Samantha Miles

Coming from a low-income family can be very stressful when managing the financial aspects of and opportunities available through higher education. One program on the Denver campus designed to help first generation, low-income and disabled students achieve their full potential with academic success is bridging the gap.

TRiO Student Support Services (TRiO SSS) is a program on the University of Colorado Denver campus designed to help students in a variety of ways such as peer mentoring, leadership development and career preparation.

One major way that TRiO SSS has supported students in career preparation is gaining entrance into the Institute for International Public Policy Program (IIPP). The IIPP’s purpose ihad been to increase the representation of minorities in international services. However, the IIPP was de-funded earlier this year.

Prior to the discontinued funding for IIPP, there were only three students in Colorado — all CU Denver students — who were accepted into the program. Samantha Miles (pictured above), Michael Mendoza, and Humberto Guerrero had begun the six-year long process of completing the IIPP program which includes a study abroad semester, a full language course and an internship abroad. The program would also pay for half of the cost of graduate school. In the history of IIPP there have been only four students from Colorado accepted into the program.

Miles said, “IIPP really puts you on the fast track to getting into international affairs, we might have gotten there eventually, but this program really gave us an advantage.”

Miles and Mendoza are still completing their undergraduate degrees on the Denver campus but Guerrero graduated in 2011 and was recently accepted the University of Minnesota. He will begin in the fall of 2012 at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Guerrero received two prestigious fellowships and is the only one from 10,000 applicants to have received both of the fellowships.

Miles said,“Without TRiO, we ould not have known about IIPP and would not have been on the right track for graduate school. It s really unfortunate that the program was de-funded but the preparation we received does not go away”.

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