LAWRENCE – Rebecca Dukstein, director of the TRIO Talent Search program at the University of Kansas, was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Kansas City Kansas Community College Foundation, April 27 at the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame Awards and Scholarship Event.
“It’s amazing and humbling to be honored alongside so many community and educational leaders I’ve admired over the years,” Dukstein said. “In the field of college access and success, we help youths walk through the doors of opportunity toward higher education. Every day, we support students in becoming who they are meant to be, and that feels pretty incredible.”
Dukstein, a KU alumna, has served as director of KU’s office for the federally funded TRIO Talent Search program since 1994, and she has spent her entire career advocating for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college education. Talent Search, one of eight federally funded TRIO programs in the KU Achievement & Assessment Institute’s Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP), prepares students in grades six through 12 for postsecondary education, working with about 1,000 middle and high school students from Wyandotte County each year. Many TRIO students are the first in their family to attend college.
For the past 25 years, Dukstein has helped thousands of middle and high school students in northeast Kansas pursue their college dreams by providing academic and career-exploration workshops, college preparation sessions, family events, advising, college visits, assistance with college-application and financial-aid processes, and summer programming. She also oversees the “YES Scholars” scholarship program, a partnership between KU TRIO Talent Search and KCKCC that provides eighth-graders with a scholarship to the community college. She served for over 15 years as a national trainer in the field of college access and success.
Dukstein also has written state and federal education grants that have brought more than $10 million to KU to fund programs that increase educational opportunities for students in northeast Kansas who otherwise might not go to college. TRIO Programs like Talent Search help achieve KU’s Bold Aspirations goals of engaging with local communities and partners to ensure student success.
Photo: Courtesy of Kansas City Kansas Community College.