May 16, 2013

Mainer tells Congress poverty can be beaten

The college professor, who grew up dirt poor, stresses the need to fund programs like Upward Bound.

By Kevin Miller
Staff Writer

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Patricia Marshall, a professor and interim associate vice president for academic affairs at Worcester State University in Massachusetts, shared her experiences Thursday with Congress of climbing out of poverty in rural Maine with the help of federal educational programs for low-income students.

Kevin Miller / Staff Writer

"And I still remember to this day the weight of those bags," she said.

Marshall eventually was accepted into the Upward Bound residential program at UMaine, where she learned computer skills and valuable social and study skills. She credits the program and its mentors with helping her avoid pitfalls that often get in the way of young students from rural America.

Today, Marshall is a tenured professor of Spanish and interim associate vice president for academic affairs at Worcester State University in Massachusetts. She said she tries to "pay forward" TRIO's investment in her by working extensively with students from less privileged backgrounds, and on improving college access and retention at the school.

"The cycle of poverty has been broken and I am living proof that TRIO works," she told the group.

The programs face plenty of competition for funding, including from many other programs for low-income Americans.

Collins recently helped lead a bipartisan group of lawmakers who sent a letter to their colleagues who oversee TRIO funding, urging them to appropriate money to the programs.

"We recognize that the current fiscal climate represents unprecedented challenges," the letter reads. "It is for that reason that we must make strategic choices that prepare our citizenry for the jobs of tomorrow and preserve equal opportunity within our society."


Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:


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