, low income students.