October 14, 2020
Welcome , PA TRIO!
One year ago, not one of us imagined that our 48th Annual Conference of the
Pennsylvania Association of TRIO Programs would take place virtually due to a
global pandemic. Like many of you, I am sitting in my makeshift office at home,
where I have worked since mid-March. With a view of the peaceful mountains
surrounding Lock Haven, I have watched the seasons change from spring to
summer, and now fall has fully arrived. The past seven months, amidst the
chaos, I have found solace in the everchanging yet constant landscape.
As McFly and Doc Brown experienced, our future seems very “heavy. ”Yet, somehow, in our own ways, each of us has weathered this unprecedented, prolonged, and stressful challenge—together—with our families, students, TRIO teams, and communities. We should take to heart the same advice that Deb Levy (2020) suggests we give our students for living a balanced life: know our strengths, set specific goals, prioritize happiness, be resilient, and make time to recover. We must also take advantage of professional opportunities that help us to refresh, discover new resources, and learn best practices.
Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran in our association, thank you for taking the time to be here virtually with our statewide community. This week, as “PA TRIO Goes to Drive Change,” try to relax, have fun, stimulate your mind, and engage in the events that the 2020 Conference Planning Committee has worked so hard to provide. Enjoy your colleagues and guest speakers. Share and learn new strategies for driving positive change. Celebrate achievements! During this difficult time, we must keep our faith in the TRIO mission. Our action and advocacy for equity and justice must continue so that students can realize their true, full potential and empowerment.
As I complete my third year of service for our PA TRIO board and community, I hope that you have found me to be a good steward. My experiences taught me the best ways to collaborate, lead, budget, support, advocate—and fight for education to be a human right. As the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg affirmed, “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” I hope that my leadership has encouraged even just one of you to consider stepping forward to serve PA TRIO so that the association thrives in the future to benefit members and students.
Truly, #TRIOworks. Its mission spreads. After 34 years in higher education, including the last 17 in TRIO SSS at Lock Haven University (also my alma mater), I was persuaded by the LHU administration, to lead its inaugural Student Success Center. This campus-wide initiative is, in essence, modeling the TRIO program that has thrived successfully at LHU for 40 years. I look forward to coordinating the integration, sharing, and leveraging of resources and relationships to deliver a comprehensive approach to student support across campus that will enhance their academic success, retention, and graduation. So, you see, I am still and will always be TRIO!
In TRIO solidarity—always,
Dr. Julie A. Story
Julie A. Story, Ed.D.
Past-President, 2020 Conference Co-Chair
Pennsylvania Association of TRIO Programs