Solving Problems with Grit and Technology
When Rosi Upchurch moved to Colorado, she decided that getting an education would be her primary goal. She says earning a degree would give her far more professional options — and the accompanying financial security — than her family had ever known.
Upchurch grew up in a northern Illinois community where she says crime and poverty were commonplace. Her mother struggled with mental illness, and her father worked hard to pay the bills. But often, that wasn’t enough. After her parents lost their home in the 2008 financial crisis, Upchurch got a job to help support the family. Yet having seen many family members constrained in their job options due to limited advanced education, she knew that earning a college degree would be key to a better way of life.
Now Upchurch anticipates graduating from the University of Denver in June, completing her bachelors in information technology through University College. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society, she is also working to earn her masters in information and communications technology (ICT) with focus in project management, as well as a certificate for ICT database design and administration. She will finish both her masters degree and certificate in December 2022.
As a DU employee working in the Gift Administration & Records Management department of Advancement, Upchurch has opportunities daily to do what she loves: finding ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency while solving problems to help her colleagues. In her work and her education, technology is central. Throughout her career, she wants to collaborate to utilize technology to solve problems.
As to solving the question of how she would gain the education that she had long desired, scholarships were central, Upchurch says.
“It’s so important to understand how gifts of scholarships can be life-changing for people like me,” she says. “For nontraditional, first-generation students of color, many opportunities that we want are out of reach because of historical inequities. Generational inequities make achieving a degree so much more challenging. Scholarships make it possible.”
Scholarships are allowing her to finish her degrees 5 years sooner than she otherwise would have. They give her an experience closer to that of a traditional student, taking multiple classes simultaneously. Being a student in University College has also given her a unique perspective on the experiences of nontraditional students and their deeply motivated pursuit of education.
“DU is very focused on the student experience, which is so important,” Upchurch says. “We have the opportunity to consider the challenges of working with nontraditional students who may have families to care for, who may not live in Denver, and who may have full-time jobs. How can we connect with them in the same way we connect with traditional students? DU has a mind and a heart for that.”
With a knack for solving problems alongside her expertise and education in information technology, Upchurch is creating the bright future that once seemed beyond her reach.
To learn about how your gift in support of scholarships can make a difference in the lives of students like Rosi, contact ScholarshipGiving@DU.edu.