Minnesota Southern Tier TRiO Day

Education: Opening Doors to Endless Opportunities

The Minnesota Southern Tier TRiO Day student conference took place Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009, at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and MCTC President Phil Davis attended the event, which was chaired by Dora Schumacher, the TRiO director at Dakota County Technical College.

Melody Geiger, DCTC assistant director of Upward Bound, and Jill Bjorklund, DCTC TRiO/Upward Bound advisor, co-chaired the Workshop Presenters Committee. Joel Bisser, a DCTC TRiO/SSS advisor, served as a workshop presenter.

Nellie Francis, a former DCTC Upward Bound student, attended the conference with Mav Steppers, a step team she founded at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she is double majoring in international business and marketing.

Mav Steppers with Nellie Francis (far left)

Mav Steppers with Nellie Francis (far left)

The conference featured a college fair, food drive raffle, prizes for students and scholarship award winners. Michael Dunphy, Ph.D., better known as Dr. D, a biochemistry professor at Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, served as the conference’s keynote speaker.

“Nearly 450 students attended the conference along with 60 TRiO staff members,” said Melody Geiger. “We had a wonderful time and the students especially had a lot of fun. They gave up a Saturday to show support for Upward Bound and Student Support Services, which have really made a difference in their lives.”

Federal TRiO educational opportunity outreach programs support and motivate low-income, first-generation college students as well as students with disabilities to navigate academic environments from middle school to postgraduate programs. The goal of Federal TRiO programs is to increase the percentage of low-income and first generation college students who successfully pursue postsecondary education opportunities.