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1. Mid-year Motivation

2. Teresa: Explore, Dream, and Discover through Travel

3. Steve: The Art of Inspiration

4. Julie: Jane Eyre, an Independent Spirit

5. Johnny: Rosa Parks

6. Scholarships:

7. Newsletter Archive





Who needs some mid-year motivation?

Sun shining through a wintery forrestAs we welcome you back from winter break, the TRiO staff is well aware that those few brief weeks - often full of family events, travel, and ongoing jobs and/or internships - don't necessarily leave students as refreshed as a leisurely summer vacation might.

We - the TRiO/High Tech Center staff - have each taken a little time to think about our own sources of inspiration and motivation: the books, movies, works of art, life moments, or role models we've called upon in moments requiring a boost of intellectual energy for further pursuing our academic, professional, and/or personal goals.Spring flowers

The TRiO staff warmly invites participants to join us in the High Tech Center during the school day throughout spring semester for studying, assistance with papers, academic advising, help with financial aid, working with others students, or chatting with staff. We'd also love to hear about the things that insipire and motivate you.




TRiO Staff: What motivates and inspires us?

Teresa: Explore, Dream, and Discover through Travel


Teresa at the Mayan City of Uxmal, YucatanMark Twain wrote . . . Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twain’s advice to explore, dream, and discover encourages me to be a globetrotter and continue learning about other cultures and lifestyles through travel. I try to be a traveler, and not a tourist. A traveler is a person who spends an extended amount of time in one region of the world. Travelers ride mass transit, leave the comforts of the tourist zone, search out cafes patronized by the locals, and rarely rely on tour guides. This type of travel can be very exciting but can also create much anxiety, especially when you realize that the toilet in the nice Singapore restaurant is a hole in the floor, or that the art museum in Barcelona really does close for siesta. These events are what help mold us into becoming global citizens.The Pyramid at the Mayan City of Chichen Itza, Yucatan


As a traveler, I also like to learn about a region’s history, architecture, food, music, and art. For example, over winter break my husband and I went to the Yucatan peninsula to learn about the Mayan civilization. We learned that the Mayans flourished in this area from 600 AD – 900 AD. We also learned that the ruins closer to the Gulf of Mexico were made out of limestone; have a golden hue to the stone walls; and the stone carvings are of animals, geometric designs, and faces. On the other hand, the ruins near the Caribbean Sea are granite; grey in color, and show more warrior and animal scenes.  The Arch to Enter the Mayan City of Labna, Yucatan These are the types of things you discover through travel.



So, as you are dreaming about study abroad or your summer vacation, remember that “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” (Saint Augustine).





Steve: The Art of Inspiration

Photo from the Gamble House in Pasadena

As a creative person, I have always found inspiration in works of art.  Whether it’s a painting, novel, or well designed piece of furniture, a human being is at the heart of the process.  At times, however, it seems as though there is no more room for innovation or originality—I feel like it’s all been said and done before.  Whenever I’m in that mindset, I look back to a trip I took years ago to The Gamble House in Pasadena.  It was designed by noted architects Henry and Charles Greene, whose work during the early 20th century is an inspired mixture of traditional Japanese and American arts and crafts styles

Exterior of Gamble House

The above picture of the entry way is a good example of the attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into realizing their designs.  Even though it was heavily influenced by both Eastern and Western design, their work comes off as wholly original and innovative.  This is a reminder that every artist is influenced and inspired by what has come before—something that I am conscious of when I start thinking that a short story or painting I’m working on seems a bit too familiar. 





Julie: Jane Eyre, an Independent Spirit

The English Moors

I have photograph in which I’m clinging to a large rock, my overcoat pulled tight around me while my hair is whipped across my face by an unforgiving wind. These are the moors of England, where it is always cold and damp, and the strong winds present challenges to even the most determined hikers. In 1847, Jane Eyre, fictional heroine, braved the moors with significantly less protective gear than a savvy moor-trekker would wear in the 21st century. She risked hypothermia and death because in her times a young woman of no privilege had only her wits and her determination as tools for achieving her life goals.


Jane’s singular goal – and remember that this was published more than 150 years ago – was self-sufficiency. A movie image of Jane EyreAfter being orphaned young and sent away by an indifferent aunt to a charity home for girls, Jane had only herself on which to rely. She completed as much education as a young woman in her position could hope for, gained employment first as a governess and then as a school teacher, and declined offers of financial support from gentleman suitors that were not on her own terms. In short, Jane chose her principles, her dignity, and the satisfaction of economic self-sufficiency over the chance to live a more comfortable life by someone else's rules (In this description, I give nothing away of how the novel ends).


Of all the books I have ever loved, this novel, published more than a century before my birth, is the one I think of most often and whose heroine has most inspired me. There are several good film adaptations of the novel, but – as with most film adaptations – they all tend to omit significant portions of the text. Moreover, they present the director’s interpretation of the characters. It is far more satisfying to read the novel first, develop a unique relationship with the characters, and then decide whether Michael Fassbender makes a decent Rochester. 







Johnny: Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

On a December evening in Montgomery Alabama 1955, an African American woman who had just finished working at a local department store boarded a bus and headed home. As the bus began to fill, the woman along with other African American riders were told to move to the back to make way for white bus patrons. While the other riders gave their seats to the white passengers, the woman refused to move despite the legal and physical threats she received. Eventually the bus driver called the police and the woman was handcuffed and arrested.

For disobeying anRosa Parks mug shot unjust law, the woman was charged ten dollars and spent the night in jail. Although the offense was minor, her action had huge consequences. The woman’s name was Rosa Parks and her act of defiance served as the spark that culminated in the Civil Rights Movement, ending legal racial segregation in America.

History is full of amazing people whose lives are an inspiration to us all. I personally have always been inspired by individuals like Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, and Mahatma Gandhi whose nonviolent actions have had enormous effects in our world. Like the biblical story of David and Goliath, these seemingly minor individuals were able to overcome insurmountable obstacles. For me, these men and women represent the ability inherent in all of us to change the world. They also serve as a reminder that our lives can serve as a model for others. I feel Rosa Parks summed up these sentiments best when she said, “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”



Scholarships and you: Financing your education

Scholarships can help finance a college education. Students are always looking for money to help pay for books, fees, and school supplies. Yet, they often neglect to consider scholarships as part of their ovearall financial package; a common assumption exists that scholarships are only merit based. While it is true that some scholarships are based on a high grade point average, many are not. Quite a few scholarships are based on more diverse factors, including area of study, financial need, community service, and study abroad.

hand holding a bag of cashHere at SDSU, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships offers hundreds of scholarships. Funding for scholarships comes from private donors, professional associations, SDSU alumni, and various community groups.  To learn more about scholarship criteria and how to search and apply for them, please visit the scholarship web page at

Through the TRiO Project, Teresa can teach you how to navigate the scholarship web site and talk to you about the application process. Most scholarship applications require a personal statement and the TRiO staff can guide you in writing a clear, concise statement. If you would like help in exploring scholarships, please contact Teresa at or 619-594-4401.



Archived Newsletters

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Spring 2011

Fall 2010

Spring 2010

Fall 2009

Spring 2009

Fall 2008