SSS goes to D.C.

Southern Nazarene University (SNU) student Andrea Zarate is one of 12-15 TRiO students from across the country who has been selected by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) to speak nationally before the U.S. legislature next week in an attempt to raise awareness about programs such as Student Support Services (SSS).

On February 28 and March 1, 2005, Zarate will give account of her personal experience as a participant of SNU’s federally-funded SSS program, speaking at the nation’s Capitol before both U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

“Andrea was selected to go to Washington, D.C. from a list of highly qualified SSS participants (at SNU) for her story of personal determination and ability to persevere and succeed academically regardless of her circumstances,” said Loral Henck, Director of Student Support Services at Southern Nazarene University.

As one of seven children raised in a single-parent home, Zarate came to know the reality of financial difficulties at an early age. Due to her mother’s physical disability and the death of her father, Zarate and her siblings had to begin working early in high school to help provide for the family. But in spite of many hardships, Zarate graduated from high school with honors and was nominated NOBLE Scholar and Who’s Who Among American Students. In fall 2004, Zarate enrolled as a student at Southern Nazarene University where she qualified for eligibility in the university’s SSS program. Zarate is currently in her sophomore year as a Biology-Chemistry major, and plans to pursue a Doctorate in Pharmacy upon graduation.

“Her positive outlook on life and desire to make a difference in her world made Andrea an ideal candidate to represent SNU, our state and region in Washington D.C.,” said Henck.

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) advocates for TRiO, a government-funded educational service that houses 8 separate educational programs including Student Support Services. Currently, more than 2,700 TRiO programs provide assistance to nearly 873,000 Americans. All TRiO programs are intended to encourage and enable low-income, first generation, and disability students toward academic success.

The Student Support Services (SSS) program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students towards the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next. Due to the financial support of the U.S. Department of Education and the TRiO program, SSS is able to provide resources and an environment in which students can receive assistance in meeting academic needs.

In 2001, the U.S. Department of Education provided Southern Nazarene University a $1 million grant to be used over a 5 year period for the establishment of the Student Support Services program on the SNU campus. The SSS program at SNU provides qualified students with a variety of services which include: tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; academic advisement and support; referrals to campus and community resources; orientation to campus activities; university life workshops; cultural events and activities; technology lab and study center. To date, the SSS program at SNU has served close to 200 participants since the program’s inception in August of 2001.

For more information about the SSS program at SNU, contact Terryl Berryman, Assistant Director of Student Support Services, at 405.491.6557 or email tberryma@snu.edu.