Outstanding Staffer 'a lifeline for first-generation students'

Photo courtesy of the Pre-Collegiate Development Program Benavidez
Photo courtesy of the Pre-Collegiate Development Program

Photo courtesy of the Pre-Collegiate Development ProgramBenavidez

Josephine Benavidez, director of the Pre-Collegiate Development Program (PCDP) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, has received the 2011 UCCS Outstanding Staff Award.

The award acknowledges outstanding achievements and contributions of a UCCS staff member who exemplifies excellence in service to the campus and community.

"Josephine has changed more lives than most people do in a lifetime," said Barbara Gaddis, executive director, First Year Experience and Student Retention. "She has been a lifeline for first-generation students, providing them with the information they need to transition to college."

Miss B, as she is known by many of her students, said she is honored to be singled out for her contributions. "I was overwhelmed, surprised and honored beyond words. What I do here isn't a job, it's my life work. My passion."

Benavidez first came to UCCS in 1993 as a master's student in communication. After instructing classes for PCDP in the summer of 1997, she was asked to step in as interim director. Since her arrival, the program has grown from 75 to 699 first-generation students enrolled. Of those, 96 percent enroll in a four-year university.

PCDP is a system-wide, institutionally funded academic program for first-generation middle and high school students. The program is designed to motivate and prepare students in pursuit of their higher educational goals.

PCDP is structured to ensure that students are academically prepared to enroll and be successful at UCCS or other CU campuses, or other postsecondary institution.

Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak will present Benavidez with the award, as well as a $1,000 prize, at the Campus Awards Ceremony on May 3