EvCC and TRiO Host First Generation Student Event


Aiden Luhr

station for First-Gen Day at the TRiO office

EvCC has organized all different student life and community events throughout the quarter. Recently on November 8th, EvCC hosted an event with its TRiO department celebrating first generation students. Declared on the EvCC website in a mission statement, “TRiO empowers first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities to navigate opportunities and barriers in order to author and their authentic dreams.”

The first-gen celebration was an important event for multiple reasons. Specifically “for first-gen students to get to know each other, to engage with each other in a meaningful way and to support students’ needs and to connect them with resources,” says Trio Program Specialist Alisa Lennox. In addition,the event and the program are important for Lennox because she was a first-gen college student herself, which helped her relate to new first-gen students. “My involvement in (TRiO) was helping students that needed assistance like me,” says Lennox.

Lennox helped create the event, along with Associate Dean, Kesia Ceniceros. “An event like this highlights that students’ experiences are not alone, there’s other people that are just like them wanting to achieve similar goals,” says Ceinceros. Ceinceros also said that over 50 percent of students at EvCC are first generation college students.

According to Ceniceros, Everett isn’t the only community that participates in this event. “It’s a national celebration, each college comes up with activities and different ways to celebrate first gen,” says Ceinceros. Similarly to Lennox, Ceniceros was a TRiO alum. “I’ve worked for 4 different TRiO programs. Seeing students find success in their life is very rewarding to me,” says Ceniceros. As stated by Lennox in an interview, this was once a yearly event before covid struck, “we were really excited to have one again.”

The First-Gen picture frame. Students could pose with the frame for photos (Aiden Luhr)

Jennifer German-Cruz is a first-year student at EvCC. She recently attended an event on campus. For Cruz, being a part of Trio is a welcoming experience for her, “so far I feel like I’m included and my voice is being heard. It’s an experience that I didn’t have much in high school.” TRiO’s here to help, “I would recommend it to those that I know who are struggling with (finding) resources,” says Cruz.

Much like Cruz, Trio is important to EvCC student Juliana Litovchenko, “We don’t have to go through a college experience alone, we have so many people that can help you,” states Litovchenko. In addition, students can “build friendships and connections here at EvCC.” TRiO is also a beneficial resource and one Litovechenko hopes her younger sibling(s) can attain, “It’s a door that I hope my younger siblings have access to,” in regards to student services. Part of the first gen experience is that we have to reach out,” says Litovechenko. Litovechenko notes that her TRiO advisor helped situate her college experience as “they helped me with academics and different life skills that I didn’t even know.”

Every student can apply for TRiO. As stated by Lennox there are 4 separate criteria, but students only have to meet one. The 4 qualifiers are: Students intend to transfer to a 4 year university, students who qualify as low income (making 20,000 or less), students register with the EvCC center for disability services, lastly they must be first generation college students. “You can apply at any time,” says Lennox. In addition, up to 260 students can apply for student services.

TRiO is here to help students at EvCC. One of the ways they did that was by recognizing first generation students. It was put on hold because of the pandemic and now it’s looking to become a yearly event again celebrating first generation students at EvCC. There’s multiple resources at students disposal at EvCC, trio is one of those helpful resources.

For more information on, contact [email protected] or find their page on EvCC’s campus website.