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WSTA Mission

WSTA is a group of TRIO professionals who provide a venue to support the success of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to obtain a quality education. WSTA helps these underrepresented populations by promoting program development, disseminating best practices/high impact educational practices and collecting data on the students’ specific educational needs to assist our first-generation, low-income populations better. WSTA provides support services and opportunities not normally accessible to these students to help them reach their full potential and develop into professional individuals.

In order to best serve low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students and improve the changing needs of these populations, WSTA sponsors professional conferences, meetings, training, mentoring and other educational forums for its members throughout the calendar year. WSTA understands the contribution that low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students provide to our nation and believes in supporting these individuals as they pursue their higher education degree.

Student Highlight

Lupita Reyes V, 2021
Yakima Valley College | Upward Bound

My name is Lupita Reyes and I am the youngest of five children and come from a hard-working Mexican family. Since I was ten years old, I have been solely raised by my mother and my siblings. I am very thankful for the loving and secure home I grew up in. It has always been difficult for me to feel confident in the choices I make. I lacked the self-esteem to trust in my intuitions and decisions. I recall times where I needed other people’s approval to feel somewhat satisfied with anything I did. This really took a toll on me because any choice I had to make, I would contemplate for hours before and after my action was taken. I was afraid of failure. With TRiO Upward Bound, however, I was taught how to make my own decisions without relying on others. Whether the decision caused a positive or negative outcome, I was taught that learning from the outcome was better than being too afraid to do anything at all. My fear kept me from moving forward in all aspects and with the support from Upward Bound, I now trust myself more, both in and out of failure.

As a first-generation low-income student, my parents could not provide any financial assistance or educational advice to my siblings and me. My mom went through various types of farm working and did not have an extended educational background. Even without that type of support, I was always encouraged to do my best with my family’s love and guidance. Although having to learn from and adapt to educational hurdles was difficult, I grew from those experiences and can now pursue higher education.

I have my older sisters to thank when it comes to joining the TRIO Upward Bound program. They were the first in my family to participate in the Yakima Valley College Upward Bound program during high school. I had no idea what Upward Bound entailed and how the program assisted first-generation students like myself. I was encouraged by them to apply for the summer residential program and the year before entering high school, I did.

Being a part of the TRiO Upward Bound program is such a unique experience because it not only provides resources to work toward higher education, but the staff and the participants always create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. Understanding the workings of applying to institutions and how to prepare for, but also prosper in those environments took a lot of weight off my shoulders. Upward Bound helped me mature into a knowledgeable and more confident person that will help me in my future endeavors, such as a university.

One of my life goals is to have the financial freedom to travel the world. I have always been interested in learning about different cultures and the languages from those cultures. I wish to one day visit as many countries as I can and experience the different environments, foods, and languages each of them has. Through TRiO I had the opportunity to learn Japanese and get to know the culture of Japan. This class opened a new area of interest. Additionally, Upward Bound has taught me about financial responsibility and many other skills that will not only help me reach my goal but achieve other goals in the future.

I hope in the future I can find a career that I can be excited to do every day because if I have the opportunity to get a post-secondary education, I want to explore more of my interests during that time. I also want to eventually help my mom financially and rid the burden of her bills. She is such a hard worker and an amazing mother that I want to show her how much I appreciate everything she has done for me and my siblings.

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