UIS program looking to bridge gap for those who may struggle academically
"My dad went to college for about two years," incoming UIS freshman Jalee Braner said. "My mom never went to college and my brother went into the Navy."
Braner, a 2017 graduate of Lanphier High School, plans to become the first in her family to earn a four-year degree. With younger siblings, Braner says she's hoping to set a positive example.
"I've always been pushed to do great things and I just want to make my family happy," she said.
With dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher, Braner says the Bridge program at UIS helped her understand college will be difficult, but worth it and possible.
"I feel like I was prepared," Braner said. "A lot more prepared than going anywhere else."
That's the entire goal of the Bridge program, which the students will be a part of until graduation. It's to ensure that all students, regardless of background, have the same chance at success.
"I make sure that they are transitioning into college and they know all the support services, and it provides some unity," program coordinator Dara Abina said.
Not only giving students an extra boost of confidence just before the fall semester, but also giving them a sense of belonging by bonding with others who face similar challenges.
"I think everyone's sad to leave just because we've gotten so close," Springfield High graduate Osha Curtis said. "I think it will be pretty exciting once we get to come back in August."