TRIO Student Success and Disability Support

TRIO is a federally funded grant program that provides direct support services for first-generation college students, students with limited-income, and/or students with disabilities to successfully attain their first bachelor’s degree.

Who We Are

TRIO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in the United States. Funded by the Department of Education, these programs are designed to support students in their pursuit of a college degree.

Evergreen's program, known as TRIO Student Success and Disability Support, provides wraparound services to students who meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  1. First in your family to earn a bachelor's degree (your custodial parent(s)/guardian(s) do not have a bachelor's degree or higher).
  2. Considered limited income under federal government guidelines.
  3. Have a documented disability with Evergreen's Access Services.

TRIO is deeply honored to be a part of a student's college journey from admission all the way to graduation, since 1979.


TRIO Application

Interested in joining TRIO? Our application is open.
The TRIO application is available to all current and incoming Evergreen students who may meet the eligibility requirements. Fill out the TRIO application today!

TRIO Application (MS Forms)

What We Do

TRIO strives to enrich every student's college journey

TRIO strives to enrich every student's college journey by providing individualized academic, financial, and personal support. 

TRIO students demonstrate a high rate of student retention, good academic standing and degree completion.

To join TRIO, students must fill out an application and participate in an intake interview with an academic specialist. The interview allows us to know more about the student's background and what they want/need to thrive at Evergreen. The interview also establishes the connection between student and advisor, which will hopefully last until the student graduates from Evergreen.

Since 1979, TRIO has served 180 Evergreen students who are first generation college students, limited income students, and students with disabilities. In Summer 2020, TRIO was awarded a second grant that will allow us to serve an additional 100 students with documented disabilities. We are beyond excited to further extend our services to more students at Evergreen.

Students who participate in the TRIO have access to numerous tools and resources intended to help them stay in school and earn a college degree. Experienced and knowledgeable staff work individually with each student, identifying and providing those resources which will be of greatest value.

Once welcomed into TRIO, students have access to these services:

  • Wraparound advising:
    • What would you like to accomplish while at Evergreen? What are your strengths and weaknesses? TRIO Academic Specialists are trained to identify student needs and provide linkages to vital support services on campus and in the community. These might include personal counseling, academic advising, career planning, study abroad and graduate school planning, disability access services, social services, health and wellness, ESL classes, mentoring, and others.
  • Financial aid guidance:
    • Obtaining financial aid can be a confusing process. We can help guide you through it, assist with forms and provide valuable scholarship and loan information.
  • Student engagement and community building opportunities:
    • A variety of events and academic workshops are offered each quarter. Occasionally students also attend complimentary cultural events on and off campus such as theater, dance and music performances. To find out more, contact your academic specialist or follow Facebook and Instagram.Advocacy and support
  • Tutoring services:
    • Assistance with writing, reading strategies and study skills. Additionally, writing tutors are available in the Writing Center and QuaSR to specifically serve your needs. Officially admitted students can take advantage of free, one-on-one tutoring sessions in subject areas such as math, science, computing or foreign languages.
    • 2 credit courses:
      • Several 2-credit courses are offered throughout the academic year. These include classes that help new students be successful at Evergreen, learn to apply for scholarships and understand the cost of a college education and prepare for graduate school or career pathways. Classes usually meet once each week of the quarter in the afternoon. Students can expect to engage in weekly workshops, lectures, seminars and guest speakers.
  • Academic support tools and resources
  • College navigation skills
  • Professional development assistance
  • Paid student leadership positions
  • Scholarships and tuition waivers

Who Should Apply

Have questions about your eligibility or application?

First-Generation Students

Will you be the first person in your family to attain a bachelor's degree? If neither of your custodial parents or legal guardians has a bachelor's degree or higher, then you qualify as a first-generation student.

Low-Income Students

Do you consider yourself as limited income? Do you qualify for a Pell grant? Do you or your custodial parents/legal guardians not need to file taxes because the income is too low? If so, you may qualify as a limited-income student.

Students with a Documented Disability

Do you have a documented disability? Is this documentation on file with Access Services for Students with Disabilities? If so, you qualify for our services as a student with a disability.

Identify as a Person with a Disability

Apply anyway! You may be eligible for TRIO as a first-generation or low-income student. We can also help brainstorm ways to pursue getting documentation for a disability if you decide that is what you want to do.

Applied Before But Not Eligible

Apply again! Circumstances may have changed to make you eligible for the program.

What's Next

After you apply, TRIO will contact you within one to two weeks to schedule an intake with an advisor. During the intake, the advisor will determine eligibility and provide wraparound services to support you during your journey while at Evergreen.

Scholarship Opportunities

As a part of TRIO, students have the opportunity to apply for TRIO-specific scholarships and/or tuition waivers during Winter Quarter each year. Students are required to submit a one-page essay, in addition to their general Evergreen scholarship application, as these are part of Evergreen Foundation’s offerings. A limited number of awards are available, so note that not all who apply will be awarded. 

TRIO-specific Classes

We offer 2-credit TRIO classes for all TRiO eligible students each quarter. These classes offer support in areas such as college success skills, critical reading and writing, scholarships, financial literacy, career development and graduate school preparation. 

Meet Our Staff

Get to Know the TRIO team!

Adriana Veloza
Director of TRIO | she/her

Adriana is beyond thrilled to be back in the TRIO family once again. Prior to her move to Olympia in 2022, she worked for TRIO at Boise State University for six years. As a first generation, limited-income immigrant, she believes in the power of higher education to open doors and enrich people’s lives. She holds a bachelor of science degree from East Stroudsburg University and a master of science degree in marine science from The College of William and Mary. In 2016 she completed her master of arts degree in education from Boise State University and switched career paths to pursue a mission close to her heart - to support students with shared life experiences attain their college degree. It has been her privilege to help students pursue and reach their academic and personal goals. Outside of work, Adriana enjoys painting, gardening, spending time with her pets and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Richelle V. Enriquez
Program Coordinator | they/she

Richelle has been working with TRIO since 2019. Richelle graduated from Evergreen in 2018. A first-generation and low-income student, Richelle was enrolled in the TRIO program as a student and is very engaged in both the campus and Thurston County communities. Richelle worked with Student Activities while attending Evergreen and after graduating, served in the Americorps program for a year working with the Thurston County Food Bank and Evergreen's Center for Community Based Learning and Action. Richelle continues to be an integral part of our campus community because she values the education that Evergreen offers and wants to support the whole college student experience through working with TRIO. They are particularly dedicated to supporting the TRIO program because of the way TRIO emphasizes that students do not have to go through college alone.

Stacia Pomerenk
Academic Specialist | she/her

Stacia’s career path has taken her in a variety of directions, including public school teaching and even owning a small retail business in downtown Olympia. She initially moved here from southern California to work at Evergreen’s Career Development Center after completing her master’s degree in career counseling. She’s worked at Evergreen in several capacities now and the position she’s enjoyed the most is that of academic specialist with TRIO. Stacia says that TRIO students are amazing, bringing dreams and fears and deep strengths, combined with a fierce determination to achieve their goals. Her hope is to help make their academic journeys a little smoother, sort of like a trail guide as folks climb their own personal Mt. Everest. She thinks it’s easier to do hard things with some company along the way.

Mercedes Shively
Academic Specialist | she/her

Mercedes has been working as an advisor to college students for over a decade and she is excited to bring that knowledge and experience to TRIO. As a first-generation non-traditional student, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix age 33, and then went on to earn master’s in business administration from Grand Canyon University in 2012. Graduating college as a first-generation student and working adult meant overcoming many obstacles and setbacks and she was helped greatly by the support she received from her own advisors along the way. This experience inspired a passion to advocate for students and to be a champion for TRIO students on their own path to graduation. In her free time Mercedes is a baker of bread, a lover of art and a friend of animals.

Jess Tourtellotte
Academic Specialist for Disability Support | she/her

Jess’s first conscious experience as a person with a disability was being given a whiteboard and being told to write her last name until she knew how to spell it correctly. That was the moment she knew that in addition to having a physical disability, she also had a learning disability. She had never felt more alone. There were many lonely and confusing moments as she fought to be successful in a K-12 school system that wasn’t built to support her or people like her. Then a teacher told her about Evergreen. At Evergreen she connected with TRIO, and for the first time found that she was soaring in her academic studies, that she mattered as a person, that her disability was important and that she deserved space. She could finally blaze her own trail. After graduating with a bachelor's degree from Evergreen, she earned a master of science in disability and human development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work examined how young people with disabilities are represented in teen television. She’s continued to advocate to create space for herself and the disability community. She was able to achieve this by taking the tools that TRIO and Evergreen gave her and using them to build a ship that has supported and carried her during both the best and most difficult moments in her life. Now that ship has sailed her back home, to the very heart of the place that gave her roots as an individual, collaborator, advocate and critical thinker. She is so excited and grateful to be a part in the lives of TRIO students at Evergreen. To support students so their voices and ideas aren’t just heard, but are utilized. To advocate for continued inclusion across campus and the greater Olympia community for students who identify as persons with disabilities.

Kat Harmon
Academic Specialist for Disability Support | they/them

Kat is a life-long resident of Washington state, first-generation college student, disability advocate and educator. They graduated from Evergreen in 2007 with a dual concentration in consciousness studies and theater arts. They earned their master's degree in counseling psychology from St. Martin’s University in 2020, with an emphasis on serving queer, trans, disabled and neurodivergent populations. Kat is committed to equity, mutual aid and decolonization. They are passionate about supporting underserved communities and helping students craft authentic and attainable academic and career paths. When not in the office, Kat enjoys dancing, dreaming, reading, snuggling their cat and having completely normal, healthy conversations with the lichen in the Evergreen woods.