TRIO Ambassadors are University of Southern Maine (USM) student-staff members who work directly with TRIO College Programs, serving as student advocates and providing peer-to-peer social and academic support. Ambassadors also work with TRIO staff to organize workshops and events that engage the TRIO community at USM. Through their work, Ambassadors help TRIO staff to achieve the program’s goal of increasing retention and graduation rates of first-generation students, income-eligible students, and students with disabilities.
Ambassadors gain experience in leadership, peer mentoring, event planning, academic and educational policies, professionalism, and directing students to resources on campus. Ambassadors ideally have strong communication and organizational skills, work well in a team setting, and enjoy helping others. Ambassadors who qualify for federal work-study funds will be given preference.
Johana Jimenez - Ambassador Highlight
Hey, nice to meet you, I’m Johana Jimenez, a junior here at USM. I’m majoring in Nursing and minoring in Holistic Health. I’ve always enjoyed helping others and science is so interesting to me, which is why I enjoy nursing so much.
I heard about TRIO from a flyer I saw when I was eating lunch in the cafeteria at USM. I saw that it said first-generation students and so I went online and applied. I have been with TRIO since my freshman year and fell in love with the program. I love everything that TRIO does. TRIO has helped me to feel supported during the transition from high school to college. TRIO has helped me to stay on track with my graduation year. I joined the program because I was interested in knowing more and I felt like I needed some extra help with figuring out the college thing since my parents didn't go. It was hard to figure out the financial aspect but also how to juggle school, work, and social life. TRIO helped me figure out how to do that.
My tip to fellow students would be to use your resources. USM offers so many helpful things from tutors to advisors, and I think all those programs are helpful. Reach out to your advisor and see if they can give you any resources you might need.
When I'm not studying or working, my hobbies are cooking new meals with my significant other, painting my nails, exercising, and I love hanging out with my family and dog. My future goals are to move out of Maine and become a pediatric nurse once I graduate. I also hope to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner but for now, my focus is to graduate.
~ Johana, USM Class of 2021
Ambassador Highlight - Patty Herbert
My name is Patty Herbert. I just started my senior year and will be graduating in December 2021 with a BS in Leadership and Organizational Studies! It's been an amazing journey reconnecting with my love of learning to get the degree I've always wanted. I grew up thinking that I wasn't smart enough for college; wasn’t worthy of having dreams, so I never tried. Life, however, has taught me that I owe it to myself to find my own happiness, and my happiness is giving my all to my dreams. As a nontraditional, commuter student, I am grateful that I didn't have to do it all by myself.
What I enjoy most about being a TRIO Ambassador is the opportunity to meet people I might not otherwise have. In today’s world, it's easy to get caught up in ourselves and our own struggles. Being an Ambassador has taught me that struggles are universal and that we don't have to go it alone. Working with people who have been challenged by similar obstacles reminds me that I can face anything.
Before I became an Ambassador, I struggled with self-confidence and had difficulty putting myself out there and in front of others. The Ambassador role made it necessary to confront those challenges, and with the constant support and encouragement of other Ambassadors, I have become far more comfortable leading groups. I have also been able to see the world through the eyes of people at differing times in their lives. It's been beneficial in learning how to relate to others.
In my free time, I work to promote equality for all. I read, volunteer for local community centers, and promote Random Acts of Kindness, a cause dear to my heart. I enjoy plants and gardens, meditation, and being outdoors.
My advice for TRIO students is to keep in touch with your TRIO advisor throughout your degree plan. Even if you don't think you need support, it's always reassuring to hear that you're on the right track from people who genuinely care about your future. Make the most of the group activities, as those are where I have learned the most about community and myself. The skills that I have learned are invaluable and will help me attain my goals.
TRIO can do the same for you!
~ Patty, USM Class of 2021