Academic help now available online

Fortunately, there are resources now available at our fingertips


Illustration by Bless C. Cadayona

BAM & TRiO programs available at Skyline College.

With many college students having a hard time adjusting to the standards and environment of online learning, it can pose the question: “Can I pull myself together and finish the semester successfully?” Fortunately, there are resources now available at our fingertips — and the BAM and TRiO programs may have something that can help you through your academic journey.

The BAM and TRiO programs are resources at Skyline College that are designed to help with the promise of student growth, achievement, and leadership. While both programs have different eligibility requirements, all students are encouraged to apply.

Brothers Achieving Milestones (BAM) is a mentoring program through which male students of color can be part of a community supported through mentoring and counseling with a focus on student development and the freedom to express themselves.

TRiO (Student Support Services) is a program designed to offer first-generation college students the additional support needed to be successful college students and get ready for their careers through the variety of resources like tutoring, counseling, and other enrichment activities.

“BAM was created through a Presidential Innovation Program grant with the mission to facilitate the success and connection of men of color at Skyline College,” said Michael Stokes, director of BAM and TRiO. “It has successfully impacted the lives of men through its relevant programming, mentoring and student development threads. While we focus on men of color, it is open to all males who attend Skyline College.”

Through workshops, volunteering, and leadership development, students can build up their resumes and gain experience. Students can also meet new people and establish long lasting connections — even if it is all online for now.

Students are encouraged to join on BAM’s Discord server. Their server consists of a general room for open conversations and specified chat rooms for particular themes. Topics of the day are launched every day. Concerns that arise are also entertained.

“BAM really creates an image of unity and brotherhood,” BAM and TRiO student Christopher Wardell said. “In my previous experiences with education, school did not excite or interest me. There was a lack of engagement from teachers and the curriculum.”

However, the program showed Wardell a new perspective on the importance of quality education as he shared his volunteering experience at the Marin Food Bank.

“You get a chance to get out of the atmosphere and serve communities,” Wardell said. “Not only will you develop leadership skills and have volunteer hours, but you get to participate in helping those in need.”

Wardell also mentioned how workshops play an important role in providing insight and professional development. When it comes to professional reconstruction, the workshops cover topics from networking skills, internships, scholarships, to even making your first $1 million.

“Students can serve on committees that will develop and implement the conference or serve as workshop facilitators and presenters,” Stokes said. “These opportunities will build students’ skills, leadership, and resume, placing them in an advantageous position when they begin applying to transfer.”

BAM offers students the following services:

  • peer mentoring community
  • faculty and staff mentoring
  • community for males to share in a safe and supportive environment
  • faculty and peer tutoring
  • professional development
  • CHOP-It-Up sessions — Tuesdays discussions on “hot topics of the day and personal development”
  • leadership conferences and development
  • student connections to campus resources

The word TRiO stemmed from the idea portraying a triangular symbol. Stokes explained it as the three main points: counseling support, academic support, and development — a trifecta of student services.

Janelle Reza is one of the counselors from TRiO. She graduated from San Jose State University with a Master’s of Arts in Counselor Education.

“I had a passion for education that started at a young age,” Reza said. “When I was 16, I had such a great experience with a high school counselor.”

Now, as a counselor herself, she wants to do the same for her students.

“Students will have the option for first-priority registration,” Reza said. “There is an added layer of support from TRiO, since we will reach out to you and get you the resources you need.”

She pointed out the importance of students asking for help and not feeling guilty about reaching out to someone.

To qualify for TRiO, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident, have academic need, and meet one or more of the following eligibility:

  • You are a first generation college student — neither parent has a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution in the United States);
  • You come from a low-income family;
  • You are documented with a learning difference and/or physical disability; and
  • You have the goal to graduate with an associate degree or certificate AND transfer to a four-year college/university.

Even if students do not meet the qualifications, they are still encouraged to apply.

“There is no harm in applying,” Reza said. “Everyone had a change of income that may affect their financial aid. Plus, there is no deadline when it comes to applying for TRiO!”

Reza wants to reassure students that there are many other resources available to students for different kinds of concerns. She mentioned the CARES program, which allows students to get the immediate mental help they need with Skyline professionals.

As for academic support, TRiO has their own tutoring staff that can help struggling students.

“There is amazing tutoring support from Professors Weathersby and Wang, who can help you with math courses from all different levels,” Wardell said. “There is also Eugene Garcia, who has personally helped me pass calculus.”

Personal and professional development are also fostered within the TRiO program. Students are encouraged to get connected with internships and learn invaluable lessons such as leadership theories.

“If I could give college students advice, I would tell them to find your interests and take a chance on something you never considered before,” Wardell said. “College should be a time for you to explore and make mistakes, since learning only comes with experience.”

TRiO provides students with the following privileges:

  • priority registration
  • scholarship opportunities
  • individual and small group tutoring
  • mentoring and academic coaching
  • tailored and thematic workshops
  • technology support
  • student employment program (tutors, ambassadors, student assistants, academic coaches etc)
  • campus tours (when we return to campus)
  • computer lab and free printing (when we return to campus)

For more information, contact TRiO and BAM Director Michael Stokes at [email protected], call (650) 738-4161 or visit Building 5, Room 5-103.

Students can also call the TRiO office at (650) 738-7924 or email Jacquie Espino at [email protected] to set up your appointment. You can follow TRiO @skytriofamily.