TRiO Student Success Staff

Felix Braffith Director: Felix Braffith

I am a first-generation college graduate that escaped the socioeconomic and academic traps that plague most students living in poverty. I began my journey as a community college student without a support system in place to help me navigate the complexities of achieving a college degree. As I progressed throughout college I realized that so many students from my community were not succeeding in the higher educational system, and I began to wonder why. After completing my transfer degree I enrolled at The Evergreen State College and received a BA with an emphasis in Cross Cultural Education and decided to pursue a career in education. The opportunity to advise, support, and motivate students to recognize their academic potential while becoming the first person in their family to graduate from college makes working for TRiO one of the most meaningful professions in the world.

Dawn Carlson Academic Specialist: Dawn Carlson

I remember being an adult returning transfer student at Evergreen struggling to do well in school, work part time and make my financial aid money last until the end of the quarter! I wish I had walked over to the TRiO office and signed up and found some help and valuable resources. It would have been great having someone to talk to when times got rough and learn about opportunities like the Gilman scholarship, so I could have afforded to do some study abroad before I graduated (even now, I look at the description for the program Greece and Italy, and daydream!). I graduated from Evergreen with my BA in 1992 and then went on to get my Master of Arts in Social Sciences from Pacific Lutheran University. As an Academic Specialist for KEY Student Services for the past nine years, it is my job and privilege to help students navigate college and learn the tools for academic success. I encourage you to come by and see what we have to offer, sign up for our TRiO class where you can share your story, support and be supported by students like yourself, learn how to read and write more effectively, find out about scholarships and have some fun! I look forward to meeting you!

Stacia Pomerenk Academic Specialist: Stacia Pomerenk

Recently my focus has been working with our third year and beyond cohort (traditional age juniors and seniors). My goal as an academic specialist for TRiO is to offer my students the support I did not have, advising them about many facets of college, both for Evergreen in particular and for higher education in general. I’ve held this position for about six years now (although I’ve actually been at Evergreen for fourteen years, having previously worked in Career Development). I also work with the 3rd year and beyond learning community. It has been a pleasure and an honor for me to work with the students in the TRiO program, encouraging and advocating for them, and preparing them for success here. When students join TRiO, they join a community, a group of people who understand the challenges they might face and who have tools to help them make the most of their undergraduate experiences. You do not have to figure this out on your own—I hope you'll join us!

Associate Director: Alexis Cariello 

I am so thankful to be able to work with the TRiO Team to provide resources to students who people sometimes called "non-traditional". In my mind, you are "new-traditional": what I mean by that is that TRiO students are setting the new wave of higher education, where all students are able to thrive in college. I help students navigate what can sometimes be a complex system of offices and deadlines, and also offer support and compassion. I am so grateful for the Upward Bound staff, who prepare students to become future Greeners, and the TRiO staff for supporting the students who come through our program. Although I haven't been at Evergreen very long, it's a community I'm proud to be a part of.