For some students, summer may be a time to sleep in and kickback, but TRIO Upward Bound students at New Mexico State University in the Aggie Bridge program took full advantage of the break to prepare for the next chapter in their lives.
Class of 2021 TRIO Upward Bound graduating seniors were given the opportunity to participate in the Aggie Bridge program, which was virtual this summer. Aggie Bridge provides services and activities to help the students transition from high school to college. Students enroll in up to seven credits at NMSU during the first summer session and receive mentoring and tutoring. When in the face-to-face setting, the TRIO Upward Bound program provides dorm, meals and an internship opportunity on campus.
“TRIO Upward Bound Participants who choose to Bridge during summer semester not only display a tremendous amount of grit and dedication, but most importantly, they recognize the value attached to their participation in the Bridge program. Bridge participants choose to focus on their academic goals over summer vacations and, more often than not, over summer employment opportunities; therefore, demonstrating true grit,” said Lourdes Ambriz, Hatch Valley high school TRIO Upward Bound program director.
As a current participant, Anisleidy Lujan said the Aggie Bridge program allows students to experience the differences in learning environments.
“In high school you’ve known the teachers since freshmen year so you feel comfortable going up to them,” she said. “In college you can’t do that because it’s online, and a different vibe.”
As a high school student Julian Angel didn’t consider attending college, but plans change, and he believes his involvement in the Aggie Bridge program will be useful.
“These classes really help me prepare mentally so I can get a little taste before I have a full course load and work. It will help so I’m not bombarded in the fall,” Angel said.
For past Aggie Bridge participant Jessica Pedregon, developing a relationship with the TRIO Upward Bound staff during the summer program was important.
“One of the biggest benefits was having that connection that I was comfortable asking questions,” she said.
Pedregon emphasized to current participants the support that will be available to them in the future as NMSU students.
“They are really going to push you to succeed and not let you slack off,” Pedregon said. “They are going to give you tutors. They are going to give you motivation, explanations, and they are not going to give up on you.”
To learn more about the programs, visit https://trioub.nmsu.edu/.