Valparaiso University Pushes Accessibility to Higher Education

Bloom Scholars

Valparaiso University’s Bloom Scholars program has received a $137,329 grant from the State of Indiana Commission for Higher Education as part of a call for initiatives to support college student success. The funding has been used to hire and train two student success coaches, bringing substantial benefit to students and the University as a whole.

“It’s really supporting the program and University by pushing retention and providing students with a jump start to acclimating to the college environment before the fall semester begins,” said Chloe Kiser ’22, director of the Bloom Scholars program and adjunct faculty for graduate studies. “The idea is that we keep these students here, and we’re trying to retain all the students in the program by creating opportunities for students to engage throughout their entire college career, not just during the summer bridge portion of the program.”

Chloe Kiser

Valparaiso University’s Bloom Scholars Program is designed to assist newly admitted first-year students — especially, but not exclusively, those that are first-generation or from underrepresented groups — for campus life academically, socially, and culturally. Courses in writing, research, and more prepare those students for life at Valpo and beyond, helping make higher education attainable. 

The two new student success coaches, Griselda Montanez Serrano and Raymond Blackman, were hired in January. Blackman primarily focuses on one-on-one meetings with students, discussing their courses, time management, and what needs to be done to stay on-track. Serrano, meanwhile, organizes workshops and other beneficial events while compiling a “best practices” guide for the program as a whole. 

“It’s already been really beneficial to have them here supporting the program,” Kiser said. 

The Bloom Scholars Program honors the legacy of the late Alan Bloom, Ph.D., a much-loved faculty member, campus leader, and recipient of Valpo’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. The name is in recognition of his dedication towards fostering diversity, and his many humanitarian contributions to both campus and the Valpo community.