The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have named two coordinators to implement Oklahoma's mentoring and tutoring program, Smart Start, a key program supporting the State Regents' Brain Gain 2010 initiative.
Lisa L. Schmidt, of Norman, has been appointed state coordinator for Smart Start while Debra Vaughn, of Norman, has been named outreach coordinator.
"The State Regents have been implementing several initiatives to better prepare students for college and to increase the educational attainment of Oklahomans," said Chancellor Hans Brisch. "The appointment of these two highly qualified individuals is another step toward further developing programs that help us achieve our goal of increasing the number of Oklahomans with college degrees."
Schmidt, who received a bachelorís degree in political science and a masterís degree in adult and higher education from the University of Oklahoma, previously served as coordinator of student relations for the OU Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering.
Vaughn earned two bachelor's degrees and two master's degrees in social studies education and health, physical education and recreation from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in education from Oklahoma State University. She previously served as the Oklahoma State University Technical Branch - Oklahoma City education development coordinator for the United Auto Workers Local 1999 and General Motors.
Smart Start, funded by a $5.2 million AmeriCorps Education Award, is a program established to recruit, train and place 3,600 volunteers in schools and communities across the state. It is designed to provide committed, trained human resources to support programs already in place, such as Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), America Reads and America Counts, and other established service efforts aimed at promoting educational success among children as well as adults. Smart Start participants who complete the program are eligible for AmeriCorps Education Awards that can be applied to current or future college costs or to most student loans.
"The Smart Start program will provide tremendous opportunities for our state's young people as well as our adult students," said State Regents Chairman Leonard J. Eaton Jr. "We look forward to working with the Smart Start staff as we implement and enhance programs that strengthen all Oklahoma studentsí academic skills and encourage student success."
For information about applying for Smart Start or to request volunteers, call 405.225.9199.
The GEAR UP grant was awarded to Oklahoma in August 1999 and has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.