Story by Katie Duer
Image courtesy of Rose State
Non-traditional students at Rose State may have several different barriers and obstacles to overcome when deciding to further their education. For students with children of their own, securing a degree can be even more difficult.
There are several programs available at Rose State that cater specifically to students with particularly challenging circumstances. The mission of the SMART program at Rose State is to link single-parent students to campus and community resources for academic and life success. SMART is an acronym that stands for Single Mothers Academic Resource Team, but the program is a resource available to all single parents. The SMART grant is from the Women’s Foundation of Oklahoma. This is the third year for Rose State to receive the $5,000 award.
DeAvian Wright is a single father of a 7-month-old son and member of the SMART program. He recently began his second semester at Rose State.
“Everyone in the program has been so welcoming and I knew when I started that this was exactly where I was meant to be,” Wright said.
“The goal of the SMART program is to provide support services for single parents,” said Monique Bruner, director of degree completion and Student Retention and SMART program coordinator at Rose State.
Wright said the SMART program has given him a steady foundation.
“I am really looking forward to taking advantage of all of the resources that are available,” Wright said. “It has made it so much easier to focus on my school work so that when I get home I can spend time with my little boy.”
The benefits of the SMART program have made a difference by increasing the number of single parents who are graduating college.
“Each year, we consult with a small group of single parents and learn what they specifically need to be successful,” Brunner said. “In the last three years, we have sponsored workshops on study skills, how to communicate with faculty, understanding college processes and demystifying financial aid.”
Regarding the workshops from last year, Bruner said, “We have also asked several community leaders to present: Ryan Blair International Dream Print, Makeup Artist Michael Harris, community activist Paula McDade and numerous others,” Bruner said. “We have noticed an increase of single moms who graduate since our initial support interventions. It’s obvious that support helps students get over the obstacles that may stop them from graduating.”
The SMART program offers benefits and allows for single parents to be part of a community on campus. Some of these benefits include:
For more information about the SMART programs, visit rose.edu.
The 15th Street News is a student publication at Rose State College.