We power the potential of first-generation students, low-income students, and students with disabilities. Our dedicated staff provides services and support in the following areas:
- One-on-one and group tutoring
- Academic, career, and financial aid planning
- Peer mentoring and networking with other students
- College success classes, faculty-led sessions, and workshops
- Assistance with applying for financial aid, scholarships, and grants
- Community building and cultural events
Current TOP students:
- Students will meet with their TOP Academic Specialists for regular advising appointments via phone, Zoom, text and e-mail.
- Tutoring services will be provided by the Peer Consulting Center online via Zoom. Read more.
- Peer mentoring will be provided to current TOP students via text, e-mail and Zoom.
- Academic workshops will be delivered in a webinar and video format.
- Extra-curricular social events will be conducted via social media. Detailed communication regarding these efforts will be sent to all current TOP students' e-mails.
- All TOP staff is available to assist students during regular work hours, Monday - Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Please use the contact section below reach out to any of the staff members.
Prospective/ Incoming students:
Applying to TOP
Students must qualify in ONE of the following categories:
- Low Income: Your and your family's taxable income falls below the Department of Education's current low income levels.
- First Generation: Neither of your parents or legal guardians have obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher.
- Student with a disability: You have a documented physical or learning disability.
Students must demonstrate an academic need by meeting one of the criteria below:
- High school GPA of 2.75 or below or
- SAT Math <= 530
- SAT Writing <=560
- SAT Reading <=560
- any ACT subtest score of 19 or below or
- placement into any remedial course or
- college cumulative GPA below 2.5, or below level needed to maintain any academic scholarship, or below major program requirements or
- have not attended school for five years or more.
- Lack of educational and/or career goals
- Lack of preparedness for college level coursewrok
- other (at the discretion of the TOP Program Director)
Note: The above list does not include all possible criteria. Other factors may apply and a student may be deemed eligible at the discretion of the Program Director.
Additionally, students who meet two or more of the following criteria are eligible to apply:
- Low academic and/or career self-efficacy
- Single Parent
- Transfer student from out-of-state
- Underrepresented in terms of gender in chosen major
- Less than 200% left of Pell remaining
- Working more than 20 hours a week
- Prior TRIO program participant
- History of Course Withdrawals (minimum of two)
Provide services to Oregon Tech's Student Support Services (SSS) eligible participants to significantly increase their academic achievement, retention, and graduation rates.
This Student Support Services Project is federally funded at $294,380 annually. Our objectives for the 2020-2025 grant cycle are:
- Eight-one percent (81%) of participants served by the SSS Project will persist from one academic year to beginning of the next academic year or graduate.
- Ninety-one percent (91%) of all enrolled participants served will meet the performance level required to stay in good academic standing at Oregon Tech (2.0 cumulative Oregon Tech GPA)
- Fifty-one percent (51%) of new participants served each year graduated within six years.
TOP End of Year Report
- Comprehensive one-on-one academic, personal, and career advising.
- One-on-one and small group tutoring services in conjunction with our Peer Consulting tutoring service
- Varied workshops covering test-taking strategies, study skills, career selection, time management, financial literacy, etc.
- Student Success Seminars (ACAD 207) specifically designed for TOP students.
- Development of academic and personal goals.
- Regular meetings/ongoing support with an Academic Specialist.
- Midterm assessments completed each term by all TOP participants in their first year.
- September Bridge Orientation to College Program for Residence Hall students.
- Limited grant funding for qualified students.
- Financial literacy skill development.
- Comprehensive assessments (study skills inventory)
- Development of Personal Success Plan
- Orientation sessions to TOP Program
- Support with verifying a major, career exploration
- Sense of community
- Sense of academic competence
TOP's Support Services and Programs
Summer Bridge: Summer Bridge program is designed to help non-traditional and transfer students transition to Oregon Tech. This free program takes place just before the start of the fall term and offers a great opportunity to meet Oregon Tech faculty, staff and students.
Student Success Seminars
Freshmen in TOP participate in a three-term student success seminar intended to foster their transition to Oregon Tech. The class is offered at no cost to students.
We offer a wide variety of workshops on topics from financial literacy, study skills, and academics to career planning and professional development. We strive to offer at least one workshop a week throughout the academic year.
First Generation Student Celebrations
A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor's degree. This means that you are the first in your family to attend a four-year college/university to attain a bachelor's degree. Being first-generation is a very proud accomplishment and we join the National First-Generation College Celebration on November 8th every year!
Tammie L Retherford, M.A., TRiO SSS, Director of TOP
Tammie L Retherford has been in education for over twenty-five years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Arts in English Language, Rhetoric, and Composition from the University of Tulsa. As a career educator, she has exemplary knowledge in serving individuals from diverse backgrounds, providing support to facilitate progress from K-12 through postsecondary education. In working with a broad range of individuals, she demonstrates dedication to cultivating community-based and equitable relationships. These relationships have laid the necessary foundation for her to utilize community and educational resources to help individuals overcome life’s challenges. Throughout her career, she has successfully served as a professional educator and in leadership positions such as mentoring, professional development developer and facilitator, department chair, LPAC chair, department coordinator, and grant administrator. In these roles, she has navigated state and federal laws, ensuring compliance as well as the proven ability to execute local ordinances and policies within the guidelines of governing statutes.
As a first generation individual, Tammie is amazed and proud that she has lived in many parts of the United States and around the world, including Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, and the Netherlands. She enjoys living in Oregon so much that she calls Klamath Falls her home. She loves to travel, read, write, cook, hike, ride bikes, Muy Thai, and almost any water activity. She has two adult children. Her daughter is a K-12 art teacher and Navy veteran, and her son is a Mechanical and Energy Engineer, who live in Texas and Kansas, respectively.
Claire Peterson, TOP Advisor
My goal as a TOP advisor is to empower students with the tools and resources they need in order to be successful , not only during their time as a student at Oregon Tech, but also as they enter the professional world upon graduation. Being a recent graduate myself, I understand many of the challenges and barriers that can stand in the way of being a successful student. Before working at Oregon Tech, I spent many years working in the fields of special education and behavioral therapy. Through this line of work, I came to the conclusion that I really love working with students one on one and that I am very passionate about working with people of all abilities. Through my position at TOP, I am able to build connections with students while also supporting them through their academic journey.
I began my college career at Klamath Community College where I completed the majority of my general education courses. I then transferred to Oregon Tech and recently graduated with a B.S. of Applied Psychology. I am considered a Klamath county native as I was born and raised in Merrill, OR. Growing up here, I have developed a real passion for the people that live here and all the amazing outdoor activities this area has to offer. When the weather permits it, you can typically find me outside gardening, fishing, hiking, camping, or mushroom hunting. On those snowy or rainy days I usually tend to stay inside curled up with a good book, watching the latest Marvel series, painting, or playing videogames.
Charlotte Waite, TOP Advisor
I aim to positively impact students helping them discover their full potential both in their academic career and in life. I have dabbled working in various multimedia platforms from writing for newspapers and magazines to managing podcasts and radio. My greatest passion, however, is connecting with others. This passion led me to work as an advisor for TRIO’s high school centered program Upward Bound. As a TOP advisor, I am excited to continue the work I started in Upward Bound serving and supporting students through their journeys at Oregon Tech.
I completed my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication at Concordia University Irvine in sunny Southern California. During this time, I studied abroad in South Korea immersing myself in the culture and enjoying the unbelievably delicious cuisine. Born and raised in Klamath Falls, I came back home after completing my degree and started working in higher education. During my down time, I can be found hanging out with my guinea pig and dog, reading, fishing, or cheering on the Portland Timbers.
Oregon Institute of Technology is an EO/Title IX/504/ADA Institution
Oregon Institute of Technology does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation or gender identity in its programs and activities. Questions or concerns regarding Oregon Tech’s nondiscrimination policies should be directed to Dr. Jennifer Wilson, Executive Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Engagement (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 541.885.0182).