Loving our graduates

Collage of Odyssey graduates in their caps and gowns

We love supporting Odyssey graduates as they go on after our two-semester jump-start humanities course to earn certificates, two-year, four-year, and advanced degrees. The photo collage above celebrates eight Odyssey alumni who earned degrees in 2021 despite the pandemic. Other alumni will receive degrees in May 2022.

Please help us continue supporting more Odyssey students as they work toward goals that many were told would be impossible. With over 500 graduates of our program, we need new donations to keep their educational dreams alive!

We strive to help our graduates keep going toward their degrees. Here are brief updates on some of our alumni who earned degrees, even during a pandemic:


Jelissa and her two children on the cover of BRAVA magazineJelissa
Jelissa graduated in December 2021 with an associate degree in applied science for business management. A graduate of Odyssey’s Class of 2016, Jelissa was featured on the cover of BRAVA Magazine a few years ago and plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in business in the fall of 2022. Jelissa notes, “I will utilize my degree to effectively and efficiently operate, run, and manage my publishing business.” Like many Odyssey alumni, Jelissa looks back at the program as a turning point: “Participating in Odyssey opened up many new doors for me. I knew that the possibilities were endless.”


Joana in her graduation cap and gownJoanna
Joanna graduated from Odyssey in 2006, inspiring her sister Rocio and mother, Socorro, to do the same the following year. Joanna has experienced many bumps in the road but remains determined to complete her studies to become an accountant. She received a one-year diploma from Madison College in 2021 and hopes to receive her associate degree after one more semester of classes. She writes, “Odyssey has helped me and family members further our education. My sister is continuing until she gets her master’s [degree] in psychology. I’m very grateful for having attended the Odyssey Project.”


Kiara in her graduation cap and gownKiara
Kiara, Odyssey Class of 2011, received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Tennessee State University magna cum laude in 2021. Kiara says Odyssey helped her dream of a better future and envision her daughter — only a baby then — as college bound. “She’s doing phenomenally in school and even skipped a grade,” Kiara writes proudly. Kiara plans to pursue a master’s degree in political science.


 Tasha in her cap and gown posing her her daughtersTasha
After graduating summa cum laude from Edgewood College in May 2021, Tasha (Odyssey ’09) accepted two roles with The Business Forum: co-chair of the Community Investment Committee and member of the Board of Directors. Recently accepted into graduate school at Edgewood College, she began classes last month in organizational behavior and change. A mother of two daughters, Tasha has worked for the Dean Medical Group as a program outreach specialist and recently received a promotion.


Anthony in his cap and gown posing next to Odyssey Project signageAnthony
A graduate of Odyssey ‘04, recording artist, restorative justice coordinator, first-generation college student, and father of five, Anthony earned his bachelor’s degree from UW–Superior in August 2021 and just completed his first semester of graduate school in UW–Madison’s Educational Leadership and Policy program on a McNair fellowship. Anthony proudly texted a transcript showing he aced his four fall classes. Of Odyssey, Anthony notes, “[It] was that catalyst that said, ‘Hey, you can go out into this world and be successful.’ Odyssey gave me confidence and a support network. I will always want to give back to Odyssey because it did so much for me.”

Other 2021 graduates include Dominique (UW master’s degree in social work), Ahmad (UW bachelor’s degree, now in dental school at the University of Iowa), and Jaleah (Odyssey Junior graduate, bachelor’s degree from Central State University). Read their stories and comments about Odyssey.

We salute these eight Odyssey alumni and others who earned degrees despite the pandemic, and we thank the donors who made their journeys possible.

Support the Odyssey Project Fund