The Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month award recognizes outstanding students who are members of the organization. Each month, a participating student is selected for the award based upon her or his work in Project Strive/TRiO and other activities on campus or in the community. Award winners will receive a plaque from Project Strive and have their photo placed in the “Project Strive/TRiO 2014-15 Student of the Month” Achievement Recognition board. The board, located in the Strive Learning Center, is themed Attitude: "Attitude Is A Little Thing that Makes A BIG Difference."
Annie Johnson has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program January 2015 Strive Student of the Month. The elementary education major said she chose Chadron State College based on the small, personal campus.
She discovered that she was well-suited to be a teacher through assessments and years of experience helping younger children with the 4-H livestock projects. Her parents raise Black Angus on their ranch near Tuthill east of Martin. “I had a lot of good teachers growing up. My mom is a math teacher, my dad is a school board member and there are a few other teachers in our family,” Johnson said.
She thoroughly enjoys the education program at CSC and plans to return home this summer where she will continue her volunteer work with 4-H children as they prepare to show livestock entries in the Bennett County Fair.
Project Strive/TRiO Director Jen Schaer said Johnson has a great attitude and is an excellent student. “Annie is an excellent student and has a great attitude. She participates in many Strive activities and enjoys being with friends and meeting new people. It is an honor and a joy to have her be a part of Project Strive,” Schaer said.
Johnson said Project Strive/TRiO workshops on resume building and other topics have helped her meet new people. “It’s done a lot for me. It helped me get over my shyness. I especially enjoyed the ropes course in Scottsbluff my freshman year. That was a memorable opportunity for teambuilding with people I didn’t know even before I applied and was accepted into the program,” she said.
Johnson's adviser, Lisa Curtis, assists her with planning class schedules and stress related to college.
In addition to participating in Project Strive/TRiO, in September 2014 Johnson was elected to a one-year term as Student Senator representing the school of School of Education, Human Performance, Counseling, Psychology and Social Work.
“I knew some students on Senate and I was interested in the government part of it and getting involved,” she said. She has learned leadership skills by observing other senators, and has enjoyed the challenge of gathering information prior to voting. She said she plans to run for office again next year.
Johnson also participates in the Chadron State College Republicans Club and serves as the Newman House reprehensive on the Campus Activity Board.
Frederick Culp Jr. has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program December 2014 Strive Student of the Month. Frederick Culp Jr. of Mililani, Hawaii, has celebrated many accomplishments during his four years at Chadron State College. The most recent recognition came as he was named the Project Strive/TRiO Student of the Month for December. A few days later, he received his bachelor’s degree as part of the first graduating class to experience commencement in the Chicoine Center.
The benefits of the Project Strive TRiO program fostered Culp’s success in several ways. He said the staff members have provided positive reinforcement in addition to textbooks and tutoring. One of his favorite Project Strive/TRiO outings was to Custer State Park when the van took a wrong turn and the group had an adventure getting turned around and back on their route.
“I learned a good college work ethic in this program. I picked up study skills and got all my homework done. I see myself as a leader now,” Culp said.
Culp, known by most students as Freddy C, is recognized as a talented musician. In 2013, he won the Voice contest hosted on campus which qualified him for trip to Nashville to audition for the national television show. He lent his voice to many campus events including the annual spring Release concert. He often performed the national anthem before games and became a popular and entertaining DJ for campus dances, according to Billie Knifong, residence life manager.
"I volunteered my first year when they needed a DJ. I liked it and just got better and better,” Culp said.
Culp ran the 400-meter dash for the CSC men’s track team and anchored the 4x400 relay team which won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship in 2013 and 2014. The relay team also set two school records, indoor in 2012 and outdoor in 2014. The CSC track team, overall, placed 16th in the nation in May 2014.
“I wanted to get off the island (after a year of community college). Coach Baily offered me a scholarship and we just clicked. He will always be one of my all-time favorite coaches,” Culp said, referring to Ryan Baily, former CSC head track coach.
Culp’s work ethic extends beyond the microphone and the track. In addition to his studies in business administration information systems, he also worked in The Pit – the pool and pong-pong table section of the Student Center – for four years.
Senior Nigel Jones of San Diego, California, has been named the Student of the Month for November. Jones speaks highly of the advisors and mentors who are part of Project Strive TRiO.
She said the services through Project Strive TRiO have assisted her with overcoming a math disability.
“They’ve helped me a lot. They are the reason why I stayed. They’ve provided me with resources, texts, tutors and positive reinforcement,” Jones said.
In addition to the help he has received in the Project Strive/TRiO program, Jones has also worked at the front desk in the program office for two years answering the phone, taking messages, assisting other students and helping with many other tasks as needed.
Jones decided to leave California and enroll at Chadron State College with several of his friends in spite of the rural setting and winter weather. His friends have all since graduated.
In May, he will receive his degree in criminal justice. Then, career plans for Jones include working in detentions for a year and then applying for positions in juvenile justice as a probation or parole officer.
Along with being involved in Project Strive/TRiO, living in the CSC residence halls for four years has been a good decision for Jones. He likes being in the center of campus life. He said his favorite hobby is watching sports of all kinds on television.
The kindness he has experienced in Chadron has made a lasting impression on Jones. “My dad is from a small town in Kansas. I think it might be similar here. I really like the people in Chadron. I’ve never been to a more friendly place. The people are so nice. You can make a place fun, but you can’t make the people nice,” he said.
Mikayla Gallagher has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program October 2014 Strive Student of the Month. Gallagher, a legal studies major, is the Liberal Arts Student Senator and the Campus Activities Board vice chair of relations working with social media. She chose CSC based on a golf scholarship plus the scenery and reasonable tuition, she said.
She said the services through Project Strive TRiO have assisted her with overcoming a math disability.
“I love how they help you in so many different ways. I give credit to Project Strive for how successful I have been so far. They’ve really helped me with math. I got an A in pre-Algebra and I’ve never got an A in math before,” she said.
Not only is Gallagher overcoming challenges with math, but she even plans to apply for law school. This goal ties in with the careers of several close family members, but Gallagher made the decision based on her own experience.
She completed an internship with John Fitzgerald in the Lawrence County State’s Attorney’s office during her senior year at Lead-Deadwood high school and she also competed in speech and debate. She returned to work for Fitzgerald again the summer after she graduated.
“He was named Prosecutor of Year in 2012 for South Dakota so I know I’ve got a great mentor,” Gallagher said.
She is currently undergoing mentor training with Project Strive TRiO and will begin working as a mentor in January.
“I’m so excited. I know how it was as a freshman to feel lost. But if you go to class and you try, you are not going to fail. It’s important that students be proactive and plan their futures,” she said.
Gallagher is sure she has made the right choice in her major as well her college. She appreciates the CSC professors who hold her to a higher standard because they know her capabilities. She said she has friends who attend large universities where they do not have the same access to professors that she enjoys.
“The legal studies department is the best. It’s been fantastic coming to Chadron State and having a department that cares as much about your success as you do. You know you are in the right major when you like going to class, you like seeing your professors, they love being in class and they care. It’s so nice to have support from my advisor. I’m fortunate,” Gallagher said.
Jessie Krien has been named the Chadron State College Project Strive/TRiO program September 2014 Strive Student of the Month. She will graduate in May with a degree in general business and a minor in nutrition and wellness.
“I’m extremely honored. Not everybody gets recognized in this way,” Krien said.
Although Krein is not sure about her specific career path, she wants to work in public service like her mom.
She admires the long hours her mom dedicates to helping others as a middle school guidance counselor.
“My mom is very caring in her job. She doesn’t always think of her convenience. As I grow older, I’d like to be able to put people first,” Krien said.
Krien, a graduate of Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, enrolled at CSC after earning a full-tuition Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) scholarship. “I knew it would be a fit for me. My sister loves it here too,” she said, referring to CSC. Her twin sister, Jamie, is also attending CSC and won the Student of the Month award in November 2012.
Jessie is involved with Rotaract on campus and enjoys the flexible nature of eight-week courses.
Regarding her involvement with Project Strive TRiO, Krien said she enjoys her many opportunities through the organization each semester. “I pick up valuable tidbits of information along the way. Also I’ve been to Stomp, Mount Rushmore and a ropes course,” she said. In addition, she learned CPR, more about graduation requirements, how to use LinkedIn for professional networking and received resume assistance.