First-year CFES Brilliant Pathways students at the University of Vermont joined forces at a welcome dinner and tabling event at the UVM Mosaic Center for Students of Color to support each other and spread the word about services available to CFES students to ensure their success.

CFES’ participation in the September 14 tabling event was in support of the “UVM Success Cluster” – a new initiative designed to help CFES students feel connected and supported by each other as well by campus liaisons from admissions, support services and other departments. CFES plans to implement the cluster model at other colleges and universities across the country where 2,500 CFES scholars enroll each year.

Fifteen incoming UVM-CFES Scholars primarily from Pelham Preparatory and Eximius College Preparatory Schools in the Bronx came to Mosaic Center event. Four of them staffed the CFES table distributing information and talking about their experiences as new students at UVM.

“CFES was one of the things that prepared me most for college,” said Lasana Drame, a UVM sophomore from Eximius. “My program director at Eximius (Angel Acosta) taught me to really listen to my mentees to understand how to help them. I came to UVM because I knew more students from Eximius would come here and that I could help them. My dorm room has become the study room.”

Alumni Network Director Shadey Trinidad, a CFES alumna from Richard R. Green High School in Manhattan and former NYC teacher, reconnected with many of the students for the first time since working with them in high school. “The goal of the success cluster is to bring students together to rely on each other for support and to take advantage of the great support services available at UVM.”

CFES attended a UVM admissions event earlier in the week where academic support staff from each of UVM eight colleges met with CFES students in their respective majors.

“The dinner was a great opportunity to reflect and still feel connected to my peers,” said first-year business major Thaina Calix, who was a CFES peer mentor at Eximius. “I learned I’m not alone in adjusting to a new world at UVM. We are little by little becoming more open to the different environment, although it takes a day at a time.”