CCC's TRIO program helps student achieve goals

Date: Wednesday, 25th August 2021 12:00 AM

Nicholas Villas-Fletcher will graduate from NAU in December, in part, he says, thanks to help he received from TRIO Student Support Services at CCC.



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Nicholas Villas-Fletcher sat in the office filling out the paperwork to graduate from Northern Arizona University.


He will be the first generation in his family to complete a college degree, and the journey was made possible with the help of TRIO Student Support Services at Coconino Community College.


“I desperately needed help,” Villas-Fletcher said. “They made a difference. TRIO is a vital service for students who don’t have support like others.”


Jessica Laessig, program director of TRIO Student Support Services at CCC, said TRIO is dedicated to creating and maintaining a supportive, student-centered, and relationship-based academic environment the students so they can persist and achieve their academic goals. 


“Through our holistic approach to student success, we are committed to increasing individual responsibility, community engagement and academic success of our low-income students, first-generation students and students with disabilities,” Laessig said.


Students receive tutoring assistance, advising, and a host of other services to help them adjust and thrive to the rigors of college. Laessig said TRIO Student Support Services at CCC serves about 140 students a year and its $267,000 budget is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.


Villas-Fletcher, a CCC2NAU student, said he did his first two years of study at CCC after a rocky high school career. At an early age, he found himself in trouble often and was assigned to an educational path for difficult students.


“By my senior year, I straightened myself out and decided I wanted to go to college,” Villas-Fletcher said, adding that his mother tried college bud didn’t finish and his father made it through high school before heading out into the workforce. His mother was supportive of his decision to go to college, but it was the folks at TRIO who helped him find solid footing.


He came to college with the need to do some catch-up in subjects like math and English. His TRIO advisor, Kim Shaw, helped him get connected to the tutoring program TRIO offers as an in-house service. Villas-Fletcher said that private tutoring helped push him to figure out the concepts and make his way, authentically, through his studies.


Shaw said that while Villas-Fletcher was at CCC, he was regularly involved in TRIO activities, tutoring and academic advising.


“He worked hard to make sure he was getting the most of his education, and I felt really honored to be on his journey with him,” Shaw said. “I will always use him as a role model for other students on how to persevere through challenges both in life and in school. I am so proud of Nick and can’t wait to see where his next steps will take him.”

Taking that journey, Villas-Fletcher said the first step was what mattered most. 


“The first step is intimidating,” Villas-Fletcher said. “But it gets easier, not as scary.”


This semester, he’s wrapping up his studies for a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology and Sociology.


“I like how the brain works, and I want to learn how we relate to one another,” he said. “I feel the need to help others – especially those who go down a wrong path. My focus will be helping people in the prison system re-enter society successfully.”


He added that a community college and the TRIO program was a great way for him to start, and he wants to show others that bigger dreams for a life are possible.


“You can do anything you want with your life,” he said, smiling. “I learned that in college.”


For more information about TRIO Student Support Services at Coconino Community College, visit .





All Dates

  • Wednesday, 25th August 2021 12:00 AM