ASU TRIO Talent Search program celebrates successful first year, college-bound grads

Monday, July 2, 2018

The TRIO Talent Search program at Arizona State University launched in spring 2017 through a partnership with the Tolleson Union High School District.

The federally-funded, precollege program provides academic support, university exposure and the resources to help first-generation or low-income high school students graduate ready to succeed in college. Through a partnership between ASU and the Tolleson Union High School District, the inaugural class participated in activities focused on academic enrichment, college enrollment and the financial aid process, and developing their potential through emotional and experiential support.

As Talent Search participants, the students worked with coaches to develop an individualized college preparation plan tailored to their interests and goals.

The students, university and school district leaders, and family and friends celebrated a successful first year of the program with an end-of-year ceremony and recognition program presented May 8 at ASU’s West campus. 

According to Talent Search Director Carolina Luque Rodriguez, 55 members of the class of 2018 will attend Arizona community colleges and universities this fall. An additional 15 to 20 program participants are on track to complete the requirements for college enrollment this summer. 

This trailblazing group of college-bound students will now embark on the next step to achieving their degree, leaving a legacy for future TRIO Talent Search classes. 

Karen Peraza, a student from Copper Canyon High School, joined TRIO Talent Search in her junior year as a way to learn more about college and how to get there. She says the program taught her about applying for scholarships, preparing for interviews and the importance of community service. 

“It’s taught me about college life, so I feel like I’m prepared. I’m ready for it, and I’m really thankful,” Peraza said.

Peraza will be attending ASU in the fall and will study kinesiology, with a plan to continue her education in physical therapy.

Caleb Monge from La Joya Community High School was another student speaker and also joined the program in his junior year. He says the constant guidance from program coaches and reminders about things like the FAFSA and college applications helped him succeed.

“She really encouraged me — Ms. Borja — because she was always motivating me and she’s the reason why I’m here today and going to ASU,” he said.

Monge will also attend ASU in the fall and study medical microbiology.