SPARC Office Supports TRIO’s Talent Search Program

Posted: March 16, 2021 | Author: Lawrence Mbaki | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU's SPARC Office helps TRIOKindness matters—those were the words bouncing around the mind of Southern Utah University’s Tami Shugart, director of the TRIO Educational Talent Search (ETS) program at SUU, as she looked forward to celebrating National TRIO Day on February 21, 2021.

You might be wondering, is this TRIO a music performance group? Well, it’s not that kind of trio. Federal TRIO programs help motivate and support low-income and first-generation students as they enter college and earn a college degree. TRIO includes five distinct outreach programs targeted to serve and assist students on their academic journey from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. Shugart has been the director of one of those outreach programs at SUU since 1997 and finds her motivation working with and helping students.

“I love helping students realize their potential,” said Shugart. “Working together with students to set goals and design systems to achieve those goals is very rewarding.”

Since this is a federal program, federal grant dollars are used to support it. Every five years, an intense grant submission process occurs and Shugart works with the Sponsored Programs, Agreements, Research, and Contracts (SPARC) Office at SUU to compete for these funds. This year was another grant submission year for the ETS TRIO program. Shugart said she could not have completed this grant submission, including a 65-page program narrative, without the backbone support of the SPARC team.

One of SPARC’s best-kept secrets is utilizing the services of grant guru Bill O’Neal for these long and difficult proposals. Bill was SPARC’s first, third and fifth director here at SUU and has served as a TRIO reader for the U.S. Department of Education.

“Bill reads your proposal as an official reader/reviewer and scores it like it would be scored for federal readers,” said Shugart. “He notes any strengths and weaknesses of every section and makes suggestions for improvement. He is invaluable in this process!”

The recent ETS TRIO grant proposal will be reviewed on April 27, 2021 by the Department of Education and applicants will be notified of any awards in the months that follow. We look forward to continued good news for Shugart and the SPARC team and thank them for all their hard work to keep important programs like Talent Search alive and well for our incoming T-Bird students. Indeed, kindness matters—especially as we celebrate and reflect on actions to increase access to higher education for disadvantaged students here at SUU.

Produced by the SPARC Office
SUU’s SPARC Office provides assistance to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking external funding for their projects and programs, from concept development and planning through implementation and management of the funded projects.