Lee University’s LEAP Welcomes 20 Incoming Freshmen


Twenty freshmen were recently selected to be part of Lee University’s LEAP, a federally funded TRIO student support services program designed to aid student success.

LEAP (Learn, Engage, Achieve Program) began in 2015 when the university received a grant of $ 1.1 million over five years from the US Department of Education. In August 2020, Lee successfully renewed his five-year grant of $ 1.3 million.

Lee contributes more than $ 200,000 per year in institutional funds to the program, which annually serves 140 first-generation or under-represented students who meet the eligibility criteria. The program currently offers individual success coaching, peer mentors, direct student assistance, financial aid counseling, financial literacy education, cultural and academic enrichment opportunities, and more. personalized services according to the individual needs of the students.

“We are excited about the 2021-22 cohort,” said Dr. Angela Waltrip, director of LEAP. “The potential of these students is endless. They are committed to aspire to be successful in their majors, their calling and their call to serve God and others.

The incoming LEAP class of 2025 includes Emma Bono of North Carolina; Kayla “Noelle” Clark, Tennessee; Ezéchiel Coventry, Connecticut; Alyssa Demien, Tennessee; Jordyn Frees, Ohio; Hannah Garner, North Carolina; Aidan Giavelli, Georgia; Kathryn Haley, Tennessee; Hannah Hitchcock, Missouri; Rachel Hurd, Tennessee; Madysen Khamhengphet, Tennessee; Attaya Lafayette, Tennessee; Emma Martinez, Tennessee; Benjamin Pavlov, New Jersey; Noah Smith, Tennessee; Vu Tran, Florida; McKaylee Willis, Tennessee; Isabella “Ella” Wilson, Tennessee; Hannah Winters, Tennessee; and Irene Wright, Tennessee.

Incoming students meet weekly with their teacher and peer mentors for Gateway, a class designed to help acclimatize new students to life at Lee. Peer mentors are upper class students who have been and continue to be connected to LEAP and serve as subclass students within the program as mentors.

Dr Waltrip was chosen to be the director of LEAP after having been the community coordinator of LEAP. Kathi Douglas and Jake Fast also joined the LEAP leadership team this fall. Ms Douglas has left Lee’s Academic Affairs office to take on the role of LEAP Community Coordinator, and Mr Fast joins LEAP as Academic Coordinator, after serving as an enrollment specialist and advisor at Lee’s School of Nursing.

For over 50 years, the Student Support Services program has made significant contributions to individuals and society by providing a wide range of services to help students succeed. Federal TRIO programs include eight federal student outreach and service programs designed to identify and provide services to people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programs provide grants to higher education institutions, public and private bodies, and various organizations.

For more information on LEAP, visit leeuniversity.edu/leap.

For more information on TRIO programs, visit https://www2.ed.gov/programs/triostudsupp/index.html.

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