From left, TRiO Programs Coordinator Caleb Sawyer, Upward Bound Academic Advisor Marlene Mendez, TRiO Director Ciro Reyes, TRiO scholarship winner and COM graduate Elyssa Davila and SSS Advisor Robert Arenas.

Earning two associate degrees from College of the Mainland at 18, Elyssa Davila was recently awarded the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Program Scholarship, a regional TRiO scholarship.

Transferring to University of Houston with an associate degree, Davila is now halfway to her goal of a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She plans to attend medical school.

Davila’s education is entirely paid for with scholarships, including the TRiO one.

“TRiO really helped with my transition, with so many college tours and talks on financial aid,” said Davila. “I was in (TRiO) for five years. It was ironic because the first (TRiO) tour I took was to the UH main campus, so it really stuck. The campus was breathtaking.”

As a COM Collegiate High School student, Davila was heavily involved in COM campus life as well as at Dickinson High School. She took all classes at COM, plus served as treasurer of the COM Biology Club, secretary of the Hispanic Student Organization and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society. At Dickinson High School, she was on the varsity soccer and cross country teams and several honor societies.

“I like being busy. It helps to get out in the community,” said Davila, who also participated for 15 years in the Girl Scouts and earned the Silver Award. “What else would you do with your time?”

Davila was in TRiO for five years, beginning in the summer of her eighth grade year. She plans to return this year to talk to students in the program at COM about her educational journey.

“She’s very ambitious, an exceptional student. She’s a student I see achieving the goals she set for herself,” said Ciro Reyes, TRiO director. “She wants to give back. She continues to give back and give advice to younger students.”

TRIO is a federally funded program through the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. It provides services for degree-seeking students who are at least one of the following: first-generation students (neither parent has a bachelor's degree), low-income students or students with disabilities. 

CHS helps students earn an associate degree while simultaneously completing their high school diploma. COM waives 40 percent of tuition and fees for CHS students. The CHS program is available to Clear Creek, Dickinson, Friendswood, Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe and Texas City ISD students and home-schooled students.

For more information on COM Collegiate High School, visit or call 409-933-8169.

For more information on TRiO programs, visit or call 409-933-8273.