Hi, I am Becky Monroe, a non-traditional student and senior Human Services Leadership major graduating this spring. I am a married mom of three children; juggling four classes, family life, and a twenty-hour-per-week internship in higher education promotion and encouragement.
I started my 280-hour Advanced Internship at TRiO UW-Fox Valley on Thursday. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. I pretty much begged the agency director to let me do my internship here, and I when my internship is over, I want her to feel like she made the right choice in agreeing.
TRiO Educational Talent Search is based at the UW-Fox Valley campus and serves the Menasha and Kaukauna school districts. It is a pre-college program designed to encourage students in grades 6-12 to complete high school and pursue a college education. They provide academic counseling, information about college admission requirements, scholarship and financial aid information, as well as take participants on college tours and field trips to explore career paths. This program receives federal funding from the Department of Education through Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Two-thirds of program participants must be low income or be potential first generation college students. One-third of the participants have no income or guideline restrictions but must show a need for the program.
I am very excited I’ve been granted the opportunity to do my internship at TRiO ETS. I have twin daughters that are in their second semester at UW-Madison. Helping them decide which college to attend was tough. There are so many different colleges in Wisconsin alone, it was almost overwhelming. One day, as I sat in one of my Human Services Leadership classes, I realized that there are kids out there who don’t have a parent to help them out with college decisions. And sometimes kids have parents that never attended college so they are unsure of how to help their child. Even more sadly, sometimes kids are brought up never thinking college is an option for them. That idea bothered me on such a deep level that I knew I wanted to be involved with a program designed to change that.
This past year, helping my daughters complete the financial aid and registration process was a nightmare. I was on the phone with UW-Madison a lot. Paperwork had been filed incorrectly, verification items went missing, it was horrible. The whole time I was working with my daughters to get everything squared away, I knew that if I hadn’t been on their side, actively advocating for them, they would have given up. That experience only deepened my desire to work with a program that could give kids an honest shot at a college education.
I’m nervous about beginning my internship. I’m afraid I will be in the way and be more of a hindrance than a help. I’m worried that I won’t be able to juggle the internship along with my studies and still have time for my family. But I’m also so excited. I get the opportunity to help change lives. I’m being given the chance, even if it’s only for a couple months, to help kids attend college.