Wendy Mills
Staff Reporter

“There are not enough words to express how much they’ve helped me,” says My Le, 19, a first generation American whose goal of becoming a nurse has been supported by the TRIO staff.

Le was accepted into the TRIO program in 2001. Over the past two years she has experiences both educational and personal obstacles that have made her academic pursuits even harder to obtain. Le is extremely grateful for the support and guidance she received from TRIO staff during those trying times. “No matter what decision I made, they always supported me. They became like a second family to me.”

In the midst of the turbulent civil rights movement of the 1960’s, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Higher Education Plan of 1965 was formulated, of which the Student Support Services Program (TRIO) was one aspect.

TRIO was established to provide educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background or economic circumstances. It is a collegiate program designed to promote student success and improve academic performance for students at Modesto Junior College and prepare them to transfer to a four-year college or university. With funds from the U.S. Department of Education, TRIO works with underrepresented students who are the first-generation of their families to considers post secondary education.

The Modesto Junior College chapter of Student Support Services Program (TRIO) was established in 1997.

Initially TRIO was made up of only three specific programs. Upward Bound is geared towards at risk high school students; Education Talent Search identifies at risk mid-to-college age students, facilitating their educational process through graduation and higher education. Student Support Services helps people from families with low incomes stay in college until they earn a baccalaureate degree.

Over the years since TRIO’s inception, many changes have been made to it. With the addition of a couple of new programs, it was necessary to change TRIO’s name. Now it is more widely known in colleges across the country as Student Support Services.

“The TRIO program works hard to keep students on track,” says Martha Robles, director of Student Success and Special Projects. “It is important for us to make a connection with the students, be intrusive when it comes to advising and to provide networking opportunities. We take part in the students’ academic career and campus life experience.”

Almost 600 have gone through the TRIO program, graduated and continued on to ebe successful in their individual academic goals.

MJC student Angeline Hass has only good things to say about TRIO too. Although new to the TRIO program itself, Hass isn’t new to MJC. Hass came to the United States from her native Fiji with two purposes in mind: to be reunited with her parents who had already settled here and to pursue her academic aspirations. She relates that even if she had continued on in educational system in Fiji and obtained a degree in her chosen profession that she still would have had to take more classes here in the United States.Having someone to guide her through the educational process from start to finish, is something that Hass appreciates greatly.

“They make it easier to attend MJC,” says Anjaline Hass, 21, a business major.” They help you to pick out classes relevant to your major so that you don’t waste time and money taking ones you don’t need.”

Throughout the academic year, TRIO students will take trips to colleges and universities, museums, conferences, live performances and to cultural events or programs. These co-curricular activities are planned to give students a chance to socialize with each other while experiencing academic or cultural enrichment that may help students with career,school and lifestyle choices.

All program services are provided free of charge to students who maintain their eligibility for program services. Interested students must submit an application and verification of income for the previous year. Students are then scheduled for a personal interview to review eligibility and discuss program services that will help them achieve their educational goals. For additional information or to request an application, please contact TRIO/Student Support Services Program office at MJC or call 575-6189.