Three UNT alumni, Rudy Reynoso, Garry Grubbs and Marvyn White, were named TRIO Achievers at the 46th Annual Texas TRIO Conference (TASSSP) in Arlington, TX, Feb. 17 – 20.

TRIO Achievers are TRIO alumni that have made significant civic, community and professional contributions despite the additional challenges of being first-generation, lower-income or a student with disabilities. Criteria include:

  • The TRIO Achiever candidate must be a former TRIO project participant who was enrolled in and successfully completed a TRIO program.
  • The TRIO Achiever candidate must have enrolled in and successfully completed a post-secondary program of study resulting in a baccalaureate or terminal degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • The TRIO Achiever candidate must be a person of high stature within his/her profession or has received recognition for outstanding academic achievement.
  • Participation in the TRIO project must have had a significant impact on the candidate in obtaining his/her educational and/or professional objectives (as acknowledged by the participant).

Rudy Reynoso was a part of the Upward Bound program at Texas A&M University Commerce while in high school. He was the first in his family to attend a university, and while at UNT, he majored in communications studies with a focus in rhetoric and a double minor in social sciences and Spanish. He served as the first Latino Student Government Association president; was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and the UNT Green Tones; and was appointed by former Governor Rick Perry to serve on the UNT Board of Regents to represent the student voice in all major decisions.

Reynoso has assisted the current UNT TRIO Programs (Upward Bound, Student Support Services and Talent Search) by crafting recruitment videos through his production company, 2X2 Media, LLC, in addition to his work with UNT Admissions.

“The butterfly effect that the Upward Bound program had in my life continues to this day, though I did not realize it as it transpired,” said Reynoso. “I entered the program as an introverted, but studious lower classman. After some years of consistent guidance and the patience of a renaissance painter, I emerged with a clearer focus, improved organization skills and a desire to share my talents with the world. As Edmond Dantes is indebted to Abbe Faria in the Count of Monte Cristo with the knowledge and education he has learned, so am I to Upward Bound for the positive habits and mindset that have served as a primary frame of reference for me for more than a decade.”

Garry “Smitty” Grubbs participated in UNT Talent Search, UNT Upward Bound Math and Science and UNT Upward Bound and completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at UNT after earning his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. He was a first-generation college student from a modest income background and was greatly impacted by the Upward Bound program and staff. He worked as a resident advisor with the program and was a mentor and support system for UB students active with the summer residential program. He is currently an award-winning faculty member at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“Being low income from the small town of Boyd, Texas, I had not experienced much cultural diversity,” said Grubbs. “Both through the staff and students, TRIO programs exposed me to people of different backgrounds and cultures helping me understand what university would truly be like once I got there. This was very impactful to me because it taught me a life lesson that has stuck with me since that time: reaching people and building relationships isn’t about what people think, but how people think.”

Marvyn White also was a low-income, first-generation student who participated in the Kilgore College Student Support Services program before transferring to UNT from Kilgore College. While at UNT, he earned a B.A. in communication and a minor in education. He has since completed a graduate degree in higher education administration (Texas A&M Commerce) and educational technology and leadership (Lamar University) and is working on his Ph.D. He is certified in six areas and is currently an assistant principal at Navo Middle School in Denton ISD. During his time as a teacher/AP in Gainesville ISD, he was a huge advocate for the TRIO Talent Search program by referring students that would benefit from the program. He has spent many hours being the voice for students who were different.

“TRIO programs are so important because of the lives that are changed forever,” said White. “The TRIO staff at Kilgore was instrumental in my success of completing my core and transferring to UNT. From the many talks, tutoring sessions, advice, feedback, college visits and support I received every day, I simply say thank you. Thank you, Mrs. Bindy Tice, Mrs. Rosa Hopkins and Mr. Jude—you guys were my support system, you guys were my family. Because of your help and the belief you instilled in me, in 2009, I graduated from UNT.”

Several other UNT alumni have been named TRIO Achievers in the past as well, including:

  • Agnieszka Beavers (2005)
  • Amanda Noah (2014)
  • Desiree Padron, MPA (2015)
  • Dr. Tyson McMillian (2014)
  • Eva Silvia Lozano (2006)
  • Lilyan Prado Carrillo, M.P.A.
  • Sophilia Thompson, M.S. (2017)

For more information on the UNT TRIO Programs, visit

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Contact: Ray Willhoft, 940-565-2464,