Miriam Bocchetti – HEP and CAMP director takes on national director role

Star Diavolikis, Senior Reporter

Miriam Bocchetti, CWU’s current HEP and CAMP director and principal investigator, will be sworn in as the National President of the HEP and CAMP program this coming July. Since 2019, Bocchetti has been the president-elect.

According to the National HEP and CAMP Association website, the HEP program has existed since 1967 and the CAMP program has existed since 1972. Both aim to help students from seasonal farm-worker or migrant families. HEP helps people achieve an equivalent of a high school education, and CAMP helps first-year college students.

The decision for her to be the next president of the board was not made through an interview process, board members simply ask if they have anybody that should be nominated.

“We don’t interview, someone just elects you,” Bocchetti said. “A colleague of mine said, ‘Hey, do you want to be president-elect?’ I said ‘Sure,’ she said ‘Okay, I’ll put your name forward.’ So they take nominations from the floor, ask three times, and then they pass out ballots, and that’s how I became president-elect.”

Bocchetti said she would have willingly been the president-elect years ago, however, there was too much going on in her life to handle taking on the responsibility of the position.

Though Bocchetti was not the president-elect until 2019, she has been on the board since 2009 as a western stream CAMP representative, and was also the board’s secretary for six years. Throughout that time, she has had many duties to fulfill, including training new directors, being the co-chair for the national conference planning committee and traveling for meetings.

“I always take the exact same flight to D.C., the same Sunday, every July. It’s like clockwork,” Bocchetti said. “And then the minute I get to D.C., I don’t really check in, I just race to our legislative [representative’s] office in downtown D.C., and we’re there until midnight sometimes just discussing issues that are facing HEP and CAMP.”

All of these duties are on top of her responsibilities at CWU and her work on her dissertation for a phD program for higher education leadership at Colorado State University.

Bocchetti said she has always admired the board, including before she joined the board, and hoped to be up there with them. When becoming president-elect, she said she felt great and overwhelmed.

“I feel proud, I feel pride, prideful for sure,” Bocchetti said. “You know, that someone thought I was capable and competent enough to fulfill the role of president-elect. I feel, gosh, like, a little bit overwhelmed? Just because I am very busy running HEP and CAMP. We do a lot in the HEP and CAMP programs and have efficiency and you know, retention and recruitment measures that the government places on these programs and we have to meet those.”

Bocchetti said she enjoys leading any program. She said she enjoys sharing her vision, having a collective mission and working together with others to complete it.

She does not feel many changes are needed. The only change she hopes to start is a trend of featuring staff in the program every month to give recognition and raise awareness of staff nationwide. “Our programs are doing really well, we’re really achieving high efficiency numbers, so we’re doing a lot with the money that we are funded,” Bocchetti said. “You know, there’s some things getting into the real nitty gritty of grant writing.”

With grant writing, people may get prior experience points which have more persuasion compared to new applicants. However, the way these points are awarded are not specific. Bocchetti said the Office of Migrant Education does not tell what guidelines are needed to be followed to earn these points.

“As president, I would kinda love to push that and ask like, why can’t we know that? The TRIO programs know exactly how those points are awarded, why can’t we? What’s the big secret?” Bocchetti said.

TRIO is a Student Support Services (SSS) program that provides support to low-income, first generation or disabled college students. Services provided to eligible students include personal and academic career counseling, career guidance, mentoring and tutoring, among others.

Overall Bocchetti feels happy and content with her board position, how the program is run and how the students are.

“HEP and CAMP are awesome programs, and I don’t say that because I’m biased … So many good things happen with our students, and they’re so resilient and determined,” Bocchetti said.