Penny Gonzales-Soto

Penny Gonzales-Soto

Colorado State University

Upward Bound Program

TRIO Upward Bound changed my life. Upward Bound came into my life at a time that I had absolutely not one thought of college. I was a straight A student, but there was no one in my family to even whisper the word “college.” I tell everyone who will listen that Upward Bound is the only reason I am where I am today. I am the eldest of five children of a single mother. We were a very low income family. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. Until TRIO Upward Bound came into my life, I had no idea of who I was, wanted to be, or could dream of being.

Upward Bound was the first time that I actually felt valuable. Someone had finally said to me that I could go to college, I could have a career, I could be successful, and I did not have to let money, background, or family history stand in my way. Very honestly, I didn’t know, at that time, that any of those things could hold me back. I very simply had not known to dream about my future. Dreams. That is what TRIO Upward Bound is really about. Upward Bound taught me to dream. I learned to value myself. I felt accepted and supported. I suddenly realized that I could have any future I wanted. I was suddenly dreaming about being a lawyer. I suddenly knew that someday I would be a Judge. I never doubted myself for a minute after TRIO Upward Bound came into my life.

 


Michael Medina

Michael Medina

Community College of Denver

TRIO Student Support Services

Michael is an amazing student, academically and personally and he continues to maintain a very positive attitude about life. He is an active student leader and continues to display hard work, both in class and within the community. Being an adult learner can have many roadblocks in an individual’s life and Michael continues to maintain a high Grade Point Average of 3.75. Once he graduates with his Associate of Applied Science degree, he plans to continue on with his studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver to work towards his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services. Once he completes his higher education, he plans to work with “At-Risk” youth in the Denver Metro area. Michael continues to give back to his community where he volunteers his time at the Boys and Girls Club in Denver. In addition, Michael participates as a student leader in various TRIO Student Support Services activities. This past summer, Michael volunteered to speak to a new cohort of TRIO Summer Bridge students. He set a good example and provided helpful information for the incoming class.