ATLANTA, Ga. — Aaron Payment, an alumnus of the Upward Bound program at Lake Superior State University and Northern Michigan University graduate, is one of the winners of the prestigious national 2015 National TRIO Achievers Award honoring individuals of distinction who, as students, made the most of their TRIO participation.
Payment is Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians' chairperson. He said Upward Bound planted a seed that eventually sprouted hope for a better life. "Upward Bound and other TRIO programs provide opportunities to advance not only to those in need, but our whole society benefits from the direct, indirect, and induced economic development that results when everyone reaches their potential and has a fair shot at the American Dream."
Payment graduated from NMU with a Bachelor of Science in sociology and Master's of Public Administration after building a strong educational foundation at Lake Superior State University. He will graduate in December with a Master's of Educational Administration and is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctorate in Educational Leadership through a joint program between NMU and Central Michigan University. Last month, Payment was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, which advises the Secretary of Education on Indian education issues.
"Aaron Payment has continued to be an active advocate for Upward Bound and TRIO," said Heidi Witucki, LSSU Upward Bound director. "I wholeheartedly endorse him for how far he has come and because of his enduring commitment to acknowledging the difference TRIO has made in his life."
Payment will join the other awardees at a ceremony honoring their achievements at the 34th Annual Council for Opportunity in Education Conference in Atlanta, Ga., on Sept. 16-19.
Upward Bound, one of the federally-funded TRIO programs, provides college preparation, mentoring, and college admissions assistance to thousands of low-income and first-generation students, and students with disabilities, across the country.
Photo: Pictured left to right are Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Aaron Payment with his national TRIO Achievers Award, Lake Superior State University Upward Bound Director Heidi Witucki and Upward Bound alum John Quinones from the TV show, What Would You Do?