Even during a pandemic and transition to online courses, Justin West made sure he was available as a dedicated Peer tutor with the TRIO Student Support Services. With no high-speed internet access at home and only a cell phone, he would drive to campus to use WiFi access in the parking lot. There from his car he had tutoring sessions with fellow students to help with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related coursework as well as general college student development.
Trapped, living in a 50-year-old mobile home without the most basic utilities, Justin lived in complete social and economic isolation. Scholarships and qualifying for Pell Grants provided him a way out through a college degree.
At TCC, TRIO empowered him by offering resources he did not know he needed. His credits his success to the program’s help on his first major hurdle in mathematics. Through hours with pencil in hand spent with tutors, he gained the confidence to tackle his future. Justin says the devoted TRIO counselors enabled him to find his voice, encouraging him to lead sustainability research towards Zero Waste at our college and present his findings at two national research conventions. TRIO’s guidance led him to three semesters of President’s Honor Roll and Honor Society President.
He entered college disadvantaged, from a lower socioeconomic background and deficient in many subjects. Now, he is graduating as an Honors Scholar with a Computer Science degree. He plans to transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree and pursue research into Artificial Intelligence towards sustainability efforts.
Justin led the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for two years, increased student organization funding by 30 percent when he served as finance director for the Student Government Association, made the TRIO Student Association the most active at TCC, founded the Active Minds mental health organization and planned a Stomp Out Stigma mental health and suicide awareness program that was the largest student-led event in the College’s history. West also served as managing editor for the 2019 issues of Tulsa Review, TCC’s online magazine of the literary and visual arts.
He has been awarded a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This scholarship is worth up to $40,000 a year to complete his bachelor’s degree at the university of his choice.