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Student Support Services helps students on campus

SalmaPaola Baca
First-generation UTEP student James Rosberg has been navigating UTEP’s resources through SSSP as he prepares to graduate this fall.

Being a first-generation student can be a stressful and confusing experience for many. UTEP consists of 50% first-generation students, according to the university’s academic catalog, who are looking for a program that can help guide them through college life. UTEP’s Student Support Services Program is a resource available to help.  

According to SSSP, the program provides services to first-generation and low-income students. Serving over 200 students annually, the goal of the program is to ensure these students stay in school, graduate and are ready for post-graduation life with access to resources for life.  

For first-generation UTEP student, James Rosberg who is majoring in mathematics and is set to graduate in the upcoming fall semester, SSSP has helped him navigate the different resources that UTEP offers.  

“I was the first one in my family to start going through everything, so it was a challenge to find assistance with certain things (and) understanding how everything works,” Rosberg said. “Now I’m more familiar with all the departments on campus, I know how the Miner Learning Center and the Writing Center works and I know that CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is available for students.”  

Kinley Wanghcuk is a first-generation international student who is majoring in rehabilitation sciences and is part of the SSSP program. The program has helped him overcome challenges like language barriers, finding financial aid resources, and the struggle of finding a community in another country.  

“As a first-generation student, the SSSP program has helped me a lot since I could make a lot of friends and even get engaged in UTEP programs (as) it helped with my resume and getting a job,” Wanghcuk said. “Even with the financial situation, the advisors, the manager, and the supervisors have helped me a lot to overcome the situation and how I can pay my tuition fees.” 

The SSSP page shows the different resources the program offers such as tutoring, peer mentoring, academic support and guidance, advocacy and personal support, college success workshops, computer labs and study rooms, free testing supplies, assistance with financial aid, and career readiness workshops.  

For Rosberg, the service that has helped him the most throughout college has been the peer mentoring program.  

“It’s like another outlet whenever I’m talking about things since the appointments are confidential,” Rosberg said. “I feel more comfortable sharing about things going on and how I’m feeling about certain classes and experiencing burnout.  

Wanghcuk shares that the workshops SSSP offers have been the most beneficial for him as they offer help academically but also prepare students for their post-graduate lives.  

“The most impactful resource the program provides for us are the workshops,” Wanghcuk said. “They have tons of workshops every semester, like three to seven workshops in a week which is beneficial for us.” 

Rosberg shares the SSSP has prepared him on his journey to graduation by granting him experiences. 

“The program helps me a lot with the experiences that I’ve had, it makes it more enjoyable because I got to take part in graduate school tours and the SSSP retreats as well as the workshops where they’d have either academic or just stress relief-based sessions,” Rosberg said. “Overall, SSSP has helped me be where I need to be.”  

As Wanghcuk graduates this spring, he reflects on how SSSP helped him since the beginning of his college career.

“SSSP was part of my achievements, since it has helped me a lot, when I joined program, I didn’t know a lot of people except for my friend back home and I used to only speak my own language,” Wanghcuk said. “When I came to SSSP I got to communicate a lot and it prepared me for classes, job interviews and I feel ready.”  

For students interested in joining the program, SSSP recruits new students at the beginning of each fall semester or on a case-by-case basis. Their eligibility requirements to join the program and applications can be found on the SSSP website.  

Ximena Cordero is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Ximena Cordero
Ximena Cordero, Staff Reporter
Ximena Cordero is a freshman at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is a staff reporter at The Prospector. She is majoring in communications and deciding between a minor in creative writing or English literature. After graduating, she would like to pursue a master's degree, work as a journalist or communication specialist, and maybe even write her own books. She wants a career that will allow her to explore the world and see new perspectives and cultures.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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