Six TRIO staff from Black Hills State University recently traveled to the South Dakota ASPIRE Conference held in Chamberlain recently. This annual conference is an opportunity for personnel from the 14 TRIO programs in South Dakota to collaborate regarding college access issues and success strategies for low-income and first-generation students. 

Attending from BHSU were Susan Hupp, Student Support Services (SSS) director; Cody McMichael, SSS assistant director/math specialist; Juli Larson, SSS academic coordinator/science specialist; Peggy Madrid, SSS office supervisor; Carol Gritts, Upward Bound director; and Veronica Feeney, Upward Bound academic coordinator.

BHSU is well-represented at the state and regional level. Hupp is currently the S.D. ASPIRE president and was the conference coordinator. 

Gritts and Hupp both serve on the ASPIRE executive board, serving the six-state regional ASPIRE association. Gritts has served as the secretary-treasurer for South Dakota ASPIRE for six years and was re-elected to another two-year term. She is also chair of the development committee. McMichael is chair of the financial aid committee and Larson is chair of the awards committee for the regional association.

Four Black Hills State University SSS students, Bernie Butcher, junior art major from Spearfish; Bernadette Lee, freshman biology major from Sturgis; Jenna Paxton, freshman elementary education major from Pierre; and Huoyao Tan, freshmen business administration major from Spearfish, are paid members of the S.D. ASPIRE Association.