February Newsletter

Forward Thinking

February 2016                  From the Student Success Initiatives Office                          Issue 13

FORWARD Thinking is just for students who are former foster youth, orphans, wards of the court, or homeless students. Sam Houston State University is here to help you in reaching your graduation success. If you wonder why you are getting this email, please feel free to call our office at 936.294.3422 or drop by to see us at AB4, Suite 202. You can also email us at forward@shsu.edu, or visit our website at www.shsu.edu/forward.

The Bearkat Forward Friends (BFF) Program

The BFF Program provides one-on-one services to FORWARD students. The program encourages students to ask questions, form a plan, or get advice. BFFs will also assist in linking the student to other faculty and staff that may have expertise in a certain area (financial aid, counseling, etc.) and facilitate this meeting. Students can come into the Student Success Initiatives office (AB4, Suite 202) or call, (936) 294-3422, to get in touch with their BFF! Students can also email forward@shsu.edu or directly contact the featured BFF of the week. 

Our featured BFF for this week is Katie Fletcher, Assistant Director of the TRIO Student Support Services program. Katie helps students who are the first in their family to go to college, low income, or have a disability. TRIO SSS provides services like tutoring, advising, mentoring, workshops, and cultural events free to students in the program. Katie has worked for SHSU for over 10 years and loves working with students! She remembers how tough college can be and her goal is to help everyone feel more comfortable and confident than she did at that age. Because the TRIO SSS program covers lots of different areas of student life, Katie knows about a lot of things! If she does not know the answer, she knows a lot of people on campus she can call on to get your question answered. Outside of work, Katie is usually studying for her Master’s degree program, but also loves to spend time with her husband and their two rescue dogs, go running, and read. 

For more information about the TRIO SSS program, visit its website. You can contact Katie Fletcher through email, phone(936-294-1615), or at the TRIO SSS office located in the Teacher Education Center Room 316.

Katie Fletcher

BFF Katie Fletcher
Assistant Director of the TRIO SSS Program
Department of Student Success Initiatives

FosterClub All-Stars Internship

The FosterClub All-Stars Internship Program is based in Seaside, Oregon, with travel across the country! You will receive training on leadership and public speaking, and reach out to younger foster youth through conferences, trainings, and events. Together, you and other interns will work to motivate, educate, and empower foster youth and raise awareness about the foster care system. You will research topics related to child welfare, produce video and audio recordings, and write a blog about your experiences as an All-Star. They are looking for students who spent time in the foster care system, and are especially interested in applicants with leadership experience and from diverse backgrounds.  Travel and lodging experiences are covered, and the interns receive a cell phone stipend, a weekly living allowance, and a larger stipend at the end of the summer. The dates for this summer’s internship are either May 31-July 19 or July 7-August 25 (applicants can choose either) and applications are due by February 20th. Interested? We can help you with the application process! Visit us at the Student Success Initiatives office (AB4, Suite 202), call 936-294-3422, or email forward@shsu.edu. Please also visit FosterClub’s websitefor more information.


We are interested in getting feedback about your experiences with FORWARD and any changes we can make to better fit your needs! Please answer the following questions by February 15th, 2016 in order to be entered into a drawing for a $250 SHSU Bookstore Gift Card! We appreciate your feedback, both positive and negative. All responses will be kept anonymous. You can access the survey here!

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Family Fellowship Program

The Family Fellowship Program is a scholarship program sponsored by Together We Rise, an organization dedicated to helping current and aged-out foster children. The program is seeking 15 new fellows this year and can provide up to $18,000 a year to support you in your educational goals! Applicants must be in their freshman or sophomore year and will also receive support through care packages, frequent communication with the program, and summer or winter bonding trips. The application is due by 11:59PM on March 14th. You can access the application here, and more information about the program and Together We Rise can be found on their website.

FAFSA Applications

Remember that the FAFSA Priority Deadline is approaching very quickly: March 15th! If you need help completing the FAFSA, you can go to the Financial Aid Office located in the Estill Building, call them (936-294-1774), or visit their website.

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Graduation Package

Graduating Seniors: Are you graduating this semester? Don’t forget to apply for the SHSU FORWARD Graduation Package, which includes a free cap, gown, and picture package. Go to our website and click on “Submit the Form Electronically”. You can also download the form and drop it off at the Student Success Initiatives Office (AB4, Suite 202). The deadline for submitting the SHSU FORWARD Graduation Package is April 1st, so make sure you apply soon!


SHSU Food Pantry

food pantryThe SHSU Food Pantry is located at the Canterbury House (1614 University Ave.) and provides food to students in need. Food will be distributed twice a month and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests can be filled out online and must be filled out separately for each distribution date. For more information, visit the Food Pantry’s websiteFacebookTwitter (@shsu-foodpantry), or Instagram (@shsu_foodpantry) pages. The next registration date is February 10th and distribution will occur February 11th!

Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank is sponsoring a free food giveaway! The event will be held at the Huntsville Church of Christ on February 10th and begins at 9AM. Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and you are asked to bring your ID, as well as your own bags, boxes, or baskets to carry your free produce home!

mobile food truck

From the Student Success Initiatives Office
Academic Building IV Suite 202 | Box 2335 | Huntsville, Texas 77341
Phone: 936-294-3422 | FAX: 936-294-2232 | Email: forward@shsu.edu