CHICAGO, Ill. – The Council for Opportunity in Education on Sunday recognized Minnesota State Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – Saint Paul) as one of six National TRIO Achievers at its annual conference in Chicago.
The award – presented to those who were from a low-income background or first in their family to attend college – is named for the federal TRIO college access and support programs that have been helping low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in college against all odds for more than 50 years. While a student at Macalester College, Rep. Mariani participated in a TRIO Student Support Services program.
“I’m honored to receive this award, and for the opportunity to reflect on my path here, from my time growing up in Chicago, to being the first in my family to attend college, to serving in the Legislature and my professional work to expand education opportunities,” Rep. Mariani said. “TRIO meant many things in my life: a gateway to academic opportunities that otherwise would not be open to me, a framework for how to build practices and shape systems that powerfully aided my journey to unlock my intellectual desires and imagination that had been planted in my earliest years. I’m grateful for COE’s work to create pathways to college for those students who may not recognize their potential and to support them in their journey.”
Outside the legislature, Rep. Mariani is the Executive Director for the Minnesota Educational Equity Partnership, an organization working through an equity lens to transform educational institutions, organizations, and leaders to ensure that students of color and American Indian students achieve full academic and leadership success.
“Since these alumni became first in their family to earn college degrees they have gone on to make outstanding contributions to our country’s progress,” said Maureen Hoyler, Council for Opportunity in Education president. “It is an honor to acknowledge former TRIO students who inspire others through their example.”
TRIO began with the Upward Bound program in 1964 as a key element of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. The program motivated and tutored low-income, first-generation high school students in families where neither parent held a college degree. By the end of the 1960s, three signature TRIO programs – Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Talent Search – were in place to help disadvantaged middle and high school students access and succeed in college.
Today, there are eight programs under the TRIO name supporting American students from different backgrounds. Among the millions of TRIO program alumni are Emmy, Tony and Academy award recipient Viola Davis; best-selling author Wil Haygood; ABC Primetime host John Quinones; GE Asset Management President and CEO Dmitri Stockton, and a varied list of astronauts, judges, scientists, politicians, actors, musicians, scholars, inventors and entrepreneurs.