The Iowa TRIO Student Leadership Conference welcomed 200 high school and college students from across the state to Central College’s campus on Oct. 3. The conference immersed students in an energy-filled day of opportunities to connect students who face similar challenges and demonstrate leadership capacity.
The Iowa TRIO Conference featured leadership skill-building activities centered around the theme of working to make our world a better place. Conference attendees were most likely the first in their family to pursue or attend college. They may be from low-income households. Students were selected by TRIO program advisors.
“Central has three TRIO programs — two pre-college services: Talent Search and Upward Bound, and a collegiate program: Student Support Services. We are sending 30 students from these programs,” says Mollie Kingma, Central’s TRIO talent search advisor, a 2013 Central graduate and current Iowa TRIO president. “Selected students had the opportunity to attend breakout and large group sessions to demonstrate how to become better leaders.”
“We have some outstanding pre-college students who are growing and achieving success in high school,” Kingma says. “They are looking to do more. I want to give them the opportunity to see other students around Iowa and build those leadership skills and connections for success.”
TRIO programs are federal outreach and student service programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-bachelor’s degree programs. TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other support necessary for educational access and retention.
Iowa TRIO is a state-wide professional organization to support TRIO professionals. The group offers professional development and networking opportunities based around student access and success. They also run and fund a scholarship competition from which Iowa TRIO members can nominate students for up to 15 scholarships. Iowa TRIO is part of a regional 10-state organization called the Educational Opportunity Association.
TRIO programs have been part of Central since 1964. The institution is home to Talent Search, Upward Bound and Student Support Services.