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ETS graduate overcame disadvantages on way to success.

MassEdCO Board Member Pat Marshall, PhD knows first-hand the value of federal higher education access programs.  That knowledge and the way she overcame adversity in early life recently won her the New England Educational Opportunity Association (NEOA) Achiever Award, which is given to outstanding graduates of New England’s regional educational opportunity programs. (She is pictured here with several members of the MassEdCO staff.)

Raised in a single-parent (and later two-parent) poverty-level family in rural Maine, Patricia Marshall spent her early years without basic material comforts. Somehow she knew at an early age that her ticket to a better life was education. Although she tried to study, the often violent atmosphere in the small trailer home was too disruptive. So she created her own study space in an abandoned car where she and her dog took refuge and she could put in hours of study time wrapped in old sleeping bags for warmth. The effort paid off when she finished 8th grade with a straight-A record.

In high school, Pat was invited to join two federal TRIO programs: Upward Bound (UB) and Educational Talent Search (ETS).  These programs provided her with academic and personal coaching, the opportunity to experience life on a college campus and explore career options, and gave her a support system and sense of community. 

Her UB and ETS experiences allowed her to arrive at Colby College confident in her own abilities. She earned a BA summa cum laude from Colby and went on to earn a PhD from Brown University. Pat is now a professor of Spanish at Worcester State University and serves as the associate vice president for academic affairs.  At WSU, she has also spearheaded student success efforts.

The NEOA award recognizes access program graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, have high stature in their profession, have made significant civic, community or professional contributions, and acknowledge that participation in an educational opportunity program has had a significant impact on their achievements. (NEOA is the New England Educational Opportunity Association.)

Dr. Patricia Marshall is the perfect recipient of an NEOA Achiever Award.  She is also a tireless spokesperson for disadvantaged students.  MassEdCO is extremely proud to have Pat as a founding member of its Board of Directors.