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Kai Aviles Named

2021 Dell Scholar

March 9th 2021


West Burke – College has become more attainable for Kai Aviles from West Burke, VT. This week, Kai was officially awarded the title of 2021 Dell Scholar. The Dell scholars program selects 500 highly motivated students from across the United States every year who demonstrate the drive to succeed despite personal obstacles. Candidates are chosen by their demonstration of a unique "GPA" of Grit, Potential, and Ambition in their quest for a college education. As a Dell Scholar, Kai will receive a total of $20,000, awarded in $5,000 increments over the four years of their college program. Additionally, Kai will receive comprehensive academic, financial, and emotional support from the program, access to an extensive Scholars Resource Network, access to a teletherapy service, a laptop, and annual Chegg credits to be used to attain textbooks. Kai is the exact student that the Dell Scholar’s Program seeks to serve. They are determined, intelligent, and kind and have set themselves up for success in college and beyond.

Kai is an ambitious scholar who currently attends Lyndon Institute in Lyndonville, Vermont. In school, Kai takes a full college preparatory and honors level course load while also playing on the varsity ultimate Frisbee team. Kai is also extraordinarily passionate about the performing arts and has dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy to the theater and drama clubs at LI. Kai attributes their time with the theater department at Lyndon Institute as a huge part of their success thus far, and acknowledges that theater has kept them motivated throughout high school, and is a very safe and inclusive community that Kai is proud to be a part of. Kai is also a very important part of their community and has volunteered over 200 hours with the Saint J. History and Heritage Center, Umbrella, the Green Mountain Book Store, Cobleigh Library, and with LI. Kai truly understands what it means to serve their community and really enjoys giving back and helping whenever they can. Kai is also very passionate about social justice issues and has become a very involved social justice advocate and ally over the past couple of years.

Determined to find a path for themselves that would ensure a college education, Kai joined the Upward Bound program housed at the Northern Vermont University Lyndon campus. They have been an active participant in the program for the past four years and have worked hard to tap into their own potential and establish a path that will lead them to a college education. Kai has dedicated their entire high school career to future planning, college tours, leadership opportunities, college and career research, getting involved in the community and school, and taking a very rigorous college preparatory coursework. This is exactly what a college bound student needs to do to be successful and it will pay off in the form of college acceptances and scholarships for college. Upward Bound is one of the federally funded TRIO educational opportunity programs, and supports students from modest-income backgrounds who are often the first in their families to attend college. 

Kai plans to study social work or psychology while in college and they are very prepared to take this next step in their educational journey! Kai is a true emerging leader and rising star and is well positioned for future success. Kai, whose grit and determination is evident in their unrelenting efforts to learn more about and gain access to a post-secondary degree, is the perfect example of an Upward Bound student and is sure to find success in college and beyond. Moreover, Kai is the perfect student to receive the Dell Scholarship. This award will change their life.

NVU-Lyndon Upward Bound Scores Victory at

17th Annual Green Mountain Scholar’s Bowl

March 6th, 2021


On Saturday, March 6th Plattsburgh State University Upward Bound hosted the 17th annual Green Mountain Scholar’s Bowl competition which was held virtually for the first time ever. The event was two hours long and consisted of 8 teams of Upward Bound scholar’s from 7 different programs. The competing programs were: Castleton, UVM, and NVU Lyndon and Johnson Upward Bound from Vermont, Keene State Upward Bound from New Hampshire, and Plattsburgh State and SUNY Adirondack Upward Bound from New York. 47 Student Participated total.

The event kicked off with an expansive Zoom call in which each program took turns presenting a short video about their respective university. The competition officially began after this, and students were assigned to break out rooms based on previously assigned teams within their program. Once in the breakout rooms, students had ten minutes to answer five multiple choice questions on a Google Form based on a specific category. This year the categories were Science, Social Studies, SAT Math, SAT Reading and Writing, and College Preparation. Once time was up, students rejoined the regular meeting and points were awarded to teams for correct answers. After all five rounds were completed, the highest scoring team was named the winner! NVU Lyndon Upward Bound had two teams of four students participating in the event and secured 1st and 3rd place in the competition. Impressively, the winning team only missed one of twenty-three valid questions. SUNY Plattsburgh’s students also had a good showing, with one of their teams finishing at a close second.    

TRIO Upward Bound Scholar Amber Wolf

Named NEOA Achiever Rising Star

March 5th 2021

Amber Wolf from Vershire, Vermont was recently awarded the New England Educational Opportunity Association (NEOA) Rising Star Award for her academic achievements to date, and participation in the TRIO Upward Bound program. The NEOA Rising Star Award honors emerging leaders who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and serve as a role model for other low income, first generation, and college bound students and students with disabilities. Amber was a member of the Upward Bound program at Northern Vermont University – Lyndon, where she participated in a six week residential program, took classes on the NVU-Lyndon campus, participated in community service, leadership trips, cultural activities and college tours, and utilized the help of Upward bound counselors to explore colleges and careers, and to create her unique path to college.

Amber grew up in the Upper Valley of Vermont in the town of Vershire, and graduated from Rivendell Academy in Orford, NH. She worked incredibly hard, taking advantage of every opportunity presented to her and excelling academically. Very involved in the school, Amber was a National Honor Society Inductee, board member of the Cross Rivendell Trials Association,  and helped organize Rivendell’s first ever Cross Country team, earning the central Vermont League (CVL) Division 4 championship in 2012 and 2013. She also studied for a semester at The Mountain School in Vershire, joining 45 other bright, motivated students to live and work on the farm in a collaborative, academic, and work-based community. Amber achieved all of this while maintaining high honor roll status in a very rigorous curriculum filled with college prep, honors, dual enrollment and college level classes including one at Dartmouth College.

Amber went on to attend the College of the Atlantic (COA): a very small, private, liberal arts college in Bar Harbor Maine that specializes in Human Ecology. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology with concentrations in Biology, Molecular Genetics, Botany, Conservation, and Wildlife Ecology. She was extraordinarily successful and involved during her four years there: interning with the MDI Biological Laboratory, fulfilling the role as a Resident Advisor for three years, accepting positions as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) for five semesters, partaking in many research projects, working as a Mental Health Support Group Facilitator, and staying involved in all aspects of community life at COA.


Upon graduation, Amber was finally able to indulge her more worldly inquisitions. Not only has Amber had a passion for traveling and culture, she also saw the value that a more worldly perspective would bring to her professional career. She was selected to go to Japan as part of the HELIO program to design a school on the Island of Osakikamijima. For two weeks Amber traveled, learned from a master calligrapher, studied the architecture and art/cultural practices, visited their parliament, discussed plans for the intellectual foundation of the school, and presented her work with a group of other students to the town and the town's Mayor. From there, Amber spent nearly 8 months circumnavigating the globe; visiting eight countries in seven months as part of a cultural exchange called WorkAway. She volunteered with families and did a variety of jobs: from dairy farming in New Zealand, and attending an Italian cooking school in Australia, to tending an olive grove in Italy, and a wine vineyard in England.


Amber returned to Bar Harbor Maine after almost a year abroad and accepted a full time position with the MDI Biology Lab as a Resident Advisor for summer students in the community lab: completing cruise ship monitoring, water quality testing, and phytoplankton monitoring - looking for toxic species that make people sick through consuming certain seafood. That position propelled Amber into her current position as a Research Assistant in the Drummond Lab working on kidney regeneration. She has excelled in this role and really values the impact that she is making in the field of science. With that being said, Amber never fails to continue to look toward future opportunities and has recently applied to 14 different Ph.D. and M.A. programs for Clinical Psychology.


It is safe to say that Amber truly is a Rising Star, and she is the exact person TRIO programs like Upward Bound are made for - bright, inquisitive, motivated, passionate, social, dedicated, kind, and community centered. Although she did not grow up with the all the tools and resources that are needed to be successful in higher education, Amber worked incredibly hard to beat the odds stacked against TRIO-eligible students. She has taken full control over her education, created opportunities for herself and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree, travel the world, build a career, and achieve an enormous amount of success for her age. She is now extraordinarily happy in the beginning of her professional career and is excited for the endless opportunities that her future holds!

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