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NSU joins Lead Learn Live to create the RiverHawks Scholar Program

From left to right: Dr. Jodi Legnon, Lead Learn Live board secretary, Christina Knight, LLL board treasurer, Aietah Stephens, director of Sooner Success and LLL board vice president, Julie Lacke , LLL Executive Director, NSU President Steve Turner, Dr. Debbie Landry, provost and academic vice president, Dr. Eloy Chavez, dean of the College of Extended Learning.
Julie Lacke , LLL Executive Director, and NSU President Steve Turner

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) - Northeastern State University has teamed up with Lead Learn Live to create the RiverHawks Scholar Program, the first of its kind in Oklahoma. Together, NSU’s Continuing Education and LLL will establish an inclusive four-year post-secondary certificate program for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Dean of the College of Extended Learning Dr. Eloy Chavez said the main goal of the RiverHawks Scholar Program is to provide a college-style living and learning environment for individuals that have mild/moderate intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and who might not otherwise have the chance to experience this lifestyle.

Scholars will live on campus, integrated with other students, with a trained community advisor in close proximity. The students will receive direct instruction as needed. They will participate in campus activities, clubs and organizations of their choice, and they will be engaged in a physical fitness routine with a peer mentor.

Scholars will take two traditional university classes in areas of interest with appropriate supports, in addition to one specialized session each semester. Scholars will also be placed in a time-limited job sampling as well as paid and unpaid internships throughout their four years with NSU.

Chavez said the RiverHawks Scholar Program’s specific goals are to help the students experience and become productive in an independent living scenario, gain social skills in communication, build lasting friendships, build on intellectual development through academics, and provide a path to meaningful employment in a career of their choice.

An initial donation of $85,000 was made by LLL in order to develop the program. Through a memorandum of understanding, the organization has committed additional donations totaling $225,000 over the next three school years to make the program sustainable.

Chavez said, “this program is a double win for the students in the program, as well as our NSU community, and will include current students supporting the program.”

The RiverHawks Scholars Program will begin with the first cohort of students in August. The RiverHawks Scholar Application Committee will review applications and will accept five qualified applicants for the fall semester.

For more information and an application for the Scholar Program, please visit

Published: 5/3/2018 12:29:14 PM

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