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!
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.
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 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!
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.”
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 2 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 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!