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CSM's TRIO Highlights the Educational Talent Within: Nearly 1,000 Young Students Benefit Annually

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 TRIO (Educational Talent Search) provides mentoring, encouragement and skills assessment and training to first-generation college students such as Tunisha Bowman. Bowman earned her associate’s in management development from CSM and her bachelor’s in business administration from Georgia Southern University. She is now a financial assistance advisor at CSM.
You've bought your student two dozen pencils, a ream of loose leaf paper, a graphing calculator and a dictionary. You've spent hours overseeing their homework because you want them to have more in life than you've had, but do they have all the resources and support they need to take them to the next level in higher education or their career?

According to the United States Census Bureau, 2003 was a record year - 85 percent of adults had completed a high school degree and 27 percent had completed a college degree. But while these numbers are encouraging, the struggle to increase graduation rates at both the high school and college levels continues. Educators and counselors increasingly depend on innovative programs such as the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO program to prepare and assist first-generation and at-risk students for graduation and future success.

The College of Southern Maryland is “one of six institutions of higher learning in Maryland to be awarded a TRIO (Education Talent Search) renewal grant. The $1.17 million dollar grant will be used over the next four years to provide approximately 4,000 students with the tutoring and counseling services and programs that encourage students to not only complete high school but obtain their secondary degree, whether it is in a traditional college or trade school setting,” said Dr. Edith Patterson, director of the education talent search program at CSM.

According to Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) at the grant announcement, the TRIO program allows “every young person, regardless of their socio-economic status…to reach the height of his or her God-given potential.”

The TRIO program combines six outreach programs including the Upward Bound Math and Science program, which strengthens existing math and science skills through the intensive math and science training and workshops, and the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, which helps prepare college graduates for the rigors of doctoral studies. Under these outreach programs, TRIO participants can attend test preparation classes and workshops, receive financial aid assistance and counseling, listen to guest speakers discuss a variety of topics, engage in in-depth career planning and assessment workshops and access tutoring services that match students with national honor society members who are experts in a subject.

“Our participants range from ages 11 through 27,” said Patterson. “Eligibility is determined through a number of factors including whether the student is a first generation graduate, family size and income. We have offices at each school in the county and are proud of the agency and community support that we have received from Southern Maryland,” Patterson continued.

“In the 15 years that TRIO has been active in Southern Maryland, we have watched our students do extraordinary things. We’ve had students go on to Harvard, the Naval Academy and West Point. They have become doctors, lawyers and everything else you can imagine

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