TRiO Programs Honored at Reception

Provided by TRiO

TRiO programs Upward Bound (UB), Student Support Services (SSS), Adventures in Math and Science (AIMS), and the McNair Scholars Program will host a reception on Wednesday, February 22, from 1-3 p.m. on the campus of Murray State, 248 Blackburn Science Building. Faculty, staff, students, area school personnel and Murray community leaders are invited to attend.

Congress established the TRiO programs more than 45 years ago. These programs enable Americans, regardless of economic circumstances, race or ethnic background, to enter college and graduate.

TRiO programs identify promising students and assist them in achieving a college degree. All services are free to qualified participants. Participants in each program must meet the same federal criteria. The majority of participants must demonstrate financial need and/or be the first in their families to receive a four-year college degree.

In excess of 1,200 colleges, universities and community agencies host approximately 2,600 TRiO programs that serve 780,000 young people and adults. An estimated 2.2 million TRiO students have graduated from college.

Upward Bound, directed by Jen Caldwell, serves high school students in Western Kentucky and Henry County, Tennessee. The focus of the Upward Bound program is to prepare high school students to enroll in a postsecondary educational program, and to develop the necessary skills for college success.

Currently, UB has served 82 students this program year. During the program year there are two major components: academic and summer.

During the summer program there were 45 participants who came to campus for the college experience. Participants lived in the residential colleges, took classes, worked and played at the wellness center, ate on campus, and participated in many different activities. There were 9 bridge students that took six hours of college credit, giving them a head start as a full-time college student.

The academic component brings participants to campus once a month for various workshops. ACT preparation, career exploration, tutoring, team work, test taking strategies, reading skills, financial aid, college applications, scholarships, and other activities are provided to the participants to help them succeed.

For additional information about the Upward Bound program, please contact Jen Caldwell at (270) 809-3827 or email at

Student Support Services (SSS) is a retention program that offers academic support on the campus of Murray State University to college students who meet certain federal guidelines. The program, designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of qualifying participants, has been serving disadvantaged college students since 1974 and currently serves 186 students.

Students qualify by having a proven academic need and by meeting other federal guidelines such as being a first-generation college student, meaning neither parent has received a bachelor’s degree; meeting certain federal low-income guidelines; or by having a documented disability.

Students benefit from a variety of academic services such as free individualized tutoring in general education areas; personal development workshops such as stress management, study skills, and self-esteem; career guidance and assistance with choosing a major, resume writing, and interview skills; and counseling for personal concerns, academic advising, financial and economic literacy education, financial aid assistance, and graduate school counseling.

Student Support Services is directed by Shanna Burgess. She and the staff are eager to meet students and assist them in reaching their personal educational goals. For more information, please, contact the SSS office at (270) 809-4327.

Dr. Doris Clark-Sarr directs the Adventures in Math and Science Programs I and II. This program is designed to enhance math and science skills of students by allowing 100 high school students per year to participate in a six-week enrichment camp. Participants must have a desire to pursue a math or science career in the future.

Participants attend classes in foreign language, literature, math, science, computers and fine arts. The major emphasis of the curriculum, however, is math and science. Each student is given a research project to work on during the program with a supervising faculty member acting as a guide. Three years ago, the AIMS program was selected as one of the top math and science programs in the nation. A representative from the Pell Institute in Washington, D.C., visited the program to research best practices for math and science programs.

AIMS students have presented their research at a regional level with other TRiO programs. Science or math related field trips to such places as the Hancock Biological Station illustrates how the concepts they learn in class are applied.

Throughout the school year and at the end of every summer, AIMS takes the students to other places, visiting science or math-related sites. This year, students took a four-day tour of several Georgia Colleges. Students will also be touring colleges in mid-Florida and touring the NASA Space Center, where they will have lunch with an astronaut. Several students will also be taking a trip to St. Louis where they will see the Science Center, Grants Farm and the St. Louis Zoo.

Students in AIMS target areas of western Kentucky, northwest Tennessee and eastern Missouri are those who score lower than the national average in math and science, but still have an interest in those fields. The program is designed to help those students increase their understanding of these subjects in order for them to achieve their academic and career goals.

“Currently there are approximately 20 graduates from our program attending Murray State University,” Sarr said. “We are required to track our students until they either graduate from college or decline to participate in our follow-up study. So far, we’ve established over a 97 percent retention rate for our students.”

The McNair Scholars Program seeks to help undergraduates realize their full potential by encouraging and preparing them to pursue a Ph.D. Eligible students include those from low-income, first generation-college households and students from groups underrepresented in graduate education.

McNair participants have a unique opportunity to engage in an in-depth, faculty-guided research project that gives them an edge when applying to graduate school. The McNair Program funds a stipend paid to the student as they work on their research projects and provides subsequent travel support to enable participants to present their research at regional, national and international conferences.

Faculty mentors work closely with students, preparing them to be leaders in their field of study. Participants receive a wide range of additional support, including academic and career counseling, financial aid, tutoring, seminars, a GRE course, and support for graduate school visits.

The current McNair Scholars Program at Murray State was funded by the Department of Education at $900,000 for a period from October 2009 until September 2013. Murray State University is providing over $200,000 in additional support for the program. The McNair Scholars Program supports 25 scholars annually and is open to students in any discipline that can lead to a Ph.D.

Anyone interested in additional information about Murray State’s McNair Scholars Program should contact John Mateja, Director, or Leslie Furches, Program Coordinator, at or call 270-809-2951.