TRIO programs assist students with reaching personal goals


Gabriella Lipsky

The TRIO program peer mentors are dedicated to helping students achieve their goals. TRIO SSS Peer mentors Adela Lalzai (front), Haley Ventura (middle) and Hung Vo (back left) are seen working in the TRIO center.

The TRIO Student Support Services SOAR and STEM are programs in place to help students from traditionally underserved populations in their academic, social and professional pursuits.
The programs provide tutoring, one-on-one support, priority registration, cultural workshops and mentoring amongst countless other services to ensure helping their students succeed during their educational career at Cosumnes River College.
“I’ve worked in the EOPS department for five or so years, so I kind of knew my niche was student services,” said Lauren Ballesteros, TRIO SSS- SOAR Specialist. “What I really appreciate about this position is making a difference in students’ lives and kind of being that person that I wish I had.”
The TRIO program focuses on assisting students who are first-generation college students, low-income and/or on a Disability Support Programs and Services plan.
Ballesteros said that the most rewarding part of the job is being the support figure that students can lean on and trust during their academic career.
“Just building that rapport,” Ballesteros said. “We have many students that just come in for snacks, come in to chat with us, the fact that they trust us to share what is going on in not just their academic life, but their personal life, I feel very happy that they can confide in me.”
The TRIO program supports students from high school through graduate school, with American River College being the only other campus in Los Rios that offers these services.
“I started as a student, but then I saw that there are a lot of resources that I can take advantage of,” said peer mentor for TRIO SSS-STEM, Hung Vo. “The specialist told me that I could actually work for the program and get some working experience as a student to get prioritized in the hiring process.”
Vo began utilizing the TRIO SSS-STEM program as a STEM major and said he found the resources to be very helpful during his time at CRC.
“The most rewarding part is I get to know people,” Vo said. “I have got to meet with a lot of amazing people and the rewarding thing is just to talk with them and to learn from their experience and talk about my experience.”
Ballesteros said the program is committed to helping students reach their goals academically and have university tours in place to help students navigate their transfer opportunities.
“There is transfer support and I’m actually transferring next fall,” said Leyla Perez, a 19-year-old sociology major.
Perez said she plans on continuing her educational career at either California State University, Monterey Bay or California State University, Sacramento and said the transfer support put in place by the program has helped her reach these goals.
“It’s a good way to learn new information and connect with other students that have similar interests,” Perez said. “It’s just the community we have here, all of the students that are involved are super involved so it’s nice to get to know everyone, especially at a community college it’s hard to make those connections, so the community aspect is nice.”