WNC’s Higher Education in Prison program was recognized this month by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Social Work at its inaugural “Celebrating Social Work Leaders” event at the Nugget Casino Resort.
The college’s Higher Education in Prison program received the Social Justice Award, which recognizes an individual or group who work with or on behalf of vulnerable and/or oppressed individuals or groups of people toward social change. Work focuses primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination and other forms of injustice.
“We are very proud of this recognition,” said WNC President Dr. Vincent Solis. “Our team members have been working very hard on creating a program that provides more than educational services to our students. This program provides hope and access to a better life via the transformative power of education.”
Deb Conrad and Kim DesRoches have been leading this prison program, which serves more than 140 students at Northern Nevada and Warm Springs correctional centers.
“Our incarcerated students’ worlds open up, despite the bars they live behind, when they take the first step in their pursuit of postsecondary education, but none of this would be possible without the dedicated efforts of our partners at the Nevada Department of Corrections’ Warm Springs and Northern Nevada correctional centers,” said Conrad, HEP coordinator. “This recognition belongs, in part, to them as well.”
DesRoches, the program’s support specialist and a history professor on the Carson City campus, said that many other campus members contributed to the success of the program and to the award.
“We would not be able to serve the needs of our students without the support and assistance of our Liberal Arts and PAT division directors, Admissions and Records, Financial Aid and the Business Office,” she said. “It truly takes our village at WNC to make all of this happen, and this award is a reflection of the dedicated work of so many on campus.”