Lindsay Boynton, an Angelo State University alumnus, will lead the department, which provides academic advising, career advising, financial aid assistance and graduate school preparation.
Texas Tech University's Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI) has named Lindsay Boynton as the new director of TRIO Student Support Services (TRIO SSS), which serves undergraduate students who are first-generation, from low-income households or registered with Student Disability Services.
"We are excited to have Lindsay's breadth of experience in student services and teaching to lead TRIO Student Support Services," said Jade Silva-Tovar, DDEI senior director. "Lindsay's previous experience advocating for students who are first-generation, who demonstrate financial need and students with disabilities will enhance our efforts through the federal TRIO SSS grant and at the institution. I am excited to have her join our leadership team as we continue to advance access, equity and inclusion."
Originally from Abilene, Boynton earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Angelo State University (ASU), a part of the Texas Tech University System. While there, she worked with students as a resident assistant. Because of her interest in humanity and a desire to care for others, her initial plan was to find a graduate program in social work. Boynton said she quickly realized how much she enjoyed the college atmosphere and, instead, earned a master's degree in higher education from ASU in 2009.
Boynton worked as the leadership development coordinator in ASU's Center for Student Involvement where she established a student leadership training program and served as the adviser to the University Center Program Council. In 2014, she returned to Abilene, where she served as director of Undergraduate Advising and Disability Services at Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) while earning her doctorate in higher education.
"One of the facets I loved about my doctorate program was the inclusion of travel and field experiences," Boynton said. "I became really interested in culture and the understanding of life from varying worldviews. I was interested in Texas Tech because of the incredibly diverse population, both in students as well as faculty and staff. When I saw the TRIO SSS position, it was a perfect mix of student life and academics.
"The Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion offers extensive support and opportunities for the students of Texas Tech, and I feel grateful to be involved in that impact. I've been teaching student success and first-year seminar courses since 2012, and I truly love it. As much as I enjoyed my time in housing and student life, the relationship building of advising and serving students toward success at HSU proved to be extremely rewarding."
TRIO SSS provides academic advising, career advising, financial aid assistance, financial literacy, tutoring and graduate school preparation. The program also offers leadership development and a supportive community focused on empowering students to succeed, as well as seminars and workshops throughout the semester that provide cultural and social opportunities.
During fall 2020, TRIO SSS received a renewal from the U.S. Department of Education on more than $1.3 million in funding for the services offered through the program. The grant is a five-year cycle and will run through August 2025.
Boynton said she looks forward to continuing the student-centered culture of programming in TRIO SSS. She also would like to create programming that focuses on self-development and skills like time-management and setting realistic goals. Her passion for serving first-generation students comes from her own memory of being on a college campus for the first time. As she hugged her mother goodbye that day, Boynton felt a mix of excitement and adventure, but also, the terror of the unknown and being afraid to ask questions.
"I want to continue providing a space where, when you apply to be part of TRIO Students Success Services, you're becoming part of a community," she said. "It's OK to not know, we are here to provide guidance and support. Intentionally serving the needs of our student population is critical to their success. It's the difference that is life-changing."
Boynton said she hopes the success students achieve by being a part of TRIO SSS doesn't stop with them.
"There have been so many generous people who helped me along the way, and I strive to pay this forward to others," she said. "As I've been reading some of the essays that the students have written when they apply to be part of our program, more of them than not say, 'I want to make my family proud. My family has sacrificed a lot for me to be here.' That really resonates with me, that their success is a commitment to their family. That's why they're joining. It's my job is to help them achieve their success.
"In his book, 'The Alchemist,' Paulo Coelho observes, 'When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too,'" Boynton added. "We're affecting everybody around us. The students on this campus, they are our leaders. They're our future. They're our world 10 years from now. It's really important that we're setting them up for success. I don't think we can ever fully comprehend the impact that we have, but by helping them rise, we all rise."