The Stroud Scholars: A Thriving CC Program Amid the Pandemic

By Sarah Senese ’23

While the academic year has wrapped up and students are heading home for the summer, the participants and leaders in CC’s Stroud Scholars program couldn’t be more excited to get on campus and be at CC together. Started last year, the Stroud Scholars program is a no-cost college preparatory program that provides 25 rising high school sophomores from the Pikes Peak Region entry into a three-year mentorship program. Every summer, the Stroud Scholars spend three weeks on the CC campus getting to know the college they may one day call their own.

The program focuses on Colorado Springs-area students who may be from low-income families, historically marginalized or excluded groups in higher education, first-generation, or from schools with limited college readiness support and gives them an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to succeed in college. These students can either apply on their own or be nominated by a teacher or counselor who believes they are a great fit for the program; this has more to do with their drive and excitement to learn than their freshman year GPA.

“A lot of students who may be a perfect fit for the program may not necessarily see themselves succeeding,” says Addie Knight, the college access paraprofessional at CC, “so the nomination process allows us to rely on educators who are working with these students to spotlight individuals who would be a great candidate.”

After completion of the three-year program, all students are granted admission to CC and awarded a financial aid package that allows them to attend. The program relies on CC student mentors who may be from similar backgrounds as the scholars and who can be a support for these students — someone to talk to and help them in the process of graduating high school in the pursuit of higher education, when that may have not been a goal previously. In the future, the hope is that former Stroud Scholars who go on to attend CC can be mentors for the cohorts to come.

Although staff members for the Stroud Scholars program are hard at work recruiting the 25 students who join each cohort, planning the three-week Summer Session courses, and going through the admission process for accepting new applicants, the program is an effort that extends across campus. From conversations with the Stroud staff and those who help make this program a reality, it is clear that in order for it to succeed, all of CC needs to be committed to the program and its students.

The first amazing show of commitment comes from Colorado College and everyone who helped guarantee that the 25 students from every cohort will be granted admission to CC should they choose to attend. The CC Department of Education (and nearly every other department on campus) has had a role in helping with the program, including being the educators and creating the Summer Session courses that the Stroud Scholars take during their three weeks at CC.

“Stroud is a cross-campus initiative,” Jim Burke, the director of Summer Session, notes. “We are supported by the Butler Center, Admission, the tutoring staff, and countless other groups across campus. I can’t think of a part of campus that isn’t included in one of our committees; this is a real commitment of people’s time and expertise.”

The credit for the accomplishments of the Stroud Scholars program goes to both the students who are accepted into the cohorts and the individuals behind the scenes making it happen. The program will be on campus this summer running their two college preparatory courses and creating community while giving these students a sense of place in a college community they all have the right to be a part of.

A member from the first cohort in 2020 says it perfectly: “I'm so grateful for this program. I didn't know what it was going to be like. It was the first time where I felt like I was with people like me. I felt like I belonged. I couldn’t believe I made it through the week and I'm just feeling overwhelming emotions including grateful and proud. Thank you for this opportunity, it has changed my life and outlook on life.”

The Stroud Scholars program will accept 25 more students in Spring 2022, for the first time filling all three cohorts with their maximum capacity of 75 students and hopefully sending their seniors to CC in Fall 2023.


Report an issue - Last updated: 05/20/2021