Carri Fierro

UCSD TRIO Outreach Programs, Director | (858) 822-3471

I am the Director of TRIO Outreach Programs and I manage the programs. TRIO Outreach Programs has been on campus since 1980, with the federal grant funding of Upward Bound. Today, there are five federal pre-college grant programs that fall under TRIO Outreach Programs. Together, these five grants serve about 900 low income and first generation college-bound students each year with free college ready services. We offer tutoring, college advising, college application assistance, financial aid application information and assistance, cultural and academic field trips, workshops and summer residential programs.

Q: How do student workers impact your department and what do they gain? A: Student workers play a major role in providing services to high school students and therefore are a key part of our department. Students work as tutors and mentors, college advisors, and residential staff for TRIO Outreach Programs. During the academic year student workers provide on-site assistance to high school students at 10-11 high schools in San Diego, serving over 800 students. During the summer, TRIO houses close to 150 students who live on-campus, take academic classes and participate in residential activities. As a result, we hire 35-40 tutors, 7-10 residen- tial assistants and 20-25 teachers to support this amazing academic enrichment sum- mer component. The commitment, upbeat attitude, and encouragement that student workers demonstrate helps to motivate and inspire these young people to stay on the path of pursuing higher educational goals. As office support staff, student workers are exposed to the level of detailed planning and documentation involved in making a large-scale federal program run. Student workers gain valuable interpersonal skills while working with students who are from a variety of racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural and economic backgrounds. In addition, when you work for TRIO you sharpen your skills as a communi- cator, due to explaining academic material, keeping students engaged with college deadlines, and helping students be accountable to the goals they set for themselves.

Q: When hiring, what kind of experience or skills and qualifications are you looking for? A: We are looking for UCSD students that have a background in working with diverse communities. In addition, if you have a passion for education, or you can link your long term goals to a skill you would gain working for TRIO Outreach, that is always helpful for job applicants. We would prefer someone who is familiar with the subject matter, such as higher level math and science, as these are the main academic subjects where the high school students need the most support.

Q: Do you have advice for a student just starting to gain work experience? A: It is helpful to let your supervisor know early on that you would like to get their professional support (and mentorship) along the way. Supervisors are more likely to share resources and support your growth and development when they see that is something you expect from them. If you show genuine interest in learning the more opportunities to grow you will be given.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 Issue of the Triton Worker. 

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