WHAT WE DO
The mission of the Chang Chavkin Scholars Program is to support rural, high achieving, first generation students with the funding and resources needed to graduate from a four year college that meets their potential.
The Program will provide guidance to Scholars and their families during the college search and application process. We advise parents and students on the college selection decision and help navigate financial aid awards. Scholarship recipients will receive up to $15,000 per year for four years toward the cost of attendance at an accredited U.S. college or university. While in college, the Program will advise and support our Scholars so they stay in school and reach their goal of a college degree.
In addition, we work with our partner high schools to provide support and resources in order to enhance existing programs.
ONE PROGRAM. TWO LOCATIONS.
Serving Colorado rural communities in the following school districts: Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Norwood, Nucla, and Montezuma-Cortez.
Serving Berkshire County in the following schools: Drury, Lee, Monument Mountain Regional, Mount Everett Regional, Mount Greylock Regional, Wahconah Regional, BART, and
Pittsfield High School.
The Chang-Chavkin Scholars Program will provide resources to students and parents. In three ways: 1) work with high school guidance counselors to provide targeted supplemental counseling support to students and their families; 2) award “last in” four year college scholarships which will help bridge the gap after all other financial aid is determined; and 3) provide “wrap-around” support while the students are in college.
MEET OUR FOUNDERS
Philanthropists Arnie Chavkin and Laura Chang have a deep appreciation for the transformational impact of a college education. They want to move the needle on studies that show first generation students not only attend college at a much lower rate but those who do set out for their degree have difficulty completing their course of study. “While there are many programs focusing on low-income first generation students in urban areas, very few programs focus on rural students”, said Chavkin. “We are committed to opening doors for those who are underrepresented in higher education, and who often do not complete that education. We are confident that many of our local first generation students have the desire to achieve a college education, and we plan to help them do that.
MEET OUR TEAM
Prior to working with the Chang Chavkin Scholars Program, Valene worked for 21 years as a school social worker and school counselor in a variety of roles including college counselor, academic advisor, mental health counselor and health and wellness coordinator. Valene is also a licensed clinical social worker and has provided services for Hospice, Family Court and the Department of Health and Human Services. Valene and her husband are raising their two boys in Ridgway, CO.
Nancy has worked in higher education since joining the faculty of Williams College in 1991. She was appointed Dean of Williams College for seven years and was Director of the Williams-Exeter Programme in Oxford. Among her responsibilities in these roles was to ensure that a diverse student body had the support and resources needed to reach their personal and intellectual potential. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the Chang Chavkin Scholars Program, Nancy served as President of Dickinson College. Nancy and her wife live in Williamstown.
IN THE WORDS OF OUR SCHOLARS
“While my final interview was the most nerve-wracking half hour of my life, in the end, it was worth it because I’m worth it.”
— Savanna Nolau
“I feel like this scholarship has been much more than a scholarship. It is a community. If a scholar is in need of help in college, the program is always helping quickly. It’s also an opportunity to actually have good personal relationships with all the people involved in this program and that really helps me know that I am part of great, supportive community.”