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Ramirez named inaugural TRIO Student of the Month

Ramirez named inaugural TRIO Student of the Month

NORFOLK, NE – Reyna Ramirez has been described as a true leader. The Norfolk woman, who is a freshman studying pre-professional medicine at Northeast Community College, hopes to specialize in pediatric oncology because she has a desire to obtain a career that allows her to help people.

Away from her studies, she participates in on-campus activities and fills the remainder of her schedule working with children as a youth group leader and others. 

Ramirez said she was raised in a family that places a value on assisting others.

“My family has always supported and believed in my goal of having the opportunity to receive a higher education. They help me when I make a mistake, and cheer when I have accomplished a goal. Whenever I am down, I always look at them, and they have the exact words that I need to hear,” she said. “My family has walked with me through the ups and downs of this journey. I am grateful that my family has been there and will be there until the end.”

Ramirez is among students at Northeast in the TRIO Student Support Services program, a federally-funded academic program that serves and assists income-eligible individuals, first-generation college students and those with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

For her commitment to her education and to others, Ramirez has been named TRIO’s first-ever Student of the Month at Northeast, an award that recognizes outstanding students who excel both in and out of the classroom.

Josh Becker, director of Project TRIO at Northeast, said Ramirez is not only a great student, but a great person.

“Reyna cares about her education and has taken the steps to be successful at Northeast Community College. She attends class and is actively involved. It has been great to watch Reyna grow, learn and take chances on topics that interest her.”

Becker said one of Ramirez’s interests is inspiring hope. He said it is an invaluable trait that will help her to achieve her career goal in pediatric oncology.

“It is Reyna’s hope that by always looking to give her service and dedication to those kids who do not deserve to be in that situation, that she can treat the cancer and support the families, especially the children, so they do not lose hope. That is the kind of difference Reyna wants to make.”

Ramirez uses TRIO’s various services, including regularly attending advisor meetings and workshops. She describes TRIO as a family.

“The advisors help keep track of how you are doing in classes and will help you if you need it,” she said.

Outside the classroom, Ramirez is a member of Northeast’s Student Activities Council, which allows her to balance her education with various social opportunities. In addition, she is active in her religious organization as a Growing Families leader, where she teaches 4th grade students. She is also the founder and president of the Hispanic youth group, ACTS 29, and organizes events for group members.

Ramirez said one area that has assisted her greatly in all her classes at Northeast is utilizing the writing skills she has learned from Julie Ptacek-Wilkey, English instructor.

Ptacek-Wilkey said Ramirez is a pleasure to have in class.

“Reyna approaches all course assignments with thoughtful consideration, extensive preparation, and careful review. She works well on her own as well as with her student group in the classroom,” Ptacek-Wilkey said. “In class discussion and small group work, Reyna adds an understanding touch to her comments and critiques, which is especially welcome in an environment where students may have learning disabilities or are unmotivated to learn.”   

Matt Sazama, TRIO advisor at Northeast, said the TRIO Student of the Month award will be presented to an outstanding student each month of each semester based upon their work in TRIO and other activities on campus or in the community. He said the theme of each award is “True Leaders.”

“We define true leaders as those who are first to serve and who give their all for the success of the team. True leaders are first to see the need, envision the plan, and empower the team for action. By the strength of the leader's commitment, the power of the team is unleashed,” Sazama said.

Award winners will receive a plaque from the TRIO program and have their photo placed on the “TRIO Program Student of the Month” Achievement Recognition Board in the TRIO Office in the College Welcome Center on the Norfolk campus.

For more information on the TRIO Student Support Services Program at Northeast Community College, go online to