Valdez recognized for outstanding achievement

(04-28-2016)

Article by Annalise Dorr '18

Angelica Valdez

Angelica Valdez understands the importance of TRiO Programs and their significance in assisting low-income and first-generation students to succeed academically. The Adams State University Executive TRiO Director, Valdez, was recently recognized for her achievement and exceptional commitment to the program and students, she received the 2016 ASPIRE TRiO Achiever. "I am humbled and honored," she said.

TRiO Achievers are nominated by the Association of Special Programs in Region Eight (ASPIRE) members and chosen by committee. TRiO Achievers are former TRiO participants who have completed their degrees, or current TRiO participants, recognized among their colleagues as having a record of achievement and stature within their academic institution and/or in their profession.

Valdez was commended for her academic prowess, and her personal and professional development, and the contributions she has made to her community. She received the award at the ASPIRE Colorado State Conference TRiO Achievers Luncheon on April 14, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Valdez has been associated with the Upward Bound program for twenty five years, starting in her sophomore year of high school. She was promoted from Counselor Coordinator to Director of Upward Bound, before accepting the position as Executive Director.

"Upward Bound recognizes a student's ability to do well – the goal is to direct that potential toward success," Valdez said.

An Adams State graduate, Valdez '98, '08, was the only one in her immediate family to graduate high school and the only one, out of nineteen grandchildren, to receive a college degree. She was inspired to join Upward Bound in high school. Her principal offered her the position of student representative for the District Accountability Committee, in addition, she was given an application to Upward Bound.

"My high school principal filled out the recommendation and suggested I try the program. I believe he thought I was headed down the wrong path," Valdez said. "It was his way of re-directing me. Once in, you could say I found my calling, along with mentorship and support."

Valdez faced many challenges growing up. She switched schools constantly, and came from a low income family/first-generation family. Upward Bound and her resilience is what led her to succeed. "That's what the program is about: finding a student who has ambition and desire, but lacks the variable integral to success."

Upward Bound focuses on academic achievement as well as non-cognitive skills linked to success, including: realistic-self-appraisal, building support systems, and being able to self-manage. "The program provides experiences not otherwise afforded to their students," Valdez added. "Seeing students succeed is consistently rewarding, knowing that I may have even had a small hand in their success keeps me driven."

The Upward Bound Program, now in its 44th year at Adams State University, continues to serve low-income and first-generation students throughout the San Luis Valley. The goals of the program is to assist those students to successfully transition from high school and then to graduate from college within a six-year period.

For more information or an application, please call 719-587-7865.