EducationQuest’s 2018 Hall of Fame inductees are the TRIO Project Achieve program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Mel Clancy, the man who built Project Achieve into the successful program it is today. Mel retired from UNO in 2017.

About Project Achieve

TRIO Project Achieve is a federally-funded Student Support Services program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The Project Achieve team (pictured above) serves 160 students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or are students with disabilities. They provide these students with support services that help them become efficient and independent learners and thus succeed in college. Project Achieve’s history of success is remarkable.

During 2016-17, over half of the program’s students earned a 3.0 GPA or higher – and over half participated in community service opportunities. Project Achieve also exceeds federal TRIO program goals in that:

  • Nearly 90% of students persisted to the next academic year.
  • 94% have stayed in good academic standing
  • And 61% graduated within 6 years.

Seventy of EducationQuest’s Reaching Your Potential scholarship recipients were referred by Project Achieve.

Lisa Mueller, EducationQuest Director of Scholarships said, “I’ve had the good fortune to work hand-in-hand with the Project Achieve team for several years. With them, I know our scholarship recipients are in good hands and are part of a great support system on campus. The entire team is compassionate and they truly care about their students.”



About Mel Clancy

Mel joined the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2005 as director of TRIO Project Achieve after retiring from Omaha Public Schools where he had served as a teacher, principal, and director of elementary education. In his early career at OPS and during his tenure at Project Achieve, Mel has always been “all-about” his students. He worked hard every day to serve UNO’s number one strategic goal – to be student centered.

In 2016, the Nebraska Board of Regents recognized Mel with a “KUDOs Award” noting that he is known around campus for his jubilant and bubbly personality.

A former colleague stated that Mel was the master of inclusion. Every person entering the office—or even passing by in the hall— was made to feel welcomed. His focus was always on individual strengths and he brought those strengths out in everyone.  In addition, when Mel joined Project Achieve, he stopped representing it as a remedial program. Instead, he focused on the premise that each student had potential and ability – and given their background, they were as good as any other student.  Due to this, staff saw student confidence and performance grow.

Brad Brown, EducationQuest’s outreach services manager, worked closely with Mel and Project Achieve over several years. He added:

“The partnership between EducationQuest and Project Achieve gave me the great honor of meeting and collaborating with a great leader – Mel Clancy.  Mel has a passion to serve the needs of students and inspire creativity, create opportunity and teach them to think for themselves.  Over the years I have seen him interact with students and staff and I can say without hesitation, he cares about Project Achieve’s mission but more than that, he cares about the people in it and the students impacted by it.“

About the Hall of Fame

EducationQuest developed the Hall of Fame in 2016 to highlight college and career successes achieved by those who have used our programs and services.

EducationQuest selects Hall of Fame inductees annually and honors them at the biennial College Access Symposium.