Case manager supports success of independent, former foster care students
Penn State Abington students who encounter challenges to achieving success have a full-time advocate in case manager Mary Ellen Glick, who helps students address life circumstances that create barriers on the path to earning their degrees.
"Getting into college doesn’t mean getting through college,” she said.
Glick works with any Abington student, but she specifically coordinates the campus's targeted, holistic support for those who have spent time in foster care as part of the University-wide Fostering Lions program, or those who are classified as independent. Her assistance includes ongoing coaching, connecting students to services, developing skills for post-college success, and even care packages during finals week.
“I see a lot of students who are working, struggling with transportation, studying. I can be a thought partner with them to strategize a big-picture plan and make sure they are accessing financial resources from the University or the government and balancing that against academic program needs,” she said.
Glick said former foster youth and independent students are often hidden populations. They are identified through a variety of means including surveys at new student orientation and assorted points of contact throughout campus.
"We don’t want students to miss out on eligibility for assistance because of lack of awareness. We want to make sure they know there are benefits out there based on their individual circumstances and coach them through the steps to receive grants and benefits,” she said.
Glick hosts a monthly complimentary dinner with this cohort, sometimes arranging for a speaker, but also to help them develop relationships with each other.
“I am a resource for them, but they can also be a resource for each other,” she said.