TRIO Student Worker/Social Services

Albana Chicas

“I dropped out of high school and had to graduate from adult school. It’s all taken some time, but there is no downside to learning.”

“I’ve been through some of the worst situations in life with my family and all,” says a deeply thoughtful Albana Chicas. “I still have to struggle a lot, but I’m working hard to achieve my goals. I mean, when I first came here, I couldn’t communicate with people or write a simple paragraph that made sense. But little by little, I have learned and opened up, and I’m very happy about that.”

Albana says, “You just can’t go it alone at SMC. People won’t let you. And working in the TRIO program has allowed me to progress to the point where I’m getting a lot of A’s and B’s. The people there—my coworkers and staff—have been there for me with open arms. They’re really like a family to me. They’re there to hear me out and talk about my various troubles, and they have never let me down. You can be a first-generation college student or a low-income student,” Albana continues, “or maybe you have a physical or a learning disability. Whatever you might be struggling with, TRIO is there to give you whatever help you might need. My first TRIO counselor left the program. But before she went, she made sure that I’d mapped out my entire future and career path, and what I’d need to do to transfer.”

Albana adds, “I plan to make my career in social services, possibly as an occupational therapist. I just want to help people with disabilities because, well, I’ve certainly seen a lot of people in need of help in my own life.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.