TRIO EOC Helps Adults Get Back to School

Melody Lawrence, Academic Advisor from TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) has been helping library customers get back to school for more than a year. Before COVID-19 she helped in-person at the library, but now she’s helping virtually or by phone. Melody assists with financial aid applications, school applications, career exploration, GED referral and English as a second language referral. All services are free. It is never too early or too late to start or expand your college and career journey.

Melody from TRIO working at home

Melody from TRIO EOC working at home

“I’ve missed meeting with many of you in Team Room 4, however the safety and health of everyone is my main concern,” said Melody. “It’s hard to predict when COVID-19 restrictions will lift and I will once again be stationed every Tuesday in the library to assist adults and high school seniors who are interested in going back to school to learn new skills, a new trade or make a career change. Although COVID-19 has caused disruption in our daily lives, new approaches have evolved as we serve our participants.”

Benefits of Virtual Meetings

As an Academic Advisor for TRIO EOC, Melody is now available to meet virtually through a Zoom meeting or by phone and the benefits are fabulous.

  • Melody is available more hours (M–F, 8am–4pm) since she’s working from home.
  • Zoom provides “face-to-face” contact while still adhering to physical distancing.
  • You can remain at home while you meet and have everything at your fingertips.
  • The 4 Step document she sends you by email makes preparing for your meeting a breeze.
  • You can explore career options, complete a college application, create your FSA ID and submit your FAFSA, or apply for scholarships during the meeting. Melody is ready to tailor your meeting to whatever you need.

To schedule an appointment call: (785) 864-3325 or email  She looks forward to seeing you on Zoom soon.

People Melody Has Helped

Here are a few of the comments Melody has received from the people she has worked with.

“Melody helped me fill out the FAFSA.  If it weren’t for TRIO EOC I wouldn’t have known I was eligible for a Pell Grant. That’s $6,345 to pay for tuition I do not have to pay back! She also provided me a letter to waive the college application fee.” –LaToya, 37 year old single mother of two

“Melody told me it’s never too late to go back to school and assisted me with my financial aid application. She made it easy and everything was submitted on time.  I’m working on my CNA.”  –Anita, age 55

“I’m glad I met Melody at TSCPL. I now realize I can afford to go back to school to get my certification as an electrician.” –John, age 22, single dad


The KU TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers is a federally funded college access program available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who:

  • are interested in enrolling in career and technical education programs, community college or college/university;
  • live in Douglas, Shawnee or Wyandotte counties; and
  • have low to moderate household income or have parents who do not have a 4-year college or university degree.

Students with disabilities, veterans, homeless youth and foster youth are encouraged to apply.

Melody’s Been in Your Shoes

After high school Melody got married, started a family and went directly to work. While her children were in school she started taking classes from the local community college. Melody would be the first in her family to go to college. Over the years she started and stopped several times before she finally made the commitment to complete her bachelor’s degree. With tutoring and advising assistance from TRIO Student Support Services at the University of Kansas she was able to stay on track with her grades and complete her degree.

“Being an adult student is not always easy, but with support from a TRIO program I was able to reach my goal of earning a bachelor’s degree,” said Melody. “I’ve been in your shoes and I know what it takes. It’s never too late!”

As the library’s communications editor Ginger helps spread the word about all the amazing library resources, services and staff. She loves reading fiction and is working to keep her To Be Read list under 100. Ginger is also a volunteer at Helping Hands Humane Society.