UNO Project Achieve program provides support to help students graduate

Posted at 7:45 AM, Sep 07, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — “A lot of first-generation students don’t know what they’re expecting when they come to college,” said University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) sophomore Loni Mickles.

Nearly half of UNO's student population knows that first hand, but one program is providing support where it’s needed most.

TRIO Project Achieve helps guide first-generation students, those who meet income guidelines, and those with disabilities towards the most important milestone of a college career: graduation.

“They’re just great people… I mean, they just bring a positive vibe and energy once you walk through the door so it’s very welcoming. It’s also kind of mentally stable being in here, so if you come in here with a problem or you’re just physically, mentally drained, they’ll be here and help you out through that," said Mickles.

Beyond the encouraging community, Project Achieve provides resources like free printing, writing assistance and career preparation.

“We always say, anything that might get in the way of you moving smoothly to graduation, we want to help with," said Connie Sorensen-Birk, an advisor with Project Achieve.

Sorensen-Birk has worked with students for nearly thirty years.

“I tell everybody who will listen: Project Achieve has the most generous and supportive students you will find on campus,” said Sorensen-Birk.

She added the journey towards a degree is so much more than just preparing for the world of work.

“You also learn how to think critically, how to evaluate information, how to work with other people… I mean all of those things that you need in every aspect of life,” said Sorensen-Birk.

As for Mickles, the impact of Project Achieve will last beyond her time at UNO.

“I could probably be a mentor as well and take some of the advice they’ve given to me and share that with other people who may not be able to be in Project Achieve due to location and other things like that. So I think it’s kind of building us up to be just like them in the future,” said Mickles.

Funding from the U.S. Department of Education helps Project Achieve support nearly 200 students every year.

Students can apply to be a member either in person or on this website.

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