Christie Poitra cleaned bathrooms and emptied grbage bins 35 hours a week at McDonald’s to pay her way through community college. “My parents didn’t have a college fund for me,” says Poitra. “They didn’t think I’d go. My parents supported me, but they didn’t know quite how.” Today the Berkeley senior and legal studies major researches the intricacies of tribal government and Native sovereignty, and serves as president of The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) student council.
TAAP provides selected students up to $5,700 per year to help cover the cost of attendance, and offers various support services to encourage scholars’ success. Most TAAP students, including (left to right) Vincent Li ’04, Rasheedah Woodard ’08, Crystal Marich ’10, Olympia Santana ’08, and David Hampton ’10, are first-generation college students who overcame challenging circumstances to gain admission to Cal. TAAP scholars assist outreach or college preparation programs for future students, too. California Alumni Association is now conducting a campaign to create a $10 million TAAP endowment.
“It’s so much more than a scholarship,” Poitra says. “You need that community and that support to get through.”