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.