Wednesday, July 20, 2011

She Works Hard for the,, eh

Lazy summer is not in my vocabulary. Despite working at a university, my summers are not downtimes because I coordinate the TRiO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program which has an intensive Summer Research Institute of 27 students. Going into this job, I knew that meant that my summers would be intense too.  This year, however, is especially stressful compared to last year, because last year I had a supervisor who was highly involved and did much of the coordinating. This year, I am doing her work, plus my work from last year. Whew! It's been a great learning experience,though. I've always had trouble delegating, but I've had to do that more or else I just couldn't get it all done!

Despite all the stress, I still love this program. As an alumna, I am a success story of the program, having earned my PhD (not to brag, just to point out what the purpose of the program is and my commitment as a scholar). And now, it is truly a privilege to work for McNair and see my Scholars develop over the summer. They come in shy, inexperienced, rough around the edges, and they leave confident, skilled, and polished. I know for me it changed my life in one summer and I hope to do that for my students too.

Unfortunately, McNair and other TRiO programs are financially threatened due to federal budget cuts. The worst case scenario (in my biased opinion) is the very real possibility that ALL McNair programs nation-wide will be defunded. This would be an absolute tragedy. At my institution alone, we've seen at least 34 alumni earn doctorates in the past 5 years. These are earned by people from low-income families, who's parents did not got to college, and/or who are underrepresented in higher education. That is quite a feat!

You can help me possibly save McNair and other TRiO Programs by signing this petition.

I've personally been debating about working and having a family, and if this job is the right fit for me at this time. I'm still thinking and praying about that (and would appreciate your prayers). If this program is defunded, however, I'll be out of a job. More importantly, literally hundreds of thousands of students will be affected.

I'm fighting for this job, even if I were to eventually leave it. I'm working hard for McNair and to get the word out so the feds will keep funding TRiO programs! Thus the reference to Donna Summer's great hit:

What's up with the dude in the yellow shorts and knee guards?