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.
Asma Omar - Ambassador Highlight
Hi, my name is Asma Omar. I am currently a junior in the Nursing program here at USM. I have been part of the TRIO program since my freshman year of high school but have only been an ambassador for a year. In my free time, I like to read and watch tv shows.
What I like most about being an ambassador is connecting and forming long-lasting bonds with students. Being an ambassador has made me more responsible, dependable, and has sharpened my leadership skills. TRIO has helped me in many ways. It helped me get accustomed to my surroundings and gave me the tools and support system that I needed to navigate college.
My advice to students in TRIO is to connect with Mentors often. The Mentors and Advisors are always there to support and help students in any way that they can. I think students should never feel alone and seek help right away when they need it, the mentors/advisors would do anything in their power to guide you in the right direction.
~ Asma, USM Class of 2024
Raha Daud - Ambassador Highlight
Hello. My name is Raha Daud, I live in Lewiston Maine but I’m originally from Kenya. I’m a junior at USM and I’m majoring in occupational therapy. I’ve been a TRIO ambassador for about 2 years now and I absolutely love it. The thing I like about being a TRIO ambassador is helping first-year students feel less nervous and anxious about starting college. I like being the person that they can talk to about anything college-related and being the person that they can come to for advice and tips about college. Being an ambassador has helped me get out of my comfort zone and become more involved in Many activities. Being an ambassador has helped me improve my leadership skills, it has helped me become a better speaker and become better at communicating with others.
When I’m not working or attending classes, I like to read, exercise, and watch medical shows. In the future, I would like to get my master's in occupational therapy and hopefully one day open up my own practice and provide services to low-income families. The advice I have for TRIO students is time management. Having time management in college will get you far and it will make you less stressed. When you manage your time wisely, you’re able to do many things; such as having time to yourself to do the things you want. Self-care is also very important so make sure you take care of yourself and put yourself first. Lastly, make sure you enjoy college life and use the resources available to you.
~ Raha, USM Class of 2023
Amber Veilleux - Ambassador Highlight
I first learned about the TRIO College Program from my TRIO METS advisor in high school. And in my first year just before college started, I joined the week-long ‘Summer Scholars’ program TRIO hosted with Promise Scholars. If this program is able to take place this year, I definitely recommend it to first-year students. This week-long event helps first-years adjust to college life and exposes them to the opportunities USM has to offer, all while making new friends and meeting new people.
My connections with TRIO grew when I applied and was hired to become a TRIO Ambassador in the Spring of 2020. Becoming a TRIO Ambassador has helped me cultivate my leadership skills and has also provided me with a strong support group in college. From TRIO staff to ambassadors to students, the shared encouragement for each others’ success is inspirational. My favorite part about being an ambassador is the relationships I am able to make with fellow TRIO employees and members, as well as the connections made with the larger USM community.
In my free time, I enjoy volunteering in my local community, spending time with my friends and family, and when I get the chance I love to watch movies! Some of my favorite movies at the moment are Moonlight directed by Berry Jenkins and Almost Famous directed by Cameron Crowe. I also try my best to take time to spread awareness about racial issues as I actively work to become an antiracist.
My advice to all TRIO students is to try to take some time for yourself and your mental well-being. It can be difficult to balance school, work, and life, especially in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety that comes with being a college student, and it’s okay to take a break sometimes and do what makes you feel good! Some of the things I love to do when I am feeling down are listening to music, journaling, being outdoors, and spending time with loved ones. Although these activities can only go so far and if you need don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help! We at TRIO are here to support you and your goals, this is not limited to only academics but expands into life as well.
Stay safe and well,
~ Amber, USM Class of 2023
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