TRIO Success Stories

Aaron Stahlman
Idaho State University |
TRIO Upward Bound Program

Aaron Stahlman, Idaho State University, Upward Bound Program

Aaron Stahlman, 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
North Idaho College |
Student Support Services Program

Shanna Torp, North Idaho College, Student Support Services

Shanna Torp, Student Support Services

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
Boise State University |
McNair Scholars Program

Maria Venegas, McNair Scholars Program graduate

Maria Venegas, 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.