HEOP at Clarkson

Students and staff in Clarkson's HEOP program gather together for a group photo during the holidays.

HEOP at Clarkson is a very hands-on experience meant to holistically support HEOP students from the minute they officially choose Clarkson as their home for the next few years. While at Clarkson, each HEOP student receives hands-on academic advising, career and graduate school counseling, and personal and social support to ensure that they are on track to achieve their goals. Through consistent one-on-one attention, HEOP staff members are able to identify and connect HEOP students with resources, such as tutoring and mentoring services.



What does HEOP look like at Clarkson? 
  • We offer academic, financial and personal growth support to compliment your promise and potential to obtain your college degree. Students have access to significant student-centered support systems that include a mandatory summer bridge program known here at Clarkson University as SPREE. 
  • Each student receives individual academic advising, career and graduate school support in addition to personal and social support to ensure that they are on track to achieve their goals. Through consistent one-on-one attention, HEOP staff members are able to identify and connect HEOP students with resources such as tutoring and mentoring and career services. 
  • Furthermore, Clarkson University along with New York State and federal taxpayers provide full need financial aid assistance to invest in our HEOP students to provide access to their college degree. 
  • A Summer Pre-freshman Experience (SPREE) is provided and is a mandatory four week summer program that assists students with the transition to postsecondary education on a residential campus at no cost - tuition, housing, and meals are all covered by the university. 
  • Students can earn up to eight credits through courses such as Pre-Calculus, Fundamentals of Business, Perspectives in Science and Technology, and Introduction to STEM. During SPREE, students also participate in a variety of team-building and cohort development exercises to build problem solving, and creative thinking skills.
The HEOP Family at Clarkson! 
  • We are happy to have 57 students annually enrolled in our HEOP program, from freshmen to seniors. We typically bring in between 14 and 16 pre –freshmen students every summer as we graduate an average of 12 students a year. Our extended HEOP family reaches up to 400 alumni who continue to support and mentor and network with our current students. 
  • Furthermore, our HEOP students are supported by a very genuine, passionate and experienced group of HEOP staff members; Director, Tammy McGregor-Twiss; Assistant Director, Elizabeth Girard; Admission and Academic Counselor, Gabrielle Smith; and Student Retention Specialist, Maya Dufresne. 

Applying to HEOP

HEOP Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for HEOP, you must:

  • Be a New York State resident for at least one year prior to enrolling into HEOP.
  • Be a New York State high school graduate or possess a state-approved equivalency diploma or its equivalent.
  • Meet HEOP financial and academic guidelines, as established by New York State and the Clarkson University HEOP Office.
  • Demonstrate high potential and motivation for attaining a college education.
Transfer Students: 

Please contact the HEOP Admissions Counselor to indicate your interest in becoming a member of HEOP at Clarkson. Transfer students are only eligible for HEOP at Clarkson University if they have been enrolled in the following NYS opportunity programs: HEOP, EOP, SEEK. 

Application Process:
  • Complete the Clarkson University Application or the Common Application by January 15th. Make sure to select “HEOP” on the Clarkson University Supplement. 
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 15th: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. Clarkson code is 002699.
  • If deemed academically eligible, you will be asked to provide documentation to prove financial eligibility. Please provide these within two weeks of the date you receive the email in order to be further considered for the program. If you have any trouble at all providing these documents, please contact the HEOP Admissions Counselor. [Note: For first years starting Fall 2021, financial documentation from the 2019 tax year will be considered.]
Important Notes:
  • Even if you are not sure about whether you qualify or not, it does not hurt to apply - if we find that you are not academically and financially eligible, you may be considered by Regular Admissions.
  • There is no Early Decision option for HEOP. Applicants should be aware that admission to this program is competitive, and that only a limited number of spaces are available each year. 
  • Check your email very frequently to see if there are any updates to your Clarkson HEOP application.

Meet the Staff

Elizabeth Girard headshot, a staff member of Clarkson HEOP

Elizabeth Girard, Higher Education Opportunity Program, Assistant Director 

Liz has been with Clarkson University's HEOP for over 3 years, serving as Admission & Academic Counselor just short of one year and Assistant Director thereafter.

Prior to joining the HEOP family, Liz was drawn to work within the community and higher education. Some of these experiences included her work at Rose Hill Adolescent Rehabilitation Treatment Center and Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley. At St. Lawrence University, she worked in Career Services and Student Accessibility Services.

Liz proudly serves as the advisor for the Clarkson University chapter of the nationally recognized Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

In her free time Liz enjoys growing plants, fishing, and building things.

Maya Dufresne headshot, a staff member of Clarkson HEOP

Maya Dufresne, Higher Education Opportunity Program, Student Retention Specialist

Maya holds a BA in Journalism and a Master of Science in Education - Curriculum and Instruction. From 2004-2018, Maya taught English and Chinese in various institutions and colleges; and she worked as a Program Coordinator in the Student Diversity and Inclusion office at Clarkson University, before joining our HEOP program.

Maya loves oil painting, Chinese calligraphy, and jazz. She enjoys exercising and yoga. If the world goes back to normal, she would like to travel throughout the world to visit historical sites. 

Contact US

Higher Education Opportunity Program

By Phone: (315)-268-7974
By Email: cuheop@clarkson.edu
By Mail: Box 5513
8 Clarkson Avenue
Potsdam, NY 13699