Summer Ascent Program Helps Students Overcome Challenges

Heather Di Piano ’23. Mackenzie Fullerton ’17 photo.

Heather DiPiano ’23 is the kind of student people believe in.

A police officer she knew in high school recommended her for a job at a local deli, and Heather worked after school and 10-hour weekend shifts to earn college money. She heard good things about PSU, but her college dream began to fade due to an unstable situation. She left home to pursue her dream, and rather than dip into precious college funds, she stopped eating lunch.

The deli owner intervened with meat, cheese, and rolls. “If you work here, you’re family,” he told her. This crucial support helped Heather get over a very rough patch, and she eventually returned home.

Higher education should be more than just a dream.

The officer and owner both believed in Heather, and so does Plymouth State. She benefited from the University’s Summer Ascent Program, which helps bright students who face great challenges acclimate to college life. Programs like this can be the difference between college success or failure. More than half of all PSU students are either first generation or low income, and nine out of ten count on donor support for scholarship and financial aid assistance. Please visit to learn how you can help our many deserving students.

■ Peter Lee Miller