In the mid-1970s, a dream came to fruition.
After the combination of Upper Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services (SSS) occurred in the late-1960s, the inclusion of TRIO, the umbrella program that encapsulates both SSS and the STEM program, became established on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus.
Fast forward to present-day 2017–the TRIO program is still going strong after its 35-plus year existence on campus. A solid representation of current students who are part of the program attended the One SSStop Shop event that was held in Reeve Memorial Union on Tuesday, March 28.
This event, which was open to TRIO-eligible students only, acted as a campus resource fair for SSS and STEM students looking to broaden their understanding of campus amenities provided to them. From the Writing Center to UMC for professional headshots to Graduate Studies, 14 tables were occupied by campus groups outside of the SSS program.
The director of the McNair Scholars Program, Cordelia Bowlus, helped run the McNair Scholars table at the event. She said the relationship between the TRIO and McNair missions is something that helps get students off on the right foot when coming to college.
“The McNair Program [is] a TRIO program that assists eligible and motivated undergraduates in preparation for graduate studies,” Bowlus said. “I am continually attempting to reach out to low-income, first generation students, the demographic served by SSS. Being the first in their families to be on track to complete a four year degree, most of these students are already beating the odds. However, very few of them have a concept of what opportunities graduate school might offer them, much less how to go about preparing. For this reason, it is essential to begin a dialogue with them early in their studies.”
Tying in with reaching students early, Graduate Studies was at the event to help students get a better feel for what the program means to the UWO campus and the various opportunities students have to extend their education past a bachelor’s degree. Graduate Studies Director Greg Wypiszynski said the amount of interest students showed about graduate programs speaks to the appreciation UWO students have for educational opportunities.
“For our office, it was impressive the number of first-year students, sophomores, and juniors asking questions and getting information about graduate school,” Wypiszynski said. “Students who are looking into this sooner than later stand a better chance of finding the options and funding they need for graduate school.”
“The path to grad school for these students can be challenging for various reasons. If these students take the time to connect with someone who can help them explore their options, it gives them an advantage over those who try to navigate the process on their own.”
More than 100 students from the TRIO program attended the networking social SSS program member and current Learning Group Leader Timmlyn Schroeder said the impact the event had on her speaks volumes about the importance of the SSS program on campus.
“The One SSStop Shop was a nice break from learning groups and a way to get your name out and make connections with departments on the campus,” Schroeder said. “There were many departments there that SSS talks about during learning groups, but many of the students and learning group leaders don’t take advantage of these departments so we don’t truly know all of the resources they supply.”
TRIO and its subsequent programs were established for the betterment of college students, mostly geared toward incoming freshmen. Being a first-generation college student, a student whose parents do not have a four-year college degree, or being in a family that has limited income is what qualifies incoming students for the SSS program.
In the entire program, TRIO has upwards of 420 students under its reach. The vast majority of students in this program fall under the general SSS classification, but students who have majors in STEM fields–science, technology, engineering and/or mathematical–are considered part of the STEM program.
This event was seen as a success in the eyes of both students and campus resource staff members. Former SSS member and current UW Credit Union Senior Financial Specialist Josh Webb said the event was a great way to bring all members of the TRIO program together, focusing on the betterment of students.
“This event brings staff and students together while giving students an opportunity to visit with all sorts of support tools on campus,” Webb said. “Students can also utilize this as a way to network and meet other students and staff that they may not have interacted with. The staff finds unique ways to educate and prepare students for real life situations, such as the One SSStop Shop event. The students off SSS are all wonderful and understand the importance of preparation, studying and what hard work can accomplish for the long term success after college.”
Submitted by journalism student Michael Johrendt, on behalf of UW Oshkosh Student Support Services. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.