Tara Ruttly, TRIO keynote speaker, NASA associate chief for microgravity research and McNair Scholar, speaks about her experiences as a McNair student in front current McNair scholars on Friday in the Memorial Union. 

    Emporia State celebrated TRIO Day last Friday and partnered with the science department to bring Tara Ruttley, NASA associate chief for microgravity research and McNair scholar, to present at ESU.

    “It’s (TRIO Day) about getting our students excited about science and excited about being a TRIO member,” said Eden Tullis, TRIO programs coordinator.

    TRIO itself is a federally funded program through the United States Department of Education. ESU has four programs available: two pre-college and two college, according to Tullis.

    The two college programs are Student Support Services and the McNair program. TRIO works with first generation college students, low income students, students with accessibilities and students of color.

    For many programs across the United States, National TRIO Day has become a tradition that allows TRIO students to give back to their local communities through acts of service, according to the Council for Opportunity in Education website.

    Ruttley shared her experiences as a McNair scholar to the McNair scholars of ESU, Wichita State University, the University of Central Missouri and Kansas State Universityaccording to Tullis.

    Later that evening, Ruttley presented to members of ESU and the Emporia community in the Science Hall. She discussed what she does at NASA, what working with astronauts and the International Space Station is like and more.

    TRIO Day celebrates TRIO alumna and current students. It is an event that is nationally recognized on the fourth Saturday of February each year since 1986.

    “It’s to celebrate the Higher Education Act of 1965 that was passed to establish the TRIO programs,” said Tullis.

    ESU recognizes it on a weekday to maximize participation, according to Shanna Eggers, Director of the TRIO McNair program.

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