TRIO College Programs

TRIO Alumni and Students

Student Highlight - Aidan Ho, Computer Science

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break. My name is Aidan, and I am a junior here at USM studying computer science. A little bit about myself is that I love art and music.

Although my major is computer science, I still follow my passions and learn to draw and play music during my free time. I would like to share this quote from my fellow coder that keeps me motivated to learn,

“If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’re going to continue to get what you have always gotten.”

My future, once I finish my degree, includes plans to get a job as a software programmer or developer to support my family.

 ~ Aidan

Ielaf Khalil, Alumni 2020 

B.S in Business Management and Marketing and Finance

Minor in Educational Studies

Hello, my name is Ielaf Khalil. I am a Kurdish American graduate student pursuing my master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education. Kurds are mostly located in the Middle East and I am from Kurdistan a region spread over Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. I am wearing a traditional Kurdish dress, traditional clothes are worn almost everywhere. There are different styles and designs; some are very simple and can be worn in parks and public places. Other designs are more fashionable and are only to be worn at weddings and special occasions. 

The dress I am wearing here is a simple traditional design I chose for Newroz, the Kurdish New Year which is celebrated on March 21st. We celebrate by gathering with family and friends, picnicking, eating delicious food, and having a great time.

~ Ielaf

Student Highlight - Jadyn Cunningham, Nursing

Hey, I'm Jadyn Cunningham, and I am a freshman; Class of 2024 here at USM. I am majoring in nursing, with a minor in holistic and integrative health. I graduated high school at Oyster River High School in Durham, NH, and chose USM because it felt like home and had the best opportunities for me; as a student-athlete.

I heard about the TRIO program through flyers in the mail and took the time to research more about what it entailed and what opportunities it allowed for me as an incoming student. I have been in TRIO since the beginning of the 2020 Fall semester.

My TRIO advisor, Andrew, helped me a lot during the fall semester orientation week.  As a freshman, I was so nervous because I didn't know where or who my resources were, but he helped me learn who the librarians were, where to go for tutoring, where the financial aid office was, and where admissions were, among other things.  He helped me build confidence in myself as a new student. As a new freshman, knowing where my resources are allowed me to focus on school as much as possible.

My advice to TRIO students is to advocate for themselves. On top of everything else going on, remote learning is taking a big toll on mental health right now. Never be afraid to email professors, or reach out when you have questions or need help, especially during COVID. It is always worth it. 

During my free time, I enjoy drawing, painting, and music. I love to sing and play the piano. I'm on the USM Varsity Softball team. I’m involved with SAAC (Student Academic Athletic Committee) which helps me advocate for the student body with a team of strong athletes that make the best decisions together. I enjoy reading when I have the time to do so. I volunteer at animal shelters and give back to the community through different services and events. I also love working with Special Olympics and cannot wait to get more involved once COVID passes. 

After earning my BS in Nursing, my next goal is to work for Maine Medical Center Pediatrics. I'm excited to take advantage of the endless opportunities to help so many people with my nursing degree. My long-term goal is to go back to school and get my Nurse Practitioner degree. I love helping people and look forward to opportunities to do so for my patients.

TRIO College Programs has helped me build the confidence to reach out and join committees and clubs that interest me. I feel empowered knowing I’m learning how to be a strong advocate for others, and that as a nurse I will have this ability for my patients as well.


Qutaiba Hassoon, Alumni 2017 

Bachelor of Science, Marketing

Minor in Accounting

Advice for new students: “My advice for new students is to take advantage of the resources at the university and stay active at the clubs and organizations USM offers. Soccer and studying abroad made me meet wonderful people and I learned so much. I also advise students to take advantage of TRIO and career services at USM because they are good resources for finding internships and potential jobs. College can seem stressful at the beginning, but having a study strategy and building healthy habits makes life at college easier.”


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