TRiO Student Support Services provides support for non-traditional students such as first generation students, students from low-income families or students with disabilities. The program receives funding through a competitive federal grant process, with funds awarded to colleges and universities to provide opportunities for academic development, to assist students with basic college requirements, and to motivate students toward the successful completion of their post-secondary degree.
After the celebratory dinner, TOP Coordinator Angela Archer, a former graduate from the program herself, invited the 2017 TOP graduates to share reflections on their personal journeys through college. One of the students, Amber Duguay, who finished her Bachelor of Science in Biology-Health Sciences shared her struggles. She related the challenges of juggling multiple roles of being a mother, a wife and a veteran. Amber thanked her advisors and faculty for encouraging her to stay focused on her goals and to finish her degree.
Throughout the course of the evening, each TOP graduate was presented with a TOP university stole and a TOP challenge coin. While the stoles represent a student's personal and academic development, the coins symbolize all of the challenges that were faced and overcome by the graduates. This year, each TOP graduate received two TOP challenge coins: one to keep for themselves to help them remember their hard work and tenacity, and the other to give to a person whom they deem instrumental in helping them succeed.
During the closing remarks, Angela Archer encouraged the graduates by saying, “...take the best of Oregon Tech into your future, improve it, the way you improved this campus, and the way you improved TOP. Come back to report, come back to share, come back to inspire the next generation.” Archer also thanked the campus community for its continued support for the TOP program and the TOP students.
The goal of TOP is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants. TOP services include tutoring, mentoring, networking with other students, college success classes, academic advising, limited scholarship funding, workshops and cultural trips. For more information about TOP visit www.oit.edu/top.