Noteworthy Alumni

Allison Jordan

Educational Talent Search, University of New Hampshire

2006 - Throughout my childhood, my parents always emphasized the importance of education and I always expected that I would go on to college. However, because neither of my parents had gone to a four year college after high school, Educational Talent Search was a critical resource for me. Curriculum, testing, college visits, admissions applications, and financial aid paperwork are overwhelming to a family who is encountering these things for the first time. Furthermore, the fees associated with all of these things were prohibitive, and without ETS’s help, I would not have been able to manage.

Early on, my ETS counselor helped me choose the right classes, assisted me in preparing for the SATs, helped me research potential colleges, assisted with my applications and financial aid paperwork, and even negotiated with some schools after I received financial aid awards.

As a result of my involvement with ETS, I went on to attend the University of New Hampshire. Even throughout my time at UNH, college remained an economic struggle for me. ETS continued to advocate for me and helped me stay in college. I also spent several summers working with the Upward Bound program, where I had the life-changing opportunity to work with groups of high school students who dedicated their summers to building upon their academic skills and working towards their goal of higher education.

After graduating from UNH in 2001 magna cum laude with a B.A. in social work, I worked as a child protective services worker before going on to law school. I graduated from Cornell Law School in May 2005 and now have the pleasure of working my dream job as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society in New York City.

The service that ETS provides is critical. Despite my lifelong ambition to attend college, my academic success, and support from my parents, I would not have been able to navigate the path to higher education without the assistance that ETS provided. I truly believe that my success and that of my siblings is directly attributable to the involvement with Educational Talent Search. For that, I will always be a fierce supporter of TRIO programs.

Amanda L. Willette

Upward Bound, University of New Hampshire

2005 - A Class of 2000 graduate of Spaulding High School (Rochester, NH), Amanda participated in the UNH Upward Bound program from 1997-2000. Currently an Office Manager for Randstad North America in Boston, MA, she not only oversees daily functions of the office, but also conducts training and enrichment programs. Ms. Willette is a 2004 graduate of the University of New Hampshire where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Justice Studies. This fall she will attend Emmanuel College to pursue a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management.

In 2003, Ms. Willette received an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grant from UNH. She traveled to Tanzania where she conducted research on Social Programs for Orphans and Street Children. Following her stay in Tanzania she wrote and presented an extensive research paper on her findings to the UROP funding board. She currently resides with her fiancée in Malden, MA.

Dana Hilliard

Upward Bound, University of New Hampshire

Student Support Services, Keene State College

2004 - Dana graduated from Somersworth H.S. in 1991. He had spent three years in the UNH Upward Bound Program. He went on to Keene State College where he earned his BA in Political Science in 1995. He was elected to the NH Legislature from ’92-’96; he was the youngest member of his legislative class.

After Dana left the NH Legislature, he worked for the state in other capacities. He served on the State Liquor Commission from ’96-’99. He was also a NH State Marine Patrol officer for a year. He then moved to Massachusetts where he assisted the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee for several years.

After that experience he realized he wanted to spend some time educating young people on the nature of and the opportunities in government. He participated in the Franklin Pierce Teacher Certification Program and received an alternative teaching certificate. He then worked for two years at the Somersworth Middle School as a paraprofessional in Special Education. He is currently teaching Social Studies at Somersworth High School. In addition, from 2002-2004, he was the Somersworth City Councilor for Ward 4 and even ran for mayor.

David Estey

Upward Bound, Keene State College

2012- David Estey participated in the Keene State College Upward Bound (UB) Program from 1997–2001 and went on to receive his BA in Communications from Colby Sawyer College in 2005. Thanks to classes that he took in Upward Bound, his focus changed from math and science to writing and debating. This led to his work as a journalist and editor for five years after college before a recent move to the growing world of online marketing. He currently works as a Content Strategist at C-4 Analytics, an online marketing company in the Boston area. His change in employment was soon followed by his purchase of a new home.

David credits his parents with being loving and supportive, but having no idea how to prepare him for college and were often busy just getting the bills paid. He attributes his success to his education, which was fueled by his involvement in the Keene State TRIO program. Without Upward Bound, David claims that he would not have received the encouragement and support needed to pursue a college education. He credits UB staff member Susie Margraf for pushing him on a weekly basis to excel in school, and the intensive summer program for preparing him for higher education and life in a college dorm, and for broadening his horizons.

Dr. Loretta Carle Brady

McNair Graduate Opportunity Program, University of New Hamsphire

2007 - I was born and raised in southern NH to a single teenaged mother and a father who had recently immigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic. I lived with my mother until the age of four and then moved in with my biological grandfather and step-grandmother. For seven years I lived a middle class lifestyle, attending schools in a suburban setting, until my mother resumed full time custody of me and my baby sister and moved us in with her abusive boyfriend. After four years my mother fled her partner and we moved three more times in a six month period. When I was in 8th grade we moved to Manchester and lived for four years with my mother’s new husband until he was incarcerated for a DUI violation and we were forced out of our home. When my mother began dating another addicted and abusive man, I moved into a rooming house for women where I trained and worked as a Certified Nurses Aide, and by my sophomore year in high school decided to pursue a college degree.

I attended Saint Anselm College and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. As an undergraduate, I volunteered in the New Hampshire State Prison for Women and saw so many similarities between the experiences of the inmates and my own that I decided to focus on a career that addressed their needs and challenges. By the end of my junior year in college I had decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, a degree I imagined would provide me the chance to perform psychotherapy while also engaging in teaching and research about women’s issues.

My undergraduate mentor encouraged me to apply to the McNair Graduate Opportunity Program at UNH and in 1998 I was selected to be a fellow. During the 10-week summer fellowship, I worked with Dr. Suzanne McMurphy to design and execute a needs assessment of New Hampshire’s paroled mothers. My project, along with data from my college senior thesis, was later a key component to a 2005 study of the state of female offenders in New Hampshire (“Double Jeopardy, “ a report by the NH Commission on the Status of Women). This report and the data my projects generated are now shaping public policy on the needs of female offenders.

Aside from the wide impact the research had, McNair was instrumental in my ability to gain admittance to a top graduate program in Clinical Psychology, a field that is more competitive than medical school admissions. In 1999, I was one of eleven students from a pool of more than 350 applicants admitted to Fordham University’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. The key to my admission was the mentoring, advising, and instruction (especially for the GRE) I received through McNair. McNair’s advising component assisted me in drafting a stellar personal statement and organizing application materials. The opportunity to present my data in front of peers and fellow researchers gave me an advantage when later that fall I had the chance to present on an expansion of the project. McNair had an enormous impact academically and professionally, helping me feel prepared once I started classes in my graduate program.

The intangible benefits that I still celebrate are the relationships McNair allowed me to build. Living in New Hampshire limits one’s experience with diversity, and as a mixed race child I often was “diversity” in my classrooms. My summer at McNair exposed me to other students with similar bi-racial experiences, and most importantly normalized the impact class status had on feelings of competence and worth in an academic setting. Being poor makes you different from others in academia. When I attended Fordham with students whose parents made more money than my school district’s budget I didn’t have to feel completely isolated because I had a network of McNair contacts that knew what it felt like to be juggling my needs for a stipend with my family’s needs for extra income.

Finally, the stipend and housing that the fellowship provided were essential in enabling me to participate in this important program. If I had to work that summer to pay my rent, I never would have been able to complete the project or make such headway on my applications. All the benefits of the fellowship were instrumental in setting me up for the successful career I have developed. I received my Ph.D. from Fordham in 2006 and am currently in a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at St. Anselm’s College. I remain a vigorous supporter of the McNair Graduate Opportunity Program and have had the great fortune of encouraging more students to pursue this opportunity for themselves.

Harold Mendez

Educational Talent Search, University of New Hampshire

While at the University of New Hampshire, Harold worked all four of his undergraduate years as a work-study student for Educational Talent Search, and also spent one summer working for UNH’s Upward Bound program. Rounding out his TRIO experience at UNH, Harold was also involved with the UNH Student Support Services program. After a successful four years at UNH, Harold realized his long-time dream of attending law school when he enrolled at Temple. After receiving his Juris Doctorate, Harold worked in sports marketing, and created his own sports and entertainment company that focuses on representing Latino talent in a responsible wa=y that focuses on their long-term goals. In the years since, not only has Harold achieved many of the goals he had in high school and college, but has become an incredible resource to the Latino athletes and entertainers he represents as well as the New Hampshire TRIO community.

Harold was quoted as saying:

“Neither of my parents went to college; my mom didn't finish high school. Now I'm at UNH and plan to apply to law school. ETS is an incredible resource.”

Jason Bissonette

Upward Bound, University of New Hampshire

2009 - Jason Bissonnette is an alumnus of the UNH Upward Bound program and Manchester Memorial High School. He spent four years in the program during high school. Coming from a single-family home with a working older brother and no family members who pursued college, he credits Upward Bound with teaching him how to set his sights on college and follow the correct path to graduation.He initially entered the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as an Astronomy major with high aspirations for the field. While there he became heavily involved in residential student government and student affairs, and helped to reshape much of the administrative and funding structure to increase activity participation. Eventually he served as Assistant to the Student Development Director of Residence Life, and began developing and administering leadership development programs in a professional capacity to the student residential staff. Through the same position, he developed and instructed a college class in leadership education, all while continuing to pursue his own studies at the university.

During the summers, Jason returned to the UNH Upward Bound program as a residential staff member for four consecutive years, working as a tutor-counselor, Bridge Senior advisor, and Residential Staff Supervisor. Utilizing his experiences as a student, he made deep and lasting connections with his students, and realized that education was the profession he wanted to pursue most. With that in mind, he switched his major to mathematics, and set his sights on New York City with the goal of becoming an urban educator.

Today, Jason is in his third year as a middle-school math teacher in the South Bronx at M.S. 325. He is in his final semester at the City College of New York working toward his Masters Degree in adolescent mathematics education. His thesis is on the impact of male teachers on the adolescent development of male inner-city youth. He is quick to say that his experiences through Upward Bound have molded him into the person he is today, committed to a well-rounded education of at-risk youth. He has no intention of leaving the classroom anytime soon, and plans on working for urban education initiatives throughout his lifetime.

Jessup J. Olson

Upward Bound, Keene State College

2005 - Jessup was born in Nashua, NH, the eldest of two brothers and two sisters. A 1997 graduate of Keene (NH) High School, he participated in the KSC Upward Bound program from 1994-1997. Jessup attended Northeastern University for one year where he majored in Cardiopulmonary Science. Enlisting in the Air Force in 1998, he completed technical training as a Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist, and received the Commander’s Award.

His duty locations include Fort Campbell, KY, and Fort Wainwright, AK, where he currently serves as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller for the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. During Operation Enduring Freedom IV he deployed with Task Force1-501. Additional military training includes Airborne School, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Joint Firepower, Special Patrol Insertion and Extraction Master, and TACCS Craftsman. Ms. Olson received an Associate’s Degree from Austin Peay University in Tennessee, and he is currently a senior at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks majoring in Public Safety.

Katyanne Kinneavy

Upward Bound, University of New Hampshire

2010 - The first time that Katyanne Kinneavy heard about Upward Bound was sitting in her Freshman Earth Sciences Class at Somersworth High School. She was given a little pink slip of paper that read, You are invited to attend an informational slide show about UNH Upward Bound. “Little did I know,” writes Katyanne, “that that pink slip of paper would open up hundreds of doors, full of opportunities.”

Growing up in Somersworth, New Hampshire, opportunities were not plentiful for Katyanne. She is the daughter of two loving working class parents and the youngest of four children. She had an early interest in attending college, but characterized herself as “ an average student with average grades and less than average drive and motivation.” She writes, “I was lost, knowing where I wanted to be but unsure of how to get there. Until I stepped foot in Sawyer Hall the summer of 2001, my first summer of Upward Bound.”

Upward Bound provided Karyanne with the "how" she was looking for. She learned the skills of a productive student, and found the drive that she had been lacking. She continues, “with those skills and the support system provided by the staff and students of, UB I was able to pursue my bachelors of science in nursing I was so hopeful to achieve.” Katyanne balanced four years of rigorous nursing course work with a work study job. With her newfound confidence, she also took on leadership positions, including planning and leading many alternative spring break trips . She spent three spring breaks volunteering with the less fortunate in Washington, D.C.

Now, as a 2008 graduate of Saint Joesph's College of Maine, Katyanne works in an Emergency Department at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New Hampshire. Still full of the drive she learned years ago from her fellow UB participants and stuff members, she hopes to continue her education and earn her Master of Science in Nursing, with the goal of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Kelly Fournier

Student Support Services, Keene State College

2010 - Kelly Fournier is originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Following her graduation from Portsmouth High School, she attended Keene State College, majoring in Clinical/Counseling Psychology. As a first-generation college student, Kelly joined ASPIRE, Keene State College’s Student Support Services program. Kelly notes that ASPIRE allowed her to “structure [her] journey to graduation day” through its guidance and programming opportunities. She continues, “the Aspire Program really granted me the opportunity to consider my dreams, voice my desires, ultimately allowing me to follow my heart when I thought about my future.”

After college, Kelly attended the University of New Hampshire for her graduate studies, and obtained her Masters in Social Work (MSW). Today, she works at Boston Medical Center as an outpatient Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). More specifically, she provides individual therapeutic services to those struggling with eating disorders - a job about which she is passionate.

Maggie Croteau

Upward Bound, Keene State College

2006 - I grew up in Keene, NH, the daughter of a working single mother and a sporadically available father. We would definitely be categorized as solidly working class. When I was in high school my older sister became involved in the Upward Bound program. My mother recognized that Upward Bound was the only way the two of us would be able to go to college, so as soon as I was eligible, I applied. I knew that I wanted to go to college but I had no idea what it took to get there.

Upward Bound forced me to live and work together in an intimate setting with other students my own age and from similar backgrounds. This interaction and the classes that I took really helped me to become that much more confident. I became aware of my own independence and leadership skills. During the school year , I had an academic year counselor, Susie Margraf, who was so much more than a college counselor. Most kids in high school meet with their college counselor once or twice a year. I met with Susie once or twice a week from sophomore year through senior year. These meetings were absolutely necessary on an academic and emotional level. First, I did not know what it was going to take to get into college, financially or academically. Susie knew the classes I was going to need, what schools I could likely get admitted to, and what kind of financial aid I was going to need in order to attend the school of my choice. I know there is no way that I would have made it to Trinity College in Hartford, CT, if it hadn’t been for Susie. My mother was certainly in no place to take me on college tours or to know how to fill out financial aid forms. Susie has continued to be this emotional support throughout my life.

Currently, I am in my third year of law school and will graduate this coming May. When I graduate, I will be the first person in my family to get a professional degree. I start a clerkship with Judge John Ramsey Johnson on the D.C. Superior Court starting in August. Upon completion of my clerkship, I would like to return to NH and work for either the federal government as a U.S. Attorney or work for the state government as a State’s Attorney. My major career goal is to be an appellate attorney arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

There is no way, ten years ago, that I would have had the confidence to know that I could achieve that goal. It is because of Upward Bound that I am where I am today.

Stephanie Osterhout

Upward Bound, Keene State College

2009 - Recently, while I was volunteering for an afternoon at the Keene Community Kitchen, I ran into a young volunteer wearing an “Upward Bound” t-shirt. I asked him if he was at-tending UB at Keene State. He said yes and told me how much he was enjoying the program. After that chance meeting, I asked him if he would deliver a note from me to Director, Alan Glotzer, informing him that I am alive and well and thriving in life - due in large part to my own experiences at Upward Bound.I grew up in a trailer park in Brattleboro, VT, with my 2 older brothers and a single, working class father. We never had money. Unless I put myself through college, there was no way I could go. I was always a solid student but my lack of self-confidence kept me from getting involved in many extracurricular activities, and I never really stood out. When I started Upward Bound, through a referral from the school, that all began to change. I literally came out of my shell in the midst of my new friends and constant learning activities! I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociological Communication from Keene State College. The coaching, mentoring and social experiences I received from UB prepared me for both the academic and social challenges of college.

Today I am the Human Resource Manager for a large manufacturer in Keene, NH. I have a loving husband, two beautiful children and a nice home. I am a walking testimonial to all of the great life things that come out of a program like Upward Bound. I truly believe my experience there (5 summers!) shaped my life and showed me that where you come from does not have to dictate your destiny.

Tracy A. Berson, Esquire

McNair Graduate Opportunity Program, University of New Hampshire

2004 - Tracy A. Bernson, Esquire is an attorney in Dover, NH. Her practice of law centers on representing plaintiff litigants in civil actions, family law matters, probate law, and criminal defense. Ms. Bernson is a graduate of The University of New Hampshire at Manchester (’97, B.A. English), Syracuse University’s The College of Arts and Sciences (’99, C.A.S., Women’s Studies & ’04, M.A., English (ABD)), and the Syracuse University College of Law (’03,J.D.).

As a 1996 Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Fellow from the University of New Hampshire, she credits her individualized mentoring by senior faculty, extensive research experience, and public speaking opportunities for giving her the skills and confidence necessary to earn her Juris Doctor. Shortly after her summer fellowship, and while still and undergraduate student, Ms. Bernson presented her first paper at the Northeast Modern Language Association’s Annual Conference in 1997. She was invited back to present in 1998 and 1999. Ms. Bernson is presently working on a law review article about police liability for negligent acts during emergent situations. Her career goals include not only the practice of law, but also bringing her experience into the classroom as a Professor of Law.