Victoria Alao

Victoria Alao

Getting a Head Start

Like a lot of first-year college students, Victoria Alao was intimidated when she was preparing to leave home for IUP. A native of New Cumberland (population 7,000), Victoria was concerned about the size of the campus, the many locations she was unfamiliar with, and the number of new people she would encounter at IUP, which is about three hours west of her hometown.

“I felt well-prepared, because I learned so much about the school the first week,” Victoria says. “I found my way around campus. I was told where I could go whenever I needed help. I also made some friends, which was important, because I knew that I was not going to be alone.”

But then Victoria received an email from IUP about a new yearlong program called the Crimson Scholars Circle. She learned that the CSC is designed to help first-year Black and Brown students by bringing them to campus a week early, allowing them to adapt to their new surroundings and then begin their academic journey on the right foot, then supports them throughout the academic year with mentorship and programming. It also features a $1,000 scholarship for students who finish the year in the program.

Victoria signed up for CSC, and she is glad she did.

“I felt well-prepared, because I learned so much about the school the first week,” Victoria says. “I found my way around campus. I was told where I could go whenever I needed help. I also made some friends, which was important, because I knew that I was not going to be alone.”

2021 President's Report Cover

President's Report 2021

Read more stories from the 2021 annual report from Michael Driscoll, president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.