Odyssey alum

As Odyssey lights a spark within students, Onward Odyssey feeds the flame.

Onward Odyssey

Onward Odyssey: Continuing the journey



With three-quarters of Odyssey graduates taking additional college courses after Odyssey, there is an enormous opportunity to work more closely with these students on their education pathways to increase college retention and graduation rates.

Onward Odyssey addresses this need by connecting alumni with other UW-Madison courses taught on or off the UW campus. In the past, these courses have included a Special Education Paraprofessional training course, a Food Systems course taught by Professor Alfonso Morales, an African American Studies course taught by Professor Craig Werner, Creative Writing courses taught by Erin Celello, History courses taught by Ben Shannon, and more. In addition to these courses, Dr. Kevin Mullen has offered an English 100 class to Odyssey alumni focusing on intensive writing skills for the past several years. Onward Odyssey offers a supportive learning community that leverages the strong relationships that Odyssey Project alumni have with each other and with faculty and staff.

In addition to courses, Odyssey can provide some direct financial support to students to supplement their financial aid. This helps students that are struggling to pursue degrees while often supporting a family. Odyssey, with the help of campus partners, offers academic, career, financial, and personal counseling as well as one-on-one tutoring once a week. If Odyssey helps to light a spark within students, Onward Odyssey is focused on feeding this flame.

- 81% of our 500+ alumni have earned college credits or a professional/technical certification beyond the six Odyssey Project credits
- 16% of alumni have earned two-year, four-year, or graduate degrees
- 8% of alumni have earned a technical/professional certificate
- 23% of alumni are currently enrolled in college

“The Odyssey Project opened doors for me. It helped me to believe in myself… Now my son says not ‘if I go to college’ but ‘when I go to college.’”

Keena Atkinson completed the Odyssey Project in 2011 and earned her UW-Madison bachelor’s degree in 2016. After graduation, she was offered an executive management position.

“If it is support and guidance toward your education that you are looking for, then look no further…. Whether you are ready or not, Odyssey will transform you in ways you never knew possible.”

Mai Neng Thao completed the Odyssey Project in 2016 and recently graduated from the Liberal Arts Transfer program at Madison College. She also has completed several Onward Odyssey courses for program alumni and hopes to pursue her bachelor’s degree.

The Odyssey Project “changed how I thought of myself, which changed how I thought of life.”

Corey Saffold completed the Odyssey Project in 2006 and received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UW-Whitewater in 2022. He is now continuing to further his education by attending UW-Madison’s Law School.

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