SSS Previous Students of the Month

October 2018:

My name is Tam-Nguyen Nguyen. No, it is not a typo; there are “Nguyens” in my name. This Fall 2018 will be my very last quarter at Portland State working on my degrees in Management and Leadership as well as Human Resource Management. I was very fortunate to meet Jason Young and joined the TRIO Talent Search program in high school. Jason introduced me to the TRIO Student Support Services program in my senior year. He also helped me to prepare the application and looked through my essay. At the

time, I could never imagine the value of being a program like Student Support Services and how it could help me through my journey college. However, I quickly learned how I was to be in Student Support Services during my first year in college.

I graduated from high school with relatively good grades. I started college with great confidence and set high goals for myself, but I soon realized that college was nothing like high school. Three weeks into my very first term of school after my first paper, my professor told me to consider dropping the class and take lower writing courses because my paper was so bad that he couldn’t give me a grade on it. I was devastated; I was lost; but, I didn’t want to give up. During the quarterly meeting with my Student Support Services advisor, Andrea, we discussed about my situation. I learned from our meeting that the school provided many resources for needed students. I just wanted to do better, so I tried the best I could. I came to every office hour before class; I went to the Writing Center every week; and I also worked with Rosalyn in Student Support Services on my writing. With all those additional support services, I received a “B” on my second paper and my professor couldn’t believe that I was the same person who wrote the first paper.

Like many students, especially freshmen, I was reluctant to ask for help or sharing my struggle but I have learned that college is not a straight road. We have struggles and when we do, people in programs such as TRIO or other campus resources are willing to walk with us through our tough time. There is really no shame in asking for help. It is better to reach out when we need help than to give up without asking. 


June 2018:

My name is Xiao Meng, and I am a senior majoring in General Science with a focus on Pre-Pharmacy. In 2011, I was forced to immigrate to America because my parents believed I would have a “better future” here than in China. I was placed in a local high school for two years to obtain my diploma before I could attend college. Although I met many new people, I had a lot more negative experiences than positive ones in high school, which made high school the darkest two years of my American journey so far. While most of my friends went to community colleges or simply decided not to attend college, I chose Portland State to be a place for a new start. I used to hate America a lot because of what I experienced in high school, but Portland State has brightened my life by providing me with an excellent environment full of love and friendly people.

I could not decide my major during freshman orientation and was assigned to an advisor named Karen at Advising and Career Services. After learning I was a first-generation college student, Karen introduced me to Linda who then explained to me a bunch of benefits of becoming a part of TRIO Student Support Services. I did not understand how most of the supports could benefit me at that time and the only thing that caught my eye was free printing. There are no better words to describe myself in freshman year other than with the former chairman of China Jiang Zemin’s famous saying, “Too young too simple, sometimes naive”. I was totally wrong about how much TRIO Student Support Services would help me and I would not be here writing this biography without their help over the past few years. Only a handful of my classes required advanced calculation, and I was able to borrow a TI calculator from TRIO Student Support Services, which saved me lots of money. By attending the workshops offered by the program, I was able to apply what I learned to creating my resume, writing a personal statement and dealing with interviews, etc. Thanks to the early registration, I never have to worry about classes being full because I can register before other undergraduates. As an independent full-time student who does not have time to work, I was fortunate enough to receive the tuition remission from them several times, which was a huge help to reduce my financial burden. These are just a few examples of how much support a student can get from TRIO. Without them, I would not have gotten my scholarship and acceptances into all the programs I have applied.

After I graduate, I will enter Pharmacy School to earn my medical degree. Although there are so many people who are involved in my academic achievements, TRIO Student Support Services is the witness of all of my failures and successes. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for having been supported by such an amazing group of people through my college life, and this would not have happened without them. Join for free printing. Stay for a bright future!  

May 2018: 
Joe Soto is from the East Bay area in California. He is a Music student whose passions are creating music, cycling and spending time outdoors. Joe is a classically trained singer and is an advocate for the Arts, particularly for those who come from historically marginalized communities. Joe will be continuing on to the Graduate School of Education this year and will also continue his study in opera and art song. Joe joined the TRIO - SSS program as a new transfer student more than 3 years ago. 
March 2018: 

My name is Ha-Quyen Nguyen and I am a first generation, low-income student who will be graduating from PSU this spring. I will be obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree for my double majors of Business Management and Leadership, as well as Human Resources. 
I have been calling Portland, Oregon my home since I was five years old because that was when my family emigrated to the United States from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The decision to uproot our life in Vietnam was not an easy one, especially since my oldest sister was unable to move with us, but my parents knew that for their other four daughters, it would benefit them greatly if they were to obtain an education in the US instead of Vietnam. For this reason, I have always been focused and studious when it comes to school because I was aware of the hardships that my parents had to endure to give my sisters and myself a chance at pursuing the “American Dream”. In the spring, I will be able to make my parents’ dream come true by being the last child in my family to graduate from college. 
During my freshman year, I joined TRIO-Student Support Services because I knew I needed an additional support system to help me be a successful student in college. If I did not apply to this program, I would have never met Linda, who is my TRIO advisor, as well as Andrea, Rosalyn, and Charissa. Linda is the person that I would go to whenever I feel defeated from school and personal life. She would always listen to my concerns and help me realize that I have a lot on my plate since I was taking 16 credits and working two part-time jobs to support my parents. Linda always made me feel better about my current situation at times where I felt like I wanted to give up. If it was not for Linda, I would have lost my work-study funds during my freshman year because I was struggling to find a work-study job. With Linda’s support and Charissa’s acceptance, I was able to obtain a job as an office assistant for TRIO. I have been an office assistant at TRIO since March 2016 and my work-study job has been the highlight of my time at PSU because this job has allowed me to meet other students who share similar economic background as myself and are also from a first-generation family. Through TRIO, I was able to identify a community space at PSU. 
I would not be where I am today if it was not for the staff at TRIO who has helped me excel in my college courses and guided me towards a debt-free education. The immense amount of support that I have received from them has inspired me to become an academic advisor, so I can help others achieve a successful college experience. For this reason, I will be working as a College Possible coach at Reynolds High School after I graduate. Through my job as a high school coach, I will be assisting a cohort of students who also identifies as a minority and low-income like myself through the processes of applying to college and obtaining their bachelor’s degree. I hope my job at College Possible will be my first step of starting a long-term career in college advising because my goal is to work for a program similar to TRIO and support students in ways that the TRIO staff has supported me. 

February 2018:
My name is Ram Bhattarai and I am senior majoring in Computer Engineering. I arrived in the United States of America in November 2011 as a Bhutanese Refugee from Nepal. My family and I had lived in refugee camps for 18 years in a situation that no one can imagine. We had to fight for getting good food and good shelter. The education system was very poor and life was very difficult. Finally, through International Organization of Migration (IOM), I got an opportunity to settle in the United States. When I came here, everything was different and life was very difficult to sustain. I got a golden chance to go to high school in David Douglas for one and half years. During that time, I got to know about the TRIO Student Support Services and applied afterwards. I had an opportunity to be part of the Summer Bridge program where I learned about how to manage student life and also knew about resources available for students. TRIO has been my backbone for the entire college experience. Through their guidance and support, I am standing here as a senior. I had some difficult times in college where I was down and out, but through the support of TRIO, especially my adviser Linda, she has always guided me throughout my entire experience. Post-graduation, I want to work as a computer engineer and hopefully inspire the youth to go for further studies. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the TRIO and I really appreciate all the help that I have received. 
January 2018:
My name is Katrina Dejeu, and I am a Vietnamese-American born and raised in Portland, Oregon where I currently live with my mother and younger siblings. After high school, I was unsure if college was the right choice for me. I felt like I lacked the resources needed to prepare myself for it, and that I would never be able to succeed. Nonetheless, I applied to the universities closest to home, and was later admitted to Portland State University. After admission, I received an email regarding Portland State’s TRIO- Student Support Services, a program designed to aid first-generation students overcome educational, financial, and social barriers to success. I found this to be a great opportunity, so I applied and was later accepted. Being a member of TRIO has helped me tremendously during my time at Portland State, and there are so many things I am thankful for. Firstly, I am thankful for the Summer Bridge Program run by Rosalyn Taylor. This program helped me learn about all the departments and resources on campus, and it was a stepping-stone for what to expect when taking courses at Portland State. Rosalyn was a fantastic professor, and she helped me to develop strong test-taking, reading, and writing strategies that I continue to utilize in my daily life. Secondly, I am thankful for the advising. Linda Liu has been my adviser since I began at Portland State, and she has helped me with scheduling my classes, finding jobs on and off campus, and much more. She has also helped me during the lowest points in my life. During my freshman year of college, I was homeless. I was working two jobs, and unsure if I could continue with my education. But then I talked to Linda, and she responded with compassion and understanding and provided me with helpful resources so that I can still go to college. Finally, I am thankful for the Peer Outreach Mentors (POMs). For most of my life, I have struggled with anxiety, and it has discouraged me from expressing my ideas and connecting with others. This year, I decided to become a POM to not only meet and help new students, but to combat my anxiety. Although I still get anxious at times, I have learned to better control it, and I am so thankful for both Andrea Griggs and Charissa Ringo as they have both helped me plan and executive events as well as encourage me to do the best I can. TRIO has been a big part of my college career, and it has helped me so much in both my academics and personal life. I am so grateful to be apart of a community that helps their students achieve the impossible. 
October 2017:
My name is Hameda Dil Mohamed. I arrived in the United States in 2009 as a Rohingya refugee from Malaysia. I did not attend school for the first fourteen years of my life. Because of so many obstacles in my life, especially getting an education and having seen so many others in even worse situations than I , I don’t take my life in Portland for granted. I am a first-generation college student. I was in TRIO Upward Bound program in high school before I was accepted in the TRIO Student Support Services. I am thankful to Allah SWT for both services that I received. I was provided an opportunity to participate in the Summer Bridge Program where I learned about the university’s general information and programs. They have always been there for me whenever I needed them. Through their guidance and support, I am finding my place at Portland State. I truly believe that without TRIO Student Support Services, I wouldn’t able to survive in college. I remembered when I started as a freshman, it was difficult for me academically and financially. However, they supported and stood by me throughout my difficult situation. They would assist me with registrations, scholarships, letters of recommendation, writing, and finally finding jobs on and off campus. I am extremely thankful to the TRIO Student Support Services, especially my advisor Linda, who inspired me to become like her. She is an angel who taught me how to smile, laugh, and be patient when I had difficult times understanding about anything that I did not know. I am grateful for all of the friendly staff members and students of TRIO Student Support Services. I enjoy their company and I feel honored to be a part of the TRIO Student Support Services community.
June 2017: 

Hi, my name is Gael Cadena. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and I moved to Oregon seven years ago. Soon after my arrival I attended to Aloha High School, in which I was the president of the Latino Leadership Club. Additionally, I also formed part of the Spanish Club, A Better Campus Club and Warrior Crew Network. After graduating from Aloha High School in 2012, I was accepted to Portland State University. As a first generation student, it was challenging to navigate through college during my first year. I found out about TRIO through a friend and I was very fortunate to get accepted as a student for the TRIO Student Support Services program. Soon after being a student in the program, I became a Peer Outreach Mentor for TRIO SSS. Being a POM has been a wonderful experience as it has connected me closer to the TRIO staff and it has enable me to meet people who have positively impacted college career.
My involvement with TRIO has given me the tools to be a successful student. TRIO has offered me guidance through scholarships, financial aid, internships and most importantly, it has shaped me to be the person I am today. I have come a long way, but it has not been easy. The language barrier has been one of the most challenging obstacles I had to overcome, as I was not able to express myself the way I wish to.
Now, I am currently a senior graduating at the end of the spring term and majoring in Anthropology and Geology. I plan to continue my education attending to graduate school and getting an internship with the United States Geological Survey focusing on volcanism along the Pacific Northwest and the cascade volcanoes. TRIO has had a great impact in my education and I plan to apply the knowledge and the things that I was taught from TRIO in my future career. I want to recognize the amazing work that Andrea has done for me. She has been an amazing advisor and an excellent human being. Thank you Andrea for always believing in me, for advising me through classes and financial aid, for giving me the opportunity to work as a POM for two years helping me connect with students from the program and for acknowledging my hard work at the end of every term. This program is truly a blessing and I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of it.

April 2017:
I am Maximilian (Max) West, a non-traditional student and a senior at Portland State University. I will graduate this summer with a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies: Community Health Education. I entered Portland State University through two portals: I was a Bridges to Baccalaureate Scholar, which awarded me a mentored summer research internship in the Institute on Aging, where I continue to work. I also joined the TRIO Student Support Services Transfer Bridge program where a small group of incoming transfer students spent a week before Fall term learning about the university’s services, meeting key contacts, and leading each other on tours of buildings. When classes began, I already recognized faces as we traveled between classes. From Day 1 at Portland State University, I have wanted to become a researcher. My advisor helped me stick to my degree curriculum, term-by-term, as I added courses so I will stand out in graduate school. I am currently a McNair Scholar working with a mentor, Greg Townley, PhD, conducting summer research. We are drafting a proposal to assess the changes in social networks that Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual/Transgender individuals experience in alcohol and drug treatment. I encourage every student to, at least for a while, embrace “college life.” Live close to campus, join study groups, spend weekends with your classmates, and do volunteer work. Find out about your professors’ work, and read a couple of their papers. THEN go visit them during office hours and ask them questions. Especially, keep an eye out for fellow students who might benefit from a friendly ‘hello,’ or who might qualify for the TRIO Student Support Services program’s services. When there are so many distracting things already vying for my attention, this program is helping me get to the finish line. It is important to stay engaged in school!

February 2017:

My name is Fengyan Zhen. I was born and raised in Taishan, a small village in southern China on May 26, 2010. My family immigrated to America for our “American Dream”, a better life. I am currently a senior majoring in Community Development and minoring in Sustainable Urban Development. In the future, I want to be involved in sustainable housing development. TRIO Student Support Services for me is more like an “indicator light”, to make sure that I am always on the right track. When I became one of Portland State University’s Student Ambassador, they asked me what was the most important suggestion I could provide for incoming students. I said, “Be a friend with your adviser, maybe they are not as knowledgeable as your professor, but I am sure their weight is more crucial in your college life.”  I really appreciate all the TRIO Student Support Services staff, especially my adviser Andrea Griggs. She has helped me achieve my academic goals and connects me with the resources I need.





October 2016: 

Hi, my name is Jennifer Mick and I am a business major concentrating in accounting. I started attending Portland State University after 13 years in the manufacturing industry and several stints of night school at Portland Community College. TRIO Student Support Services has helped me find my passions for accounting as well as first generation student educational and professional access. The TRIO programs were not new to me. I learned about TRIO Upward Bound during high school after it was already too late for me to enter the program. I was devastated to lose out on those resources back then so when I learned about TRIO at Portland State, I applied and registered for the Transfer Bridge program. This program assists low income, first generation incoming transfer students transition from a community college setting to navigating university life and culture. In my first year, I had many needs as an exploratory major, where many commuting students may struggle with developing strong social connections on campus. Being in the Transfer Bridge program helped me build a community on campus before my first academic year even started. TRIO also offered me a home base as a commuter student without a school. While many exploratory students may struggle with what classes to consider, my TRIO adviser Andrea Griggs suggested classes, majors, and careers and she even connected me with a graduating TRIO student who was able to share much needed information! As a low income student, it was necessary for me to make it through school working minimally so I could fully focus on my studies. One of the other TRIO advisers, Rosalyn Taylor met with me several times to edit my scholarship essays. Her invaluable guidance led me to strongly communicate who I am and what my future plans will hold. My meetings with her were a great investment which resulted in earning two scholarships totaling $6,000! Upon graduating in June 2018, I will be launching into a career in public accounting which will enable me to help businesses grow, to travel internationally, and start saving in order to leave two TRIO inspired legacies, a scholarship fund for first generation, low income students as well as a program to address cultural capital gaps that working class students face when entering professional careers.

June 2016:

My name is Kally Kaunang, I am half Chinese and half Indonesian. My family and I moved to the United States in 2002 from Indonesia to pursue opportunities for a better life. I am currently a senior and will be graduating this spring with a degree in Health Science and a minor in Psychology. My career goals is to become a Nurse. I have always had a passion in helping people, especially children and I hope one day to become a Travel Nurse. I want to spread my passion and continue helping people not just in my community but all over the world. I have been blessed with an opportunity to come to America and being able to attend college to pursue my dreams. When I first started college, Portland State University was not in my top choice of school. I wanted to stay at San Diego State University but could not afford it, so I had to come back home. When I first started here, I was bitter and angry, I did not want to get involved in anything school related until I joined the TRIO program. It has been a great privilege being in this program. It has made me appreciate the school and changed my perspective from when I first started here. Being in this program has given me a sense of community, I have met a lot of people and made friends in the program that has made my college experience enjoyable. The program has provided me with resources around campus and helped me to find funds to be able to continue my education. The advice and encouragement I received from the advisors has helped me to succeed in college.  The support I received from all the staff has been amazing. I want to sincerely thank all the TRIO advisors and everyone in the program for making me feel at home these past four years and for always having your doors open and welcoming me with a smile. I am grateful to have been a part of this program and could not have accomplished so much without the support from TRIO. 

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 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.