Northeast Wisconsin Technical College student, Sarah Hite, has been named a 2022 DREAM Scholar by Achieving the Dream (ATD) – the nation’s most comprehensive organization in advancing student success and equity.
The DREAM Scholars program is an experiential learning opportunity for student leaders looking to make a difference on their campus and in their community. Hite is one of eight community college students nationwide chosen for this prestigious honor.
“NWTC is proud of Sarah and for this recognition for the hard work that has led them here,” said Dr. Rafn, NWTC president. “Sarah’s resilience, positive outlook, and commitment continues to inspire our college every day. It is students like this who remind us as educators of why we are here, and why we continue to help build pathways to achieve their success.”
After being nominated by their institutions, the Scholars are chosen through a competitive application process, sharing their personal journey, educational goals, and more.
Sarah Hite is a Laboratory Science major at NWTC on track to a career as a science teacher. Like so many, Hite’s journey included unexpected twists along the way. Hite became a single parent of three children by the age of 24 encountering obstacles of divorce, housing insecurity, and family loss. Later joining the LGBTQ+ community, Hite withstood lack of acceptance regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, but persisted through, never losing sight of who they were along the way.
“I am incredibly honored for this recognition and opportunity to represent NWTC,” said Sarah Hite. “This award holds a personal significance for myself as I look back at how I arrived here today.”
The Scholars participate in a program designed to enhance their professional and personal skills through workshops, networking, and financial awards. In addition, each Scholar will present at the DREAM 2022 conference on February 14-17 where thousands of attendees within higher education will hear insights from other educators and the Scholars’ insight into the diverse experiences, challenges, and hopes of community college students across the country.
“It didn’t happen overnight, but once I developed academic confidence, I was able to find my own voice and accept who I was. I hope that anyone who hears my story recognizes the magnitude of diversity of those around them. It’s important that we instill these core values within ourselves and future generations, so we are creating a more equitable world.”
NWTC is one of 300 community colleges within the ATD national network and one of only 26 colleges to earn ATD’s Leader of College of Distinction status, recognized for its outstanding commitment to equity-centered cultural change within the institution. NWTC was awarded the 2021 Leah Meyer Austin Award for its work to reduce equity gaps and increase success for all students.