TRiO: Success Stories

TRiO student Arin Stevenson was recently accepted into Ivy Tech’s Associate of Science in Nursing (A.S.N.) program. She has been a member of TRiO since graduating from high school and beginning college. Arin’s mother died when she was thirteen, and she was raised by her grandmother. These experiences sparked her interest in the medical field, as she has always worked full-time to support herself.

“The TRiO staff has honestly become a second family to me. No one ever went to college in my family. TRiO helps with every question from simple to more complicated. They provide me with tutoring to keep my grades up, and even if you need to talk or a shoulder to cry on, they are there. I have great grades and a great GPA, but always in the back of my mind, I ask, ‘Can I really do it?’ Having TRiO believe in me means a lot.”

Arin Stevenson
TRiO Participant
Nursing Student


TRiO alumna Josefina Cervantes was born in Mexico, where she attended school through the ninth grade. Her family migrated to the U.S., where she finished school and became a U.S. citizen. She graduated cum laude from Ivy Tech in May 2008 with an Associate of Science in Human Services. Josefina also received the prestigious Melvin L. Curtis Award for Academic Excellence at her graduation — the highest award presented to a student.

“Since I was ten years old, I have worked to help my mother cover basic needs. One of my dreams was to go to college. However, due to a lack of money, role models, and information, my dream was only a dream. TRiO came into my life in the right moment. The program helped me accomplish my dream. They gave me all the tools I needed. They guided me in making my education plan. They helped me to find my strength. After I finished my degree at Ivy Tech, I transferred to IPFW. My first concern was how I was going to survive without TRiO, but I have found that I can now fly by myself, because they helped me develop all the skills to succeed anywhere.”

Josefina Cervantes
TRiO Alumna
2008 Graduate


TRiO alumni Alisa Harris sacrificed to go to school full-time and take care of two children following a divorce that “left her with nothing.” Since coming to Ivy Tech, Alisa has excelled in many ways. She is the former president of Ivy Tech’s Student Government and member of Phi Theta Kappa. Alisa earned a Business Administration associate's with two concentrations: Management and Human Resources. Alisa is currently an Ivy Tech employee, while she attends Indiana Tech to obtain her bachelor’s degree.

“In the beginning, I was one of those students who went to college right after high school. I had no goals, no idea what I wanted to be, and no motivation. Years went by. Life happened, and my kids and I moved to Fort Wayne. At that time, even temporary jobs were hard to find. So finally after much consideration, I enrolled at Ivy Tech. What would I have done without the TRiO program? I needed them at many times during my life as an Ivy Tech student and even as a single mother. My TRiO mentor assigned to me has been a constant and consistently positive influence and role model in my life. I don’t know if I would have met her without TRiO.”

Alisa Harris
TRiO Alumna
2007 Graduate


TRiO Alumnus Larry Chaffin grew up with the experiences of alcholoism, abuse, broken families, and foster care. He also served in the Army National Guard for six years. In order to support his family, he has had to work up to three different jobs at certain points in time and struggled with his own disabilities. Larry decided to come to college, specifically, because he found TRiO Student Support Services. Larry successfully graduated from Ivy Tech with an associate degree in Business Administration and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University. :

“I believe this was one of the best decisions I have ever made at Ivy Tech. TRiO has the most dedicated staff and never gives up on a student. I acknowledge the guidance of TRiO for my success at Ivy Tech. Excellent tutors, free seminars, free outside activities, and staff all make you feel like family. This is a must-do on your list if you need help and are serious about your education.”

Larry Chaffin
TRiO Alumnus
2008 Graduate