TRIO Alumni
OTA Fellowship

Standard Guidelines for OTA Fellowship


    • Must be a current TRIO student or alum of a TRIO project in Oregon
    • Must be a registered Oregon voter
    • Must demonstrate personal achievement as a direct result of  participation in TRIO program
    • Must be able to attend Policy Seminar, OTA spring conference, and serve as the Alumni Representative on the OTA Board of Directors and attend monthly meetings. OTA Fellow is also encouraged to attend the annual Student Leadership Conference.
    • The OTA Fellow will lead a project and chair the OTA Alumni committee.
    • The term of the OTA Fellow will begin and end in October of each year.

OTA Fellowship Incentives

  • The OTA Fellow will have all travel accommodations provided to the annual Policy Seminar in Washington D.C. (March 19-22, 2023)
  • The OTA fellow will have all travel accommodations provided to attend the annual Oregon TRIO Professional Development Conference to attend the President’s banquet. (April 5-6, 2023)
  • The OTA Fellow will receive a $1,000 award upon completion of their year of service to the Board of Directors

Application Process

    • Complete the OTA Fellow Application Form
    • Personal Statement Required addressing the following questions:
      • (1) How participation in TRIO program(s) impacted your educational and professional achievement?
      • (2) You will be working on a project during your year with OTA to make an impact for students, alumni, or TRIO programs. Please provide a description and timeline of your project.
      • **1,000 Word Limit
    • Finalists will be contacted for a phone interview with the OTA selection committee in December.
    • The selected candidate will begin their term as OTA fellow in January 2023.
2023 OTA Fellow – Alejandra Lopez Nestor

My name is Alejandra Lopez Nestor, I am the daughter of immigrants from both Mexico and Guatemala and I grew up in a low-income household on the rural Oregon coast. I grew up with language, culture, and economic barriers, and seeing my parents working in strenuous labor jobs, I made it my mission to get a college degree, but as a first-generation student, I wasn’t sure where to start. 


TRIO has been instrumental in my journey to further my education, like many first-generation students my parents did not have the knowledge to help me in the process. With TRIO I didn’t have to navigate my educational path alone, I was able to transform my goals and aspirations into reality and my advisors helped me achieve the unimaginable. Currently, I am a first-year student at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts where I intend on majoring in politics with a minor in Latinx studies. 


As the daughter of immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico, my lived experiences are policy. This ranges from substandard housing, food insecurity, lack of health care needs, educational inequalities, and more. From my own experiences, I discovered my passion for policy and political change, through internships, programs, and volunteering I learned the intricacies of policy and politics at different levels of government. I learned how I could influence them to make a change for those in my community and beyond. 


TRIO has guided me in creating intergenerational change, I am breaking cycles of illiteracy, and poverty, and I hope to pave the way to a better future for those after me.

To learn more about me you can view this short documentary about me and my family in 2021.

2022 OTA Fellow – Whillamina Wise

Whillamina Wise is earning dual Baccalaureate of Arts degrees in Spanish and International Studies. She anticipates graduating cum laude in June of 2022.


Whillamina’s research interests include international human rights policy, gendered parenting expectations among Hispanic immigrant communities in the U.S, experiences of intimate partner violence among Latina women especially as this related to formal help seeking and immigration status. She utilizes a multidisciplinary perspective to gain a deeper understanding of the structural nature of these issues, and frequently draws upon the fields of anthropology, sociology, public policy and women’s studies.


She is proud to serve as a TRiO SSS ambassador and President of the TRIO Student Club, roles that allow her to share her passion for achievement in education with fellow low-income, first-generation and/or minority college students. She also serves as the President of the SOU Spanish club, coordinating opportunities for Spanish students (as well as those within other majors) to further their understanding of the language, and as a Spanish tutor for Southern Oregon University. Recently, she has also taken on teaching ESL for a local nonprofit serving the Hispanic community (Unete, Center for Farm Worker Advocacy.)


Whillamina is a McNair Scholar, with plans to pursue a P.h.D in an interdisciplinary field, or a program in which cross disciplinary collaboration is fostered. Her undergraduate research (pending publication) involves the experiences of unstable documentation and intimate partner violence among Latina women and utilizes a framework of the immigrant woman’s body as a site of bio political violence as it intersects with interpersonal violence. She plans to apply her graduate education to applied, advocacy focused research in the nonprofit sector. She is interested in working both domestically and abroad, on issues of immigration, globalization, gender violence, and women’s rights.

2021 OTA Fellow – Jeanette Chen

Hi everyone! My name is Jean Chen and I have been given the honorable opportunity to be an OTA Fellowship recipient this year and serve as the OTA Alumni Representative in the upcoming year.


I am a first-generation college student majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with an option in Human Services. I am in my third year of college at Oregon State University (OSU), and I cannot imagine being here without the support network and services of TRiO.


My parents immigrated from a small Chinese village in Guangzhou to Portland, Oregon because they had very little opportunity to receive an education. They came to America with the little money they had, and they struggled to put food on the table – often sacrificing their own sustenance for my sister and I’s sake.


With that being said, I grew up in a low-income family and I knew that attending college was not a choice; it was a necessity and a must to mobilize our family out of the poverty that has been a theme for many generations. The only problem was being able to pay for college.


Luckily, during my sophomore year of high school, I joined Portland State University’s Upward Bound. My academic advisors helped me realize my true potentials by guiding me through the frameworks of applying to scholarships, colleges, internships, and so much more. Since then, I have learned what Adrienne Rich meant by “claiming an education” rather than “receiving” one.


TRiO gave me the chance to apply for the Dell Scholars Scholarship, and I have had the opportune chance to attend OSU with a full ride, thanks to the program’s support. I am boundlessly grateful for TRiO as its effect on me (and many others just like me) will reverberate throughout my life – positively affecting my passions, mindset, and career forever.

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