EOP’s TRIO day connects students with alumni

EOPs TRIO day connects students with alumni

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg // [email protected] Donte McFadden, Interim Director of EOP, spoke at the event.

The stories of students currently a part of the Education Opportunity Program closely mirror those of the alumni who spoke with them Saturday afternoon for National TRiO Day.

TRiO programs are designed to identify and provide services to people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. EOP is a federally-funded TRiO program offering academic support and assistance for low-income or first-generation students across the country.

Donte McFadden, the Interim Director of EOP, said “the program works with students from their first semester of college until they receive their baccalaureate degree.”

Divine Abizera, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said, “As a first generation student, at one time, I had to work two jobs while going to school. She then added, “It was hard to do, and EOP helped put me on an equal playing field.”

EOP celebrated its fourth-annual TRiO day Saturday in David A. Straz, Jr. Hall by assembling groups of alumni from each college to host panels for students aiming towards similar career goals. The panelist answered questions from students and discussed their experiences while at Marquette.

“When I was a kid, my dream was to go to college. When I was in college, I wanted to find a job that I loved,” said Arley Dorsey, a 2011 College of Communication graduate.

Dorsey now works at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee as an EOP adviser. She was inspired because of the Marquette EOP counselors who supported and encouraged her. At Marquette, Dorsey majored in communication and minored in family studies.

Working 40 hours per week and being a full-time student, Dorsey found it difficult to juggle spending time with family and managing schoolwork.

“EOP changed my life in many ways,” she said, “(My advisers) were very supportive. If they weren’t pushing me, I don’t think I would’ve finished college.”

Cirila Martinez, a 2016 graduate from the College of Communication, echoed similar struggles. Martinez also worked a full-time job while being a full-time student. At one point, she was supporting her family while her father was in prison.

“I come from a very traditional Mexican family,” Martinez said. “And EOP, they treat you like family.”

EOP was formed in 1969 in response to protests on Marquette’s campus, which demanded more recruitment of students of color, McFadden said.

Since then, EOP strives to assist disadvantaged students and see that they can graduate from college despite their circumstances. Marquette offers three programs under the umbrella of EOP. Upward Bound Math and Science is for local high school students, Student Support Services is for undergraduates and the McNair Scholars are graduate students.

Student Support Services, which most of the students at the event were a part of, gives students tutoring services, academic counseling and specialized financial aid packages.

Antonio Beasley, a sophomore in the College of Communication said, “EOP is such a welcoming and understanding place.”