What is the ODSA TRiO Achiever Award?
The progress and success of the TRiO programs is personified by the TRiO Achiever Awards. The strength and determination of TRiO students across the state and the nation is represented by this awardee. The annual ODSA TRiO Achiever Award is designed to recognize and honor former Oklahoma TRiO participants who have demonstrated exemplary accomplishments in their professional pursuits and for whom TRiO played a fundamental role in their educational achievements. Each year a former ODSA TRiO participant is selected as the ODSA TRiO Achiever who embodies the TRiO spirit of excellence and achievement. The ODSA TRiO Achiever is introduced to the membership at the annual conference and represents ODSA at the SWASAP Regional Conference.
2012 ODSA TRiO Achiever - Chris Hicks
The TRiO program helped me to enroll in college and gave me ideas on how to gain a new career. Without the help of the TRiO program I would not have known where to start searching or even if it was possible. When someone has had to face failure by circumstances that have occurred, it is uplifting to find a program that exists to make the participant feel that a higher education is possible to achieve.
Teriki Hicks helped me fill out the required paperwork and made me feel that I was no different than any other adult wanting to acquire a career. No one that I really know enjoys loads of paperwork. I myself have a lot of files that I have to keep but I cannot say that I enjoy the paperwork. When someone feels overwhelmed by paperwork, in many cases they will give up, but with the program, the anxiety is lessened. The program helped with issues such as test anxiety for completing tests, when the fear of large testing groups is a concern. The program involved me in group activity to make me feel like I was part of something.
A higher education and providing for yourself and your family is the American dream and should be the dream of every person. Growing up and knowing that you have the potential to succeed is encouraging, only to have that dream destroyed causes depression and a feeling of uselessness. With programs such as TRiO in place that dream can be reborn.
With TRiO I learned that the only limitations a person faces are those that the person puts on their self. The program would communicate to me when potential employers came to the college wanting to hire new employees; this type of communication is also helpful because filling outjob applications can be stressful. Teaching a person how to dress for success is helpful and many more people need that kind of advice and coaching.
Stereotyping people because they don’t have a lot of money or may not dress or look like youis discouraging, but programs such as TRiO are non-judgmental. A code that I live by is that everyone deserves a chance and not everyone’s dream is your dream. So it is not our responsibility to destroy that dream. However, it is our responsibility to help guide someone and support them to accomplish that dream.
2011 ODSA TRiO Achiever - Leticia Burkhalter
"My personal story...I began my re-entry in higher education in the fall of 2008 at the time with a full time job, assisting my husband with the daily operation of our community kitchen and the additional programs associated with it, as well as the clothes closet. We have 5 children with our youngest, at the time being two-and-a-half years old, having some special needs. We soon learned that my husband was very ill, later to be diagnosed with cancer. Our personal finances were very limited and this was an issue that we had to address to ensure that I didn't cause additional stress on our family. My name is Leticia Burkhalter. Aliases...momma, Tish, Ms. Ticia, Mrs. Burkhalter, cook-lady...friend.
TRiO Services of Southeastern Oklahoma State University made a difference in my personal success, the success of our family, as well as providing more opportunities in our community due to this multi-faceted learning opportunity. I am truly a proponent and successful example of the TRiO program being utilized in the most successful method possible.
2010 ODSA TRiO Achiever - Tamara J. Reeves, Ph.D.
I was raised by a village of people who supported my mother while she worked two jobs to maintain our household needs. I began working part-time as a sophomore, and then full-time when I was a senior in high school. I was fortunate that this never affected my grades, as I was third in my graduating class. However, playing multiple roles this early in life did affect my ability to fill leadership roles and participate in the mentoring relationships that are keys to success when navigating the college application process. As a result, I arrived at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) with no scholarships and only a dream.
I knew I wanted to be a psychologist, but honestly did not know what this meant besides the role my school principal played (who was a clinical psychologist) and the image that I saw on television. This unfortunate state prevailed until I reached my junior year in college. At this time I had made good grades, but had no understanding of the tools that I needed to enter into this career field. At this time UCO had received a grant to begin implementing the Ronald McNair Scholar's Program. The director, Barry Lofton talked to me about this opportunity, as he had interacted with me in his previous role as the Director of Multicultural Student Services. It was at this point that a bridge was erected.
Louis Pasteur argued that "Chance favors the prepared mind". Prior to this moment in my life I had the intellect, but did not know how to utilize these skills to reach the goals that I had set for myself, and had no knowledge of the intermediate steps that were needed to reach my long-term goals. Through my involvement that first summer I was immediately able to apply my knowledge of research to my own independent research study. The strides that Imade helped me to become more visible within the Psychology Department at UCO and opened the door for teaching assistantships and a nominationfor the Undergraduate of the Year Award (I was a runner-up). The second year I was able to write a second study and was subsequently hired to work as a research assistant on a grant-funded project that was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I have since received multiple opportunities to work on research projects that have made contributions to the literature regarding our understanding of childhood obesity, socioemotional development, learned helplessness, and treatments for bipolar and schizophrenia. In addition, as a result of my early start in the field of research, I was eligible for several small grants, which helped me to fund my master's thesis and dissertation.
I have now come full circle, and have the opportunity to contribute to the University that helped lay the foundation for my professional career-UCO. I presently fill the role of a Staff Psychologist for the Student Counseling Center, the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office, and as an Adjunct Professor for the Psychology Department. I continue to be excited about research and am actively writing grants that will fund clinical research here at UCO. My present research interest are focused on gaining a better understanding of the therapeutic factors that are most predictive of change within college students who report symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse.
In retrospect, I realize that there was a fork in the road for me. I will be forever grateful that the Ronald McNair Scholar's Program helped illuminate the path that I took. Although at that moment, it was a path that was there, it was dim and underdeveloped. It is now bright, and with the skills I now possess, beckons me to push harder.
2009 ODSA TRiO Achiever - Representative Anastasia Pittman
I got involved with Student Support Services (called Project Threshold) during my academic endeavor at the University of Oklahoma. There, I met some of the most influential administrators and tutors who have become lifetime colleagues and personal friends. I received hands-on training on how to take exams and was helped on homework assignments.
I am grateful for Student Support Services. It provides an opportunity for students with different educational backgrounds to participate in a positive environment and helps develop students, while preparing them for high education and adulthood.
I completed my undergraduate degree in 1993, but because it took me another six years to completely repay the debts I incurred through the university, my degree wasn’t released until 1999. I had received money through various forms of financial aid, but efficiently managing the money while transitioning into new community and life experiences—as well as learning to limit non-academic expenses—proved difficult. Because of this, I have made it one of my missions to help others in their goal of attaining a higher education degree, and to avoid the financial burdens that I incurred as a college student.
I developed leadership skills during my participation and I will forever cherish the opportunities that were afforded me. I believe that through my participation in the TRIO program, I gained the knowledge and self-esteem to become a state representative.
It is programs such as TRIO that we strive to retain on college campuses in order to help students have access to college and an equal opportunity to succeed in Oklahoma. The return on the investment is priceless.
2008 ODSA TRiO Achiever- Senator Kenneth Corn
Kenneth Corn grew up in Howe, a small rural town in Southeastern Oklahoma. No one in his immediate family attended college and his parents didn’t have the financial resources to ensure their son would either. When he was in 6th grade he won an essay contest. The prize was a full college scholarship.
Even with the promise of paid tuition, he was uncertain how to get to college. He was accepted into the Carl Albert State College Talent Search program and the staff advised, prepared, and guided him through the college application and admission process. The influence of this program is demonstrated by a statement made by Kenneth “It’s difficult to explain how such simple things as checking on me at school and talking to me about my future could have such an impact, but for someone who is first in their family to attend college, it can mean the difference in reaching your goals or giving up.”
He attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. While an undergraduate student, he was a member of the President’s Leadership Class, a Ruth Norman Scholar, and a United States Senate Youth Scholar. He is the only person to serve two terms as the State President of Future Business Leaders of America and one term as National President.
In 1998, at the age of 22, Kenneth Corn was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He has the distinction of being the youngest state representative in Oklahoma’s history. In 2002, he was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. Twenty-five years old at the time of the election, he is the second youngest individual to serve in that position and is currently the youngest Senator in Oklahoma.
Among his many accomplishments in the Oklahoma Legislature, he pushed through landmark legislation that provides health insurance benefits to Oklahoma educators, as well as legislation to bring teachers’ salaries to the regional average. He has also submitted a bill to create Oklahoma’s “Second Century Promise”. It will expand Oklahoma’s Promise (OHLAP) to include more students and ensure virtually every Oklahoma student has the ability to afford a college education. The three words he uses to describe “Second Century Promise” are: hope, change, and opportunity.
In 1998, Kenneth received a pencil from the Carl Albert State College Talent Search program. The pencil was inscribed with this quote “Education is the key to the future and your future begins today.” He has stated that the message “…is as inspirational for me today as it was for me in high school. I truly believe that education is the great equalizer…no matter where you come from you can reach your goals through education. My dream is for every child to believe that motto on the Talent Search pencil is speaking personally to them.”
Previous ODSA TRiO Achievers (link to pic gallery)