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OCtech Graduate, Employee Named Outstanding Young TRiO Alumni Award Winner

January 16, 2018

Tawanie Shanks Pointer
Tawanie Shanks Pointer

The South Carolina TRiO Alumni Association has named Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College graduate Tawanie Shanks Pointer a 2018 Outstanding Young TRiO Alumni.

Pointer, an administrative assistant for the college’s TRiO Student Support Services program, was recognized during the Wanda Hendricks Bellamy Student Leadership Conference Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 13, in Myrtle Beach. This year’s conference theme was “Leadership 20/20: Your Future In Focus.”

The WHBSLC Outstanding Young TRiO Alumni Award recognizes TRiO alumni for their accomplishments and service. Award winners have distinguished themselves as leaders among their peers and in their community.

Three Outstanding Young TRiO Alumni are recognized each year – one each in the recent high school graduate, recent college graduate and working professional categories. Pointer received the award as a working professional.

“Tawanie has always felt the importance of being a role model to her children, classmates and peers,” said Dr. Monica Greene, OCtech TRiO director, in her nomination of Pointer. “She exemplifies service by going beyond the call of duty, mentoring and addressing the needs of all who surround her.”

Pointer became a TRiO participant in July 2011 when she started OCtech and was hired as a student assistant for the program in fall 2013. She graduated summa cum laude with an Associate in Applied Science in General Business in May 2014 and became an administrative assistant for the college’s TRiO program later that year. Pointer graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Claflin University in May 2016.

“TRiO Student Support Services allowed me to realize that I was not alone on my journey,” Pointer said. “I immediately became involved in activities that were offered, leaving my comfort zone, yet discovering new ideas. Days when I felt defeated, I would walk into the TRiO Lab and realize that there were people who really cared about me.”

“As an employee, I am now assisting students daily with their journey to complete their educational goals,” she said. “It is my hope that I am an inspiration to others as the TRiO staff has been to me.”

Greene said Pointer “laudably represents the goals and ideals of success, while inspiring others to do so with the same vigor and commitment – a testament that warrants her title of achiever. Her dedication to inspire and improve the lives of others is the foundation for the many relationships she has fostered with individuals over the years.”

TRiO encompasses eight federal outreach and student services programs that serve low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities and assist them as they progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs. OCtech’s Student Support Services program helps students reach their academic, personal and professional potential through academic counseling, college skills seminars and classes, and transfer information and resources. For more information, visit https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/index.html and http://www.octech.edu/student-resources/trio-program.