Barbara Brodsky accepts Award

TRiO director Barbara Brodsky received an award recognizing her efforts in fundraising for scholarships for students across the northwest. The Northwest Association of Educational Opportunity Programs, NAEOP, gave her the Pearl Hill Professional Award at their annual conference on Oct. 8. For the past 11 years Brodsky has worked in the fundraising arm of NAEOP. Brodsky said “When I was at the conference and I received it I was quite surprised, I felt very honored.” The president of NAEOP, Traci Birdsell gave Brodsky this award. She says, “[Brodsky] is impressive as a colleague but equally impressive as a person.”

Brodsky started the TRiO program back in 2001. TRiO helps students who are the first in their family to go to college, are low income or have a disability work towards a bachelor’s degree. Ana Blackstad, Bellvue College’s dean of student success, said “Barbara is a wonderful colleague. Her dedication to students and her passion for TRiO are an inspiration. She is so enthusiastic about students being successful. She just glows when she talks about the students in the TRiO program.”

Brodsky has worked in fundraising for NAEOP for 11 years, through the program Friends of NAEOP. The program gives scholarships to TRiO students in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The annual scholarship is $1,500, and has been awarded to several Bellevue College students. The funding comes from iPad covers, sweatshirts and other gear all emblazoned with the TRiO logo, all sold on the online store or at conferences. “We have probably awarded over a $100,000 in scholarships in the past 11 years.” says Brodsky. Birdsell, the president of NAEOP said Brodsky “[…] has grown it to where we are giving some of the biggest scholarships in the nation, as far as TRiO organizations go.”

Birdsell became president of NAEOP this year, and said that she’s known for a year that she would give this award to Brodsky. “[Her efforts] have gone to long without public notice,” said Birdsell. Birdsell has known Brodsky for 15 years. “She’s really in her own element in TRiO. It’s where her heart is,” said Birdsell. “It’s so wonderful to give her an award that she so deserves
I knew I wanted to give it to her a year ago. I had a hard time keeping it a secret. I was just giddy with excitement.”

However, NAEOP is going to divide Brodsky’s job into a committee, with multiple people doing everything Brodsky currently does. Brodsky currently orders the products they sell, manages the online store, forms the committee who decides which students receives scholarships, sells products at NAEOP conferences, manages the Friends of NAEOP silent auction and acts as a treasurer for the funds. Now, there will be several people doing all of these tasks.

Blackstad, dean of student success released a statement on Oct. 14 saying, “The award is named after Pearl Hill, founding president of NAEOP and tireless advocate for educational opportunity programs for students.” Blackstad congratulated Brodsky and said “I’m thrilled that Barbara was selected for the Pearl Hill Professional Award. Like Pearl Hill, Barbara is a tireless advocate for students. Barbara is very deserving of this award from her peers.”