Gustavus alumna Sara (Brigger) Dziuk ’02 was recently named Executive Director of Admission Possible Twin Cities. Admission Possible is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul dedicated to helping low-income high school students prepare for and earn admission to college by providing ACT/SAT test preparation, admissions and financial aid consulting and guidance in the transition to college. The organization assists in aiding these students in gaining access to higher education, regardless of their economic circumstances.
“Historically low income students go to college at one third the rate [of] their wealthier peers,” Dziuk said. “We help identify these students and make them successful in college.”
As executive director of Admission Possible Twin Cities, she leads all of the organization’s efforts in community high schools to deliver Admission Possible programming within the schools. The majority of her work deals largely with college and community partners, as well as other opportunities that students may be interested in. Dziuk plays an important role in fundraising and is responsible for helping to secure $1500 per student to deliver the program to as many as possible. Her role as Executive Director entails being a prominent spokesperson within the community and leading the Twin Cities team (comprised of 15 members along with 56 AmeriCorps members) to success.
“We are extremely fortunate to have recruited [Dziuk] to Admission Possible. She brings a winning combination of experience, leadership, knowledge and passion to this work, and [she] exemplifies Admission Possible’s idealistic organizational culture,” Jim McCorkell, CEO of Admission Possible, said. “Her strategic vision for sustaining and continuing to grow our services to students is precisely what we need for the young people in our community.”
Dziuk joined Admission Possible after spending several years with Junior Achievement (JA) of the Upper Midwest. In her most recent role as vice president of education, Dziuk was responsible for JA’s K-12 programs—impacting 120,000 students annually with lessons on financial literacy, career and college readiness and entrepreneurship. Prior to her work with JA, Dziuk served as vice president of the Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“What AP does is find promising low income students that need to make college dreams a reality,” Dziuk said, “We offer a program to do that—an intensive after school program that increases ACT scores and identifies colleges that would be a good fit for students. We help ensure that students apply to at least five universities successfully. We also assist them in applying for scholarships and make sure that they have sufficient financial aid. It’s fulfilling and rewarding to do such great things for students.”
Dziuk also explained the joy she gets from working with Gustavus in a different capacity. “Here at Admission Possible, I actually work with two other Gustavus alumni, Scott Broady ’09 (Events Coordinator) and Alyssa Fitzgerald ’10.”
“It’s exciting to expose students to great universities and helping them understand the myths of the right academic, social and overall fit of the atmosphere,” Dziuk said. “I’m glad to be a part of that process, making a lasting impact while closing the achievement gap.”