October 11, 2017
Friday, October 6th, marked the 4th Annual TRIO Alumni Reception. TRIO alumni gathered at the downtown campus of DePaul University, this year's host site. The keynote speaker was McNair alumnus Dr. Robert Vargas, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago and author of Wounded City. Dr. Vargas noted how he finally realized his potential and gained confidence the day he noticed his faculty professor taking notes from his conversation. Remarks followed from SSS alumnus Ezequiel Flores, the CEO of Flying Concessions, a large airport concessions contractor. Mr. Flores noted the full circle of support from the TRIO family, building political relationships, and the importance of engaging politically to have your voice heard. TRIO attendees also reconnected with former U.S. Department of Education administrator, Clark Chipman, who introduced Bryant Wallace, an IT business owner, Upward Bound alumnus, and friend. Mr. Chipman also spoke of the need and urgency to identify more TRIO alumni to continue to support TRIO for the years to come. Dr. Arnold Mitchem closed the program, recognizing the need — now more than ever — to seize upon the TRIO brand and reunite the TRIO family to commit to support TRIO youth and programs.
On Saturday, follow on activities included a multi-program STEM Fair at DePaul University's Lincoln Park Campus. This year's event was attended by nearly 300 TRIO students from more than 12 programs in Greater Chicago and other areas in Illinois as well as the TRIO program from Marquette University. The STEM Fair offered a variety of STEM-based activities, including career and college information for students interested in pursuing STEM, a number of college access professionals who were available to answer students' questions, as well as a panel of McNair Scholars — DePaul's highest attended session. Finally, a workshop was given by GE Global Manager, Vishal Kochar. Mr. Kochar discussed his background and how he got into engineering, the various jobs for engineers, the areas of work in GE transportation, and the abundant reach of GE engineering work around the world. As evidenced by the numerous questions asked, students were astounded at the breadth of opportunity in "locomotion."
Sadly, two programs serving more than 150 students canceled due to school homecoming activities. However, they have already committed to participate in 2018. For a list of Illinois and Wisconsin TRIO programs, please click here (.pdf).