Southeast Awarded Regions Bank Grant to Launch Diversity Peer Educators Program


Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a $5,000 grant from Regions Bank to support the TRIO Program’s new Diversity Peer Educators (DPE) Program, which seeks to develop student leaders in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, and to provide opportunities to support programming and events grounded in these areas.

Trent Ball, associate vice president for equity and access, said the majority of funding provided by the Regions grant will support leadership training as well as programs and presentations for the DPE Program.

DPE is designed to provide leadership training and development and to support students who are first generation, low income or students with disabilities — the same student eligibility criteria of Southeast’s TRIO Programs.

“The program and students will have the opportunity to work on campus and in the community developing and presenting programs that promote diversity as the student leaders develop leadership and professional skills that are not often available to TRIO eligible students,” Ball said.

The trainers and student educators will provide workshops and seminars on campus and within the Missouri Bootheel counties via Southeast’s regional campuses in Sikeston and Kennett. The team will also work with the TRIO Programs at Mineral Area College and Three Rivers College to support their students’ leadership development and experiences.

“We are excited to bring Diversity Peer Educators (DPE) back to Southeast,” said Valdis Zalite, director of TRIO Programs at Southeast. “This program encourages students to network, share in open dialogue and contribute to a community grounded in understanding the inherent benefits that diverse students, staff and faculty have on a college campus. The program helps build communication and listening skills, challenges perceptions and creates an environment in which student voices help build a stronger and more inclusive campus community.”

For more information on TRIO Programs, visit the Academic Support Centers page on the University website at