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SSS Previous Students of the Month


May 2016:

My name is David Shiryayev.  I am currently a senior finishing my degree in math and Russian.  In these last four years at Portland State University, I learned a lot about myself, including what my interests and passions are.  In addition, college education has showed me that there will always be more to learn.  I often think back to what Albert Einstein once said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know”.  One thing that college has taught me for sure is the fact that I really don’t know anything.  It hurts me to accept this reality, however, I do not intend to run from it.  In fact, it has motivated me to continue my education. Portland State University’s Russian Club and work part-time as a math tutor in the TRIO Upward Bound Program.  It has been a great privilege to be part of the TRIO programs through these years.  The advisors have helped me much in providing me with the advice and encouragement I need to succeed in college.  One of the advantages of being part of the program is early registration.  As a math major, it was very important for me to get into the math classes as early as possible, since they always filled up so quickly.  It was very nice to know for certain the classes I would be taking the following term, and early registration is what made that possible. This summer I will begin the Graduate Teacher Education Program.  I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in education and become a high school math and Russian teacher.  Because of the assistance I received from the advisors, I received enough scholarship money to pay for my graduate school program.  I thank each and every person in the program who believed and saw potential in me!  This next step in my academic career was partly made possible because of TRIO, and I will forever be grateful for all the advice and help I have received from them over the last four years.

April 2016:

Hi, my name is Jasmin Landa and I am a sophomore majoring in Business Administration, Management and Leadership with an emphasis on Global Business Leadership and a minor in Communications. I am very passionate in all that I do and for many that do not know me, I am a multi rational woman who carries a bubbly personality and I absolutely love to smile. Aside from being a full time student and a two job employee, I am active in my sorority of Alpha Chi Omega, and President of Greek Council. I also play on the Portland State University club volleyball team, I am the Vice Chair of the Organization Budget Council, and a Senate member for the Student Fee Committee. I have found my ability to ground myself on this campus by joining student organizations and programs that uplift and motivate my every step forward, and I am proud to be a part of the TRIO Student Support Services program. I express that this program has truly been a life changing resource which has provided me with countless opportunities and assistance to see that my future endeavors can and will be of reach to me. College is a time where redefining oneself occurs, and by having programs and organizations that assist in such a beautiful process is what I will forever be grateful for. This upcoming summer, I will be partaking in an opportunity given by TRIO and the Council of Opportunity in Education to go to Spain and study abroad for a whole month. Not only so, but I hope to also study abroad in Japan for Fall 2016. I look at each day as an opportunity, and seek to do just that, to make it an opportunity that my future endeavors will thank me someday. I  pursue each step, acknowledging my humble beginnings, and seek to take humble steps forward. My ambition to succeed lies within the foundation of my family, faith, and the education that pushes me each and every day to further develop my philanthropic behavior and future career.

March 2016:

My name is Linda Meanus. I am an elder and tribal member from the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon. Two of the main reasons I moved to Portland was for cancer treatment and I was also searching for opportunities to further my education. Since coming to the university, I have been working towards earning my Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and my minor in Native American Studies, also under the new name of Indigenous Nations Studies. I will graduate in Spring 2016. Before coming to Portland State University I attended Bacone Jr. College in Muskogee, OK. then in 1970 I earned a Secretarial Certificate in Office Procedures in San Jose, CA. After moving to Warm Springs Indian Reservation I began work at the Tribal Prosecutor’s Office and was also employed with Workforce. As I realized I wanted to increase my earnings, I moved to Bend, OR attending Central Oregon Community College to learn computer skills in 1998. After an office manager position there, I learned even more administrative skills and QuickBooks from Heald College Business Administration School where I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration in 2010. From that point, I was even more motivated to further my education, had enough credits to transfer to Portland State University and was accepted! As a first generation student I am grateful to TRIO and my advisors, Rosalyn Taylor and the other advisors who have greatly supported and guided me, giving me the confidence to go through this journey. Their support has meant helping me find opportunities for attending the classes I needed to meet my goals and get to where I am today; I could not have done it without all of these wonderful people helping me along. I am very excited and look forward to graduation so I can begin using all of these experiences and new skills on my pathway to success. I am deeply grateful, appreciative and thankful to TRIO for always being available and encouraging me to continue and successfully meet my educational, professional and personal goals. Thank you so much.

January 2016:

My name is Dallas Berry. I just finished a dual major in Management/Leadership and Human Resources with a Minor in Psychology last term! I was born and raised in Portland but grew up in Roseburg, Oregon. I was self employed for many years before I decided to continue my education. I first learned of the TRIO Student Support Services program the term before I graduated from Umpqua Community College. With the help of a scholarship workshop and by filling out the OSAC Scholarship application, I was awarded the Ford Family Opportunity Grant my last term there and throughout my time at Portland State university. It has been a heck of a journey for me since my transition to Portland State has been challenging due to health and family issues. Being a nontraditional student, I was not sure how things were going to work out. However, the staff at TRIO has helped me in many ways from just lending an ear to offering resources. The networks that they possess have helped me with financial aid issues, problems with holds, dual registration, writing letters, and assisted me to prioritize and map out clear paths with goals and timelines. The workshops they offer have been tremendously helpful as well. This program has offered so much support that I could not begin to express my gratitude. TRIO has been a very important part of my educational journey at Portland State. I take every opportunity I get to share it with peers. If you are part of this program and a TRIO alum, you should be honored. If you are considering applying, it may be the best choice you can make for your academic career. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to this program and all involved. It was wonderful to have a network of people in my corner. Thank you Charissa, Andrea, Linda, and Rosalyn! I would also like to thank my peers who work the reception desk. You always brightened my day! GO VIKS!

Month: November and December 2015

picture of Lorenzo Meza November and December 2015 student of the monthMy name is Lorenzo Meza; I grew up in Mexicali Baja California, Mexico and I moved to Oregon as an independent student at the age of 16. In order to pay for living expenses and save money for my education I started working and studying very soon after my arrival. After graduating from Beaverton High School, I was accepted into Portland State University. Navigating college as a first generation student was a challenge for me, especially during my first year. I was fortunate to get accepted as a member of TRiO Student Support Services program. My affiliation with TRiO led me to meet some of my best friends in college. The support I have received from TRiO has been very positive and has greatly impacted my college experience. Because of my involvement with TRiO I was fortunate to receive scholarships, job opportunities, an internship, and most importantly, personal and academic counseling. Attending college as an independent student with English as my second language has been one of my hardest challenges. TRiO has allowed to make my college education a reality. I am currently a senior majoring in Finance. In order to apply my work experience, I plan to continue with my education after a few years working as a Financial Analyst. I am very grateful to the TRiO staff and want to thank all of you for helping students such as myself succeed with their student goals. I want to thank Rosalyn Taylor, who never stopped believing in my potential and always motivated me to continue with my “education” journey.

Month: August 2015 to October 2015

picture of Kimberly Gottschalk August to October 2015 student of the monthHi, my name is Kimberly Gottschalk & I am currently a senior at PSU. Ten years ago when I first graduated high school, I attempted to navigate college on my own and after a short time, ended up leaving school because of lack of funds to keep attending. I didn’t believe I would ever be able to obtain my bachelor’s degree and that I had missed my opportunity for higher education. I was worried that I would be destined to work low paying jobs in areas that did not stimulate any of my interests or quest for further knowledge. Two years ago I decided to give higher education another try and began taking classes at Portland Community College. Within a year, I was co-enrolled with Portland State University. I knew that I would need help to ensure that this time around I would be successful in completing a higher degree. After a quick online search, I found the TRIO Student Support Services program that helped first generation, low income students, like me, to aim high and successfully complete a bachelor’s degree in their chosen fields. I have been with the program for one year now and the support they have provided me through one on one advising in academic support, and all aspects of university life have been absolutely invaluable. With the help of my advisor, Andrea Griggs, and the TRIO Student Support Services team of advisors, I am on track to successfully complete my Bachelors of Science degree(s) in Environmental Science and Biology. I do not plan to stop there. Their help also gave me the chance to be chosen as a McNair Scholar for the 2014-2015 academic year. Being chosen as a McNair scholar was my stepping stone to be able to gain the experience to conduct research as an undergraduate. Within the next year, I will be applying to doctorate programs around the country to obtain my PhD in Physical Oceanography. The TRIO Student Support Services program has helped me in picking out the classes I need, applying for scholarships, writing support for personal statements, being accepted into the Honor’s College, revising my financial aid package, personal counseling, workshops on affordable healthcare and food, tuition remission, and being confident that I deserve and can complete my goals in higher education, among so much more. I have friendly faces in the university that I can come to with questions that are here to help me achieve success. The program has been such a blessing, and I am thankful for the continued support by the United States Department of Education to fund programs that help students like me reach our full potential. Thank you.

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 monthMy name is Bilal Sayyid. I 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

picture of Lumen Mudd March 2015 student of the month

My name is Lumen Mudd, 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 Rangel, 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.