Transforming Lives and Helping End Intergenerational Poverty

Trinity Thorpe-Lubneuski is Executive Director of Strategy & Policy, Internet Essentials, at the Comcast Corporation.

I was 15, in Upward Bound, and attending the COE National Student Leadership Congress in D.C. During my first time on Capitol Hill, I met COE leaders and learned about advocacy from others doing this daily. It was inspiring!

That’s when I started to develop an interest in research and policy. When I was in college at Pepperdine University, COE asked me to share my story in a legislative briefing. [TRIO programs] were up for reauthorization, seeking additional funding, and there were some proposed budget cuts. I could travel from California to Washington, D.C., to speak.

A staffer for Senator Mike Enzi, from my home state of Wyoming, invited me back to provide testimony in a Senate hearing. I was 20 or 21 and testified before some Senate celebrities, including Senator [Hillary] Clinton. This experience solidified my desire to go, advocate and be a part of COE’s force for good and change.

Now, established in my career, I benefit from COE’s alumni network. I’ve been able to reach out and get to know many others, especially fellow National TRIO Achievers. I can connect with this fantastic group of people across different industries and walks of life, learn from them, utilize that network, and help be a force for good.

As a student in the Upward Bound Math-Science program at the University of Wyoming, I completed a specific research project. I had to go to the library and learn to identify peer-reviewed research. Those skills and interest in positioning data to create narratives led me to where I am today. I was an underperformer when I first entered TRIO. I got caught up on many things I had missed out on earlier. The tutoring was extraordinarily essential to that success. In college, it was amazing to put those skills to work. I became a data analyst and led teams of researchers and data analysts. It’s crazy to think how fearful I was of math at one point.

If COE and TRIO had not entered my life and been such a positive force for me and encouraged me, I would not have gone to college. That’s the breadth and scope of COE’s impact on communities and people. They’re transforming lives and making a significant impact on ending generational poverty.

COE keeps the TRIO programs going and acts as the advocate to ensure Congress funds those programs. COE acts as the organizing power behind these otherwise relatively disparate groups of people across the country who are on a mission to do the same thing. It allows them to work with each other to learn best practices and understand more about the populations they’re trying to reach and that it’s only sometimes a one-size-fits-all approach. Someone from COE can always help put the work in context nationally. They help guide and discuss direction or identify issues requiring an advocacy perspective.

Comcast is working with COE on an initiative called “Build Your Own Future with STEAM” that will change the demographics in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) careers. It raises awareness of the importance of STEAM careers and the steps that students — who have had no direction — need to take to get to those careers. It pairs those students with people who look like them and are already in those careers.

More News & Impact