Trinidad State News

Two Trinidad State Valley Campus students elected to serve Colorado Community College System

Valley Campus / December 1, 2014


Two students at Trinidad State Junior College have been selected to serve on a five-member statewide board serving the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). The system includes 13 community colleges across Colorado. The board will represent the nearly 160,000 students in the CCCS on the State Student Advisory Council (SSAC).

Sisters-in-law, Danielle and Merisa Armstrong, spent several weeks preparing for this opportunity. After submitting letters of interest and recommendation, they prepared 3-5 minute speeches explaining why they were the best candidates. A challenging five-minute open forum followed, in which the two fielded many questions.

Already heavily involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) on the Valley Campus, their interest in the SSAC was piqued when it met on the Valley Campus in September. Student visitors were surprised to learn that the smallest community college campus in Colorado was housed in just two buildings essentially on one city block. Danielle and Merisa decided Trinidad State needed more representation. They wanted to learn more about student government and how they might be able to help “put Trinidad State on the map” and help provide student leadership. They also wanted to learn how to better promote community involvement with the college. Determined to make a difference, they attended the SSAC Leadership Conference in Denver in October and the rest is history.

“I am proud to hold the position of Legislative Liaison and am excited to be representing both Trinidad State Campuses as well as all Colorado Community Colleges. With this position comes a great responsibility,” said Danielle Armstrong. She will do double duty as she attends both the Colorado General Assembly and CCHE (Colorado Commission on Higher Education) meetings and reports legislative developments, including bills that affect higher education, to the SSAC. Luckily, some of the meetings are via teleconference so she is not required to drive long distances for every meeting. To accommodate all concerned, SSAC meetings are rotated among the community college campuses.

Merisa Armstrong, elected as the secretary for the SSAC, said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve on this particular board which spans across the Colorado Community College System as well as my own Trinidad State Valley Campus.” She will be responsible for keeping and distributing meeting minutes and taking and recording roll call.

Married to brothers and living only three miles apart, the two have grown closer while attending Trinidad State. Merisa, who was already serving in Student Government, convinced Danielle to join her. Now, as members of the Student Government Association (SGA), they both work on all student-related college events. Danielle serves as Vice President of Marketing and Merisa serves as Senator at large and assists other SGA officers. Merisa also continues to serve as the work study student for the Student Life office. Danielle splits her work study time between the Student Life office and math instructor, Nancy Minow. Danielle, who started college last January after she felt her young children were a little more independent, said that having a sister in the Nursing Program at the Valley Campus, along with Merisa, made the transition to college easier for her.

Though their majors are different, they are currently taking speech and math classes together. Merisa has earned her LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) and will graduate with her Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree this coming May. She hopes to earn her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) on-line. Danielle is working toward a Psychology degree with a focus on Addiction Counseling. After completing her degree in 2016, she would like to transfer to Adams State to earn her BA and then her Master’s.

The women assist with the family farm which their husbands operate together. Each of them have three children at home who stair step in age from seven years to six months. They also co-coach their daughters’ soccer team and are members of the La Jara Elementary PTA. In addition Merisa serves as President of the Sanford Head Start PTA. Both women are in Direct Sales as well. Danielle promotes Pampered Chef and Marisa promotes Simply Aroma Essential Oils.

About Trinidad State Danielle said, “I haven’t had an instructor yet that has complained about my extra involvement. They have been very supportive.” Danielle enjoys her busy life. If things slow down, she wonders what to do with herself.

Merisa said, “I have developed and grown as an individual while being here on the Valley Campus and have learned patience in the process.” She then looked at Danielle, smiled, and said, “We’re good at volunteering or volunteering each other!”