TRiO 50 Year Celebration
Pictured left to right: Nicole D. Woods, TRiO Upward Bound Director and Mary Allen White, TRiO Student Support Services Director

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana TRiO grant programs will host a community coffee at the Hope campus on October 17 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. The coffee will be held in the TRiO Center in the J.W. Rowe Administrative Complex. “For over 50 years, TRiO programs have provided college access and assistance to participants from low income and first-generation backgrounds,” said Nicole D. Woods, TRiO Upward Bound Director.

Over half a century ago, TRiO began with Upward Bound, which emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration’s War on Poverty. In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments. The term “TRiO” was coined to describe these three federal programs.

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana was first awarded the TRiO Student Support Services grant in 1997. During this twenty-year period, Mary Allen White has served as Director of the grant program. Approximately four thousand participants have received support and services from the program. The goal of the grant program is to increase the college retention and graduation rates. Just over 200 students are served annually through academic and social workshops, financial and economic literacy education, cultural activities, trips, and visits to four-year colleges. Participants are encouraged to become active members in the TRiO Student Success Club which has sponsored trips to Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, DC.

“Student Support Services (SSS) prepared me to engage the UAHT community in services and programs that made learning possible. As I have matriculated throughout my academic and professional career, I have been able to utilize those values and skills attributed through SSS to become successful. It has also allowed me to focus my efforts on providing an enriching experience where student support is not an irregularity but a perpetual resource for every student I encounter at UAHT. I am proud of the efforts and accomplishments of SSS and look forward to them continuing their work in providing an exceptional UAHT student experience,” said Christopher Smith, Dean of Student Services.

Upward Bound is the newest TRiO program at UAHT and serves students in 9th through 12th grades from Texarkana Arkansas School District and Hope Public Schools. The program just completed its first year offering ACT preparation courses, tutoring services, college tours, and cultural activities. Participants enjoyed an end of the year trip to Houston, TX, where they learned about marine life at the Downtown Aquarium, stepped back in time to witness the life of the Buffalo Soldiers, watched a stage play at the historic Alley Theater, visited the Gulf of Mexico, and toured several colleges and universities. Students also visited and dined at the University of Houston.

“During the first year of Upward Bound, we worked with 60 students. Of the graduating seniors in the program, ninety percent of the students enrolled in college the following Fall semester. This is a testament to the success of the program,” said Woods.

“As an Upward Bound Alumni, the program helped me to learn effective communication skills and added to my confidence in engaging with my peers. Now that I have the opportunity to work with high school students within the program, I want to create access for them to learn about communication and prepare them for college,” said Ne’Shay Brown, TRiO Upward Bound Curriculum Coordinator.

“We would like to invite the community, students, former students, and faculty to our Community Coffee to learn more about our programs,” said Woods.

For more information, call Nicole Woods at 870-722-8287.