Written By: Mary Ndukwe
As part of the Northern New England Campus VISTA collaboration, my host site is a part of the Maine Campus Compact. This coalition of 18 member campuses purpose is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.
The goal of my position at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) is to develop programs that will increase access and retention to higher education for low income individuals. Working on a university campus was the major influence for me to want to pursue a career in higher education. I work with UMPI’s TRiO programs such as Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services addressing and improving college access. This project will support retention efforts on campus particularly as it relates to early college, low income and first-generation students. It will also serve an essential role in expanding our focus on building upon and sustaining programs that promote community service, civic engagement, diversity, and inclusion.
With UMPI being a small institution I have had the opportunity to build connections and learn about different areas within student affairs. As a recent graduate, working alongside student activities and residence life as a professional has been a great way to interact with students. Regarding my professional development, I am involved in some of the university committees working with professional staff and faculty. Also, during my term as a VISTA, I have had the opportunity to attend a conference and training related to higher education. Serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA has been an extraordinary introduction into the world of higher education.