Submitted by Niagara County Community College
While the educational opportunity program (EOP) has been around since former New York State Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve started it in 1967, it is relatively new to Niagara County Community College. The program started at NCCC in August of 2016 with the goal of providing academic workshops, tutoring, counseling, advisement and financial assistance to historically under-served students who require additional academic support.
Currently, the NCCC EOP has funding through the State University of New York Office of Opportunity Programs to support 70 students.
As of Tuesday, Nov. 17, EOP students have a brand-new space to call home. NCCC cut the ribbon on a larger, more student-friendly office. More important than the office are the people who run the program on campus.
As an NCCC alumna and former EOP student herself, Angela Jackson, EOP coordinator at NCCC, has a valuable perspective when it comes to the population she serves.
“Being able to work at my alma mater is awesome in and of itself; however, being a former EOP student and being able to oversee and help shape the new EOP at NCCC was a dream opportunity for me,” Jackson said.
Not all high school students receive the guidance and support needed to pursue their goals in higher education, or may not feel they are “college material,” Jackson noted. Because of her own experience, she recognizes the importance of having a presence in high school to illustrate possibilities firsthand.
As part of her duties, Jackson will now spend one day a week on-site at Niagara Falls High School, allowing her to have one-on-one time with students to share information about EOP and inform students on exactly what services may be available to them.
While COVID-19 has transitioned many of the services typically offered on-campus to a virtual experience, EOP is still active in making a positive impact in the lives of the students it serves. Jackson said her colleague, Ted Mallwitz, academic support specialist, is amazing at disarming students and creating a safe space for them while directing them to the appropriate resources needed to assist them in their academic journey.
When asked about the vision of the future of EOP at NCCC, Jackson envisioned the program doubling the population it serves and, hopefully, providing even more financial support for students.
“The program has survived 52 years; I hope we have another 52,” she said.
The NCCC educational opportunity program helps through mentorship, academic programs, financial assistance, counseling/advising, and other campus support services to those who are first-generation college students, and/or from low-income and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The comprehensive program of support services includes advising, learning skills development, tutoring and academic advisement. For more information about the program, call 716-614-5977 or email [email protected].