Tag Archives: TRiO

TRIO Student Support Services volunteers to fight hunger


Fourteen students and two advisors with TRIO Student Support Services recently volunteered with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) in Eagan.

For two hours on March 9, the TRIO students and other volunteers put together 112 boxes with 24,192 meals. Volunteers were divided into teams. Each team member played a role in preparing the meal packs. The meals consist of rice, soy, dried vegetables and a nutritionally completed blend of vitamins and minerals. Once the meals were prepped and boxed, they are distributed to FMSC partner organizations worldwide. These meals will help feed up to 67 kids for a year.

Feed My Starving Children is a Christian non-profit organization that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. Donations and volunteers make that possible.

March 15: TRIO potluck

TRiO invites students to its Vernal Equinox Potluck Lunch Social.  It’s a gathering that offers students the opportunity to meet, chat, eat and tell stories.

The event will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 15 in New Main L206. In continuing with the green approach to potluck events, students are reminded to bring their own plate, bowl, beverage and utensils.

RSVP to thomas.boylan@metrostate.edu.

Kenny White joins TRIO Staff as Upward Bound counselor

Metropolitan State University TRiO Programs announces Kenneth “Kenny” White has joined the department as the Upward Bound Counselor.  He started at the university on Nov. 16, 2016.  He will join Ciara Houston who now serves as the Upward Bound coordinator.

Kenneth “Kenny” White is Metropolitan State University TRIO Programs new Upward Bound Counselor.
Kenneth “Kenny” White is Metropolitan State University TRIO Programs new Upward Bound Counselor.

White comes to Metropolitan State from Dakota County Technical College where he was an Upward Bound advisor for the past two years. Originally from Chicago and an Upward Bound alumnus, he worked as the coordinator/college coach in the Upward Bound Math and Science program at Northeastern Illinois University.

White earned a bachelor of science degree in Information Technology and Management at Illinois Institute of Technology. He is strongly committed and passionate in creating college access and pre-college programming for high school students, and providing exposure and preparation in the STEM areas.

His experience and education will enhance the technology solutions needed in the TRiO program and will add an engaging value to TRiO students as they prepare for and become successful in a college setting.

White is also an avid animal lover, with three cats at home. His other interests include photography, live music, modified cars, gaming, and anything that deals with technology.

Metropolitan’s Upward Bound program is a federally funded TRiO program which provides extensive college prep services during the academic year and enhanced academic programming in the summer.  Upward Bound serves high school students from Washington Technology Magnet Secondary School in Saint Paul who have traditionally been underrepresented in postsecondary education.

Oct. 22: Cyber Security Month and conference

Cyber Security doesn’t have to be scary. Join Metropolitan State’s Cyber Security and Forensics Student Organization (CSFSO) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22, Saint Paul Campus, New Main, room L206.

  • Internet Safety Workshop for Children & Families
  • Workshops on Social Media Security, Mobile Device Security, and how to secure your home network
  • Free security checkup and cleaning of computing and networking devices

RSVP for a free evaluation of your connected devices. Bring your computing (laptop/smartphone, etc.) and networking (WiFi router, etc.) devices along with any installation disks that came with the device. Metropolitan State students will evaluate the device’s security as well  as:


  • Virus detection and removal
  • Internet saftety workshops
  • Social media security and privacy settings

This free event is sponsored by the CSFSO, Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES), Trio Upward Bound Program, Saint Paul Public Library Dayton’s Bluff Branch, Library and Information Services. Parking is available in the university parking ramp. Refreshments provided.

For more information, view event flyer and the conference agenda.


Save and earn with Tuition Match

Check out Tuition Match-Minnesota, a designated savings program that provides a $3 match to every $1 students save toward tuition and fees.

For example, a participating student who saves $480 in a Tuition Match savings account would have $1,920 to cover tuition and fees for summer or fall. Students can also participate in the program a second year for a total of $960 of their savings and $2,880 of Tuition Match; totaling $3,840 towards their tuition and fees.

To be eligible to participate students must have three or more terms of enrollment at Metropolitan State University, must be a Minnesota resident, must be earning some income, and must meet household income qualifications. For more information on how to triple your money, eligible qualifications, how the program works and to set-up a Tuition Match appointment, click here.



TRIO Students build community through service

Thirty-nine TRIO students and Student Support Services staff from Metropolitan State University spent an afternoon assisting park volunteers in the removal of invasive plant species and those non-native to the region.

After several hours spent under the fleeting Midwestern sun on Aug. 15 at Festge County Park just west of Madison, Wisconsin, the students and staff took a bus to Westminster Presbyterian Church—the spot where they stayed the night. Thus, began their Pay it Forward Tour.

trio stamp ready

The Pay it Forward Tour program is a regionally-coordinated set of tours which is set up by the organization Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF), founded in 2003 at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. These tours were the brainchild of four, at the time, students at the University of Minnesota, and to summarize:

The Pay It Forward Tour is a dynamic, multi-day program focused on service, education, and reflection, during which groups of students travel the country and volunteer in a new city each day.”

The morning in Madison consisted of a visit to a graduate school program and a tour of the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. Following the tour the participants explored the city before boarding a bus to the Feed My Starving Children site in Schaumburg, Illinois. During this visit the program participants helped to pack 14,040 meals in roughly an hour. After packing the food to make its way across the globe, the volunteers stayed the night at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Elgin, Illinois. The evening leadership activities were a crucial part of the nightly program curriculum.

On Wednesday morning, the tour continued to St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in the Roger’s Park neighborhood of Chicago. Half of the participants helped prepare food for the soup kitchen’s weekly community lunch, while the other participants toured the area and did a neighborhood cleanup. On the final evening the students traveled the streets of Chicago.

TRIO participated in the Pay it Forward Tour to encourage leadership through service, build better communities, create an engaged community of learners, and to build a better sense of self.

Aug. 22-25: TRiO open house

To celebrate the start of the  fall semester, TRIO is hosting an open house at Founders Hall, Lower Level, Suite 100. Meet the new TRIO staff, learn more about the program, and schedule on-on-one meetings.

Visit the office during the following times:
Monday, Aug. 22,  noon to 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 23, 1 to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 25, noon to 4 p.m.

TRiO welcomes new advisors and retention specialists

TRIO-Student Support Services welcomes Tam Knapton and Erin Harley as they join with TRIO advising staff Pa Yong Xiong and Tom Boylan. The four TRIO advisors and retention specialists will be working with Metro’s selected undergraduate students who are first generation college students, students who are receiving a Pell grant through federal financial aid and have a documented disability. TRIO-Student Support Services provides a variety of retention services, enriched advising, peer study strategies, mentoring, leadership, and cultural development programming. Tom Boylan is in his sixth year with TRIO. PaYong Xiong begins her third year and has been selected as part of the permanent staffing.


Tam Knapton is coming to us from Saint Paul College where she worked as an academic success coordinator. She got her start in Student Affairs working as a residence hall director at the University of Minnesota. She then transitioned into the academic side and explored the “for profit” world at Globe University before moving into the MnSCU system. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders at UW-Oshkosh and her master’s degree experiential education with an emphasis in student affairs from Minnesota State University Mankato. She is passionate about helping students successfully navigate college and achieve their dreams. In her spare time, Knapton enjoys gardening, reading, cooking, trying new restaurants with friends and being outdoors when the weather is nice.

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Erin Harley lives in Minneapolis and has her master’s degrees in educational psychology: counseling and student personnel psychology and instruction: Grades 5-12 Language Arts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and English from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most recently, she worked at Minnesota State University, Mankato as the advisor for University Extended Education (serving off-site and online programs), and also worked at Saint Paul College as a transfer specialist. She is excited to join the Metropolitan State University community and the TRIO team. She is passionate about studying and working to ensure higher education is appreciative of and accessible to all. Her spouse is a photojournalist, and they have a lively and compassionate 6-year-old daughter who keeps them on their toes.

TRIO Programs are federally funded through the U.S. Department of Education primarily located in lower level of Founder’s Hall L100-L108 complex.

Student services you may be missing out on

With a wide range of options available to Metropolitan State students, everyone can benefit from the opportunities these services offer. Get to know these great services and utilize them to enhance your academic journey.

Tutoring Services

Meet with tutors that can help relieve stress from complicated homework problems and writing assignments. No more headaches and guessing! Metropolitan State offers math, science and computer science centers at the Saint Paul Campus and Midway Center. Writing centers serve students at those locations, as well as at the Minneapolis Campus.

Find a tutoring center

Career Center

With so many degree options, it’s important to research the one that’s right for you. The Career Center’s page features websites listed to help explore occupations, identify skills and learn about different types of majors. The Pathways Program can help students within the insurance and financial services explore career options and skills to secure a job in their chosen field. Webinars, resume resources and online workshops are also available to students looking to enhance their professional skills. In person career counseling is also available.

Find out more about the Career Center

Counseling Services

Student life can be stressful—learn to manage stressors and release anxiety with the help of a counselor. Simply set up an appointment and let the healing begin.

Contact Counseling Services

Student Parent Center  

Find on and off campus resources to navigate the challenges of parenting while in school through the Student Parent Center. Participate in support and discussion groups, find a peer mentor and attend fun family events organized by the center.

Found out more about the Student Parent Center

Academic Advising

Advisers are waiting to assist you with your college plans, financial concerns and your path to achieving your degree.

Set up an appointment with an advisor


TRIO consists of three distinct programs that help make access, retention and graduation possible for first generation students and those with limited income.

  • Upward Bound is targeted at high school students wishing to gain college skills and credits.
  • TRIO’s Student Support Services are committed to helping Metropolitan State students reach their academic goals by supplying extra resources to make success happen.
  • The Power of You provides financial and academic support to transferring students and to those who meet requirements.

Learn more about TRIO

Food for Thought

Food for Thought is a food pantry that provides unprepared food directly to students in need who do not have enough to eat. Food for Thought is organized by the Student Parent Center in partnership with Good in the ‘Hood, receiving assistance from the Student Senate and Second Harvest Heartland. It’s open to all Metropolitan State students, located at the Saint Paul Campus, Founders Hall 201A and is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. The pantry accepts any and all food donations. Volunteer opportunities are also available.

Contact the Student Parent Center at student.parentcenter@metrostate.edu or call 651-793-1564 for more information.

TRIO students mark academic success with End of the Year Banquet

TRIO Student Support Services hosted their Annual End of the Year Banquet the evening of Wednesday May 4. The annual spring event recognizes the end of another successful academic year for all of the TRIO students, especially TRIO graduates. Forty-five TRIO students graduated on May 2; 20 graduated in December.

Two TRIO students, Rachel Baltes and Yeng Houa Xiong Thao, emcee’d the event that was attended by 90 TRIO students and guests. Students were invited to bring one person who has supported them during their time at Metropolitan State.

TRIO Alumnus and Metropolitan State graduate, Jeremiah Rotich was this year’s guest speaker. Rotich shared his formula for success and encouraged attendees to create their own plan then commit time and energy and focus in or to complete the plan.

Certificates of congratulations were presented to graduating seniors and awards for student leadership, rising stars, most charismatic and outstanding faculty were given.

Guests were entertained with songs performed by TRIO students Nchatxu Vang, Yao Lee and Ger Lee.

TRIO Student Support Services is a federally-funded program (U.S. Department of Education) which serves first-generation, limited income and students with disabilities who are enrolled at Metropolitan State University as degree-seeking undergraduate students. Our commitment is to improve the retention and graduation through structured and enhanced academic support in order to level the playing field of educational opportunity for the students we serve.