NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s TRiO Student Support Services hosted a celebration to mark 50 years of creating graduates that are transformational individuals, passionate citizens and global leaders. The celebration took place in the NSU Ballroom Oct. 25 with current students, current and former staff and alumni speakers.
TRiO Student Support Services is a federal program that bridges the connection between high school and college for low income first generation college students and/or students with disabilities. The program offers academic and career advising, instruction in academic skills and financial education, financial aid enrollment assistance, peer tutoring, fitness support programs, and other assistance systems designed to maximize students’ chance at success in college.
Shanteria Montgomery of Homer was a student and student worker and now graduate assistant in NSU’s SSS office. She provided a brief history of TRiO, which was established in 1968 with the combining of three programs, Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services. Since the program has been offered at NSU since 1979, it has provided support to thousands of students by focusing on persistence, good academic standing and graduation. Northwestern State University students that participated in the SSS program have consistently graduated at a higher rate than their peers within the University.
“Student Support Services helps students grow and become productive citizens,” said Frances Welch, program director. NSU students that participate have increased retention and graduation rates, she added.
Raquel Wheeler, a 2009 graduate and former SSS student spoke about her own experiences with the program.
“Advisors took time with me beyond their office hours and showed us the importance of service,” she said. Through SSS, Wheeler became involved with Helping Hands and assisted with several local service projects. She is now a math and science teacher in Caddo Parish.
“We were able to use our time and talents to help others, even if we couldn’t contribute financially,” she said. “This now plays a role in my life professionally. Having had support from my advisors drives me in supporting my students. I am motivated to support my students outside the classroom.”
NSU’s Student Support Services Office is located in Kyser Hall Suite 243B. Users can follow SSS on Facebook at nsulastudentsupportservices. For more information, call (318) 357-5901.