Hello All! Things have really been progressing here at Oakland University and the Auburn Hills United College Access Network during my last few months of service. I have had a few new opportunities that I feel have benefitted the communities of Auburn Hills, Pontiac, and Rochester as well as helped me gain valuable professional development and experience.
I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the Michigan College Access Network Annual Conference in April. The conference took place in Lansing, Michigan. While at the conference I was able to gain a lot of valuable professional development centered on the ACT/SAT transition, different techniques and tips for counselors and school administrators, as well as how to create and maintain a sustainable college access network. It was helpful to meet professionals who represented other college access networks around the state, and see how I could incorporate some of their successful programs. The Michigan Colleges Access Network also celebrated their 5th birthday!
During my year of service I have become very involved in the Oakland University-Pontiac Partnership. I currently serve on the Communications and Service Learning Task Forces for the partnership. Through the work of the task forces, Oakland University Department of Journalism and Department of Political Science will be working with the City of Pontiac. Beginning June 1st, nine political science students (undergraduate and graduate) will begin their summer internships in the mayor’s office. These students are receiving a very unique opportunity to work directly with the mayor during a critical recovery period for the city. The partnership will also allow students to use this internship opportunity to receive class credit. In the fall 4 journalism students will begin their internship for the mayor as well, focusing on public relations and press. These internship opportunities are a very positive step for the partnership and I am very pleased to have been a part of this process.
I recently have been allowed the opportunity to supervise a Summer Student Campus Corps member to assist me with tasks concerning my year-long project, service learning recruitment, and the Oakland University-Pontiac Partnership. The student I am working with is an undergrad at Oakland University and is very excited about the goals we have laid out for the summer. The student will be working 20 hours per week and will look to me to accomplish daily tasks. I am so thankful for this opportunity because it allows for greater productivity towards increasing service learning at Oakland University and within the surrounding communities. I will also gain valuable experience with supervising and delegating.
I can’t wait to see what my remaining months of service will entail. I am looking forward to providing my successors with a sustainability binder that will help them continue on with these valuable activities and have even greater accomplishments!
My name is Hope Dokho and I have been very fortunate to serve with Oakland University (OU) and Auburn Hills United College Access Network. MY role at OU is within the realm of academic service learning. I work towards helping faculty integrate a service component into their course by matching them with a community partner that has a specific need relevant to the class curriculum. Promoting service learning and exploring the community around OU has been eye-opening and interesting! I’m excited to work with the university as they try to solidify a newly reestablished partnership with the city of Pontiac.
One of my biggest tasks during my year of service so far was with my community partner, Auburn Hills United College Access Network (AH UCAN). The goal of AH UCAN is to coordinate and maximize the existing services within Auburn Hills in order to increase college access for all students. The coordinator of AH UCAN and I work together with community members to assess the gaps for college access within Auburn Hills and help to fill them. We are especially focused on students who are considered the minority within their school, who are currently performing below grade level, and who have low socioeconomic status.
This year AH UCAN helped two high schools in Auburn Hills obtain volunteers and resources for College Application Week (CAW). College Application Week is a week promoted by Michigan College Access Network dedicated helping every high school senior fill out at least one college application. It is also a great time to promote higher education in general, help students discover a new career path, and answer any questions they may have about college, vocational schools, etc.
During CAW I was able to recruit volunteers from all over the Auburn Hills Community to help students fill out their applications. It was also exciting to see college-age volunteers working as mentors for the seniors. I also helped create two student panel discussions at a local alternative high school. Students at the high school were able to ask Oakland University students and an admissions counselor questions about college life and college affordability. To help motivate students and help them feel prideful about continuing their education, I collected in-kind donations in the form of merchandise from various colleges around the state. Some fellow VISTA’s were even able to help me, so thank you very much for your generosity! Hundreds of items were collected and distributed between the two high schools. Students were excited about representing their future institutions and that made me excited as well!
Next I will be working towards financial aid and awareness with the same local high schools. I hope that I can continue to see progress and success within this community!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!