IATP Student Highlights

Upward Bound Math Science student Deborah Crisostomo

Deborah Crisostomo

University of Idaho | Upward Bound Math-Science

When I moved to the mainland from Guam, one word that I knew, but perhaps didn’t truly understand, was the word “Opportunity.” However, I found that opportunity remained ambiguous despite finding myself in a location where possibility should have been abundant everywhere.

It was not until ninth grade that I found a means to achieve my goal of attending college. STEM Upward Bound visited my local junior high and urged students to apply on the behalf of their future benefit. I wasn’t entirely certain what the program entailed, but reluctantly, I applied anyway.

In doing so, I gained more than I could have possibly imagined. Of all the advantages, my favorite is career exploration. While participating in STEM Upward Bound, I have managed to inspect various scientific disciplines and develop those that interest me most. Specifically, I was allowed to attend a drone conference and undergo a brief online course on Virtual Reality and Computer Programming. With these experiences, I have solidified my desire to pursue higher education in Computer Science and will be exploring multiple outlets at the collegiate level in the coming fall.

Through the program, I have come to not only know, but fully experience the epitome of “opportunity” that otherwise would not have been obtainable. I can rest assured that my future lies in stability and promise.

TRIO Teacher Prep Student Maranda Paz

Maranda Paz

Boise State University | Teacher Preparation Program

As a first generation college student, I showed up at the threshold of the TRIO Teacher Prep SSS Program as an overwhelmed and anxious freshman with four years of the unknown hanging over my head. Over the past three years, this program has helped me in countless ways. When I was first introduced to my TRIO advisor, Josh Baros, he helped me sort through my degree tracker and got me on the path to graduate in four years. He helps me each time I register for a new term and has made sure that I got into each of the classes that I wanted.

When the time came for me to apply to my Teacher Education Program, Josh guided me through the mess of tests, interview questions, and essays. Before I took my PRAXIS Core, TRIO helped me get passing scores by purchasing study materials and practice tests, which I wouldn’t have been able to afford for all five of the PRAXIS tests. I am so thankful that TRIO had the means to pay for my study materials! I am happy to say that I am now accepted into my student teaching year during my last year at Boise State. I could not have done it without the help that I have received from Josh and TRIO.

If I didn’t have my TRIO advisor I would be LOST! I also wouldn’t have my current job. Josh helped me with my application, resume, and cover letter for the position. Each time that I have a question or concern, I turn to Josh and he helps me find the right answers.

TRIO Teacher Prep has been an amazing program to be a part of during my time at Boise State. I can honestly say that I would not be the same student without their support, guidance, and friendship.

EOC Student Daniel Marmentini

Daniel Marmentini

University of Idaho | Education Opportunity Center

I graduated from high school in 1978 in San Diego, California. As a child I remember education, and learning in general, was always an important thing in our household, where it was emphasized to try your hardest and do your best.

I eventually enrolled in college but unfortunately had to drop out in 1984 due to an illness with my father, who was my driving force to do well in school and earn a degree. While I wanted to return to college, as it tends to happen, life happened, and the longer I was out of school the harder it was to go back on my own.

It wasn’t until 2019 that I reached out to TRIO Educational Opportunity Center for assistance in going back to school. EOC has guided me through the whole process of getting back in school, and without their help, I would not be here today attending Boise State University. They have been a great source of helpful information and motivation as I navigate this process and adjust to college.

It has meant the world to me to continue with what I didn’t complete when I was younger, and I will continue to strive in that direction. With TRIO’s help and support, I know I can make this happen. It is my dream to earn my bachelor’s degree, and I am proof that even at my age and almost 40 years after starting, you can still make these dreams happen.

Veterans Upward Bound student Chad Holder

Chad Holder

Boise State University | Veterans Upward Bound

I served in the U.S. Navy from 2010 to 2019 before deciding to pursue a different path in the business world. I am now a current Business student at Boise State and will be earning a Bachelor’s of Business Administration so that I can focus on my goal of becoming a successful Project Manager.

Before the start of my first semester, I was contacted by Anita Lasher from VUB. She set up a time for me to come into the VUB office and meet with Frances Knight, the Education Coordinator. Frances set me up with Margaret Norris who is the mathematics instructor. Frances, Margaret, Anita, and the VUB Staff, have been crucial in my success at Boise State. They have taught me essential study skills, how to create a college schedule, and where to go for resources. I have been so grateful for the opportunity that VUB has given me. Before VUB, the last time I was enrolled in a Mathematics course was 2008. Needless to say, I had a significant gap in my education that needed to be filled prior to the start of college; which is something that is really not discussed in military to civilian transitioning classes.

Had I not accepted their help, I don’t think I would have had as much success here at Boise State. VUB’s devotion to their students exemplifies the higher education experience I feel all veterans should have. Making the transition from Military to Civilian is not an easy task but, the staff has truly stepped up in helping veterans prosper in higher education. I would highly recommend that all higher education institutions have programs similar to VUB as this could be a factor in whether or not veterans attend or even complete their higher educational goals.

Educational Talent Search student Narcisse Mubibya

Narcisse Mubibya

Idaho State University | Educational Talent Search

Narcisse Mubibya was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a little city called Goma. In the short time of being his TRIO advisor, I was privileged to get to know Narcisse and his background. A couple years after he was born, there was a fight between two small tribes. His father represented the winning tribe, which only brought misfortune to their family. The opposing side wanted vengeance, so they hunted his entire family. Luckily, his mom found a way to escape with him, his oldest siblings, and two family members. He was only a child at the time. When they finally escaped; running and walking for hours, they made it to the border of Uganda. Eventually their paths landed them in Kampala, where Narcisse grew up.

In Africa, Narcisse had never attended a day of schooling, but instead was put to work to help provide for his family of nine. By luck, his family received traveling documents to fly to the United States in 2016, which was truly life changing. Narcisse was sixteen and was offered work at a restaurant, but he decided to attend school and get an education. With minor knowledge of English and no background in education, he was told that his only option was to start in high school. Luckily, he was a fast learner. At almost 21, he graduated high school from Canyon Ridge High School and is now attending the University of Idaho, focusing on agriculture. He was honored to be one of the recipients of the Chobani Scholarship that helped pave his way to a full-ride. Narcisse’s dedication is an inspiration to us all.

Kem Nuesca, TRIO Student Support Services

Kem Nuesca

North Idaho College | TRIO Student Support Services

My name is Kem, and had it not been for the TRIO Student Support Services program at North Idaho College I would not have continued my education. I came to college after a 34 year absence from school with only an 8th grade education. I felt like I didn’t deserve an education because I had been in prison. As if all of these things didn’t present enough challenges for me, one week before my first semester at NIC I lost my husband to suicide. Eight months later, I needed to be my mom’s strength as she lost her battle to cancer.

Joining TRIO was like joining an extended family. We bonded by participating in many different events, studying together, and campus clubs activities. My advisor walked me through the terrible pain of my personal losses and helped me cope with my feelings of disconnect from family and my feelings of not being deserving an education. She inspired me to move forward and encouraged me to volunteer in events and clubs to strengthen my networking skills and build friendships. She never judged me; only encouraged me. She became my strength when I had none, and spoke hope when I didn’t see it. I want others to know that TRIO students are capable of being overcomers and getting beyond our fear and challenges. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work May, 2018. My passion is to work with the elderly population. Because of the skills I received through participation in TRIO, I have a new outlook on life. I can see my career path and believe that I can accomplish whatever goals I set for myself.

Jessica Mueller, TRS student at Boise State University

Jessica Mueller

Boise State University | TRIO Rising Scholars Program

When I came into college, TRIO Rising Scholars welcomed and guided me. I was given a community, an advisor, and a mentor. When I was stressed or confused about where I was heading, I knew I could lean on TRIO Rising Scholars for support. I remember not understanding where I belonged in academia. TRIO Rising Scholars helped me find myself by organizing insightful workshops and by taking me to a research conference at the University of Washington. Since that time, my passion for research has blossomed and I know who I want to become. This past October, I found out about a paleoclimate research opportunity in France. I turned to my advisor for guidance and he went above and beyond. He wrote me an impactful letter of recommendation and critiqued my statement of research interest. I found out yesterday that I was admitted into the program! I will be able to go to France, at no cost, and study sediments of the Paleozoic era for four weeks. I am so glad that I am a member of TRIO Rising Scholars. I would not have the opportunities or experiences that I have today if it weren’t for this program. I am excited for the future and look forward to sharing more moments of success and happiness with the my TRIO community.

Aaron Stahlman, Idaho State University, Upward Bound Program

Aaron Stahlman

Idaho State University | TRIO Upward Bound Program

My time in Upward Bound has been life changing, it gave me a chance to get a jump start on my future that I never thought was possible. I am currently enrolled at ISU and am thankful to Upward Bound for helping me make my decision for post-secondary education clear. This program is now a part of me and has completely changed my life forever. I decided to give back to the program and work as a tutor/mentor during the summers. Knowing that I am helping over hundreds of students is a phenomenal feeling. I hope to one day change to life of an Upward Bound student just as Upward Bound and its staff has changed mine.


Shanna Torp, TRIO graduate

Shanna Torp

North Idaho College | Student Support Services Program

My name is Shanna, I’m living proof that TRIO works!! As a young mother, I found myself in living in an abusive marriage fueled by alcohol and drugs. I had no resources to get out and I felt trapped. To make matters worse, I lost everything I owned in a fire and found myself homeless with 2 kids. I relocated to Idaho, and was given the opportunity to re-invent myself with my parents’ support. I decided to pursue a college education because getting a degree was the one thing I knew could never be lost, destroyed or taken away from me.

It had been 20+ years since I had been out of school – I was scared to death! I wondered if I would fit in and if I could handle the work load. Despite my anxieties, I enrolled at North Idaho College and soon found out that times had changed – the traditional idea of college as I knew it was all available on a computer! One of the biggest hurdles for me was math; I used TRIO resources and was able to complete all my degree requirements. I graduated from both NIC and LCSC, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors. I’m currently working full-time in my chosen field and loving my job. Thank you TRIO!!

Maria Venegas, McNair Scholars Program graduate

Maria Venegas

Boise State University | McNair Scholars Program

I came to this country at the age of 17 with no English skills and from a disadvantaged socio-economic background. Working alongside my parents as farmworkers, my siblings and I learned the value of hard work and education. It was my resilience and persistence that helped me find the resources to attend college. As a first-generation student, the idea of a postgraduate education seemed an impossibility. However, becoming a part of the Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program was one of the best decisions I made during my time at Boise State University. Thanks to the McNair Scholars Program, I was able to accomplish my dream of becoming an Anthropologist. The McNair Scholars Program provided the tools, knowledge, opportunities and financial support to pursue postgraduate education.

In December 2016 I obtained a PhD in Medical Anthropology and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh; I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centers of Health and Aging, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. This journey would not have been possible without the support and assistance from the McNair Program at the beginning of my career.

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