Kristen Larsen
Academic Success mentor coordinator, 308.865.8988

Students and staff from the University of Nebraska at Kearney Student Support Services (SSS) Program are preparing for National Trio Day celebration activities on Feb. 20 and 24.
Nationally, the TRIO program is offered to students from low-income families to help them enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. TRIO programs were spread across the country as part of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which fully funded these student-assistance programs.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, members of SSS, the UNK TRIO program, will host a TRIO information table in the Nebraskan Student Union Atrium from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The table will include brochures and background information on TRIO programs, and a piece of candy will be attached to each informational postcard to promote the UNK TRIO theme “Essential Piece to Academic Success.”
Kirsten Larsen, coordinator of the UNK SSS Mentor Program, said the purpose of the information table is to increase awareness of SSS and its potential through federal funding to help students surmount college difficulties.
Four days later, SSS members will attend and present a leadership workshop on Saturday, Feb. 24, for the Nebraska TRIO Day event at Central Community College in Hastings. The statewide event attracts participants from the 13 TRIO programs in Nebraska that serve 7,831 students.
Academic Mentors Jessica Fritz of Pembina, N.D., Josh Hanshaw of Beatrice, and Criss Salinas of Schuyler  will be joined by Peer Mentor Kristina Hubl-Selvage of Blue Hill  to give a presentation on the UNK SSS Mentor Program at Nebraska TRIO Day.  
The mentors will describe the mentoring program, share personal mentoring testimonies and use group activities to inspire relationship building and mentoring opportunities.
According to Kristen Larsen, coordinator of the UNK SSS Mentor Program, the mentoring program “fosters strong peer and faculty relationships, boosts students’ confidence and involvement opportunities, increases retention rates and prepares students for lifelong learning.”
Academic Mentors for SSS are paid to mentor seven to eight freshmen each semester. Academic Mentors guide students through their first semester at UNK by promoting independent skills and familiarizing freshmen with services offered within the UNK community.
Peer Mentors are volunteers recruited from SSS Scholar participants, who are students who have earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA or greater for two consecutive semesters. After being recruited, Peer Mentors are assigned two or three freshmen in the SSS structured mentoring program.  
Established in 1993, UNK SSS is offered to students who are first generation, low-income students, as well as students with disabilities. Currently, SSS serves 200 students on campus through a variety of programs.