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Three Jacksonville University students, along with current Jacksonville mayor and JU alumnus Alvin Brown, were honored recently when downtown Jacksonville hosted the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel’s 40th anniversary conference.

The conference lasted four days, beginning Feb. 25 and ending Feb. 29. It cost $150 to register as a non-member. The event was kicked off by TRIO Student Support Services day on Saturday, where senior Sandria Vernon, senior Sequoyah Glenn and junior Ariel Brown each received a certificate of appreciation and recognition being TRIO Achievers in front of their region of Student Success Programs.

“TRIO day was basically a day to pull the schools in our area as far as Tallahassee to come together, mingle and remind us what TRIO is and what it can do for us,” Glenn said. “We had encouraging speakers as well as a DJ to get us pumped up and lunch together to end the day’s festivities.”

Glenn believes she was honored during this event due to her activity on campus as well as her commitment to academic success. Her involvement includes being the President of JU’s TRIO Student Voice Committee, the 2011 vice president of the Black Student Union, as well as a member of the Davis College of Business’s Brumo’s Circle of Excellence. She is also the recipient of the Elizabeth Edgar Hall Scholarship and Davis College of Business’ Bert Thomas and Richard Sanborn Scholarships.

“I feel honored and very blessed to be recognized,” Glenn said. “It feels good to know that other people see my efforts to not only strive for the best for my personal growth but also help others along the way.”

Sandria Vernon is a biochemistry major who recently participated in Emory University’s S.U.R.E. (Summer Undergraduate Research) program. Her project focused on studying the complications of liver transplants. She created and implemented a model cell that allowed for the study of liver cells in oxygen and nutrient free environments without cell death. Vernon enjoys TRIO’s cultural enrichment and student engagement activities that have allowed her to increase networking skills in a diverse community.

Ariel Brown recently became a recipient of the Ophelia Bingham Campbell Endowed Scholarship while participating in the Wind Ensemble & Orchestra and contributing to the United Multicultural Association. Brown displays the qualities of a future community leader, adapting a well-rounded sense of business, mastering the skills of business management and marketing herself as a future TRIO alumni.

Beginning at 10 a.m. on Feb. 25, JU students, along with students from Florida State University and Georgia State University, participated in a food drive with the Second Harvest Food Bank. Mayor Brown was the keynote speaker during the drive.

According to a press release from JU, TRIO SSS is dedicated to raising the retention and graduation rate of low-income, first generation students and students with disabilities at JU. Gaining knowledge and skills for postsecondary success and beyond, this program helps students develop a strong support system within the JU community. The Trio SSS Program is funded by the United States Department of Education. The program, along with six other access programs, comprises the Federal TRIO programs, all designed to help students obtain degrees from baccalaureate to doctoral.

SAEOPP is an eight-state Southeast Regional Association dedicated to the professional development and support of TRIO professionals and to the advocacy of the TRIO Movement. The Mission of SAEOPP is to promote and support equal educational opportunity and access to postsecondary education. Through professional development, networking, research and advocacy, SAEOPP provides TRIO personnel and others with the necessary skills and techniques to assure that the least advantaged have equal access to higher education.

Excerpts from Mayor Brown’s speech, were posted on his personal blog on In his speech, he urged everyone present to remember to always strive for personal improvement.

“What you do today will define you for the rest of your life.”

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