TRIO News Fall 2020

Greetings TRIO Students, Family & Friends:

The Fall 2020 semester is quickly ending. Before we know it, finals week will be here and we will be ringing in a new year. With that in mind this is a great opportunity to take a few minutes to pause and reflect on the many lessons learned and experiences we gone through over the past few months. As part of this time of reflection I would like to share a Key of Excellence I think is timely and very much needed, which is…” THIS IS IT!”- Make the most of every moment.

This semester has been chalked full of challenges and changes in our academic and personal lives, but I believe if we endeavor to practice this key it will help us to focus our attention on the present, which is a gift, and to keep a positive attitude through all of life’s many, many difficulties.

Thank you all for being a part of the Arizona Western College TRIO Family!

Michelle Thomas,

Director of TRIO Programs

THIS IS IT! – Make the most of every moment

Focus your attention on the present moment. Keep a positive attitude.

This Is It! is about focusing on NOW instead of later, or next week, or next month, or next year, or yesterday, etc., and making the most of it. A positive This Is It! attitude can make everything we do and every day productive, fulfilling, and fun!

Life is full of distractions and opportunities to do something else, something other than what we’re doing now. Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about those other things. Instead of making what we’re doing now “it” our focus is often elsewhere—on things we wanted to do, could have done, should have done, or want to do “sometime.” Whenever our thoughts are occupied with something other than what we’re doing, we miss what’s going on around us in the moment … while we’re waiting for the next moment to arrive the present moment slips away.

When we live in the NOW we have power! With a This Is It! attitude we make the present “it” and find joyful moments that we might otherwise have missed!

About us

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs."


Arizona Western College currently sponsors three TRIO programs: Talent Search (TS) , Upward Bound (UB), and KEYS Student Support Services (SSS) Program.

Talent Search is a US Department of Education grant program designed to help students graduate from high school and continue to college, ultimately attaining a post-secondary degree. TS serves 583 students annually. Our mission is to serve first- generation and/or low-income students attending middle school and high school to attain post-secondary education through academic support, mentoring, and college and career exploration.

Upward Bound is a US Department of Education grant funded program that serves approximately 70 students each year. The program is designed to provide fundamental support to low-income and/or first-generation college students to the extent that they will complete high school and successfully enter a post-secondary educational program and graduate.

KEYS (SSS) is a US Department of Education postsecondary grant program that focuses on the academic development of students by providing assistance with college requirements and motivating students toward the successful completion of their post-secondary education. KEYS serves 240 students annually by providing students with tutoring, academic counseling, financial aid support, and more.

Collectively, our goal is to transform the lives of first-generation and /or low-income middle school, high school, and college students through educational opportunities which enable the achievement of post-secondary degree.

Talent Search serves students attending the following schools:

- Fourth Avenue Jr. High School

- Gila Vista Jr. High School

- Wellton Elementary School

- Le Pera Elementary School

- Wallace Jr. High School

- Antelope High School

- Cibola High School

- Kofa High School

- Yuma High School

- Parker High School

Upward Bound serves students attending the following schools:

- Cibola High Schol

- Kofa High School

- San Luis High School

- Yuma High School

- Parker High School

KEYS (SSS) serve Arizona Western College students.


Attention students, the 2021-2022 FAFSA application is now available. When applying, have personal information ready such as SSN, DOB, and 2019 Tax information. The sooner you apply, the more grant money you are likely to receive. Apply now! Contact your Academic Advisor for assistance and support. You can also visit the following link for further information.



Now more than ever, students need the extra academic support. Tutoring can significantly improve academic skills and performance. Considering utilizing the tutoring services available at your schools.

KEYS students can book an appointment with a tutor at the link below.



Why pay for college yourself when you can receive financial support through scholarships? High school students, you can find scholarship links on the Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) web page by selecting any corresponding school. Simply click the "Choose Your School" tab located on the right top corner of the YUHSD home webpage, select a school, and click on the counseling tab. The counseling department for each school has scholarship links and resources. Feel free to navigate to other schools as the scholarships are available for all high school students. Go to --> https://www.yumaunion.org/

Arizona Western College provides resources to grants and scholarships. By clicking on the link below, you will find access to the AWC Foundation, Institutional, and External scholarships. To access the AWC Foundation scholarships you must be attending Arizona Western College and create an account. Visit this link for more info! ---> https://foundation.azwestern.edu/

Institutional scholarships include but not limited to the Art Scholarship, Career and Technical Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship, and more. Caballeros de Yuma, Angeles De Desierto Nursing Scholarship, and Arizona Community Foundation Scholarship are a few examples of external scholarships that you will find on the web page.

Applying for scholarships can be time consuming, so plan accordingly to meet deadlines. College students visit the link below for scholarship and grant opportunities.



Do you know any student who may benefit from the TRIO programs here at AWC? Are you a student who is driven and interested in receiving guidance to make your way to college? OR a college student seeking support? All three programs are currently recruiting.

Upward Bound is currently looking for 9th and 10th grade students who are willing to dedicate time and commitment to achieve pre-college and college goals. Talent Search is accepting 6th thru 11th grade students to be part of a program who is driven to serve and assist pre-college students. Our KEYS SSS program is currently recruiting first-generation, low-income and AWC college students with a documented disability who are ready to receive academic support, guidance, and achieve college success. To complete your online application, click on the corresponding program link.

Talent Search: https://www.azwestern.edu/student-support/talent-search/application

Upward Bound: https://www.azwestern.edu/student-support/upward-bound/application

KEYS: https://www.azwestern.edu/student-support/keys/application

Program Activities

Talent Search

Talent Search will be having their End of the Semester Celebration for all schools between December 7-10th! Contact your Academic Success Advisor for more information.

Upward Bound

Attention Upward Bounders! UB will be hosting Saturday activities on December 5. For further information, contact your Academic Success Advisor.

Keys program

Finals Weeks

First-Generation College Celebration Week

For the past four years institutions from across the nation have celebrated first-generation students, faculty, and staff.

This year, Arizona Western College celebrated first-generation students virtually through a week long celebration that was held November 4th through November 10th.

Learn more about Arizona Western College first-generation students at: https://www.azwestern.edu/student-life/first-generation-college-student

Virtual Learning

As we make our way into the year learning remotely, it is important to learn and utilize tips to make your academic year a success. Here are a few suggestions that we believe will enhance your virtual learning

Develop a routine: Having a daily routine provides you structure to accomplish your tasks. Set a time to wake up, have breakfast, study, socialize with friends, hobbies, and for sleep. A routine will give you control and encourage success.

Have a designated study space: While we know that your study space may be in your room, try to create a space specifically for your studies. Creating a physical boundary between study and relaxation is recommended to contain stress and create control. A designated study space also sends a clear signal to your brain that it is time to work.

Schedule in breaks: Give yourself a break! Having breaks in between your studies makes you more productive and increases retention. Breaks help regain focus when studying.

Create a study plan and Share it: It is beneficial to create a study plan that will specify when you will study, when you will complete homework, etc. Even more importantly, share your study plan with those around you. This will help create the support you need by communicating your plan. Those around can help respect your study time while knowing when and when you are not available.

Staying Focused and Motivated

One of the many challenges' students face while learning remotely is staying focused and motivated. We know that the change in environment can be stressful and impede your pace. Here are few suggestions to consider:

Take Notes: Taking notes when learning online enhances your retention and influences your knowledge. Taking notes will help you from getting distracted.

Put away distractions: Try to put away any electronics that may distract you from learning. If this is not possible, minimize your distractions by utilizing apps that lock your phone on a time limit.

Find a Support System: Whether its friends, teachers, or classmates, having other people helping you along the way will keep you motivated. FaceTime friends who have the same classes as you to work together. Ask your teacher for help and advice. Choose friends and family whom you can count on if you find yourself needing support and encouragement.

Utilize your resources: Our TRIO programs are here to help! Reach out and communicate with your advisors, academic skill coaches, and peer mentors. Utilize the resources that your school provides. Whether its tutoring, office hours, or general information, use the resources available for you to continue your academic success.

The Spring semester is fast approaching, make sure to schedule an advising appointment to have one of our Academic Success Advisor assist with your registration needs.

Meet our Staff

Michelle Thomas: Director of TRIO Programs

Delma Luna: Program Specialist - TS/UB
Valeria Mendoza: Front Desk Clerk - TS/UB
Yessica Muñoz: Front Desk Clerk Work Study - TS/UB
Ruben Landeros: Front Desk Clerk Work Study - TS/UB
Elizabeth Madrigal: Program Manager – UB
Andy Wheatley: Academic Success Advisor – UB
Lisa Dresden: Program Manager - TS
Kenia Rodriguez: Academic Success Advisor - TS
Zenaida Briones-Vega: Academic Success Advisor- TS
Eva Aviles: Program Manager
Angelica Gebhardt: Program Specialist
Erika Vazquez-Aguilar: Academic Support Advisor
Chaney Linares: Outreach Coordinator
Jesse Peña: Academic Skills Coach
Noah Sandigo: Academic Skills Coach
Melissa Saucedo: Academic Skills Coach
Gerardo Reyes-Haro: Academic Skills Coach
Alejandra Guerrero:  Academic Skills Coach
Briana Gutierrez:  Work Study Front Desk Clerk
Briana Fregozo: Social Work Intern
Gabriela Haworth: Social Work Intern

Contact Us

Talent Search/ Upward Bound

Office hours: M-Th 7 AM - 5 PM

Phone number: 928- 317-6036

Fax: (928) 344-7755

P.O BOX 929 - Yuma, AZ 85366

Yuma- ES 114, Parker- Parker Community Center



KEYS Program

Office Hours:


Remote Friday - 8AM-3PM

Phone number: 928-344-7761

Location: KEYS Building