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      Ay Saechao
      Associate Dean for Student   Development  
      Retention and TRiO Director

Ay Saechao, co-founder of the nonprofit Southeast Asian Education (SEAeD) Coalition, is Associate Dean for Student Development, Retention and Conduct as well as TRiO Director at Highline College. He has dedicated his career to address the educational opportunity gap at both the local, state and national level. In 2015, he was invited by the White House to showcase his work with community-based organization, Southeast Asian Education Coalition, in which he serves as the founding-President. His work in the TRiO Student Support and Retention Services program at Highline has exceeded national benchmarks in regard to student retention, graduation and persistence.

                                            Contact Ay at:

                                            Phone: (206) 592-3229

       Eileen Jimenez

      Program Manager and   Academic Advisor
      Office Location: Building 6:163

Eileen Jimenez is the TRIO Program Manager at Highline College. Eileen was born and raised in Anaheim, California. Before coming to Highline, Eileen worked in TRIO Programs in California. As a TRIO Alumna herself, she believes in the transformative impact that TRIO can have in the lives of students. She credits her TRIO advisors and directors for believing in her and for helping her access higher education. Eileen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in French/Francophone Studies in Literature and Culture from UCLA and a Master’s Degree in Counseling: Student Development in Higher Education from California State University, Long Beach. Eileen has experience managing and creating programming efforts to support underrepresented students including undocumented and former foster youth students. Eileen’s philosophy is guided by her passion for student advocacy, for promoting and creating access to higher education for marginalized populations and for creating space and community for all students.  

                                            Contact Eileen at:

                                            Phone: (206)592-3898

      Kathy Nguyen

     TRiO Achiever Advisor &
     Retention Specialist
     Office Location: Building 6: Room 155

Hello TRiO Community! I am so excited to join Highline as the TRiO Adviser and Retention Specialist. I recently moved here from Southern California where I grew up in Little Saigon, Westminster. I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with my B.A. in Communication and Asian American Studies and from San Diego State University with my M.A. in Postsecondary Educational Leadership/Student Affairs. Before moving here, I also worked with an AANAPISI grant at Coastline Community College with student development programs and high school/community outreach. Outreach, access, and student support programs have always been important to me as a first-generation student and daughter to Vietnamese refugees. I saw my older siblings struggle through their educational journeys and as my family’s first American-born child, I struggled to teach myself how to navigate through college. Programs like AVID, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and identity-based mentorship helped me find my footing and my place on campus. Rather than seeing my family and community in deficit mindsets, I want to help people empower themselves and see the strengths and values they bring to spaces.

Besides working with students, I really enjoy watching Netflix (tell me about your favorite shows!), cooking, hiking, reading, playing board games, being a foodie (I’m not picky though), traveling, and exploring more of the beautiful views the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I’m still very new so let me know the best places to eat and see!                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Feel free to stop by any time to say hello!

      Valerie Lambert
      TRiO Advisor
      Office location: Building 6:162

Valerie completed her Bachelor of Science in Special Education at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and her Masters in Elementary Education at Indiana University.  She has 32 years of experience teaching language arts and math to students with special needs at the elementary through high school level.  Valerie is excited to have the opportunity to work with the TRiO scholars at Highline College.  She is passionate about providing them with support and guidance to help them achieve academic and transfer success. In her spare time, Valerie enjoys playing golf, antique hunting and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

                                        Contact Valerie at:

                                        Phone: (206) 592-3492
                                        Office Hours: Mon 9am  2:30pm,
                                        Tues 9am-3:30pm, Thurs

    Blia Xiong
        Program Assistant
        Office location: Building 6:156

Blia is not a stranger on Highline campus before she came to TRiO. She was a former Program Assistant at the Academic Success Centers and a Highline Alumni. Like the students in the TRiO program, Blia is a First Generation in her family to pursue a higher education. She was a youth mentor and volunteer in the Seattle Hmong community from 2010 - 2013. Blia is passion about helping others to navigate their resources and building a connection. Most of all, she enjoy working closely and supporting the students in TRiO, and learning new things. In her free time, she enjoy spending time with her son and husband, and family. She also enjoys watching movies and TV shows on Netflix, and browsing on Pinterest to seek for her next creative project. Blia is a self-taught artist in sketching, acrylic painting, and recently in photography.

Favorite quote:

“All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

                                           Contact Blia at:
                                           Phone: (206) 592-3229




To schedule an appointment with any TRiO staff, please directly contact the TRiO staff you wish to meet with or contact Blia Xiong at or 206-592-3229. Thank you!