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Why FRCC Celebrates National TRIO Day

From middle school all the way through college, the federal TRIO programs make it possible for students with limited-income, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities to aim high and achieve more.

FRCC offers three separate TRIO programs—all specifically designed to help underserved students succeed in college. If you’re not familiar with TRIO, this month is the perfect opportunity to learn more about these outreach and student services programs.

Celebrating Perseverance, Hard Work and Dedication

trio students at CU campus
FRCC students visiting CU-Boulder for First-Generation Transfer Day.

National TRIO Day is February 25—a day to acknowledge the boost that TRIO programs give to students all over the US. These programs have proven to be highly effective at helping students navigate—and succeed in—the complex and unfamiliar environment of higher education.  

TRIO programs change lives, as you’ll read in our students’ stories below.

Bruno’s Story

Bruno Gallegos is a 2022 graduate of Longmont High School who completed the Emergency Medical Technician certificate at FRCC in fall 2022 and is currently pursuing a Phlebotomy certificate—both at the college’s Boulder County Campus.

In high school, he was part of Longmont High School’s Medical & BioScience Academy, a rigorous college prep program that prepares students for careers or post-secondary education rooted in the health sciences.

He learned about FRCC from his guidance counselor and decided to enroll in summer classes right away after graduation. With nursing school in mind for the future, he took four nursing pre-requisite courses before starting the EMT program in the fall.

Caring Guidance

Bruno has utilized TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) since arriving on campus. “I describe TRIO as a very involved guidance program,” he says.

“You have access to a mentor and you have a centralized place to go to ask questions and get help and encouragement.”

Support for First-Gen Students

“As a first-generation college student, I really had no idea where to start to figure out how to transfer to a four-year college or university and navigate things like financial aid. TRIO is helping me make more informed decisions on where to take my academic career.”

Although Bruno’s parents didn’t go to college—his mother runs her own cleaning business and his father is a welder—they have always encouraged him to pursue higher education.

“It was explained very clearly to my siblings and me from a young age that college education helps people progress forward in life,” he says.

“I came to FRCC with a plan, but I needed someone to tell me if my plan seems achievable and to help me get there on the fastest path. That’s what TRIO does for me.”

This spring, Bruno plans to apply to several nursing colleges. He wants to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Arianah’s Story

After struggling through her first two years of high school, Arianah Winchester switched to Pikes Peak Online High School. There she turned over a completely new leaf.

“I went from failing school to really starting to enjoy school, and I was able to graduate on time in May 2020,” she says. By then, she had college on her mind, but decided to take a gap year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Home Away from Home

FRCC's Westminster Campus

In 2021, Arianah enrolled in classes at FRCC’s Westminster Campus. She’s a first-generation college student whose mother impressed upon her the importance of education from a young age. 

“I’d heard great things about FRCC and their business program,” she says. “And I’d had an interest in accounting and numbers since middle school.”

The supportive and welcoming environment made her comfortable right away as a business student. Then at orientation when she learned about TRIO SSS, she was immediately interested in taking advantage of the extra support the program offers.

A Backbone of Support

TRIO helped Arianah find her voice and build her confidence. “The people I’ve met at and through TRIO have helped me open up and become a more outgoing person,” she says.

“I’ve gotten great academic planning help and advice about everything from financial aid to succeeding in college, but I’ve found a community too.”

In fact, Arianah has worked in the TRIO office at the Westminster Campus as a peer mentor since fall 2022. She has a caseload of 30 students who she helps navigate the college experience—taking a student’s perspective.

When she graduates from FRCC in May 2023 with an Associate of Arts degree in business, Arianah will transfer to the Metropolitan State University of Denver to complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

TRIO, Arianah says, provides students a support system that makes the college experience better. “College is very different from high school, and I was a student who didn’t know what to expect,” she says.

“TRIO helped me answer questions I didn’t have answers to initially. It’s not hand-holding, but providing a backbone of support. I love everything about it.”

Get Support Through FRCC’s TRIO Programs

If you’re a first-generation college student, have a documented disability or meet other income eligibility requirements, you are eligible to participate in the TRIO SSS programs offered at FRCC:

If you’re a student at Westminster High School who would benefit from tutoring, individualized coaching with college counselors and instructors, support navigating the college exploration and application journey, and more, learn more about Upward Bound.

Setting—and Achieving—Big Goals

trio students at CU campus
FRCC students visiting CU-Boulder for First-Generation Transfer Day events.

TRIO provides a positive environment where students are inspired to grow and achieve their dreams.

For Bruno, getting TRIO support has made a tremendously positive difference. “The assistance is flexible and broad,” he says.

“TRIO has bridged any gaps between me setting big goals and actually achieving them. I would 100% recommend it.”

Learn more about National TRIO Day.

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