Feb. 24, 2021
MU TRiO Student Support serves nearly 700 degree-seeking undergraduates each year through a range of services in six main categories: academic, financial, social, professional/career, leadership development and cultural competency.
To mark National TRiO Day, Wednesday, Feb. 24, Mizzou is hosting a virtual event that celebrates 45 years of student success.
Read on about three current Mizzou TRiO students worth celebrating.
The son of Guatemalan immigrant farm workers, Elizay Bravo didn’t dare dream of college as a boy. No one in his lineage had ever attended, and his family bounced from North Carolina to Virginia to Florida during his childhood.
Then, in middle school, he discovered the Immokalee Foundation, a philanthropic group that pairs children from migrant communities with local mentors. Bravo’s mentor encouraged him to pursue higher education.
Through an honors program, Bravo studied abroad in Nicaragua — interviewing revolutionaries and cultivating an interest in political science. After participating in the MU Trulaske Business Academy, Bravo was sold on black and gold.
He has continued to take advantage of student success resources through TRiO — attending guest lectures, regularly seeking out tutoring and getting help applying for internships.
Now, as a double major in marketing and political science, the Renaissance man hopes to tie it all together by running for public office someday. “I’m not sure what direction I want to go,” Bravo says. “I’m still exploring.”
Kyra Colbert, a Kansas City, Missouri, native, loves to stay involved. Her involvement has helped her merge her passions for education and helping others.
“I spent a lot of time in high school trying to learn how higher education works and how to pay for college,” said Colbert, a sophomore journalism major. “I thought enrolling in college meant I had ‘made it.’ But that’s when I really started learning about the opportunity gap, awareness gap, achievement gap and the things first-generation students experience.”
Colbert hit the ground running at Mizzou. She volunteered as a TRiO peer mentor and as a tutor for Jump Start. She also joined the National Association of Black Journalists, Elite 23 and the Mizzou Black Women’s Initiative. Her college journey has been so inspiring that it motivated her mother — a KC Scholars Adult Learner Scholarship recipient — to return to school and finish her associate degree at Penn Valley Community College.
Colbert considers herself a “social entrepreneur” and hopes to parlay a strategic communication degree into a career preparing K–12 children for higher education.
The oldest of five siblings from the tiny agricultural community of Virden, Illinois, Hailey Swick created her own path to her dream school. The odds were stacked against her financially, and there was no one in her family who could provide a road map to higher education.
“After I visited Mizzou, I knew there was no other school for me,” Swick said. “It just felt like home.”
During the admissions process, Swick met Lisa Scheese, a coordinator for TRiO Student Support Services. The two bonded as Scheese walked the new Tiger through the program’s resources.
Swick immediately found a job answering phones for the MU Office of Student Financial Aid, another unforeseen benefit that gives her insight into processes and procedures. She has made lifelong friends through her TRiO Freshman Interest Group, settled on a major and joined the Tiger Tour Team.
“There’s a place for everyone at Mizzou, and TRiO is one of those great places,” Swick says. “It has provided me so many connections and offered support when I have needed someone to talk to. It has laid the groundwork and foundation for my entire experience at Mizzou.”