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TRIO program ends year strong, former student earns statewide recognition

ISSUED: 18 June 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s TRIO Student Support Services finished the year on a strong note despite COVID-19 pandemic obstacles due to efforts by Cynthia Copney, director, Michelle Ricketts, assistant director, Mary Butler, retention specialist, and LaJuan Curry, administrative assistant. Ninety-three percent of students continue in good academic standing, and the 2014-2015 cohort graduation rate is at 58 percent.

Because the TRIO program had to cancel its face-to-face graduation celebration, a virtual slideshow, “Reflections from 2019-2020 TRIO Student Support Services Graduates,” was created to honor the seniors. This slideshow can be viewed at

TRIO SSS is a federally funded grant program that offers assistance to students who meet one of three criteria—income eligibility, being a first-generation college student, or meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act.

An alumnus of Shepherd’s TRIO program was also honored this year by the West Virginia TRIO Association. Dr. Felix Achille Tankeu Gouanette was selected as the spring 2020 West Virginia TRIO Achiever.

Gouanette has been involved with Shepherd’s TRIO program since 2010, volunteering as a nursing tutor and mentor for both TRIO and Upward Bound students. Gouanette holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a family nurse practitioner concentration from Shepherd. Gouanette credits Shepherd’s TRIO staff and program for helping him stay focused on his studies and providing a safe space where he was able to feel encouraged and empowered as he earned his undergraduate degree.

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