Otero Junior College adds four staff for Title V AIM Grant
Otero Junior College was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education earlier this year. It will support the college's efforts to increase college readiness and success of students, especially those of Hispanic descent and low-income students over the next five years.
The college hired the following individuals to posts with the Title V AIM Grant: Shawn Japhet, Bree-ann Carwin, Melanie Culver and Julie McGuire.
Japhet is the AIM Grant project director. She came to OJC as a tutor in 2005 and in her 16 years with the college has been a tutor, director of the Student Success Center and Disability Services, and the Educational Resource and Disabilities Services specialist. Japhet is an OJC alumna and later received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management from National American University.
Japhet is looking forward to the opportunity afforded by the AIM grant of connecting OJC students with a mentor to guide and provide resources for student success. The addition of a case manager and new methods of providing orientation to empower students in their first year at OJC is another perk of the AIM Grant, which focuses on student success including retention and degree completion.
Carwin has been selected as the retention specialist and will be responsible for orientations, student success workshops, building college readiness, career fairs and job placement.
Carwin is a graduate of Oklahoma Panhandle State University and majored in agriculture education with a minor in agronomy. She is originally from Pritchett, and she appreciates and understands the importance of rural schools.
Her goals are to reach and encourage as many students as possible to achieve their goals and career dreams as well as boost student engagement, progress and success.
"OJC's mission involves transforming lives, and expanding employment opportunities," Carwin said. "I believe in what OJC stands for and am excited to have a positive impact on students as well as broaden their knowledge on career opportunities."
Culver will be the mentoring coordinator for the AIM Grant and some of her responsibilities will be to recruit students to participate in the mentoring programs, assisting students find faculty mentors and tracking all the data associated with that.
Culver graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theater with a design emphasis. She also had experience working in the 16th Judicial District Attorney's office as a financial officer, in human resources and as a manager.
"I love having the opportunity to help students succeed at life," Culver said. "I hope to be able to provide support for those that don't have it and help increase retention and graduation rate."
McClure is the AIM Grant case manager, and her primary roles will be to help develop student support programming, hold one-on-one meetings with students, provide student counseling sessions as needed and assist with project, data collection, maintaining participant records and monitoring their progress.
McClure is originally from Phoenix and graduated from high school in northern California. She has been a resident of the Arkansas Valley since 2010. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins where she earned a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. She also received a Master's of Education from Springfield College in occupational therapy.
McClure has been working in health care as an occupational therapist before coming to OJC.
Otero Junior College has been a designated Hispanic Serving Institution since 2001 with more than 38% of the college's student population being of Hispanic descent. The funds from this institution development grant will be used to cultivate programs so that OJC can better serve all its students and increase performance outcomes.
For more information about the AIM Grant or the services provided, contact Japhet at 719-384-6862 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email atKHamrick1@gannett.com.