National Student Leadership Congress 2021 Participants Reflect on a Virtual Program, Receive Laptops as Gift from Comcast Internet Essentials

Students participated in workshops and alumni panels and took virtual tours of Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Kennedy Center.

Over 200 TRIO pre-college students participated in COE’s first-ever virtual 32nd annual National Student Leadership Congress in June. COE hosts this simulated Congress challenge to establish a national network of emerging leaders and enable students to understand national issues potentially impacting their futures. This year’s theme was the Challenge of Change.

Students participated in workshops and alumni panels and took virtual tours of Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Kennedy Center. Today, state team leaders chaperoned participants during virtual Hill meetings with Members of Congress. State team leaders connected students to over a dozen selective colleges during a virtual college fair.

Comcast Internet Essentials gifted each student on the team that won the simulated Congress challenge with a laptop to commend this year’s participants.

COE congratulates this year’s participants on completing the intensive week-long program. Thanks to the program directors, counselors, parents, partners, state team leaders, and internal staff who helped make this year’s virtual experience successful.

The following reflections are from student participants in the event.

How did the Keynote Speaker, Larry Bell, help you discover yourself and the leader within you? What are your thoughts after experiencing this session?

“Without our knowledge, we were writing down qualities of our life that I hadn’t noticed before. For example, the first thing Larry Bell had us do was think of our favorite color and write down three words that came to mind. My favorite color is purple; I wrote down calm, joy, and sweet. These words highlight how others see me, and it hadn’t occurred to me that some people might see me like that, and it reassured me that there are people out there who aren’t only going to focus on my bad or more negative qualities.” — Grace Waryas.

My TRIO Story: Being a TRIO Leader is Important to My Community and Me because…

“Being a TRIO leader means standing up for your beliefs. We must do this with body and mind; you should be able to disregard hate comments and strive to become a better person each day. By saying good morning on a dark day or opening the door for someone, you should know that all these small acts represent your character and count up.” — Amanjyot Kaur.

What do you look for in a college, and why?

“In college, I look for cost, quality, and networks. I investigate cost since it ultimately helps decide if it is a sustainable college I can handle. Then I investigate the quality. The quality of education matters a lot. Although a college may be cheaper, if the quality of learning and the resources provided do not help me succeed, it creates a barrier to my growth. Finally, I care if the college provides a network to both the outside world and to my destined career.” — Mayra Garcia Hernandez

Tell us about your experience meeting with your congressional members!

“I had two congressional meetings today, and they both went FABULOUSLY!! I met with Senator Leahy’s and Senator Sanders’s staff members. All the staff members were incredibly kind and supportive of not only me but of TRIO as well…When telling my TRIO story, I felt seen and heard by the congressional staff. I felt that they genuinely cared, and this helped me open up and be more vulnerable with them.” — Grace Waryas

What would you tell a TRIO Student who is considering applying for NSLC?

“I would tell them that it is a fantastic opportunity they should take advantage of because it opens so many doors to success. It helps you come out of your comfort zone when working with individuals you do not know comfortably. They show you there is more to the world than the little area you live in.” — Trinity Bever.

Learn More

Student Opportunities