MADISON — One of the most successful long-term diversity pipelines to higher education in the nation, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's PEOPLE (Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence) continues to increase the number of college-ready students applying to the state's flagship campus.
On Friday, Aug. 1, another 118 PEOPLE high school scholars from across Wisconsin will be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments thus far in the PEOPLE Program at the Marriott West Conference Center in Middleton. The annual Recognition Banquet will begin at 12 p.m. featuring several speakers, including Erik Brodt, M.D., Director of Native American Center for Health Professions and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, 8th Assembly District, will give this year’s Wisconsin State Legislature Address. Minerva Mitchell, Associate Director of Staffing for AT&T Retail Leadership Development Program, will give this year’s donor address. Also speaking to the graduates and banquet celebrants will be Dr. Floyd Rose, President of 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc. The event is free and open to the public.
For some PEOPLE scholars, the senior high school year ahead is the culmination of up to seven years – and a few cases as many as 10 years — of family planning, sacrificed summers and testing, tutoring, contemplation and acceptance that this is what it takes to not only get into college, but earn a scholarship to one of the top institutions in the nation.
“This is just one of the ways the University of Wisconsin-Madison invests in our state’s youth and our PEOPLE Scholars are drawn from every corner of the state from Ashland to Racine,” says UW-Madison Interim Vice-Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Patrick J. Sims, who heads the division housing the PEOPLE program. “Our support as a division — the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement – is home to some of the most unique, comprehensive, diverse and successful pipeline and earned-scholarship programs in the nation, which is why our base of support from educators, educational agencies, Wisconsin alumni and donors is equally broad. Our annual celebration for PEOPLE and our other campus diversity programs are proud moments when we pass the torch to the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change agents in our community."
The PEOPLE program's longitudinal academic support and skills enhancement approach is resulting in clear gains. Ninety-five percent of students who complete the pre-college enrichment program enroll in higher education. Of those, 71 percent of its college scholars complete undergraduate degrees at UW-Madison, far exceeding the national college graduation rate for minority students of around 40 percent. Another 29 percent attend colleges, technical schools, or other universities or colleges in Wisconsin. Many PEOPLE scholars are also now enrolled in or have earned advanced degrees from graduate and professional schools within UW-Madison.
“PEOPLE pre-college scholars are students with great potential which the program helps to develop and prepare for success in college,” said PEOPLE Executive Director Jacqueline Dewalt. “This celebration of being college ready and applying to cross the finish line into college admission is truly joyous for families who’ve literally invested year to reach this goal. We also invite our incoming freshmen class of PEOPLE College Scholars to make the process and results very real for our rising high school seniors.”
While the purpose of PEOPLE is primarily to prepare students to successfully attend and graduate from UW-Madison, there is a broader purpose tied to the founding precepts of the University of Wisconsin, she added, and that’s to use UW-Madison’s learning base to reach every border of the state.
“The beauty of the program is ‘Where the Wisconsin Idea Happens,’ meaning that every student PEOPLE serves — regardless of how long from the second grade to graduate school – makes Wisconsin a better state through education.”
For more information, e-mail Valeria Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org.