An on-campus program is helping first-generation and low-income students succeed through one-on-one dedicated support.
TRIO assists students with personalized services throughout the year by offering academic planning, tutoring, university tours, and transferring workshops. This federal government-funded resource at Salt Lake Community College eases hardships and builds a fundamental network for students’ academic success.
TRIO STEM advisor Maricela Hernandez has been part of the TRIO advisory team for two years. The purpose of this college-bound program is to help students make connections and develop a foundation for future relationships.
“We are kind of like a guide for our students and we help them with whatever journey they decided to go towards,” Hernandez said. “Having a support system in college can make it a little bit easier in forming a community here, which can make students feel more welcome and feel like they belong here.”
Hernandez personally works extensively and exclusively with STEM majors, assisting them with finding scholarship opportunities and resume building.
However, TRIO does offer services for non-STEM major participants with their student support services advisors.
“If you don’t qualify for our program, we always support students. We always find ways to provide support and connect you with resources on campus,” Hernandez said. “We’re always there to support because it’s overwhelming when you’re transferring to a four-year institution, especially as a first-generation. Everything is so new, making one feel overwhelmed and alone.”
Amen Koutowogbe, a TRIO student who has been a part of the program since her sophomore year at SLCC, said she regrets not applying earlier in her educational career. Koutowogbe initially heard about the service during the bi-annual career fairs and later met with an advisor to learn more about the program.
“There are a lot of programs offered at SLCC, and TRIO is one of them,” Koutowogbe said. “All are willing to help but do not know who needs help. Don’t wait for help to come, go seek it, and always ask questions.”
Koutowogbe is a former SLCC student who recently transferred to Utah Valley University this year. As a first-generation student, pursuing higher education can present many difficulties. However, Koutowogbe was able to overcome these challenges through the guidance and support of TRIO.
“They helped me avoid a lot of common mistakes and touch base with UVU advisors,” Koutowogbe said. “If you don’t struggle in what you do, you’re not making process. You have to struggle to get where you want to be.”
This accessible student service continued to assist students amidst the COVID-19 outbreak by holding virtual workshops and checking in with program participants throughout the year.
Eligible students receive individualized assistance in applying for financial aid, internships, and much more all year long. Providing support for first-generation and low-income college students is a huge part of TRIO.
The main TRIO offices are located on the second floor of the Constructions Trades (CT) building at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. Students can review eligibility criteria and complete the application process by visiting the TRIO programs page.