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October 14, 2020


My Dear PA TRIO Friends and Colleagues,


“Things have certainly changed around here!” ~Doc in Back to the Future


This quote has never been more relevant this past year than for the TRIO community.  In March we went from seeing our students in their school environment to Zooming with them on a computer screen; from providing school supplies to offering masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper to students in need; and from sharing in-person meals with our fellow TRIO colleagues to doing virtual takeout meals.  What a crazy world that transpired overnight!  Some might believe this change has been disheartening, but when we see that we’re still able to connect with our students and meet them where they are, we realize some of the changes due to the pandemic have been constructive.  We’ve found new ways of delivering services, creatively shared ideas with one another more readily, and realized as TRIO professionals that there is still hope.


In the movie, Doc also tells Marty “you’ve really made a difference in my life.”  Part of the hope we have lies in knowing how important our work and mission are in the lives of our students and in realizing how much of a difference the students make in our own lives.  Their obstacles become ours as we fight to help them overcome the inequities they face, but their growth, strength, and triumphs also become ours.  In this way, we are so blessed to continue having an opportunity to change the futures for these students.  I can’t think of a better way to spend my career.


As I reflect on my past year as President-Elect, I also feel lucky to have had the opportunity to serve in this association with truly admirable colleagues.  I am excited for what’s to come in my upcoming role as President, and I hope to be of valuable service to you and the organization.


Thank you for instilling confidence in Dr. Julie Story and me as we planned our first virtual conference.  We could not have done it without all of you and your positive energy.  Enjoy going “Back to the Future to Drive Change!”


Love and Peace Always,


Loriann Irving                                                       


Loriann Irving

President-Elect & 2020 Conference Co-Chair

Pennsylvania Association of TRIO Programs

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