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SSS Previous Students of the Month

Month: June & July 2015

My name is Viet Nguyen. I am currently a graduating senior at Portland State University and I will be going to Oregon State University in the fall as a first-year pharmacy student. I came to the United States with my family in 2008 with very little English, so I struggled a lot as a high school student at Marshall High School. After graduating from high school in 2010, I didn’t know whether I should go to Portland Community College or Portland State University for my college education because of my financial situation. What made me decide to come to Portland State was because of my amazing TRiO – Student Support Services advisor, Rosalyn Taylor through the Summer Bridge Program. During the program, Rosalyn showed me how going to Portland University would benefit me as an undergraduate and how the Student Support Services would help me achieve my goal in becoming a healthcare professional. Therefore, I am glad that I chose Portland State and I am really thankful to Rosalyn for guiding me and making my undergraduate years easier and enjoyable. Besides, I would like to give special thanks to Linda, Charissa, Renee, and Andrea for helping me throughout my five years at Portland State University. Everyone is so nice and helpful whenever I ask for help. It’s truly an honor for me to be part of this program and meeting all of you. Thank you again for making undergraduate years amazing and memorable. 

Month: May 2015

picture of Celicia Reid April 2015 student of the monthMy name is Celicia Reid. I am a senior and will be the first of five siblings to graduate from college this Spring. My parents and grandparents served as my role models. My great grandmother, a slave and a teacher, made sure that her children went to college, and consequently, I come from a long line of college graduates. My parents modeled for me the freedom of entrepreneurship and how it provides a great opportunity to open doors in the community. My major is Health Studies in Aging Services, with a minor in Business. My ultimate goal is to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Health or Public Administration. Friends, outstanding professors, and my tutor are bringing me closer and closer to this goal. I would especially like to thank Andrew at the Community Health desk, who has helped coordinate so many things for me. I returned to Portland State University to pursue my career dream, after raising two daughters. My five wonderful grandchildren bring me great joy. I have been involved in the TRiO program for several years. This program has helped me define my goals, to navigate through registration term after term, to keep financial aid in order, and has provided so much encouragement. The TRiO has a staff highly skilled in counseling and guidance, in teaching essay writing, connection to scholarship opportunities and walking us through submission of applications. The staff is positive, encouraging, and always ready to help. I give special thanks to Charissa, my “computer guru,” Rosalyn, with a gift of connecting so well with me emotionally, Andrea, my event coordinator, and Linda Liu, the counselor I have been blessed to have, who faithfully helped keep registration and financial accounts in order. I will miss checking on my grades with her. There was never a problem she could not take care of. TRIO has opened doors for me that otherwise might have remained closed. I give a high five to TRIO Student Support Services!

Month: April 2015

picture of Bilal Sayyid March 2015 student of the monthI was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1992. I moved to the United States when I was 8 years old with my family. We moved in hopes of higher education, lifestyle, and to live free. In Afghanistan my family and I lived happy with our family and friends near. When the Taliban took over the country the citizens rights, freedom, and all the peace was also taken away from everyone. So my parents decided to move, to give my 3 younger siblings and me a better education, lifestyle, and the freedom to choose who, and what we wanted to become. I consider myself very privileged to live in the United States today. I can still recall my first sight of this beautiful country, and that sight was the Statue of Liberty in New York. When our airplane landed we had a 16-hour delay to Seattle, so my father and I left the airport to get pizza for dinner. We took a cab to the heart of New York and got pizza from some pizza shop. I remember that when we left the pizza store I saw a man coughing and cold in the side of the street. At that moment I wanted to be and become someone that would help people. When we got to Seattle I started to learn more English my reading and writing improved in school, and I progressed in my education. Throughout my educational progress I started to look into the medical profession and I was hooked on pharmacy. I was a junior in high school when I decided to pursue classes that would lead me towards my goal of becoming a pharmacist. Today I am a senior graduating spring of 2015 from Portland State University. I can proudly say that thus far I have achieved and been successful in the hard work towards my dream of becoming a pharmacist and helping people stay healthy. I had a lot of support, and help in working towards my dreams. My family is one of the biggest supports behind my success. They were the ones that kept me strong in difficult times. My friends are another line of support, because they have always encouraged and helped me. I would really like to thank TRiO Student Support Services because I have received a lot of help, support, and guidance from the counselors. I would personally like to thank, Andrea Griggs, my counselor. Andrea has supported me beyond words, she has always checked up on how I am doing in classes, and given me advice about classes. I would also like to thank Linda Liu, and Charissa for always keeping me updated about events, deadlines, and opportunities. Rosalyn who has been an amazing guide when I met with her to go over my personal statement for pharmacy school. The meaning of special is actually found in such individuals, which are thoughtful and do everything to help from the bottom of their hearts. Lastly I would like to say that I made it, and I will not stop my eagerness, or strive towards fulfilling my dreams.

Month: March 2015


My name is Lumen, I am 22 years old and this is my last term at PSU before I graduate.  When I was 16, I dropped out of high school at the pinnacle of my shortcomings- I was suffering from mental illness, drug abuse, being homeless off and on, self-identity, and a multitude of family problems.  Soon after, I earned my GED and started the TRiO-SSS program at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC). As a sophomore, I then transferred from MHCC to PSU and continued on to the TRiO-SSS program here. I’ve since decided on working towards a BS in Social Science and a minor in Philosophy. In recent years, I’ve become ever-inspired in the areas of social research, state and local government, social policy reform, education, and wellness and hope to make strides within those fields in the coming years. Over the past 4+ years, TRiO-SSS has not only provided me with terrific, insightful, understanding advisers that have been there to help guide me through college, but so much more.  As a program participant, I was advised to take advantage of academic and financial resources which opened my eyes to realizing what’s available for low-income citizens like myself and many of my fellow peers.  For instance, I learned about Individual Development Accounts (IDA) through one of the many workshops the program offers its students. Attending one of these workshops has helped me during the first half of college so that I could start a savings fund which helped me pay for some of my remaining tuition and expenses.  Since this is my last term, I found myself needing a little extra financial support getting through school. TRiO-SSS offers tuition remission assistance every term. I applied for it and was awarded the remission, which has truly been a blessing and has helped me feel more stable financially.  Additionally, thanks to Linda Liu’s wonderful advocation, I was awarded federal work study since I did not realize that I was no longer eligible being that it was my last year of school.  This enabled me to continue earning money for college as well as gaining incredibly useful experience working & networking with a job up at the RRI on the MyLife project that I value which is also relevant to my interests and studies. Aside from financial assistance, TRiO-SSS has provided me with resources to help me become a better student, as well as a more well-rounded individual. Examples are the social events, such as potlucks held throughout the year and the self-empowerment workshops that helped me gain professional knowledge while improving my social and intellectual skills.  Being in TRiO-SSS has really helped me realize and further utilize my potential.  After I graduate, I hope to return to present some workshops of my own to the program. In conclusion, I’m not sure that I would be here writing this right now, let alone still be in college without the assistance of TRiO-SSS with its resources and services. This program has definitely helped me rise up above what I thought I could be.  I am beyond grateful and thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of such a holistically amazing and supportive program.  I definitely plan to pass it forward into the future to help others as well. Thank you~

Month: January & February 2015

picture of Antonia Rangel January and February 2015 student of the monthMy name is Antonia, I was born and raised in Portland Oregon. I am one of the first in my family to graduate High School and head to College. My mom was a single teen parent who spent most of her time working to provide for my brothers and me. I went to De La Salle North Catholic which gave me amazing support and help when it came to figuring out my future goals. I am now a senior at Portland State University getting my BA in Health Studies. I joined Student Support Services, the end of my sophomore year when my friend suggested it to me. Student Support Services has helped me with scholarships essays other programs. TRIO has helped me apply to jobs and prepare for interviews. My goal for after college is getting into the Peace Corp. Later in life, I hope to get my Masters in Public Administration or Public Health.



Month: November & December 2014

picture of Khoi Tran November and December 2014 student of the month

Hello, my name is Khoi Tran and I am a senior. I was born in the country side of Vietnam. To help with my education, my parents had to sacrifice a lot. My mother took my sister and me to the city when I turned second grade. My father could only visit us once in a while due to his work at the farm. In 2008, I had my changing point when I put the first step into the United States of America. That was when I realized the meaning of freedom, opportunity, and community. Living in diversity society and being an immigrant, I want to go to a school where I have familiar environment. Portland State University is where I decide to stop by for my educational goal. I have been a student at PSU for more than 4 years. I am finishing my second major in Business – Supply and Logistics Management after my first major in Chemistry. I have been having great experience with classes and professors. I cannot hide my excitement for my future classes and graduation. Along that road to success, Student Support Services (Student Support Services) have been by my side and keep me stay on that road. Student Support Services provided me opportunity to participate in Summer Bridge Program, where I learned almost everything about PSU. In addition, my academic advisor always checks on my progress in school and helps me planning to achieve my goals. At Student Support Services, I can always find my opportunities, a friendly community and become a success student.

Month: October 2014

picture of Yvette Perez Chavez October 2014 student of the monthMy name is Yvette Perez-Chavez and I am a senior majoring in sociology at Portland State. When I began my first semester at PSU, everything was new. I was a transfer student from California and had never lived in a big city. It was a complete culture shock. Although I was in a new environment, there was one thing I was very familiar with, and that was the TRiO-Student Support Services program. I had been in TRIO-Student Support Services my last two years at Modesto Junior College before transferring, and it was the guidance and support I received from my counselors there that led me to PSU. The first thing I did upon registering for classes was apply to the TRiO program. Fortunately I was accepted early on in the semester because I had no idea how to manage student loans, little knowledge of PSU’s graduation requirements, and needed advice regarding my choice in major and future career options. With the help from my amazing advisor Andrea, I was able to set up a financial aid package that worked with my budget, I changed my major confident in the decision I made, and set up an educational plan that ensured I would graduate on the timeline I was following. Not only has TRIO-Student Support Services provided me with the support and resources I needed to navigate two different college systems successfully, but it has introduced me with opportunities to further my knowledge in my fields of interest, and has connected me with resources to help me pay for me education. With help from Rosalyn, our Coordinator of Instruction, I was able to win two scholarship opportunities at PSU. This year I will be working as a Peer Mentor for the University Studies program, and will be conducting my own research project as a TRiO - McNair Scholar. Being a first-generation college student, I never imagined these opportunities for myself. Both of my parents are immigrants from Mexico, and neither one of them went past elementary school. Out of five siblings, I am the youngest and first to be on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I consider myself extremely lucky to have stumbled upon the TRiO-Student Support Services program early on in my college career and I am grateful to have received the encouragement and support from previous and current TRiO staff members that has led me this far. 

Month: August & September 2014

picture of Asma Aba August and September 2014 student of the month

My name is Asma Aba. I came to the United States from Somalia in 1997 and I have been living here ever since. I am a first generation college student at Portland State University. Before the start of my freshman year I was in the TRiO – Student Support Services Summer Bridge Program. Through that program I gained some insight about TRiO – Student Support Services and the services it provides. For my first year at PSU I was accepted into the Access program which is a remarkable scholarship program. However, this program supports students financially and academically for their first year only. My sophomore year I faced a few challenges with registering for classes and became confused about what to major in. Then my friends encouraged me to apply to the TRiO - Student Support Services program after informing me of how much it helped them. Contemplating over the benefits of the program and with the challenges from the previous year, I was determined to be a TRiO – Student Support Services student. Through TRiO-Student Support Services there are so many opportunities to get involved and build a stronger community. Some experiences I enjoyed were leading workshops, attending events, among other opportunities. I have made many friends through the TRiO - Student Support Services community and I obtained even more benefits from the TRiO - Student Support Services services than I initially was seeking out. Whenever I would feel stuck regarding academics, my TRiO - Student Support Services advisor always directs me to the best options for dealing with my situations. Also, my advisor always amazes me with options available to me that I would have otherwise not known were possible. Thanks to my TRiO-Student Support Services advisor for asking me about my decisions, now I feel more confident about pursuing my BA in Psychology with a minor in Arabic. In addition to the immense academic support from my advisor, the other TRiO – Student Support Services staff assisted me in receiving financial support. One of the financial opportunities I acquired and find pleasure in is working at the front desk. I am grateful for all of the staff members and students of TRiO – Student Support Services. They are very friendly. I enjoy their company and I feel honored to be a part of the TRiO – Student Support Services community.