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TRIO students at MCC receive thousands in scholarships

TRIO Scholarships

TRIO scholarship recipients from Spring 2019 from left to right Nanci Hernandez, Ana Garcia, Christina Pohle, Lavonne Tran, Maria Vasquez Lopez and Lindsey Jeffries, all of Marshalltown. Not pictured: Michelle Adelmund (Marshalltown), Juan Angel (Marshalltown), Jovana Cancino (Tama), Bethany Connon (Earlham), Mariana Gonzalez Ordaz (Marshalltown), Ashley Keefer (Liscomb), Isaac Ogston (Marshalltown), Eh Tha Dah Paw (Marshalltown) and Danielle Smith (Clarksville, TN).

MARSHALLTOWN – The TRIO program at Marshalltown Community College has helped students while at MCC, as well as helping them take the next steps in their education.

TRIO is a set of federally funded programs designed to ensure equal educational opportunities. MCC was awarded a TRIO grant in 2010 related to student support services. TRIO helps inspire and support students in their pursuit of a college degree as they transition to college. On average, students who participate in TRIO are more likely to graduate than eligible students who don’t join the program. To be eligible for TRIO, students must either be a first-generation college student (neither parent/guardian has a 4-year degree), demonstrate financial need, or have a disability that can be documented.

The MCC TRIO advisors, Marnie Brown and Mandy Fox, are committed to serving their students in a holistic fashion. One-on-one appointments with a TRIO advisor often include conversations and strategies on how to overcome barriers outside of the classroom.  Marnie states, “The primary reason I see my students struggle is not due to a lack of ability – it’s because they have difficulty managing their time. Most MCC students have many responsibilities outside of school that can potentially interfere with their success. Mandy and I help TRIO students navigate these potential barriers so that they can be more successful. Sometimes that may mean dropping a class or two, and that’s okay! We are here to support our students the entire time they’re at MCC and beyond. I recently had a student reach out to me for personal guidance approximately five years after he left MCC, and I jumped at the chance to help him. We know our students well, and we become invested in their success not only at MCC, but in life overall. Ultimately, the responsibility is on the student to do well and achieve their academic and career goals, but we are the cheerleaders and support system they may not have outside of MCC’s walls.”

Brown and Fox often assist their graduating students with applying for scholarships. Among all graduating MCC TRIO students who received scholarship awards for the upcoming school year at their transfer institutions, five of those students were awarded at least $6,000. Scholarship winners included: Alicia Guzman of Tama and Juan Angel, Anna Maria Carlson, Sydney Mann, and Maria Vasquez Lopez all of Marshalltown. The combined total of scholarships for these students amounted to $48,000.  All of the scholarships are renewable as long as the students meet certain GPA requirements.

Carlson and Guzman received at least $16,000 each in renewable scholarships. Because of these scholarships, both students will be able to attend University of Northern Iowa virtually at no cost to themselves.

MCC TRIO awards over $38,000 to returning students each year. In 2018-19, MCC TRIO students were awarded $600 to $2,400 with an average of just over $1,900. Brown adds, “We determine a student’s eligibility for a TRIO scholarship upon receiving his or her completed application. Scholarships are awarded based on participating in TRIO, advising appointments, and activities, as well as keeping your cumulative grade point average at a 2.0 or higher.  There are no essays to write – just show up and participate as much as you can!”

For more information on the TRIO program and to see how you can qualify, visit

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