TRiO program increases student success

Three Murray State programs, all aimed at helping student success increase at three different levels of a college education, celebrated their work on campus Feb. 18.

TRiO, the title of the nationally funded college program, is geared to help students from different backgrounds pursue a college degree. The program provides students from middle school through college with personal counseling, financial guidance and help in other areas.

The TRiO program has helped 2.2 million students graduate college since its inception in 1964 with the Upward Bound program, and assists 780,000 students with their educational careers annually.

Murray State has three of the programs on campus – The Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement, Student Support Services and Achievement in Math and Science.

John Mateja, director of the University’s McNair Program, said the program is aimed at helping current undergraduate students make the path to gaining a doctorate degree easier.

“If they fit the TRiO, general requirements of coming from a first-generation college family, or low-income family, then we help them get on the path to a Ph.D.,” Mateja said.

Mateja said the program helps students develop skills necessary for research, along with having a faculty mentor to assist the students. He said although the program helps students receive a post-baccalaureate degree, it also aims to help students after graduation.

Another program under TRiO is the Student Support Services department, which director Shanna Burgess said helps students maintain a positive academic career.

Burgess said the department offers many services such as academic support, retention programs, tutoring, academic counseling and financial aid counseling.

The third section of the University’s TRiO program, AIMS, is mostly targeted at helping high school students get ready for college and also helps provide a chance for University students give back to the community.

Doris Clark-Sarr, director of AIMS, said Trio Day was not only a great way for more people to be made aware of the programs, but to show students just how they can be helped.

“It is also a great chance to know what TRiO actually means and what services we can provide to prospective, current and graduate students,” she said.

AIMS is a program directed at helping high school students from nine different schools. To date, the program has assisted 126 high school students by helping improve their academic and social skills, preparing them for a college education.

Clark-Sarr said although the program is based in math and science, the goal of the organization is to produce well-rounded students, so subjects such as English and history are focused on as well.

Story by Samantha Villanueva, Staff writer.