TRIO Student Spotlight

  • 2022-23

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  • 2021-22

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    April 2022

    Bintou Kone 

    Bintou is a first-year freshman majoring in Psychology. While she has not yet declared it, she hopes to go into Criminology for her minor.

    She states that she has always been interested in the minds of people, especially those who were incarcerated. She loves watching true crime series and would like to know, more in-depth, about what causes a person to commit a crime. 

    With her degree, she hopes to be able to talk to incarcerated people to learn about their mindsets when they committed their crimes. She would also like to be on a scene of a crime, one day, to figure out the underlying motives for crimes.

    Bintou plans on attending graduate school someday, but after undergrad, she will take a year off to plan out her future more.

    She is currently in the Anime club, but has not yet had the chance to become too involved. She also works at Subway near her house.

    For TRIO, Bintou has been a part of the program for about 8 months, and she would like to thank her mentor, Pen, who has been her biggest support. Pen has helped Bintou through many tough times and says that because of them, she hasn't had a single emotional breakdown due to the stressors of college due to Pen's amazing advice; this has really helped her first year at college go more smoothly. 

    Jmani Mosely 

    Jmani is a first-year freshman who is majoring in Business Management with a Psychology minor.

    In the future, she plans on attending a trade school for cosmetology and for an esthetician license, and she hopes to one day utilize her degree and education to own and operate her own beauty salon/spa. 

    She is currently a member of the National Honors Society and has been on the Dean's list for her amazing grades. She also works as a Rehabilitation Specialist at Eisenhower Rehabilitation Center.

    Jmani is most proud of making it to college; her personal life didn't make it easy, but she says she's proved to herself and to others that she is resilient and cannot be broken. She states that she is also proud of her ability to manage her personal life and schooling because she is an independent student with minimal family support. College, in general, was a big transition or her because she never lived away from home, but she is honored to be an involved student.

    She is glad she didn't let her fear of failure stop her from doing certain things because she conquered every challenge she has attempted.

    Since enrolling at EMU, Jmani has been in TRIO and says that the Writing Cohort was helpful in educating, critiquing, and overall, building her confidence in writing. 

    She is most grateful for her mentor Odia because Odia is one of the few people that challenges her to strive higher, and she is a safe place. Jmani wants to thank Odia for being very easy to talk and relate to and is always non-judgmental.

    March 2022

    Jett Wendler

    Jett is a Senior majoring in Communications with a minor in General Business. He stated that when he got to college, he wasn't sure of what he wanted to go into, and he changed majors several times until he found out that these areas were used in a large variety of professions.

    Since Jett will be graduating this April, his plans for after college will be to find a job in sports communication. He wants to pursue a career involving sports because his whole life has always revolved around sports since he was a little kid. He grew up watching sports and playing baseball and basketball. Although he doesn't play anymore, his love for all sports hasn't died off.

    He said he also considered going for a Master's degree, but he still needs to give himself more time to think about that decision and what is best for him. 

    His greatest accomplishment this year has been maintaining his GPA in his hardest semester of college. He is also very proud of himself for completing his Bachelor's degree.

    Currently, Jett is a stock worker at Gardner White Furniture, but he has been looking to apply for a position with a local sports team, like the Pistons or Red Wings. He and his previous mentor recently got back into contact, who has worked with several sports teams in the area, and has been giving Jett many tips on how he secured those positions in the past. 

    Jett has been a part of TRIO since his Freshman year at college and says that TRIO has definitely been a big part of his experience at EMU. For him, the most valuable part of TRIO has been working with his current mentor. He mentioned how lucky he was to have Josiah as his mentor in his last few years of college and feels that they bonded really well. Not only did the two meet twice a month to make sure he was on the right path, in both school and life, but Josiah was always available through email if any unexpected issues and/or stressors arose at any time. Jett says he would not have had the success he's had at Eastern if it wasn't for Josiah.

    Abby Zajas 

    Abby is a Junior in the Geo-Tourism and Historic Preservation program. One day, she hopes to work in the tourism industry in the United States, but she plans on going overseas to Australia or somewhere in Asia or Europe in the future to experience different cultures.

    Abby really hopes to work as a tour guide abroad. When it comes to working and studying, it can be hard, but finding a job that works with your academic schedule and gives you time to yourself is great. Making time for herself has been hard to balance sometimes, but she said she tends to find the right balance when it's needed. 

    She said that her greatest accomplishment this year has been getting on the Dean's List last semester and maintaining her good grades. 

    She is currently a part of the Housing and Residence Life staff on campus, and she has also been a part of TRIO SSS for three years. Abby is thankful for her mentor who has helped her through many things and the staff members who created a wonderful space for TRIO students. Tutoring has helped her a lot with homework, and it's a great place for her to have somewhere to study and ask questions to someone who can help. 

    She highlighted that one fun part of TRIO was going on the Cultural Trips to Washington D.C. and Chicago because they helped her learn more about bigger cities and to go places she wanted to visit. The trips to the Little Caesar's Arena and Wayne State University was enlightening for her by giving her possible options for after graduation. 

    Abby would like to thank her mom who has supported her a lot through college, and she is incredible grateful for her and all the encouragement she gives. 

    February 2022

    Christina Giles

    Christina is a senior studying Japanese Language & Culture with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She chose this path because she wanted to learn a foreign language and working with children is enjoyable for her. Therefore, she decided to study to be a teacher of English to speakers of other languages! 

    Due to COVID-19, studying abroad has taken a shift. When the opportunity to participate virtually was presented to her, Christina decided to go for it because it would be more financially friendly. Given that it is online, she has to deal with time zone differences and night classes. Despite how long her days are, she believes that the online program is good for her, even when it's a little stressful, because she wants to become fluent in Japanese. 

    Currently, she is working in the Teacher Education office and is a student helper at a Japanese Saturday School in Novi. In two weeks, she will be working as a Japanese tutor for the Japanese department here at EMU. For studying abroad, Christina decided to get involved in Kansai Gaidai's Intercultural Engagement Program (IEP), which creates events for other study abroad students and Kansai Gaidai students to participate in. She is also one of the team leaders in the Language Learning Team.

    Despite the number of responsibilities she has, she says she is proud of her time management skills this semester because she usually struggles with procrastination. This semester, she is trying her best to not only stay on top, but to get ahead, as well. When studying abroad ends, Christina hopes to finish strong and to have improved her Japanese listening and speaking skills. After graduation, she hopes to apply to the Jet program and get a job as an English teacher assistant in Japan. 

    TRIO has been a big part of Christina's journey into becoming a more open person. Every mentor she's had has been willing to listen and be a friend to her, which has been a huge help in her struggle with social anxiety. She said that every successful interaction with her mentors has boosted her confidence. 

    Even though Christina has said 'yes' to many opportunities throughout her time here, she has said 'no' a lot more and regretted her decisions at times. Although she has taken on a lot, and it can be a handful, she does not regret any part of it. She wants to graduate knowing that she took advantage of what was offered to her and leave with no regrets.

    JayJay Rooks

    JayJay is a senior in the Secondary Education program with a concentration in Mathematics and a minor in Leadership. Ever since she was six years old, JayJay found a passion for teaching and knew eventually she wanted to become an educator. She decided on a Leadership minor because she tends to lead with her heart in every situation she's in. Additionally, she wanted to learn more about "Interdisciplinary Leadership" so she can help others identify their leadership styles. 

    JayJay currently works at Ypsilanti High School full-time as a student teacher, and in the evenings, she works as a home health caregiver. She loves going to the school everyday and providing students with the proper support, both inside and out of the classroom. She says that student teaching has been amazing and she loves it. She never knew that she could love and build relationships with her students like she has. Student teaching has also honed the skills that she has been developing over the past years, such as time management, getting organized, building relationships, managing a classroom, and so much more.

    JayJay is also very involved on campus. Other than TRIO, she is a member and participant of the organizations B.A.E., NEXT Scholarships, Pathways Program, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. 

    She says that during her college experience at EMU, TRIO has been one of the best things since her freshman year. She feels supported and loved in the program and absolutely loves and adores the mentors she has had over the years because they have been around for her since day one. She wants to give a shout-out to her current mentor: the Program Director, Anthony Webster. She says she loves what he does for her and thanks him for pushing her in ways she couldn't even imagine. 

    She is most proud of her upcoming graduation and fulfilling her dreams of becoming a high school math teacher. As she goes through her journey in University, she hopes to continue to grow in all areas of her life, but most of all, she is excited to graduate in April. 

    In the future, JayJay wants to go to graduate school for Educational Leadership.

    Janurary 2022

    Jenna Diekman

    Jenna is a senior in the Elementary Special Education Cognitive Impairment program and a first-year student in TRIO SSS. 

    As an undergraduate, she had taken part in multiple field placements that have impacted her decision to pursue special education as her future career, specifically at The Lincoln Center. During her time there, she was placed in an Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom where there were many different behaviors, attitudes, and learning disabilities. She felt drawn to the process of discovering what works for a child so they could succeed in and out of the classroom. One particular experience she had was with a child who experienced verbal skills difficulties. After reviewing their Individualized Education Plan, she found that the support they needed was an iPad with text-to-speech software. This direct experience with the child deepened her love for special education. She says, for a child to succeed, they need proper support given to both them and their families. 

    This semester, Jenna hopes to continue developing professional skills of strong parent-teacher and child-teacher relationships that are needed in an educational environment, such as collaborating with co-teachers and supporting the individual child based on their specific needs. Additionally, she hopes to gain educational knowledge through her student teaching experiences that she can apply to her career like positive behavior systems, writing IEP's, and building professional relationships. Lastly, she hopes to pass her general education student teaching semester. She intends on using her passion, experiences, and future degree to educate children with learning disabilities by teaching various ages of diverse populations. 

    The class Jenna is most excited about this semester is her Special Education Cognitive Impairment class because it will provide her with necessary skills to approach behaviors in a manner that is respectful to the child and can be applied to both specific and general education settings.

    After college, she plans on working in the Wyandotte district because she has seen that they truly focus on what the individual student needs to reach success. Wyandotte is also very community-based, which is another aspect that drew her to establishing a possible career there. Jenna says that she can't predict the future, but she can predict that she will work hard to get to the place in her career that she wants to be.  

    TRIO has influenced her undergrad career by building connections that will last a lifetime. The person who impacted her TRIO journey the most has been her mentor, Remi, who she says always has kind, encouraging words and truly wants her to succeed. She says her mentor always strives to leave a positive impact that inspires her to be a person that makes a positive impact on the world.

    Brooklyn Simpson 

    Brooklyn is a first-year student in the Nursing program and in her first-year of TRIO SSS. 

    She currently works at Olgas, and in the summer, she works both there and at a small, local ice cream shop from her hometown called The Custard Hut. She is currently not involved in any extracurricular activities but hopes to become more involved in the upcoming year or two. 

    Brooklyn chose the Nursing program because she naturally loves to help others and wants to help make healthcare better within the community. This semester, her main priority in school is to do well in her organic and biochemistry classes. She knows these classes will be a lot of hard work, but she is hoping that if she puts in the time and effort, she will be successful. 

    Her dream for after college is to get a nursing job in her hometown and travel around before she settles down and starts her own family. 

    TRIO has vastly effected how Brooklyn has done in college so far. She said that being a first-generation student was really daunting at first, and she had no idea what she was doing, but with the help of her mentor, she was able to complete her first semester with flying colors. Brooklyn pointed out that having her mentor hold her accountable for getting schoolwork done, and who was also able to become a friend to listen to her concerns, was very helpful in making sure she was successful. Her mentor made her college experience great and enjoyable, especially when she came into it being nervous and intimidated. 

    She said that coming into college wasn't ever the easy path for her to take, and because of this, she's had to work twice as hard in high school and even now in college. Creating a better future for herself has always been what keeps her going. 

    Brooklyn is excited to continue her education at Eastern and can't wait to see what she will do in the future of her academic career. She is hoping to do even better this semester, and as time goes by, she becomes even more determined and excited to pursue her dreams. 

    She would like to thank her mentor Ally and her mother for getting her this far and always supporting her through her journey. 

    December 2021

    Dee Stokes

    Dee is a sophomore in the Early Childhood Teaching and Learning program. She chose this major because she comes from a big family, and being around children has always come naturally to her. When she was in grade school she knew she wanted to be a teacher someday but didn't know what kind until she came to college. 

    Along with the TRIO program, she is also involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success. 

    This school year, Dee is striving to get good grades and to keep pushing through her studies. Currently, she is looking forward to taking classes on working with students with special needs because she enjoyed her previous class about this population. 

    In the future, she hopes to open a childcare center for underprivileged families and families with children with disabilities. 

    Dee stated that TRIO has helped her throughout her years at EMU by having amazing mentors who helped her in times of mental and financial crises and by being flexible with her as a student-parent. Her current mentor celebrates Dee's accomplishments as a full-time, hard working mother. Dee said that her child is her motivation to keep going, and her mentor is her backbone.

    She would like to thank the TRIO program for being a great help and to thank her mentor, Ashley, for the love and support she gives. 

    Jack Lyons

    Jack is first-year student at EMU with junior credits from his dual enrollment in the STEM program at Washtenaw Community College while he attended Ypsilanti Community High School. He is also a former Upward Bound student and joined TRIO SSS this past summer.

    Jack is also a member of the Exercise Science Organization (EXSO), the Honors College, and the Black Honors Student Organization (BHSO).

    He chose his major in Exercise Science because he plans on going into physical therapy in the future. He wants to go into the healthcare field because he always wanted to pursue a career where he could directly help people by assisting with their recovery. He wants to give others the same excellent experience he had when he used to go to physical therapy for athletics in high school.

    His favorite classes this semester were his science courses since they'll aid him on his career journey toward physical therapy and his law class which will enable him to think critically in everyday life. 

    Jack stated that TRIO has been very welcoming and helped him look forward to new experiences by easing his anxiety about college. Tutoring sessions have also been very helpful for him when he's stuck on a homework problem. 

    He would like to thank his family members, friends, mentor, and the TRIO staff for helping him keep a positive mindset and for the support throughout this semester.

    November 2021

    Arianna Demars

    Arianna is a newly accepted Nursing student. She has been at EMU for three years and hopes to become a NICU nurse someday because she loves to help people! She herself was prematurely born and spent lots of time in the NICU, so her major is personal to her. 

    Her dream is to give hope to the families of NICU babies by being a physical representation that NICU patients can fight through their journey and have an amazing life ahead of them! She currently works at an assisted living facility for people living with dementia.  

    Arianna's favorite thing about the Nursing program so far is how supportive her clinical group and professors are when students are struggling. She also loves her Health Assessment class, which comes very easy to her.

    She stays motivated by remembering her faith and reminding herself that she "didn't come this far just to come this far; the journey isn't over, it's only just begun." When it comes to classes, Arianna uses flashcards, quizlet, study groups, and has people quiz her on course materials in order to stay prepared for tests and exams. 

    Arianna would like to give a shoutout and thank you to her parents, family, church, friends, boyfriend, and TRIO mentor Elena for always being there for her and supporting her through college and the struggles she's facing. They always push her to do her best, and she really appreciates all that they do for her. 

    Jessica Lowe

    Jessica is a First-Year TRIO student. Currently, she is undecided for her course of study, but she's leaning toward an English major with a minor in Theatre. 

    Someday, she wants to be an author who can write stories that people will enjoy. She is also interested in being a publisher who could help others achieve their goals in writing. She is thinking about the Theatre minor because she participated in theatre in high school and loved it; she doesn't want to give up drama just yet.

    Since Jessica is a first-year student, this is also her first year away from home. She said it's definitely been an interesting time due to the new independence you get when moving away from home. One of her main fears was being so far away from family for the first time. She also misses her pet chinchilla, Jasper. 

    Although the transition to college was hard, Jessica is currently loving her time here at EMU, especially her Writing 121 class and her Theatre class. She loves how she can see her writing improve as the class goes on and the professor is very helpful. She gained confidence through the people in her life who have helped her through these tough times, including her boyfriend who she can always go to for advice. 

    Some things that Jessica hopes to accomplish this year is getting good grades, making new friends, and to continue to work on her self-confidence. She would like to thank her mentor Liz for helping her grow and be more successful, and she would like to thank her boyfriend Chris for all of his help. 

    October 2021

    Gabby Wainwright

    Gabby is a new, first-year student in TRIO SSS who is studying Information Technology. 

    She wanted to learn to code and program before college because she loves all forms of technology, hardware, and software, and is excited to learn more while at EMU. Someday, she hopes to program her own app by herself. Gabby's mentor called her a coding wiz due to her knowledge and passion for the major. 

    Gabby stated that her transition from high school to college wasn't bad, but it took some getting used to due to the different structure of how things operated. Her favorite class so far is her Task Automation for IT Admins class, and outside of classes, she's looking forward to the overall experience of campus life, meeting new people, going to events on campus, and getting involved.

    Currently, she is involved in the Eastern Michigan University's Women's Basketball Organization as one of the team managers. 

    What Gabby is most excited about for TRIO this year is the experiences and opportunities that TRIO offers to students to learn new things, go to different places, and meet new people. 

    Sara Workman

    Sara is majoring in Biology with a concentration in Physiology and a minor in Women & Gender Studies. Her favorite class she's currently taking is Feminist Theory.

    Before EMU, Sara was enrolled in Monroe County Middle College (MCMC) for high school, which is integrated into the Monroe County Community College's campus and offers students the chance to obtain an Associate's degree or equivalent credits. Because of this experience, Sara transferred in 63 credits to EMU, making her a Junior by credit while be in her first year! 

    MCMC made her transition into college go smoothly because she was used to the heavy course load. She said the hardest part of college is being away from friends and family and trying to navigate classes with people who aren't the same age as her.

    She hopes to one day be an emergency room physician in a fast-paced environment of the medical field. One of her goals is to join an organization like Doctors Without Borders to help those in need. 

    Sara is most excited to meet other TRIO members and be a part of the TRIO community! She is also looking forward to growing as an adult, creating a life for herself, and reaching her goals here at college.

    September 2021

    Megan Tammarine

    Megan is currently in her senior year studying Public and Non-Profit Administration with minors in Communication and Language, Literature, and Writing.

    Because graduation is so close for her, she says that as a first-generation student, it's making her feel very excited but nervous for the future because finding a job and paying off student loans is intimidating.

    Looking back, the ones that kept her motivated were her family, friends, and the TRIO cohort, along with her mentor, whom she would like to thank for being the compassionate and caring individual she needed and for being someone she can depend on.

    She strives for her best because she wants to make her family proud and to show her younger family members that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Megan is also hoping that graduation will be in-person this year because she wants to have her grandfather, who has been struggling with his health, to see her walk across the stage. 

    After graduation, Megan hopes to maybe work with children and families in low-income communities. She only wants to do something that will make her happy and is willing to put in the work to find the best job for her! 

    Megan says that TRIO SSS has helped her throughout the years by having that social support and because being in TRIO helped make the transition so much easier to feeling at home at Eastern. 

    Kenneth Curtis II

    Kenneth is studying Women & Gender Studies and minoring in Political Science. He is also the Assistant Site Coordinator of YCS High School Bright Futures through EMU. 

    After a year of hiatus from college, Kenneth decided to come back to pursue his degree. His main motivation to come back was his granny, Tawana. His granny told him that she would love to attend his college graduation just as she did for his high school graduation. He also wants to pay tribute to his late boss Gia who told him not to become a college statistic student who never ends up returning to school after they take a break. 

    Kenneth found that comparing notes with classmates, creating flashcards, and blocking out distractions helped him focus in class and to develop better study habits. 

    His advice for students who are thinking about taking time off is to keep an open line of communication with your college and to make a timeline of professional, personal, and educational goals you would like to accomplish in the future and see how that fits into going back to school. 

    TRIO helped Kenneth through his college career by assisting in navigating the life of a college student, especially during a pandemic. TRIO provided him the guidance, advice, and resources he needed to be successful along his college journey. He would like to thank EMU UpwardBound, his TRIO SSS mentor who helped him through the time-off process and for the return back, and the TRIO team for helping create opportunities.

  • 2020-21

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    April 2021

    Alicia Ethcison

    Major: Psychology
    Minor: Criminal Justice
    Hometown: Saginaw, MI

    When discovering she would soon become a mother, Alicia was beyond excited and beginning to feel whole. Although school, work, and COVID were all factors in her plan, she made a conscious decision to continue managing it all, gracefully. “My game plan was to finish this semester strong with A's and a few B's,” she said.

    In addition to her strength and family support, Alicia credits TRIO for being a kind and helping resource. “Mainly, I feel really thankful for my mentor for being helpful, talking to me and asking about the baby. I really appreciate it,” she says.

    When it came to school, her unborn child gave her the encouragement to keep pushing. Having a bright future  , not only for herself, but for her family as well, school became a driving force throughout her pregnancy. “I want her to have a bright future and a better life than I did growing up so finishing school has been on my mind heavy,” she said.

    While some days were hard and tiring, Alicia continued to push through. In order to prepare for the arrival of her daughter, she completed her school work at least a week in advance. This helped her stay ahead and eliminate the stress of assignments during childbirth.

    Last month, Alicia and her family welcomed a healthy and happy baby girl. “My baby is good,” she says, “She smiles a lot and she has the most amazing little laugh. Motherhood is amazing.” She is enjoying learning about her daughter, motherhood, and how to care for her child.

    Her dedication to her schoolwork doesn't end now that her baby has made her entrance, “to finish this semester I want to get ahead of the schedule and do my work and study during my child's nap time and get prepared for my exams.”

    Alicia advises students with children to keep moving forward! Regardless of days becoming hard, tiring or long “it’s all okay, You will make it through!

     March 2021

    Juan Oropeza

    Major: Integrated Science Sec Teach, Physics and Astronomy
    Hometown: Warren, MI

    Last semester was a rough time from Juan, who struggled with several things working against them. “I had a pretty tough time with my class, work, and social schedule. I couldn’t manage it all along with family troubles and started to fall really behind on all my classes,” Juan says.

    Things began to pile up, especially as Juan continued to feel as though their support system was lacking. Juan  recognized that their family was currently going through things that made it difficult to extend all the support they needed. Fortunately enough, Juan found support and strength within the TRIO program. “I started working with my mentor and Josiah a lot and trying to sort things out for what was ahead,” Juan said. Realizing that school was their current priority, Juan quit work to ensure they could refocus and improve on their school work. With the help of TRIO, Juan was able to change how they did things and find a way to rearrange their schedule.

    Juan plans to become a science teacher after graduation, “to tell you the truth, the thought that one day I could have my own classroom and maybe make an impression on a class of students the way some of my teachers did for me is why I wanted to go to college to be a teacher,” they said.

    Juan advises their fellow classmates to make a plan, talk with their support system, and hang in there because, although it might be stressful, the struggle can’t last forever.

    February 2021

    Sierra Shibuta

    Major: Architecture

    With large goals, Sierra Shibuta made the decision to come to EMU in order to accomplish her career aspirations.

    This semester, through courses such as graphic design, she's been able to truly connect herself with her school work. I love being able to express myself through art, she says, and doing it all on the computer is very convenient.

    While her time at EMU has been enjoyable, the strike of COVID-19, left her overwhelmed. Staying positive and focused during COVID hasn't been easy, she says, when we were first sent home, I struggled to focus on Zoom. Although it was difficult, she has managed to see improvements in her new learning experience. Even when things may be stressful, Sierra is continuously making efforts towards increasing her motivation levels.

    Sierra has a routine for keeping herself organized and motivated:

    Create a list of steps needed to reach the goalCreate a rough timeline with each step in mindReward yourself with each goal completion. Rewards may be as simple as watching your favorite TV show or reading your favorite book after completing your homework.

    Sierra says her TRIO mentor has been helpful in giving good advice and providing resources from TRIO and EMU as a whole.

    January 2021

    Kyreia League

    Major: Psychology

    Kyreia was very scared of her transition from high school to college. When she began her journey, she was a declared chemistry major, but through her growth and understanding of her future desires, she switched her major to psychology.

    While this last semester was challenging, she was able to learn several organizational skills, improved her passion for writing, and was able to reflect positively on the ending to the semester. Kyreia's mentor, Kyla, notes that after witnessing Kyreia accomplish so much this past semester, Kyla stands firm in knowing that her student will not only pass the rest of her college experience, but thrive and grow too!

    December 2020

    Noah Parrot 

    Noah Parrot is a general business major currently taking Business Statistics, DS 250, Gender Communication, Business Communication, and Drama and Play in the Human Experience. Staying positive and focused has been difficult for many this semester, but Noah has mastered both gracefully.

    In the midst of the current unorthodox semester, Noah was diagnosed with cancer, forcing him to undergo emergency surgeries. "I was out of work for almost two months after the surgery to remove the tumor and since then I have been fine. I couldn't have done it without support. My friends and family helped me all throughout the way, he said.

    Noah credits his TRIO support system with lending an extra hand that helped give him an additional push. Since school is completely online, I haven't gotten to see all of the TRIO people but they still supported me. My TRIO mentor Kylar helped me get through this and Josiah helped me as well.

    When confronting stress, he suggests building a strong support system, focusing on tasks that you love, remaining positive and ensuring you're avoiding self isolation.

    Abby Zajas

    Abby Zajas is a Geo-Tourism and Historic Preservation major with a minor in History, who tries to reassure herself that  she can accomplish her goals and that anything is possible as long as she keeps her mind to it. And she is right!

    The beginning of this semester brought difficulties to Abby, as she didn’t reliable access to WIFI. After moving back on campus, she was able to succeed in her classes and appreciate the Zoom lifestyle.

    She advises first year students to take advantage of all the support that the university offers, such as advising, and to enjoy their time at EMU. During exam season, she likes to focus on study time, while ensuring she takes time to breathe and relax so she doesn’t get too stressed.

    November 2020

    Erica Burks

    Erica C. Burks is a Healthcare Administration major who chose to come to college after being at a career standstill. “I had years of experience and no degree to move forward, she says. I want my degree so that I am able to move further along in my career and so that I am able to finance my business dreams as well.

    She describes her transition to EMU as warm and welcoming compared to any other moment in her college career. Erica says that each person shes come in contact with has wanted nothing but to see her succeed.

    Recently, Erica became a student with the McNair program on campus. After being introduced to Dr. Heather Neff, Erica saw the value of the program. While she’s only had the opportunity to read and reflect on Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, due to COVID, she describes the book as an absolute page turner that will change the readers life forever.

    When setting a goal, Erica advises students to create SMART goals, and to give yourself realistic time-frames. She also urges first-year students to believe in themselves, and not to be afraid of change.

    Jenny Signoretti

    Jenny Signoretti decided to attend college because she thought it would be a great opportunity to not only learn new things, but to grow and develop as a person. Currently taking a full load of classes with Cognitive Neuroscience, Analyzing  Communication in Civic Life, The Psychology of Sex part 1, and Nonverbal Communication on her plate; during this stressful time, she has been able to stay positive, balanced and successful.

    “For staying positive during COVID, I recommend practicing self compassion, making sure your needs are met, self care activities, and staying connected with others in a safe manner,” she says. In addition to this, Jenny recommends keeping a routine and schedule. While she recognizes that it isn’t easy to do, one piece of advice Jenny has for first-year students is to make friends and be connected with people through virtually events and student organizations.

    As a Psychology major with a minor in Communication, Jenny has found the University Advising and Career Development Center to be helpful, as it’s helped her find the career path she wanted to pursue.

    Jenny leaves fellow students with this final piece of advice, "When things get tough, remember why you are here and what your goals are."

    October 2020

    Ashley Patterson

    Ashley is a secondary education history and social studies major, with a minor in African American studies. After starting her family, Ashley needed a break from school in order to ensure she was able to provide for and raise her children in the way she wanted.

    After a brief break, she realized her passion for teaching and educating students and decided to reenroll in school. In 2019, she received her associates degree and then immediately enrolled at EMU.

    She has found great success within the TRIO program, “being a wife and mother, my life is much different than the typical college student… I’ve always needed a mentor who could help motivate me to achieve my goals and make sense of my college experience, being in TRIO has helped me with just that.”

    Ashley advises first-year students to make time for what is important to them and to not procrastinate in order to eliminate stress.

    Ashley Hafeli

    Ashley is a Music Therapy Major, currently taking a full load with 18 credits this semester alone. Her passion for music inspired her to pursue her college education, in order to use her gift of music to help others.

    When setting goals, Ashley finds it important to prioritize tasks or assignments by due date and sets aside  time within her weekly schedule to ensure they get completed.

    When reflecting on valuable resources within the University outside of TRIO, she notes SeeUs as a tool that made her feel comfortable and safe walking around campus in evenings. Ashley advises students to develop friendships and connect with peers who will assist in growth, development and accountability.

    September 2020

    Kyla Jones

    For the past two years TRIO has given Kyla Jones an understanding of support during a college career. “They have provided irreplaceable experiences that have given me the necessary tools required to finish out my years of undergrad to  the best of my abilities,” she says. The relationship she was able to build with her mentor is one of the reasons she herself decided to become a mentor within the program.

    Kyla said, “I wanted to become a TRIO SSS mentor so that I could pass on a piece of the love and guidance that was given to me in the past, in hopes that I can leave my students with the confidence they need to persevere through the rest of their college career.”

    She reminds her students that patience with others and, more importantly, yourself is key.

    Katrina Seals 

    Katrina Seals credits TRIO for bringing her out of shell and allowing her to develop personally and professionally. While learning how to navigate Eastern, TRIO has provided her with countless resources that have allowed her to flourish.

    She believes that becoming a mentor will help her become apart of the change that Eastern needs. “While there is a lot of talk about change needing to occur, few people step up and provide their time and wisdom,” she says.

    Katrina advises her students to remember that life is a learning process

    Jasmine Williams-Banks 

    Jasmine Williams-Banks understands that it’s difficult to accomplish some tasks on your own, college happens to be on them. “In some capacity, we're all responsible for one another. It takes a village,” she says.

    During her college career, she credits TRIO SSS for constantly providing her with a resource filled safe space. This year, she now has the opportunity to participate as a mentor, serving the community that has been of great support for her.

    Teyonna Womack

    TRIO has provided Teyonna Womack with resources and supports, along with great opportunities to go places she’d never been before. The experience she’s had as a student herself motivated her to apply to be a mentor. She says “I wanted to become a TRIO SSS peer mentor because I wanted to take what I’ve learned and share it with other people. I feel that  if there is any way I can help someone else and make their time here as smooth as possible then I should do what I can. "

    While COVID-19 has altered the way the college is traditionally experienced, Teyonna encourages her students to try to remain as active as possible this semester. She emphasizes how balancing both an academic and social life can create a well-rounded student.

    She advises staying calm, while maintaining an open mind in order to push through situations that may seem impossible, “Something I had to learn was that I’m not alone and that’s it okay to ask for help”, she said.

  • 2019-20

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    April 2020

    Heaven Jobe

    Heaven Jobe is a graduating first-generation senior with a degree in Language, Literature, and Writing & a minor in Communication, Media, and Theater Arts. She has been a part of TRIO for several years and we are incredibly proud to see her finishing this part of her education!

    When asked what she is feeling right now, she said, "Time flew by very fast! It does not feel like four years has gone by. I am extremely proud of myself and I feel that I have accomplished so many things the past few years."

    She advises those who are still working towards their degrees to "take it one day at a time. You're only one person, so prioritize your time and get things done at your own pace."

    Heaven says the best memories she has from EMU are going to campus events and she regrets not being even more involved and social now that her time has come to an end.

    Heaven says she is grateful for the EMU TRIO program, sharing, "In the beginning I was a bit wary about TRIO and all of the requirements, but TRIO never gave up on me and ALWAYS helped me with any problem or concern while at EMU. I am very appreciative of the staff and mentors for their love and support."

    We too appreciate Heaven and all the effort she has put in to her education! We know she will do great things!

    March 2020

    Jasmine Williams-Banks, Ashley Rodriguez, & Mikaela Trowbridge

    Three undergraduate TRIO SSS students (Left: Jasmine Williams-Banks, Center: Ashley Rodriguez, Right: Mikaela Trowbridge), conducted and presented research at the National Conference for the First Year Experience in Washington DC, which was attended by over 1,900 participants. This was their first time conducting research and they were mentored by Program Assistant, Josiah Pankiewicz. They conducted research on building community for first generation and low-income students through aspects of the TRIO SSS program, including the Living Learning Community, Cultural and Career trips, and Peer Mentoring. They created a poster which was ranked as one of the top five posters presentations of the conference, earning at 4.8/5 star rating on the guidebook app ranking system.Jasmine says she has grown professionally from this opportunity and was surprised with the actual "learning and discussion happening at the conference," versus the rote repetition of information she was expecting.

    Ashley says she learned a great deal from both her own research and the conference as a whole. As a TRIO SSS mentor, she was eager to learn how to best support her students, and found  a wide array of information that she could use. She says she "learned how we are all easily blinded to our own potential and hold ourselves back because we do not truly believe we can achieve." She hopes to combat this attitude with the information and strategies she learned at the conference.

    Mikalea was challenged by the project at first, saying, "I had no idea where to start." However, by working with the group and sharing their new knowledge collectively, it helped her and all members focus their topics. Mikaela feels she had grown both as a public speaker and academic, and says she is proud of the work the group accomplished. "It was amazing," she says. Each of these undergraduate students are planning to attend graduate school and will be able to use this experience on their resume. The TRIO program is incredibly proud of their work and professionalism they showed while presenting to the hundreds of people who stopped by their table.

    February 2020

    Breana Dogan 

    Breana Dogan is a Health Administration major going into her Senior Year at EMU. She is excited to be taking mostly major classes, as she wants to learn what she will be doing in her upcoming career. She is specifically excited about her Medical Ethics course this semester. Breana chose to come to college because of her career, she always knew she wanted to go into health administration, and knew that a degree was the only way into the field. She says, "Education was always my first priority."

    Breana says she appreciates the vast amount of resources EMU has to offer. She says, “Every year EMU is coming up with more programs and different resources to help us succeed, which is a great thing!” She personally enjoys using the Writing Center at Halle Library and has had them look over her papers to assure that all is grammatically correct. Her advice to other students is, “learn the importance about time management and use all of the resources EMU offers.” She also says that when school starts to be overwhelming, she listens to music and cleans her room, “Cleaning makes me feel better.” Breana says one thing she is proud of at EMU is that she has maintained a 3.2 GPA. She says, “. This wasn’t easy, but I was very determined about passing all of my classes.” EMU’s TRIO SSS program is also proud of her! We know she will do great things, and succeed at whatever she puts her mind to!

    Katrina Seals

    Katrina Seals is a Junior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with a minor Communication. She is mostly taking major courses, with one general education class this semester. She is excited to be in Advanced  Public Speaking so she can work or her public speaking skills. She is also excited to gain field-specific knowledge from her Language Acquisition class (SPSI 337).

    Katrina came to college because she hopes to make a difference in people’s lives. She says, “I believe there on people put on this earth that are supposed to help others” and she plans to do that by working as a speech pathologist in under-serviced school systems. College is different now for Katrina than when she first started because she has made connections with people that she knows will last a lifetime. One accomplishment Katrina says she is proud of is winning the MLK Rise Up Against Injustice scholarship. She said she needed “to tell myself not to worry about how much others have to offer and believe who I am is enough.”Some campus resources Katrina finds helpful are TRIO SSS, her mentor, and the Academic Projects Lab in Halle Library. Her advice to other students is to “step out of your comfort zone! If you don’t, you will never know what life has to offer.” She also advocates for prioritizing obligations when things become overwhelming. “You will not be able to be your best self if you do not sit down and figure out what’s important,” she says.Katrina is an outstanding student in TRIO SSS and at EMU. We are very proud to have her in our program and hope others look to her as an example of dedication and passion for life and academics. We are very excited to see where her journey takes her!

    January 2019

    Ja'Shawna Rooks

    Ja'Shawna (JayJay) Rooks is a Secondary Education Mathematics major with a minor in Interdisciplinary Leadership. She is in her Junior year and excited that all of her courses are now part of her major and minor. She is excited to tackle the challenge of Calculus II alongside education courses like Development and Learning. JayJay came to college because she wanted to change the world, and she knows she can do this “one classroom at a time.”

    JayJay says her college journey is very different now that when she first started in 2017. She says, “I wasn't putting my all into it, I owed $5,000, and I was ready to give up,” but a conversation with her Grandfather who said, “It is 10% of what life throws at you but is 90% of how  you react to it.” Since then, JayJay says she uplifts herself every day and practices good time-management that allows her to succeed.

    The most surprising part of college for JayJay was the responsibility linked the newfound freedom she had. “I don't have my mom no more. I have to grow up and handle my business.” She says that several people have helped her along her college journey, including Christine Lancaster, Regina George, and her TRIO Mentor, Eric Reed.

    JayJay advises other students to use the resources around them, and to make sure the people you are spending time with are uplifting you, not feeding bad habits. TRIO thinks JayJay is a stellar student everyone would benefit from having in their circle and is excited to see where her journey takes her.

    Caitlyn Laura

    Caitlyn Laura is a transfer student majoring in Elementary Education - Integrated Science. She excelled  in her first semester at EMU, receiving all A’s as she took her first Junior level courses. This semester, she is focusing heavily on her science curriculum and says she is excited because these “classes are helping me move deeper into my degree!” Caitlyn says coming to EMU from a smaller community college took some adjustment, and she enjoyed both experiences! She says, “I am grateful for the opportunities I had [at Monroe County Community College]. I also am grateful for EMU and am loving the large communities and living on campus.” She says she enjoys the size of EMU and exploring the campus, especially during the pleasant fall weather. She was also surprised at the small class sizes at EMU and says she is happy she can still “receive some one on one work with professors.” To stay organized and on top of her work, Caitlyn uses a planner where she puts all of her obligations. She says, “Getting everything written down helps to clear my mind, so that I can focus on new material.” She encourages other students to be committed to their own wellbeing, even when that means taking a step back from academics. “Remind yourself why you're here, and what goals you want to achieve.” She says using recourses, like professors and CAPS, let you balance the rigors of classes and your own mental health. TRIO is proud of the effort Caitlyn has demonstrated at EMU and have full faith that she will continue to be successful both here and beyond.

    December 2019

    Le-Anna Johnson

    Le-Anna Johnson is a Criminology and Criminal Justice major in her first year at EMU. She is taking her core courses in Math and Writing, as well as humanities that will go for her degree in the social sciences. When asked why she came to college, Le-Anna said, “I chose to come to college to give myself a better life than what I was offered growing up. Coming from the background that I did, not many choose this route…This is my way out.”

    Le-Anna is an exceptionally motivated student, and she says that keeping the end goal in mind helps her push through the hard times that can come with college. She notes, “Nothing worth it comes easy.” She also says she was surprised by how quickly life can whip past you once you hit college. She says, “You're thrown into the real world, huge amounts of money being spent, finding a job to pay for real bills, bills in your name, maneuvering to everything thrown at you and adjusting to adult life.” She says that having  a mentor to answer questions and give advice has been a huge help in adjusting to college.
    When asked what her advice for fellow first-year students would be Le-Anna said, “The transition into college is the hardest thing to adjust to, mentally, emotionally, and financially. But never giving up will be the best thing to get past that stage…Keep going and keep pushing!”

    In order to stay organized Le-Anna uses a planner where she writes down everything she needs to do, from class, to work, to appointments. She uses both physical tools and digital notes to help her stay on track with everything she needs to do. Many students can find it hard to stay motivated in the end of the semester. When asked how she pushes through, Le-Anna said, “Understanding you came this far to pass these classes, maintain a decent GPA, and all the work you've completed so far will make you not want to give up…It's crunch time, you can't give it all up now.”

    Tamara Terraza

    Tamara Terraza is a nursing intent student in her first year at EMU. She is taking General Education courses and introduction to nursing. She is a first generation college student who came to school since she aspires to be the first in her family to get a degree. She says when she needs to stay motivated she thinks about the “underlying purpose as to why my family came to the United States, that sense of comfort and support motivates me to continue on.”

    Her advice for other  first year students is to “stay organized.” She does this through the use of a planner where she documents all of the tasks she needs to complete. She also knows that many students will be working as well as taking classes, so says being able to balance those things is important. Tamara says she was surprised in how many resources EMU has to offer students. She specifically likes “the Writing Center, I go there with whatever process of writing I am in, which is very beneficial for me.” She says her planner and calendar are her “best friends” in keeping organized between her two part-time jobs and creating time to just work on school and catch up. Going into the break, Tamara says she stays motivated by reminding herself of all the rest she can have once she pushes through these last few weeks. She says knowing she can take time to really relax makes her “work even harder” to get there.

    November 2019

    Christina Giles

    Christina Giles is a Japanese Language and Culture Major and TESOL minor in her second year at EMU. She is currently taking 17 credits with five courses where she is studying the language and culture of Japan, as well as art and the science of human language overall. She says she came to college “to learn Japanese so I could communicate with people around  the world. A lot of meaning gets lost because there is either a lack of translation or the translation is bad, and it can cause a multitude of misunderstandings. I want to help rectify that through translating myself and teaching English.”

    Christina says that her transition to college was not as jarring as she expected, and that once she arrived, a lot of anxieties she had, fell away. Her advice to students is to “make the most of your classes. When you come to college it’s easy to fall into the mindset of not going to class or feeling like it’s a waste of time. If you make the most of your classes, it’s a lot more enjoyable and you’ll find the class might actually be interesting or not as hard as you thought it was.”

    Christina also says that finding resources for help on campus has been easier than she thought it would be. She says, “It’s not hard to find what you need and if you’re looking in the wrong direction people are willing to help you get to where you need to be.” To stay organized and motivated, Christina uses her planner and sets reminders on her phone. Over the weekend she writes down everything she needs to do in the next week so it does not feel overwhelming in the moment. She also surrounds herself “with like-minded people because seeing other people work towards their goals motivates me to do the same.

    Ashton Jarvis

    Ashton Jarvis is a first year student at EMU studying Computer Science. He is thinking about potentially declaring a philosophy minor too! He is currently enrolled in 16 credits ranging from writing to social science to mathematics and philosophy. He says he “particularly enjoy[s] Logic and Existentialism. While they represent two very disparate fields of philosophical investigation/inquiry, I enjoy the critical and analytical thinking involved in the discipline.” Ashton says he came to college because of “a fundamental desire to learn from a wide range of disciplines, and to discover myself in the process (socially and intellectually). Also, I have always been very drawn to the idea of living in a university community of supportive people.” He is a member of the TRIO Living Learning Community, where his RA says he “is a very kind, optimistic  , encouraging member of the floor. I am happy he is here!”

    Ashton says he was surprised at the sheer amount of freedom he now has in college. He is free to use his time however he would like, and with this freedom, he realizes, comes the responsibility to manage his time. He says “working within a structure is highly beneficial for me” and “When I set a goal, I typically focus on breaking it into manageable, sensible objectives. I work on these objectives systematically, and try my best to keep the wider picture in sight.” He also keeps it all in perspective with his life aspirations acting as his end goal.

    Of the services available on campus, Ashton says two he has found to be helpful are professor office hours and the Writing Center. He says the Writing Center helps him clarify his thoughts around his writing. He also says, “I also especially benefit from my TRIO peer mentor, who provides regular support throughout my academic career. Ashton says his organizational skills were not the best before coming to college, but that this has been a great place of improvement in his skills since he has been here! He uses his Google Calendar and stays in consistent communication with professors about due dates and academic progress.

    October 2019

    Mortadha Alzerghani

    Mortadha is an exploratory student in his first semester at EMU. He is taking a diverse selection of classes ranging from Creative Writing to Digital Media to Psychology. Mortadha was visiting different schools but when he took a tour of EMU he “felt right at home.” He is pursuing his education because he knows it will help him succeed in whatever path he takes in the future.

    Mortadha thinks the key to reaching the goals he sets for himself lies in thinking about the outcome  he is trying to achieve and focusing on that, and letting that motivation push him any discomfort that process creates. When he’s motivated, Mortadha says there’s no stopping him before he reaches his goal!

    Having a new place to explore, full of new people he does not know, and who do not know him, is an exciting part of college for Mortadha. When asked what his advice for new students is he said, “Talk... literally that's it. Talk to people, meet new people, answer questions in class, get involved. TALK!”

    He also says using older students as a reference and guide to how to succeed in school has been helpful in his transition into college. He wants to thank his TRIO mentor, Troy Masserant, for making him feel welcomed and celebrated on campus!

    Natalie Slowik

    Natalie is a first year student beginning her studies in English Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She came to college because she wanted to continue her education and become polylingual through the various language programs offered at EMU.

    She is well prepared for college and says she was surprised by how laid back it was compared to what she  had been told it would be like. She notes it is important to manage your time and be responsible, because if you do not, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of things that must be done. When asked what campus resources she has found to be helpful, she said, “Definitely CAPS and the LGBT support groups! College can be hard, but there are many support groups that you can go to and find others who are just like you.”

    Natalie has a lot of goals she wishes to pursue while at EMU. When asked how she stays motivated on multiple fronts, she says “Definitely getting a good night's sleep, planning ahead, managing my time, and making sure to take care of myself.”

    Natalie’s advice to other first year students is: “Don't be afraid to seek help from anybody. There are many others who could be in your situation. You never walk alone.”

    September 2019

    Alexis Hollingsworth

    Alexis is a sophomore studying International Business and Spanish. Over the summer, she split classes between EMU and Washtenaw Community College At EMU, she took Yoga and at WCC she took Introduction to Computer Information Systems, Business Communication, Microeconomics, and Intermediate Algebra. She took summer classes in order to speed up her graduation date and have all the classes she needs in order to join the COB her Junior year. She received  A’s in each class.

    She says the greatest challenge in taking summer classes was the accelerated pace and the ways they overlapped with each other. She says, “There were a few weeks where I was finding myself doing the work of two weeks in a normal (Fall/Winter) schedule in as little as 3 or 4 days.”

    Alexis also worked 20-35 hours each week for most of the summer, while actively searching for new jobs both on campus and off. When asked how she managed to balance her schedule, she said:“The real key is managing your time well, and avoiding distractions which make you unfocused. …This isn't to say there is no room for free time, personal activities or hobbies; it is simply important to note that when you take a class during the summer it is critical that your course work comes first, and your assignments are finished before you take time to go out and have fun.”

    Alexis is taking 18 credits this fall and plans to work two jobs, one work study position and one off-campus job with Qdoba. She has lofty goals and the EMU TRIO SSS program is proud to have her as a member, and is excited to help her succeed in the upcoming semester!

    Ashley Rodriguez

    Ashley is a junior studying Fashion Marketing Innovation and Japanese. She went to Washington D.C. over the summer for a Study Abroad course with the Leadership Department. She participated in the “Women, Leadership, & Change” course for a week in May where she visited museums, engaged with women’s organizations, and met with Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representative Debbie Dingle, and other members of the US Congress. She received an A in this course and said  the connections she made with her classmates, and the professionals they met, were the most valuable aspect of the experience.

    When asked why she took this course, Ashley said, “I was always interested in taking a leadership course and a feminist course, and ended up finding one that touched on both topics. I was a bit iffy about it at first because I wasn’t sure if I could get credit (that could count as Gen Ed), or if I can afford it. But, I met with my advisor and the program director and they helped me out a lot in the process.”

    Ashley also worked three jobs over the summer, being the Summer Office Manager for the TRIO SSS program, an Office Assistant for Academic Success Partnerships, and an Advanced Cashier at Express. Altogether, she worked over 40 hours a week, while also working with Optimize where she was a Bold Futures facilitator. She also moved off campus and got her first apartment.

    This fall, Ashley is taking 15 credits and working two jobs. She says the key to balance is building a daily routine that is manageable and easy to remember. She also says to “prioritize self-care and have a good support system, because they motivate me to do better.” The TRIO SSS office is incredibly proud of Ashley and the strides she is taking to better herself and those around her!

  • 2018-19

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    March 2019

    Nikaija Colbert

    Nikaija is a freshman from Toledo, Ohio. Her major is Psychology and African American Studies. Her first   semester she received a 3.82. She explained that her   strategy for being successful was always going to class   and not missing assignments. Her experiences as a   freshman has it's ups and downs but, "what keeps me   motivated to keep going is the thought of making   myself proud." She balances her school and social life   by making sure she takes care of school stuff first and uses her social activities as a reward for her doing well in school.

    "The only constant in the world is change," said Nikaija.

    February 2019

    Heaven Jobe

    Heaven Jobe is a third year student majoring in Secondary Education: Language, Literature and Writing. She is also an active member of Eastern Michigan University's Lacrosse team. She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and have been involved in TRIO for three years. Heaven received a 3.8 GPA during the Fall semester of 2018 when she completed 15 credits! Heaven balances sports and school by prioritizing her days. She allows herself plenty of time to study and complete assignments around practices and conditioning for Lacrosse.

    "Life is not a sprint, it is a marathon; and this is my race" -Heaven Jobe 

    Remington Whitenburg

    Remi is a second year student majoring in Psychology. She is from Lambertville, MI. Remi has been in TRIO for a year now, and says that during the Winter 2018 semester, she was not as engaged as she could have been. She was taking only gen-eds that she was not very interested in - and it effected her performance in class. However, in the Fall 2018 Semester, Remi ended the semester with a 3.94 GPA

    Remi was asked about her strategy between both semesters:

    "My strategy...was to utilize my planner and calendar more. I also set alarms on my phone to remind me about quizzes, exams, or homework that was due soon so I never forgot. Last semester I was also very on top of things. I would take the online exams and quizzes  if available, maybe a week before it was due so I wouldn't forget the day it was actually due, and so I wouldn't be doing last minute work. It really helped because then after homework is out of the way, I basically had multiple nights where i had a lot of free time due to already doing what I needed to do." She began to take classes for her major Fall of 2018 and received a 3.94 GPA. 

    A quote Remi lives by is a song lyric: 

    "I won't walk down the same old road that they all follow; it only leads to a life not meant for me." 

    January 2019

    Chocolate Brooks

    Chocolate Brooks is a third year TRIO SSS student at EMU majoring in Social Work. She is from Detroit, Michigan and attended Cass Technical High School. During fall 2018, Chocolate was accepted into EMU's McNair Scholar Program. The purpose of the McNair Program is to assist students in completing their Bachelor's degree, and to gain admission to Master's / Doctoral programs. She decided to join the McNair program because she felt it would be a great benefit to gain experience in research before graduate school. On December 7th, Chocolate placed third in presenting her research on "How Could Businesses Respond to the Refugees Crisis?" Chocolate disclosed that "McNair is all about hard work and dedication." She learned that McNair challenges and pushes you to your best ability. She is glad she made the decision to join the McNair Scholars program and is excited to see what else is in store for her in McNair! 

    December 2018

    Breanna Townsend

    Breanna is a third year majoring in Recreational Therapy. She is from Detroit Michigan. She has been apart of TRIO SSS for 3 years. She recently attended the ILRTA (Illinois Recreational Therapy Association) conference in Chicago -  a networking conference for meeting professionals working in the career field for her major. She stated her favorite part about the trip was "Being able to network with people in the field." She also enjoyed learning more information about her major. She attended sessions that spoke on different aspects within Recreational Therapy. She also enjoyed seeing more of Chicago. A quote that keeps Breanna motivated is "The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and find out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope." Barack Obama 

    KeVaughn Price

    Kevaughn is a senior majoring in communication and entrepreneurship. He is a first generation college student from Detroit, Michigan. Kevaughn is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. He had the chance to study abroad in Bridgetown, Barbados where he was partnered with an high school students who wasn't sure what they wanted to do in life. He was able to mentor the students and help them see what their future could be. He enjoyed this experience. He discussed how he was woken by roosters and how it got dark around 4pm everyday. He also stated that the people there were very friendly and trusting. He discussed the statue of John Newton, a former slave owner, that people continually attempt to destroy. He explained that Barbados is an independent black Caribbean country, and therefore they do not appreciate former slaver. He stated since it can't be taken down people now just throw paint at it. KeVaughn highly encourages everyone to study abroad if that is an option for them!  

    November 2018

    Jessica Ingram

    Jessica Ingram is a junior, Children and Families Studies major student here at EMU.
    Her hometown is Woodbridge, New Jersey. She notes that balance plays a crucial part in her life when it comes to being a member of a community, a community leader, and maintaining a good academic life as well. These are all important aspects that are significant to her but without proper balance they can be overwhelming at times. She is a firm believer in "too much of anything is bad for you." Jessica makes sure she doesn't put all her energy towards one thing, which in turn, wouldn't allow time for her to do other things that are of high value in her life. Some may say that education comes first, and it is indeed a high priority of hers, but she believes self-care should be the first thing considered before indulging in any commitments. Knowing herself is the key to balancing everything that she has on her plate. By knowing herself, she knows the limits of what she can and cannot do, and moreover what she is willing to do because her happiness and sanity are on top of her list. 

    Megan Tammarine 

    Megan Tammarine is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education English with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She grew up in Toledo, Ohio but lived in Monroe, Michigan throughout high school. Megan says her Google calendar "saves my life." She uses it to remind herself of due dates, meetings, programs, and even for small things, such as, emailing someone or cleaning her room. Time in college is precious, especially when you have two jobs (she also works as an office assistant in the Women and Gender Studies Office).  She thinks including time in your schedule just for homework really helps and found that study groups work great for her too. Megan also stated that, "Taking care of your mental health and yourself is just as important as your physical health and grades. Setting aside time each day, even if it's just 5-10 minutes, to relax is important." On the wall above her desk she has a list of expectations that she set for herself at the beginning of the semester. Having her goals sitting right in front of her helps remind her of the person she wants to be and how she's going to get there. It motivates her and reminds her of why she's here at Eastern. "We get so exhausted as students that we lose our motivation and forget to remember why we're here." 

    October 2018

    Christopher Casillas

    Christopher Casillas is a Junior majoring in Nursing.
    He recently received the Carlos “El Jefe” Falcon Scholarship for his academic and community involvement in the Hispanic Latino Community. Chris is the Vice President of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. He is involved in multiple orgs such as Latinx Student Association, and secretary of Multicultural Greek Council.

  • 2017-18

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    March 2018

    Jasmine Campbell

    Jasmine Campbell is a freshman here at Eastern Michigan University, majoring in Biology and minoring in Communications. She was previously an Early College Alliance student here at the university and already had 61 credits coming in as a freshman. Being already familiar with campus, Campbell decided that Eastern was the right choice for her, instead of trying to transfer elsewhere. 

    On campus, she is part of the Honors College, shooting for departmental honors, and in the fall she's hoping to join another student organization known as MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students).

    As the semester is coming to an end, Jasmine will be attending the Future Public Health Leaders Program, during the summer at the University of Michigan. "I am really looking forward to conducting my own research and being able to give back to the community. Community service is one of many elements of this program, and I think this is great. To me it feels really rewarding to be able to help those in need. I am thrilled to take on this new chapter of my life in hope to gather more insight into public health and maybe gain new perspective of things," stated Jasmine.

    Jasmine also wanted to thank Ethriam Brammer, our former Program Director, for informing her of this opportunity.

    February 2018

    TRIO SSS Student Organization

    This year, TRIO SSS students decided they wanted to venture off and start their own student organization! With the help from TRIO SSS MSW Intern, Naelah Burks, and Program Assistant, Denise Hubbard, (as their Advisor), they were able to make this happen in a few short months.

    In the photo (from left to right) is the Director of Service and Events: Tiana Stewart, Treasurer: Rose Escobar, President: Di'Anna Stokes, Secretary: Megan Tammarine and Vice President/Director of Membership: Kelsey Pacetti

    January 2018

    Braulio Vazquez

    TRIO SSS Student, Braulio Vazquez, is an Aviation Flight Technology Major and a Freshman here at Eastern Michigan University. The aviation program here at EMU has a lot to offer. 

    Vazquez encourages his fellow students to "learn about aerodynamics, crew resource management, industry regulations, flight operations, advance aircraft systems, and aviation safety. You can also earn an aircraft dispatch certification to expand your aviation expertise".

    Vazquez previously attended Truman High School in Taylor, Michigan, and decided to attend Eastern Michigan University after a field trip with his high school. He really enjoyed the vibe that people gave off. He also stated that EMU was the closets university that offered an aviation program and his scholarship and Pell Grant paid off tuition/

    Vazquez stated that he joined the TRIO SSS community because "[he] wanted to be part of a group of people who [he] could relate to, in the way of [his] heritage." In addition to class and flying planes, Vazquez is involved in an Aviation fraternity, Alpha Eta Rho. 

    December 2017

    Celebration of Student Writing

    On November 30, 44 TRIO SSS students, along with more than 1,200 students in EMU's First-Year Writing Program, participated in the 33rd Semiannual Celebration of Student Writing (CSW) in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Center. 

    Now in its 17th year, the CSW offers WRTC 121 students the opportunity to transform their research writing for presentation to a public audience comprised of the EMU campus community.

     For the first time this year, TRIO SSS was able to offer a cohorted section of WRTG 121, taught by Dr. Chalice Randazzo, Assistant Professor of Written Communication in English Language and Literature Department at EMU. 22 TRIO students were enrolled in Dr. Randazzo's class as a way to support the program's learning community concept. 

    "The Celebration of Writing at Eastern Michigan University has marked a moment when the walls of the university classrooms are made porous for over a thousand first-year students," says Dr. Mueller, Associated Professor of Written Communication and Director of EMU's First-Year Writing Program.

    "Based on feedback from attendees, student-presenters and our exceptional instructional staff," Dr. Mueller explains, "we find evidence again and again of just how distinctively transformative are opportunities for students to engage genuine audiences with their writing and research."

    First-year TRIO SSS student, Sierra Evans, who presented at the CSW, states, "I didn't know what to expect going to this event: I thought I was going to be grilled down by other professors and older students about my project. But it was the total opposite!"

    Megan Tammarine, another first-year TRIO SSS student presenting this semester, also enjoyed her experience, saying, "My favorite part of the CSW was seeing all the other amazing research projects from other students. So many students spent so much time on these projects...It just reminds me of what a diverse world we live in, and how many different types of people with different interest live in it." 

    November 2017

    Kelsey Pacett

    Kelsey Pacetti is a Special Education major and Secondary Communication minor with a Theater Arts Teaching minor. She attended a project based high school in Verona, Wisconsin, called Exploration Academy. "I joined TRIO Student Support Services because it was a great option suggested for me. I am a first generation low income student. Plus, it is a great way to receive support and help now that I'm jumping back into a traditional learning setting after being a project-based student for four years." Kelsey stated that she chose EMU because it's known for creating good educators. As a freshman, here, at Eastern Michigan University, Kelsey is heavily involved on campus with Active Minds, a group focused on breaking the stigma of mental health, spreading awareness on mental illness, and educating others on mental health related issues. She is also on the set crew for the EMU theater performance of "Harvey".

    September 2017

    Di'Anna Stokes

    Di'Anna Stokes is a Music Education major with a minor in journalism. She attended River Rogue High School before enrolling at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). Di'Anna originally became a part of the TRIO family, when she joined EMU's GEAR-UP program while in eight grade. She chose to join the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program at EMU, because she felt like the academic support provided by the program would help her achieve her goals.

    Di'Anna is among the first group of students ever to participate in the TRIO SSS Living Learning Community (LLC) at EMU. She wanted to live with her fellow TRIO SSS students, because she thought it would be nice to meet more people, because she says she tends to be anti-social. "I love living with TRIO!" says Di'Anna. She especially enjoys hanging out in the lounge. She goes on to explain that, when the lounge was locked for a few days, she and the other TRIO SSS LLC students all continued to hang out in the hallway together and had a blast! Di'Anna says, "You make really good friends living with TRIO, and you can count on some of the other members that live on the floor when you need anything."

  • 2016-17

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    April 2017

    Christopher Casillas

    Christopher Casillas is currently a freshman at Eastern Michigan University. He decided to attend EMU, because he felt that he would be able to be successful in this university. Another reason he decided to attend Eastern was because of the full tuition scholarship that he was awarded from the school. Some of his educational goals are to be admitted into the Nursing program and to earn a 4.0 GPA for the winter semester.

    Christopher had a rocky start to his first year at EMU. He states, "I lost track of why I was here. I would procrastinate and expect to do well, because I used to do that in high school." It took a second for him to realize that this was not the case. He  says that he was fortunate not to fail his classes, but he was not able to save his GPA. He would have fun before taking care of business and his grades reflected that. He had a hard time getting through all of the homework and would fall behind. He has long nights and early mornings full of studying. Christopher says, because of TRIO, "I learned how to manage my time. Before I received a 2.26. And now, after this semester is over, I will hopefully finish with a 3.9 for the winter and a 3.0 or 3.1 overall. TRIO has been there for me since day 1, so I'm glad I chose TRIO."

    Christopher chose to be a part of TRIO SSS because he felt wanted by the program and felt like TRIO actually cared about students' education. The TRIO SSS staff has been known to say that they harass students with love, but Christopher sees it as the staff showing that the are interested in student success. He is currently part of the Eastern Michigan University rugby team as well as the Latina/o Student Association. One thing that he is most proud of is getting a second chance in success and obtaining the good grades that he wanted for the winter semester.

    March 2017

    Chocolate Brooks

    Chocolate Brooks is currently a freshman at Eastern Michigan University. She chose to come to Eastern after taking a tour of the campus and feeling a sense of belonging. She is hoping to graduate from Eastern and pursue her dream of becoming a nurse anesthetist.

    Chocolate chose to become part of TRIO SSS, because she felt that the program could help guide her on her transition from high school to college. She loves the program and feels welcomed by all of the other students, her peer tutor, Ana and Ethriam. Currently she is not involved in any student clubs on campus, but she plans to be a part of an organization her sophomore year. One of the things that she is more proud of is how much she has grown since being in college. She has become more independent, learned to ask questions in class, meet and talk with new people and get where she needs to go without depending on her parents. Before college, she relied solely on them; but now she knows that they cannot be with her forever, so she has learned to depend on herself. She now has an on-campus job at Smashburger and many friends as well as some close friendships with teachers and friends.

    February 2017

    Alexander Meyer

    Alexander Meyer is currently a freshman at Eastern Michigan University. He chose to come to Eastern because he wanted to stay in the dorms and live away from home. He also wanted to try to make new friends by living on campus. He has been looking into going down an accounting path; but, as of right now, he has decided to stick with being a math major.

    Alexander chose to be part of TRIO SSS because of its support for students with special needs. During the Fall 2016 semester, Alexander achieved a 3.80 GPS. He made the Dean's List and was honored at the ASP Awards Luncheon. Right now, he is involved in the One Act Show at Eastern Michigan University. The One Act show is an opportunity for the students to produce, direct, design and act in their own theatrical production. 

    January 2017

    TRIO SSS Scholars

    On Friday, January 20, 2017, 36 TRIO SSS students were honored as part of the EMU Academic Success Partnerships (ASP) Scholars Banquet. Students with a grade point average of 2.7 and better were invited to be part of this program. The event included a buffet-style lunch along with an inspirational speech from the keynote speaker, Dr. Derek Mueller, Director of the First-Year Writing Program and Associate Professor of Written Communication.

    After the program, TRIO SSS student, Chocolate Brooks posted on Facebook: "There are times when I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything in college. But I have to remember I am making great strides towards becoming an 'adult''[,][sic] as Talitha Renee Heard would say. Today was a great day[.] i was invited to a banquet to celebrate my academic accomplishments and I know that there are plenty more to come! Thank you TRIO SSS for making this possible!"

    Among the 36 TRIO SSS students who were honored as part of the event, 32 earned better than a 3.0 and 15 received Dean's List honors (3.5 or better) for Fall 2016. 

    December 2016

    Mikaela Trowbridge

    Mikaela Trowbridge is a freshman at Eastern Michigan University. She graduated from Watkins Memorial High School in Pataskala, Ohio. While at Watkins, she was involved in the Art Club, German Club and Prom Committe. She also played tennis and was President of the Key Club. Mikaela says what she was most proudest of in high school was being a member of 4-H. Some of her accomplishments in 4-H included serving as President of the club, working as a Camp Counselor and being named the 2016 FCS Queen.

    Mikaela is currently an Elementary Education major. She chose EMU because she thought that the campus was because she thought that the campus was because she thought that the campus was beautiful; and, after her first tour, it felt like home. She chose to participate in TRIO SSS, because she knew she was going to need help transitioning from high school to college and wanted someone to be there to help. Mikaela says that she is very glad to be a part of TRIO SSS and hopes to see it grow in the future!

    November 2016

    Allyson Kauzlarich

    Allyson Kauzlarich is from Hazel Park, Michigan and graduated from Hazel Park High School. While in high school she was involved in the AP Biology Club, National Honors Society, marching band, and she played volleyball and softball. 

    She is a freshman with an undecided major at the moment but is hoping to complete a minor in French. Allyson chose TRIO SSS because she knew that the program would help her transition go smoothly from high school to college. One of the things that she loves most about the program is how the peer tutors are always there to help out the students. 

    October 2016

    Corinne Stollar

    Corinne Stollar is one of our two Office Assistants here at TRIO SSS. She is from Toledo, Ohio and graduated from Whitmer High School. During her four years at Whitmer she was involved in marching band, pep band, and concert band as well as holding multiple leadership positions both her junior and senior year within the band. In her spare time she enjoys watching Netflix, playing her flute, and reading.

    She is a freshman here at EMU with an undecided major at the moment. She is hoping to explore a career in education in the future. She chose TRIO SSS because it gives her resources and mentors that will help her with her path to graduation. She is excited to work with TRIO SSS and meet all of our students at upcoming events. 

    September 2016

    Elba Lara

    Elba Lara is one of the two Office Assistants here at TRIO SSS. She is from Southwest Detroit and graduated from Cass Technical High School. While in high school she was part of the JROTC program, drill team, honor guard, and color guard. Since she was in JROTC for so long, most of her hobbies revolve around that. For example, it might seem unusual, but she enjoys marching and calling cadences with the JROTC cadets.

    As of right now, Elba is a freshman and a nursing intent major. Something that she hope to learn from TRIO SSS is how to better manage her time and classes. She hopes to meet everyone sometime in the near future.