At its 50th anniversary conference last month, the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs (SWASAP) elected Baton Rouge Community College’s Director of TRIO Program, Dr. Darica Simon, as President-Elect of the organization. Dr. Simon has 21 years of experience in serving the federal TRIO Programs and has worked at BRCC since 2007.
SWASAP is a non-profit, regional association whose purpose is to advance and defend the ideal of educational opportunity for all TRIO eligible individuals. SWASAP provides to its members the guidance and support needed to foster those activities necessary to enable the target population to persist in achieving their educational goals.
As president-elect, Simon will work with colleagues from across the region to provide educational opportunities to students from non-traditional backgrounds who attend higher education institutions across the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue a college degree. TRIO programs include Educational Opportunity Centers, Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science, Veterans Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and the training program for federal TRIO programs staff.
Simon’s three-year appointment with SWASAP includes serving as president-elect the first year, president the second, and past president the third year. Simon is a first-generation college graduate and said, “I am deeply humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead and serve the TRIO professionals in the SWASAP region. I look forward to the continued growth of the organization and helping to support and advance the association’s educational goals.”
As a representative of SWASAP, Simon will serve on the board of directors of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) headquartered in Washington, D.C. COE serves as an advocacy organization that advances the interests of low-income, first generation and disabled students throughout the United States. The COE membership works in conjunction with professionals at more than 1,000 colleges and agencies to help over a million students enter college and graduate. BRCC, a COE Institutional Member, hosts two Federal TRIO Programs, including Upward Bound and the Economic Opportunity Center, all of which help students to overcome economic, social, academic and cultural barriers to higher education. '