From the community

UMFK’s TRiO Staff Support Efforts to Increase Educational Opportunities for Students

Posted Jan. 25, 2013, at 10:13 a.m.

Angela Theriault and Shawn Graham work for the Student Support Services TRiO program at UMFK. In addition to their usual job duties with TRiO students, Theriault and Graham understand the importance of advocacy and supportive efforts to increase educational opportunities within their communities, as well as on the state and national levels.

Theriault and Graham both serve on the Executive Committee for the Maine Educational Opportunity Association (MEEOA), an organization of professional, associate, and program members working together for equitable access to educational opportunities. MEEOA represents TRiO students from across the state of Maine. It is focused on increasing educational opportunities for first generation, low income, and disabled students.

Theriault, academic coordinator for the Student Support Services program, has been a member of MEEOA since 2005. She was elected as Treasurer of the MEEOA Executive Committee in 2008, and has served for five years.

Graham, counselor and accessibility coordinator for UMFK, has been a member of MEEOA since 2007. Graham currently serves as president of MEEOA and will serve as past-president for the 2013-2014 academic year. He also serves on the New England Educational Opportunity Association Board, representing TRiO programs from across New England.

Lena Michaud, Student Support Services director says, “Angela and Shawn’s involvement with MEEOA demonstrates their dedication and commitment to providing educational opportunities not only for UMFK students, but for students within the state of Maine. Shawn will attend a policy seminar this year in Washington, DC, meeting with senators and members of congress to advocate for continued funding for TRiO programs that support our students.”

TRIO programs were initially established in 1965 through the Higher Education Act to help low-income and first generation college-bound students enter and find success in higher education and to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life.

While student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to college, TRiO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. The Student Support Services TRiO program joined the University of Maine in Fort Kent community in 1983.

The Student Support Services TRiO program at UMFK serves 160 students as they pursue their academic, personal, and career goals. The Student Support Services TRiO program is designed to improve academic performance, increase student motivation, and increase persistence and retention rates.

For more information, please feel free to call 834-7530 or visit them at http://www.umfk.edu/trio/

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