When Rosi Upchurch moved to Colorado, she decided that education would be her primary goal. She says graduating would give her far more career opportunities – and the financial security that comes with it – than her family ever knew.
Upchurch grew up in a northern Illinois community where crime and poverty were common. Her mother struggled with mental illness and her father worked hard to pay the bills. But often that wasn’t enough. After her parents lost their home in the 2008 financial crisis, Upchurch got a job to support the family. However, after seeing many family members restricted in their job opportunities due to their limited education, she knew that getting a college degree would be the key to a better way of life.
Now Upchurch expects to graduate from the University of Denver in June and complete her bachelor’s degree in information technology from University College. As a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society, she is also working towards earning her Masters in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with a focus on project management, as well as a certificate in the design and management of ICT databases. She will complete both her Masters and her Certificate in December 2022.
As a DU employee in the gift and file management department, Upchurch has the daily opportunity to do what she loves: find ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency while solving problems to help her colleagues. Technology plays a central role in their work and education. During her career, she would like to work together to use technology to solve problems.
To solve the question of how she would get the education she had long wanted, scholarships were at the fore, Upchurch says.
“It’s so important to understand how scholarships can be life changing for people like me,” she says. “For non-traditional, first-generation color students, many of the opportunities we want are out of reach because of historical inequalities. Generational differences make getting a degree so much harder. Scholarships make it possible. “
Scholarships allow her to finish her studies 5 years earlier than she otherwise could have done. They give her an experience closer to that of a traditional student and occupy multiple classes at once. As a student at University College, she also gained a unique perspective on the experiences of non-traditional students and their deeply motivated pursuit of education.
“DU is very focused on the student experience, which is so important,” says Upchurch. “We have an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of working with nontraditional students who may have families to care for, who may not live in Denver, and who may have full-time jobs. How can we connect with them in the same way that we connect with traditional students? YOU have a mind and a heart for it. “
With a knack for problem solving alongside her expertise and training in information technology, Upchurch is creating the bright future that once seemed beyond their reach.
To learn how your scholarship support gift can change the lives of students like Scott, reach out ScholarshipGiving@DU.edu.