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TRIO SSSP Student Testimonials

See what previous student participants have to say about the TRIO SSSP transition program at UC San Diego, and imagine yourself as a Summer Experience student.

  • Sheriyan Bradford (2019 - 2020 Cohort) - Sociology - Law & Society

    Sheriyan Bradford (2019 - 2020 Cohort) - Sociology - Law & Society

    Being a first-generation Black student, the transition from high school to college was very terrifying for me. I knew when coming to UC San Diego I wouldn’t be immediately embraced with a sense of familiarity. Looking into UCSD’s demographics and seeing that Black students only made up about 2% of the student body was very discouraging. My identity is something that I value and take pride in, so I wanted to find comfortable spaces in which I can be my most authentic self. TRIO SSSP is where I found my safe space. Without participating in the Summer Experience in my first year of college, I wouldn't have found the most supportive friends and mentors that I continue to rely on to this day. I was able to find not only friendships but also family within TRIO SSSP. What I appreciate the most from this experience, is the amount of diversity among the people within it. We come from different walks of life but we found a sense of belonging among each other. Not only am I supported academically, but I am given an immense amount of resources for my everyday basic needs with the help of TRIO SSSP. This program and the staff that advance it has influenced me to continue my aspirations of becoming a social worker. Asking for help as a first-generation student isn't easy, but TRIO SSSP has relieved some of that burden. I began my time here at UCSD with reservations but being in a program like TRIO SSSP has reassured me that I made the right decision.
  • Luis Vazquez (2020 - 2021 Cohort) - Political Science / American Politics

    Luis Vazquez (2020 - 2021 Cohort) - Political Science / American Politics

    For first-generation students, going to a university is like being placed in the middle of the ocean. Everyone around you knows how to find the shore, yet you don't even know how to swim. If you don't learn immediately, you quickly sink and eventually drown. This is the reason why TRIO was crucial for me and many others; it served as a life raft that picked me up when I needed it most. 

    For me coming to UCSD was a truly frightening idea, I was clueless; I mean I had no idea how to even enroll for my courses. But in hindsight, I was a lucky man. TRIO held my hand and guided me through the rough waters during the transition. Even after the transition time, they continued to supply me with gifts that kept on giving. From one-to-one meetings with a mentor who truly cares about your well-being and success, to weekly learning community meetings with the staff, to providing information on how to be a better student. Additionally, they gave me access to a wonderful community, introduced me to wonderful friends, and must I say, the best Spotify playlist you will find on planet earth. Did I even mention this was all in the awful year of 2020, during the midst of a global pandemic? 

    TRIO is fundamentally a life raft for those who need it the most, and if you are in doubt of the significance that this program can have, one can simply assume you aren't really looking.

  • Dianna Lopez (2019 – 2020 Cohort) – Psychology

    Dianna Lopez (2019 – 2020 Cohort) – Psychology

    It was a scary transition for me.  I came to UCSD right after high school, as a first-generation college student, and I had absolutely no idea how I was going to manage. Thankfully, I had TRIO SSSP to turn to for guidance and comfort. During the Summer Experience, I was able to build connections and form bonds with peers, mentors, and the TRIO staff who built a safe space for us to laugh, cry and celebrate together.  Also, it was the first exposure I had to living on the UCSD campus. Since it is a very large campus, it can be a little tough to navigate. Yet, there are plenty of opportunities to go and explore in order to learn about the campus and everything UCSD has to offer. The TRIO staff led us through various workshops that would prepare us for the upcoming school year and provided us with mentorship throughout each quarter. I am not sure how confident I would have been starting at UCSD without the leadership provided to me through the Summer Experience program and the friends that I made who I continue to receive and give support to this day. 

  • Charles Mastrangelo - Cognitive Science (2020 - 2021 Cohort)

    Charles Mastrangelo - Cognitive Science (2020 - 2021 Cohort)

    As someone who spent years in the workforce after graduating from high school, embarking on my academic journey at UCSD was both exciting and terrifying. I couldn’t wait to explore the educational possibilities available to me, yet I felt completely lost. How would I fit into this new environment as an older low-income student? Could I handle the academic rigors of higher education? Without knowing anybody at UCSD, would I find a community?
    TRIO was the answer to my prayers. Since day one of the Summer Experience, TRIO welcomed me with open arms and gave me a sense of belonging. My fellow students became my new network of friends, and TRIO staff had my back every step of the way. All I had to do was reach out! My TRIO mentor was a true friend who helped me adjust to life at UCSD. She regularly checked in on me and made sure that I was aware of all available resources. I will always be grateful to everybody in TRIO, as they advocated for me and were personally invested in my success.
    I’d like to mention that the benefits of TRIO don’t end there! TRIO regularly offers events intended not only to build community, but to help with personal wellness, with academic and career opportunities, and more. Don’t be shy about asking for tutoring services, as they will come through for you.Whether or not any part of my story resonates with you, I can guarantee that TRIO will be there to help you grow personally, academically, and professionally. They will help you become the best version of yourself, so you will be in a great position to thrive in the post-graduation world!
  • Keila Perez (2018 - 2019 Cohort) - General Biology

    Keila Perez (2018 - 2019 Cohort) - General Biology

    I can confidently say that TRIO was an answered prayer. The summer after high school graduation, I was thinking about how I would survive college. As a first-generation college student, I felt like I was not prepared for the intensity of higher education. The greatest challenge wasn’t an external one, but rather an internal one. I found myself lacking confidence and harboring feelings of loneliness. Fortunately, as I was searching for more information about UCSD, I came across TRIO SSSP. From the beginning, TRIO has shown me nothing but love and support. I was blessed to meet so many caring and ambitious people. It really felt like a family. When the challenging chemistry and math classes arrived, I took advantage of the tutoring services which were an immense help. Whenever I needed a reference or recommendation letter, Eddie, part of the amazing TRIO staff, was always there. TRIO SSSP has also provided many opportunities such as the RMTL and scholarships. Through RMTL, I was able to get hired as a lab assistant. This program also has tons of fun events and valuable mentorship. All in all, I am so grateful to be a part of TRIO because I was able to grow in my areas of weakness and discover my strengths. Thank you TRIO SSSP!