40th Year Celebration

Faces From The Past


Central Connecticut State University’s Educational Opportunity Program Celebrates Forty Years of Success

Awilda Saavedra- Reasco, Director of EOP and EOP Class 1980

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) was designed for students who have the potential to successfully perform college-level academic work but who do not meet regular admissions standards.

Mike Cohen, an EOP student in the class of 1970, dates the start of his “real life” to his time at Central, and credits both the intellectual and social atmosphere. “It was okay to be smart, and it was okay to be different. It was even okay to be smart and different. No matter who you were and what you were interested in, there were people you could hang out with. And soon you would know 100 people from all different backgrounds who were active in dozens of different things.” A former captain in the US Air Force, Mike is currently a web developer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. According to Mike, “Learning how to write well is one of the two most important things you can learn in college. The other is to “Learn how to learn. The job I have today did not exist in the 1970s. There’s absolutely no way I could have prepared for it, other than by being willing to continually learn new things.

 “And that’s where the EOP comes in. It identifies students who have the desire and the aptitude, and shows them how college works, how to get along, and how to do the coursework. The EOP made an incalculable difference in my life. Multiply that by 40 years, and the stories of all the other students—I think the EOP has probably repaid Connecticut a thousand times over.”

Lisandra Rosario, a graduate of Hartford Public High School, was fortunate to hear CCSU Associate Director of Pre-Collegiate & Access Services Harry Pacheco speak about the EOP at her school. Lisandra spoke to Pacheco, who encouraged her to apply. She completed the program in 2003. This spring she graduated from CCSU with a 3.15 GPA earning a BS in sociology and BS in Spanish. She has accepted an eight-month teaching position in Spain. Lisandra found that EOP helped immeasurably in learning about CCSU, how to network, use campus resources, and find appropriate staff to assist her. She discovered that becoming involved in student activities helped her become a full-fledged CCSU student. She was secretary of the Latin American Student Organization and vice president of the Spanish Club.

EOP alumni have successful careers in law, social services, broadcasting , education, politics, health professions, and many other occupations. Charles “CJ” Jones, the former director, believes “EOP is truly what it says: a summer that can change your life.”

We will be celebrating the EOP’s 40th anniversary in August with a three-day event bringing together alumni, current EOP students, and our staff. It will be a great celebration not only of the EOP’s success but also, and more importantly, our students’ success—in college and in life!

For further information about the EOP, contact Pre-Collegiate and Access Services (PAS) at (860) 832-1902.

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