STUDENT SERVICES SPOTLIGHT: TRIO SSS
College can be a challenging time for students, but it is also a time student’s can expand their knowledge and create relationships that last a lifetime. There are several resources on the Eastern New Mexico University campus that are able to help students get the most out of their education. The TRIO Student Support Services not only helps at risk students, but also provides resources for students who are wanting to excel in their academic or professional careers.
TRIO SSS is a comprehensive program designed for all students. They are a federally funded educational opportunity outreach program designed to motivate, retain, graduate, and encourage academic advancement of eligible students. The ENMU TRIO SSS program is the second largest program compared to other TRIO SSS programs.
Kimberlee Smith is the director of the TRIO SSS program at ENMU and has been the coordinator since Jan. 2017. Smith states that she highly encourages all students to apply for the program because generally there is an opportunity for them to qualify.
The goal for the TRIO SSS program is to ensure that their alumni graduate or graduate early and that they are in a career of their choosing or in graduate school upon graduation. Smith states “All of our services are basically reversed engineered to ensure that outcome.”
Scott Farmer, the Career Coordinator of the TRIO SSS program, says that the career services portion of the program focuses on meeting the students where they are. Whether it be helping them build a resume or providing them the resources to learn the environment of the career they are choosing. “It depends entirely on what services that participant prefers and where they are wanting to get too and design with those in mind” Farmer says.
The career services side of the TRIO SSS program strives for students to have access to internships. According to Farmer the program has a success rate of 94 percent good academic standing rates. Students are prepared to succeed and are among the first to be picked for job positions or internships.
The TRIO SSS program offers a lot more than resources. When you sign up to be a part of the trio SSS program they eventually turn into family as well. Smith states that she has been a part of the trio SSS program since she was in 6th grade. When she went to Texas Tech to work on her PhD one of her professors had been an alumni of the TRIO SSS, so he began to help her plan out her PhD program. The program is not only offered at ENMU, but also across the nation, therefore you could always run into a fellow TRIO SSS colleague.
Smith states that the TRIO SSS program is currently on their first year of the five-year cycle of the current grant the program received. With that in mind, their focus for this upcoming year is to help juniors by providing them new services.
“Time management– like being able to differentiate my time at work versus my time at school. I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done at either,” said Jessica Olivas, a member of the TRIO SSS program.
Olivas then stated that this semester her biggest obstacle has been time management. Olivas is a full-time employee at a local non-profit in Hobbs NM, a part time employee as a driving instructor, and attends ENMU and the New Mexico Junior College part-time.
Olivas says she was feeling unproductive at both school and work due to not being able to manage her time. This was also affecting her emotionally, so she decided to reach out to the TRIO SSS program. Olivas spoke to Smith about what she was struggling with and they both came up with a plan based on what would work best for her.
Smith helped Olivas understand that even though she did an hour of homework that that was still an accomplishment. When before Olivas was causing herself stress by trying to finish all her assignments of one class in a day, while still trying to juggle a full-time job. Olivas expressed that she recommends the TRIO SSS program 100%.
The TRIO SSS helps 300 students per year and is currently accepting applications for the fall semester. The deadline is set for September 30, but students can still turn in applications after the date. In order for students to qualify they must demonstrate academic needs and meet one or more of the following criteria– first generation, low income, or disabled student although everyone is encouraged to apply.
The program offers services such as academic advising, monitoring, support, assigned peer mentoring, supplemental tutoring, financial literacy and academic workshops, grant aid, access, and visits to graduate schools. The TRIO SSS also assists with career services which is aimed to help students land a high paying job or enter a graduate school of their choosing.
As stated on their website the trio SSS program provides on-going support throughout your college career and promotes your development through advocacy and by providing services beyond those offered to traditional ENMU students at no cost. Students can apply on the trio SSS website http://www.enmu.edu/sss. For additional information students can contact the trio SSS office at 575-562-2868.