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NMSU Upward Bound alumna wins national award

Sarah Silvafierro Nolan, an alumna of the Upward Bound program at New Mexico State University and executive director of New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith, was recently named one of the winners of the 2015 National TRIO Achievers Award, which honors individuals of distinction who, as students, made the most of their TRIO participation.



Sarah Silvafierro Nolan, an alumna of the Upward Bound program at New Mexico State University, accepts the national 2015 National TRIO Achievers Award, which honors individuals of distinction who, as students, made the most of their TRIO participation. (Courtesy photo)

The Council for Opportunity in Education, a national organization dedicated to furthering the expansion of postsecondary opportunities for low-income and first-generation students, hands out the award annually to several winners. Nearly 3,000 federal TRIO programs help low-income and first-generation students overcome class, social, academic and cultural barriers to enter college and graduate.

Nolan, a graduate of Gadsden High School in Anthony, N.M., also participated in the Upward Bound Math/Science program at Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado, and earned a bachelor?s degree in theology and Latin American studies from the University of San Francisco. In the past, she has received the National LULAC Women?s Conference Outstanding Women Award and was a Demos Movement Maker Fellow for Inclusive Democracy.

?The series of events that led me from Gadsden High School to New Mexico State University to Trinidad State Junior College, then to San Francisco, and finally to my current vocation isn?t luck. Luck is the residue of design,? Nolan said. ?Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math/Science were designed to pluck young women like me out of poverty and set me on a path of success and purpose.?

In their recommendation letter, NMSU Upward Bound program coordinator Vince Engling and former NMSU Center for Learning Assistance director Susan Brown said Nolan?s work has improved the quality of life ?for so many underserved people and she serves as a role model and mentor for countless individuals. The communities in Southern New Mexico are better places and the residents have better lives because of her.?

Silvafierro received her award Sept. 19 at the 34th Annual Council for Opportunity in Education Conference in Atlanta.

Upward Bound, one of the federally funded TRIO programs, provides college preparation, mentoring, and college admissions assistance to thousands of low-income and first-generation students and students with disabilities across the country.

For more information on NMSU?s Upward Bound program, please visit http://research.education.nmsu.edu/outreach/trio/