Famous TRiO Achievers
Jennifer Michele Alvarez
Assistant Public Defender, 8th Judicial Circuit, West Virginia
Alumna, Student Support Services,
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
I grew up in a small town in West Virginia. Neither of my parents had been to
college and my grandparents were not even high school graduates. Despite this,
my family encouraged my educational endeavors as best they could. When I
discovered that I was pregnant during my junior year of high school, suddenly I
seemed destined to follow the same path. My daughter was born the first day of
my senior year in high school and, with lots of family support, I managed to
finish and graduate.
“I was destined to become a statistic. But thanks to Student Support Services, I
overcame my obstacles and I am a productive professional helping others.”
I had always planned to attend college immediately after high school, so off I
went to the West Virginia Institute of Technology with absolutely no idea of
what to do and no one to help me do it. My family knew nothing about college
course selection, scheduling, or graduate school preparation. It seemed I would
have to figure it all out on my own, and that was a scary proposition—and I had
a child to think about!
It was certainly difficult for me to admit that I needed help, but I did. Soon,
I had a tutor, and Student Support Services became a second home to me. It was
there that I found advice about scheduling and my choice of major, people to
listen to me vent my frustrations, and generally help me along. They celebrated
my every success and shared my every disappointment. As graduation drew closer,
they helped me prepare to take the LSATs and look at different law schools. When
my marriage fell apart, my SSS counselor gave me the strength to keep going.
I know, without a doubt, that I am where I am today because of the TRIO program.
They gave me academic support when I needed it, but they gave me so much more! I
am a firm believer in this program. I was destined to become a statistic. But
thanks to Student Support Services, I overcame my obstacles and I am a
productive professional helping others.