Photo credit: CCA Dept. of Strategic Communications
A CCA student makes a hospital bed in a classroom
TRIO students from the Community College of Aurora (CCA) are paving the way for the next generation of healthcare workers. Out of the 34 students selected for CCA’s 2023-2024 Integrated Nursing Program (INP), eight students will be from the TRIO program, making up 23% of the cohort.
TRIO students make up a small portion of the college’s total population, with only 300 students in total. Educators are excited about the significant representation of TRIO students in a STEM field like nursing.
“We want to emphasize the value of a diverse student population to achieve excellence in practice,” Siri Morken, Department Chair of Nursing and Health Sciences said. “I achieved my registered nurse degree at Arapahoe Community College and so I believe in nursing starting at community colleges.”
Nnena West, Director of TRIO’s Student Support Services, said this is not the first time TRIO students have been accepted into the nursing program but emphasized TRIO’s success in connecting students with resources in STEM programs.
“They’re finding success and getting the support they need to enter those programs, and they are overrepresenting,” West said.
TRIO advisors serve students who identify as first generation, low income, or have disabilities. West says some of these students may not have previous experience navigating the college process or have much support elsewhere, so advisors help bridge that gap. “We are that support system for them,” she said.
The INP partners with the University of Colorado to allow CCA students to take two years of prerequisites before transferring into CU’s nursing program. The cohort-based learning model allows students to work alongside each other and build a community, Morken said.
Morken believes the biggest impact will be felt when these nursing students enter their careers and serve the communities they come from. “I think in nursing, it’s really important to have a diverse population,” she said. “When you know who people are and the community they are working with, it improves patient outcomes.”