Odell Bizzell II speaking at Oregon Tech TOP honors event

A special Oregon Tech event was held May 10 to celebrate nontraditional students' academic success in the Tech Opportunities Program (TOP). The event honored over 80 students with a 3.30 grade point average or above in fall or winter terms.

Oregon Tech TOP is a federally funded TRiO college opportunity program that powers the potential of first-generation students, low-income students, and students with disabilities who demonstrate academic need. In 2023-24, 160 students participated in TOP.

Motivational speaker Odell Bizzell II delivered keynote remarks at the event, encouraging students with his best advice: Listen to your parents, advisors, and mentors more than you listen to your friends and social media.

“The big thing that I want to convey is that there are people in your corner; there are people in your community; there are people in your family that want you to win. Let them help you,” Bizzell said.

He also discussed his three ways to guarantee success in TRiO:

  1. Brainwash yourself from all negative media; what entertains you trains you.
  2. Learn the #1 skill of success; you can only become successful through communication.
  3. Make connections; everything you want is inside a connection to a group of people.

At Oregon Tech, many nontraditional students find support and encouragement through TOP, which provides academic and personal support to help them navigate college. Bizzell stressed the importance of using TOP resources to navigate college and prepare for the future.

The dedicated TOP staff provides services and support in the following areas:

  • Study skills, decision-making, and academic coaching.
  • Academic, career, and financial planning, as well as supplemental tutoring.
  • Peer mentoring and networking with other students, staff, and faculty.
  • College success classes and faculty-led sessions and workshops.
  • Assistance with applying for financial aid, scholarships, and grants.
  • Community building, cultural events, and a sense of belonging.

Learn more about Oregon Tech’s TOP at