From online to in person: Launching the Odyssey Class of 2022

Marisol and family

The 19th year of the award-winning UW Odyssey Project will begin on September 8, with 30 adults embarking on a two-semester journey leading to six UW credits and a new sense of hope. Newly admitted student Brandyn writes in his application, “When my mom completed Odyssey, I was proud of her. Now I ask of the people at the Odyssey Project, can you please assist me in finding my passion and achieving my true path in life?”

After a full year of online instruction and graduation, Odyssey eagerly returns to in-person classes this fall, with COVID safety protocols in place. In this ten-minute video emailed to all incoming students, Odyssey codirectors Emily Auerbach and Kevin Mullen, Odyssey alum and Friends of Odyssey Board member René Robinson, Odyssey alum and success coach Brian Benford and local leaders Rev. Alex Gee and Dr. Carol Griggs, welcome them while urging them to get vaccinated.

Brandyn and daughterMany of the students in Odyssey’s Class of 2022 learned about the program through family members who graduated. Brandyn notes, “Everything my mother does [including graduating from Odyssey] inspires me to do greater. She went from raising three kids and struggling, to having a day named after her in Madison and being named 2018 Madison Photographer of the Year. My sister also graduated from the Odyssey Project. I want to be great and happy and to be a good father for my beautiful daughter.”

Another student learned about Odyssey while he was incarcerated; his girlfriend would tell him about the class she was taking and how it was changing her life. Others answered the question of how they learned about Odyssey with comments such as:

  • “My uncle graduated from Odyssey.”
  • “I saw on Facebook how my friend gained confidence through this program.”
  • “My mom dropped out after middle school but wants to see me go to college.”
  • “My parents are both alumni of this wonderful program and inspired me to follow suit.”
  • “Past students told me about the program. I want to be a nurse and a good father. I hope my children will see me pursuing my degree and will be inspired to want more in life as well.”

On the first day of class, Odyssey Class of 2022 students will receive this welcome Oracle newsletter, featuring photos and words of encouragement from some of our 500+ alumni. We look forward to introducing you to the faces and thoughts of our newest members of the Odyssey community in our September newsletter.