Progress 09/15/05 to 09/14/07
Goals of this program were to adapt, customize and continue the development and facilitation of a scholarship program for native Alaskan students from the remote areas of the state. The educational program was piloted in Valdez with students leaving their villages and moving to the residence halls on the PWSCC campus. Students who qualified and were in towns served by the extended campuses remained at home and participated via audio and video conferencing of their classes. The scholarship component of the grant paid for housing, books and tuition, throughout the academic year. Funds were also utilized for recruitment, training, travel and salaries for key personnel. Success of our students is demonstrated in the following ways -1st year of the grant 67% retention -Continuation year 100% retention -1st year of grant full-time native students increased by 38% -Continuation year had an additional 23% increase -Prior to the grant, Native students either did not complete
the semester and of those who did, many had GPA's of 1.5 or below. This program has increased overall GPA's from a minimum of 2.4 to a maximum of 4.0 -Four of the students were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honor society -One student in this program was elected to a national office for Phi Theta Kappa -Summer classes were held during the summer, which was a first for the college and only made possible by the students in this project
PRODUCTS: No products have been created or patented as a result of this project.
OUTCOMES: Recruitment supported by this project brought students in from the villages of St. Mary's, Emmonak, Bethel, Gakona, Copper Center and the rural Alaskan town of Seward. Students recruited under this project and supported by project funds have, thus far, exhibited strong rates of class completion, and most have maintained grade point averages above 2.0. One of the outcomes of this grant was the establishment of communication with the native corporations that greatly enhanced the ability of Prince William Sound Community College to attract and retain students for the rural areas of Alaska. Sustainability of this type of program is being attained. Outcomes include incorporation of activities previously funded by the project into the budget of the college. Many activities begun with project funds have proven successful enough that they will be continued, even in the absence of USDA funds. For example, the college continues to offer the Alaska Host Customer Service Essentials
class. When students complete this class and are certified, they receive priority in hiring by many tourist businesses throughout the state. The participants who graduated from Prince William Sound Community College with an Associate's degree went on to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: Students funded by this program were required to take BA 110 Tourism in Rural Alaska. These students not only interacted with tourism professionals from across the state, they also conducted surveys of local businesses regarding potential areas for stronger tourism development as part of a class project. Information from these surveys was provided through the instructor to other industry professionals and decision makers in Alaska. Informal dissemination activities included USDA-funded students providing positive academic and lifestyle feedback with other students, friends and family members back in their home villages.
FUTURE INITIATIVES: The information given in educational enhancement seminars will be incorporated into the New Student Orientation and Residence Hall orientation programs each semester. Resident Assistants also will be utilized to inform all resident hall students of the value of healthy lifestyle choices ranging from physical activity, nutritional issues, appropriate study habits, the need for adequate sleep along with others that will arise with a new group of residents. A variety of appropriate seminars will be incorporated into the regular activity programming presented by Student Services each semester.
The majority of the students in this project were first generation college students and the stories of their successes were widely told to younger brothers and sisters and friends who had chosen not to attend college. Increased enrollment from these particular villages and families is expected in the future. We have experienced a direct effect as a younger sister and a niece of this group of participants enrolled the following year as full-time students at PWSCC. Both came from rural native villages several hundreds of miles from the college. One of the far-reaching, lasting impacts of this project was the publication of the second edition of a textbook entitled "Tourism in Rural Alaska A Community Education Curriculum". The textbook was written by Katrina L. Church-Chmielowski, the adjunct faculty member who taught the BA V110 Tourism in Rural Alaska course. This text has been used as model in several areas across the United States to emphasize what small native
communities can do to enhance their economic viability in the rural environment. Yet another impact involved a small business owner, a non-traditional student funded by this USDA grant, from a rural Alaskan village who was able to make improvements in marketing her craft products as a result of taking the Tourism class.
- Church-Chmielowski, Katrina. Tourism in Rural Alaska A Community Education Curriculum. Anchorage: Northwind Prepress, 2003. (This second edition was updated as a result of student input from USDA-sponsored students.)
Progress 09/15/05 to 09/15/06
The purpose of this grant was to adapt, customize and continue the facilitation of a scholarship program for native Alaskan students from the remote areas of the state. PWSCC offers rural students the opportunity to: Obtain a university education without having to move to a large Alaskan city. Enroll in classes that do not have more students than their village has residents. Enroll in classes where the professor and the staff knows their name and not just their student number. PWSCC requested and received a continuation grant due to the success of the previous grant and the need to assist additional students with these programs. PWSCC developed three programs and significantly enhanced our distance delivery capability with support from the USDA's Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program with the following courses: Tourism and Hospitality in Rural Alaska, Environmental Sciences, and Safe Food Handling and Marketing. The
educational program was piloted in Valdez with students leaving their villages and moving to the dorms on the PWSCC campus. Students who qualified and were in the towns served by the extended campuses could remain at home and participate in the program via audio conferencing of the USDA classes. The scholarship component of the grant paid for housing, books, and tuition, throughout the academic year. Funds were also used to establish a mentoring program, recruitment and training travel and salaries for key personnel. The USDA program gave these students an opportunity to experience life away from their rural environment and to gain skills that have not only enhanced their lives but the lives of their community as a whole. Students in the program have stated that without USDA, their educational endeavors would not have been achieved. This program gives them the opportunity to begin their college experience which can help determine the course of their future. Through the USDA grant,
PWSCC was able to make a difference in the lives of the young adults who participated in this program. Through this grant opportunity, PWSCC had the ability to continue with these services in areas outside of our traditional service area. Additionally the grant allowed PWSCC to conduct summer classes. In the past, we did not have enough students enrolled in classes to hire an instructor and conduct a summer program. We have proven our capability to serve the native communities in our area and are eager to assist additional villages throughout the state. The PWSCC campus is a small campus that eases the transition for students who have grown up in the small, remote areas of Alaska. These students often get lost in the complexity of bigger campuses. PWSCC strives to assist students in the process of becoming independent and successful students within the university system. With the implementation of this grant, not only has PWSCC been able to continue to assist and serve the needs of
its students, the students have succeeded academically, obtained leadership and social skills and excelled in areas that would not have been possible had they not attended college.
PRODUCTS: NA-This grant was for scholarships for students.
OUTCOMES: Success of our students is demonstrated in the following ways. In the first year of the grant we had a 67% retention rate. In our continuation year we had a 100% retention rate. During the first year of the grant our full-time native students increased by 38%, this year the number increased by another 23%. The summer of 06 was the first time that PWSCC has had summer students stay at campus and attend classes. Prior to the grant, Native students either did not complete semester and of those remaining, some had GPA of 1.5 or lower. This program has increased overall GPA's from a minimum of 2.4 to a maximum of 4.0. Three of the students were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the two year college honors program. Additionally, for the first time a rural native student (from PWSCC) attended the Student Coalition meeting in Juneau. For the spring 06 semester, 6 students received a 2.5 or higher, 3 received 3.0 or higher and 3 received 4.0 grade point averages. Twelve (12) students
were enrolled in the spring. During the summer 4 scholarship students attend classes. 3 received 3.0 or higher and one received a solid 4.0 grade point average. GPA for the fall semester has not been determined, but we currently have 12 students enrolled in the program. Many of these students are also actively involved in the student organizations on the campus. During the current year we have 6 students who are actively involved in student organizations. One of the students not only served on a campus organization, but was elected to National office for Phi Theta Kappa.
DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: There was an article in UA at Work. Additional information about the grant and the students appeared in the campus newsletter.
FUTURE INITIATIVES: The grant has helped these students accompolish some of their educational goals and will continue to do so. The USDA scholarship has helped me tremendously fulfill my goals in attending college and following my ambitions. I am almost done with my first year of college and it has helped me achieve this goal. I feel that by continuing my education I can support myself in further years and become an inspiring role model for those who want to further their lives with education. This has been one the most uplifting experiences that I have had so far. I hope to further this learning adventure. This has been a great reward for my hard work through school and I will continue to keep up the constant great work in classes. Shauna Hamilton Receiving the USDA Scholarship will enable me to concentrate on my studies and alleviate the stress and pressure of attending college full-time while trying to find gainful employment. If I did not have this benefit I believe my studies
would suffer because of undo demands fulltime employment would have on my schedule. To me this scholarship is more than just a financial benefit to pay for my schooling. For me, it is an opportunity to excel, to concentrate on my coursework. The award of this scholarship has proven to be a confidence booster and has been an enormous enhancement for my self-esteem. The award of the USDA scholarship validates all the hard work I have applied to my academic career. Receiving this award encourages me to strive even harder in my future studies. I sincerely thank you for your consideration and I will succeed because of your beneficence. Stacey O. Stites The USDA scholarship has given me the chance to explore educational opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. This grant has been invaluable to me because it has not only paid for my tuition (eighteen credits), but also my meal plan and my textbooks. As a requirement of the grant I also had to take an Environmental Technology class,
which I would not have taken if I hadn't been chosen as the recipient of this scholarship. This class has most definitely benefited me and my awareness of the environment. The USDA grant has saved me a lot of money this semester and given me the chance to take a higher number of credits. Angie Floyd
Students in the program have stated that without USDA, their educational endeavors would not have been achieved. This program gave them the opportunity to begin their college experience and to help them plan a positive and successful future. Through the USDA grant, PWSCC was able to make a difference in the lives of the young adults who participated in this program.
- UA at Work published an article entitled PWSCCs' USDA Grant Expands Programs, Trains Workforce. 2006