Eastern Michigan University celebrates National TRIO Day and 60 years of breaking barriers to academic achievement

Eastern Michigan University celebrates National TRIO Day and 60 years of breaking barriers to academic achievement
Anthony Webster, program director of TRIO Student Support Services (far right) with TRIO students. (File Photo)

YPSILANTI — This month, Eastern Michigan University is celebrating National TRIO Day, Feb. 24, 2024 and 60 years of commitment to removing social, economic, and cultural barriers to higher education in the United States. Since adopting federally funded TRIO programs, EMU has empowered over a thousand students from diverse backgrounds to overcome obstacles and achieve academic success.

Since 1964, federally funded TRIO programs have paved the way for first-generation students from various socio-economic and diverse backgrounds. Adopted by Eastern Michigan University, TRIO programs like Upward Bound, Veteran Student Support Services, and the McNair Scholars Program have helped more than a thousand students overcome barriers and achieve academic success.

Federally funded TRIO programs are making a difference for first-generation students from low-income families, veterans, and those with disabilities across the country.

DeAngelo DePollo, a Veteran Student Support Services student graduating in April, appreciates how TRIO allows for a seamless transition to civilian life. 

“Having a support system like TRIO has definitely made my life easier because you have that same structure where you always have people you can count on like you did when you were in the military,” said DePollo. “But now they're here on campus with you.” 

DePollo attributes his success, including a recent U.S. House of Representatives internship, to his affiliation with TRIO. He assisted a representative serving on the Military Veterans and Law Enforcement Committee in the House during his internship.

Anthony Webster, program director of TRIO Student Support Services (TRIO SSS) at Eastern Michigan University, serves as a living testament to how mentors can inspire hope in the face of adversity. Webster, a product of teen parents, recognized early on the importance of obtaining a good education for a better life.

A Mississippi native, he did not allow a low ACT score to hinder his college dream. As a student, Webster understood the significance of building a reliable support system to navigate his college experience and is now passionate about leaving a lasting impression on future generations.

Thanks to TRIO, Isaiah Garcia, a sophomore majoring in business, elevated his academic standing and earned a place on the dean’s list.

“I thank TRIO and Anthony Webster for helping me obtain a laptop, campus resources, tutoring, assistance with time management, and so much more. “I'm also grateful for my mentor TRIO program coordinator Earl Schumake for advising me about numerous things and problems that I faced, cheering me on, and celebrating my successes.”

Kiley Shay accounts for much of her success at EMU to TRIO SSS. “TRIO SSS gave me a community I can go to for help, and they have helped me make so many different connections with people,” said Shay. “Anthony Webster and Earl Schumake have helped me navigate college life through all my mistakes and helped me learn from them. They have always encouraged me to achieve my goals, told me that nothing is out of reach and that I always have all of TRIO supporting me.”  

“I don’t take being in this space (academia) for granted,” said Webster. In the moments when I’m feeling stressed about work or my doctoral program, knowing that I’m part of someone’s success story is what keeps me going.” 

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

February 20, 2024

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher