Friday, July 28, 2017

UIS program looking to bridge gap for those who may struggle academically

"My dad went to college for about two years," incoming University of Illinois Springfield 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.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on July 27, 2017.

Watch the story online.