Arizona Navajo Reservation resident to heads to Stanford University

UniversityIt’s no secret that the system of higher education has presented a lower barrier to access for some groups than for others. Though perhaps not a conscious design choice, this discrepancy often ends up putting those who already may be disenfranchised at risk of a further disadvantage. One group, residents of Native American tribal reservations, has had a particularly tough go of the higher education game, especially with many young kids growing up in places where traditions and family history may seem at odds with moving hundreds or even thousands of miles away to pursue higher education.

For Corey Ashley, a Navajo resident from Arizona who will begin attending Stanford University this fall, those barriers seem to be of little consequence now – but it wasn’t always that way. Ashley is the first student ever from his reservation to be accepted into an Ivy League school, an accomplishment in its own right. Making the feat even more of a standout is that only around one percent of the residents of the Sanders, AZ reservation where he lives will ever graduate college.

Ashley admits that he himself had doubts about ever being able to go to college, until he encountered a special teacher his junior year of high school. The teacher, Josh Catron, is a Stanford alumnus who graduated in 2009, and he opened up to Ashley about the College Horizons program. The program is aimed at helping to increase the number of college applicants and, ultimately, graduates from Native American households across the country. Eventually, the pamphlets on the program that Ashley received sparked his interest enough for him to pursue more information. That, in turn, led to his enrolling in a summer internship on computer science over last summer. For Ashley, experiencing a college campus and being accepted into the Horizons program changed his entire outlook. Later that summer, he would travel to NYU for a college workshop and Ashley says that trip sealed the deal: He knew he wanted to change the direction of his prospects with regard to higher education and began making a plan to get himself where he wanted to be.

During his senior year, Ashley became the president of his college prep club and fund-raised over $26,000 to pay for a college tour for the top 20 students at his school. Together, they toured some of the nation’s most prestigious universities, including Dartmouth, Harvard, and several others. When Ashley’s persistence and hard work paid off, he was left with another difficult choice: Which acceptance letter would he respond to?

Ultimately, Catron’s descriptions of his time at Standford won Ashley over, and he started to envision his time there before it had even begun. Ashley said talking to Catron made him want those experiences for himself and, in just a month or so, he’ll be able to take the next step by moving into campus and heading to his first college classes. All in all, not bad for barely over a year’s work, not bad at all.

College might not be for everyone

StudentsShould all students be heading to college after high school? That question is the subject of a recent Forbes article released last week. The article, which examines arguments for and against higher education in today’s cultural and economic climate, is not only a powerful piece in its own right, but seems to be a fairly blatant rebuttal to a recent New York Times article that concluded, unequivocally, that college is the way to go for everyone. [Read more...]

Tennessee Promise set to lower barriers to higher education

GraduationTennessee governor Bill Haslam has been working on something special for Tennessee’s college hopefuls for some time now. It’s called the Tennessee Promise, and it’s been designed with the goal of having 55% or more of Tennessee’s adult population in possession of a college degree by 2025.

The program does a number of things to change the traditional path to higher education for its applicants: Any eligible student who applies will be able to go to a community college or the Tennessee College of Applied Technology without the need for entrance exams like the ACT or SAT, nor the need to pay tuition or any other fees for activities, student organization memberships, etc. These students will then be able to earn degrees for free, provided they check in regularly with an assigned mentor and maintain satisfactory academic standing with the institution they’re attending. [Read more...]

University of Washington Huskies unveil 3 new uniforms for 2014 season

StadiumThe University of Washington athletics department has recently unveiled a series of jerseys to be worn by its football players in the coming fall season. The uniforms – one for home games, one for away games, and one “alternate” design – have been developed by Nike designers working closely with the school. The final designs draw heavily not only on the school’s history but also on the lore of the Husky, the team’s long-running mascot. [Read more...]

UC San Diego receives generous gift from a grateful patient

ResearchUC San Diego can see their goals a little more clearly now, after an appreciative unnamed patient donated $6.5 million to the department of ophthalmology at the Shiley Eye Center on campus. The substantial gift will be used to help create the Richard C. Atkinson Laboratory for Regenerative Ophthalmology. [Read more...]

UC Santa Cruz receives big donation for environmental field study

Rain ForestUC Santa Cruz, nestled in the heart of green meadows and a sprawling redwood forest, has always been the greenest University of California. Rallies and drives supporting eco-friendly living and sustainability are common on the 6,088-acre campus. Now, as one of the largest contributions to the $300-million “Campaign for UC Santa Cruz,” the Packard Foundation has donated $2 million in support of another environmental cause: natural history fieldwork. [Read more...]

University of Florida students create new obesity prevention programs

ApprovedAs reported by University Herald, students attending the University of Florida are creating programs to prevent obesity for high school students as well as peers. This is part of a federal research and extension grant of $4.9 million that was officially awarded last week, as school officials announced. A study from America’s Health Rankings found that in the state of Florida, approximately 3.7 million adults are considered to be physically inactive and around 4 million adults are considered to be obese. [Read more...]

Student ID is not enough to vote in Tennessee

VotedOwning a student ID might not be enough to allow people to vote in Tennessee. Beginning this week, voters in 10 states, among them Tennessee and Texas, are now required to present a valid photo ID before casting ballots. But students in Tennessee can’t use their student IDs. The Tennessee Senate State & Local Government Committee denied a bill that would have allowed people with valid photo ID issued by an official public institution of higher education to use it in order to vote.

However, gun owners can vote no matter what. Right now, there are six acceptable types of ID that voters in Tennessee can use at the polls: a federal government ID, a state government ID, a passport, a driver’s license, a handgun permit, and a military ID. [Read more...]