NORFOLK, Neb. – Adriana Vargas-Reyna has a strong work ethic and has always strived to demonstrate to her siblings that hard work pays off in the end.
Vargas-Reyna, of Wayne, graduated from Wayne High School in May 2019, and obtained an associate of science degree two years later from Northeast Community College, making her the first member of her family to obtain a college degree. It was during her time at Northeast she worked to help support her family and serve as a role model to her younger sisters.
One area at Northeast that allowed Vargas-Reyna to thrive in her education and life’s journey is TRIO, 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. Prior to entering her freshman year, she participated in TRIO’s summer Bootcamp attending numerous events and later served as a leader for younger TRIO students.
“If it wasn’t for the TRIO program, I wouldn’t have made it,” Vargas-Reyna said. “Although I had some rough patches along the way, TRIO helped me bounce back and get refocused on my goals.”
Vargas-Reyna was named a Susan Thompson Buffett Scholar while attending Northeast and was diligent in maintaining her good grades and eligibility. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to first-time freshmen entering college. As a first-generation college student, Vargas-Reyna had to learn how to navigate college on her own, and with the help of TRIO, she succeeded.
TRIO Student Support Services Advisor Brandi Rossman praised Vargas-Reyna’s determination and perseverance.
“Adriana always recognized the value of finishing her degree and what that could mean for her family. Even during times when the workload and her responsibilities at home overwhelmed her, she stayed focused and worked very hard to finish,” Rossman said. “She is definitely a role model for not only her younger siblings, but for other new TRIO students just starting out. She met new friends and is now one of our success stories. I am extremely proud of her.”
Vargas-Reyna is now preparing to attend Wayne State College to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education with a minor in Spanish. She has a desire to become an English as a Second Language instructor and also serve as a translator. In addition, she is employed by egg processor Michael Foods In Wakefield where she is in Quality Assurance, confirming that protocols are followed to ensure that eggs are of good quality.
For her efforts in pursing her education and assisting others, Vargas-Reyna was named TRIO’s Student of the Month at Northeast Community College during the final month of the academic year. The award recognizes outstanding students who excel both in and out of the classroom.
Each month, a participating TRIO student is selected for the award based upon their work in the program and in other activities on campus or in the community. Award recipients receive a plaque from the TRIO program and have their photo placed on the “TRIO Program Student of the Month” Achievement Recognition board.
The board, located in the TRIO office, features the theme True Leaders. TRIO staff members define true leaders as those who are first to strive 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.
“Adriana has been a joy to work with since the day she stepped on campus. She has gained so much confidence and direction in her life since she first joined TRIO, and the credit to this belongs to her,” said Josh Becker, TRIO director. “Through her active and engaging participation in our First-Year Experience course and other TRIO events, activities, and workshops, all of the TRIO staff were lucky enough to get to know her well and greatly enjoyed her personality and presence. I am so proud of Adriana’s accomplishments and growth, and wish her the best of luck in her future ambitions.”
PHOTO ID: Adriana Vargas-Reyna. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)