News Release

Birdsell is honored for her advocacy for first-generation students

Traci Birdsell

LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College’s Traci Birdsell, who is the senior director of the Educational Opportunity Grant Program in Student Affairs, will be honored with the Arnold Mitchem Award by the Northwest Association of Educational Opportunity Programs (NAEOP) at its annual convention.

Birdsell oversees the Educational Talent Search Program at LC State. Talent search is a federally funded TRIO program serving students age 11-27 and focuses on individuals whose families are on a limited income and whose parents did not graduate with a four-year college degree. That goal of the program is to increase a students’ potential and help them achieve a post-high school education.

Birdsell is being recognized for her leadership and advocacy for first-generation college students. The Arnold Mitchem leadership and advocacy award recognizes a member of the NAEOP community who demonstrates a steadfast commitment to low income and first-generation students and exercises vigorous and influential leadership in the TRIO community at the state, regional, or national level. The award recognizes the long and steady tenure of Dr. Arnold Mitchem. who guided the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) for more than 30 years in Washington, D.C., and across the landscape of higher education.

Birdsell has worked at LCSC since 1999 and was an instructor in the Adult Learning Center and a student services coordinator in eLearning Services before becoming the TRIO director in 2014. She later moved into her current title.

NAEOP is one of 10 regions across the United States and includes the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. NAEOP provides a venue in which all TRIO and similar programs may support the success of low income, first-generation and underrepresented students to obtain a quality education. NAEOP helps these underrepresented populations by promoting program development and collecting and disseminating data based on the students’ specific educational needs. NAEOP provides support services and opportunities not normally accessible to these students to help them reach their full potential and develop into professional individuals.