TRIO Graduate Spotlight: Nitaila Woods

Student mentor/peer navigator heading for Augsburg this fall

Nitaila Woods, 24, graduated from Inver Hills Community College in May 2023 with her Associate of Arts (A.A.), an ideal degree for students planning on transferring to a four-year college or university. Nitaila participated in TRIO/Student Support Services while attending Inver Hills, both as a student and as a student mentor/peer navigator working out of the TRIO/SSS office on campus.

“I think what I liked the best about my position in the TRIO office were the relationships I was able to form with students as well as staff,” Nitaila said. “I loved supporting my peers and working with faculty on different programming. I also really enjoyed that I was able to do almost all of the marketing for TRIO/SSS, which allowed me to get more familiar with marketing software and also allowed me to explore my creativity.”

Nitaila’s marketing experience with TRIO will come in handy when she transfers to Augsburg University this fall. “My goal is to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Marketing at Augsburg,” she said. Along with her A.A., she earned a Marketing and Sales certificate at Inver.

Nitaila currently works as a stylist at a luxury fashion boutique in the North Loop Neighborhood. She completed an internship at Polyrhythmic Arts while attending Inver Hills. She also worked as a nanny and as a beauty advisor at Sephora. Nitaila plans on starting an E-commerce business this summer.

TRIO/SSS Academic Advisor Perspective: Alicia Atwater

“There are so many wonderful qualities about Nitaila; it’s hard to narrow it down to one or two main thoughts to sum up her. Nitaila began her journey here after two other schools that weren’t quite the right fit at the time. Here, she found incredible success as a student and working in the TRIO office.
“She initiated a fall series of programming for TRIO students concerning employment with Jared Scharpen, director of career services, and it was widely attended by students. She also created the first annual TRIO fall bonfire, which students greatly enjoyed.
“Nitaila also seamlessly created strong relationships with fellow TRIO students and made our office ring with laughter. We will miss her dedication to making our space inclusive, silly, and full of fun.”
Alicia Atwater
TRIO/SSS Academic Advisor
Inver Hills Community College

More about Nitaila…

Nitaila with her mom and sister

Originally from Savage, Minnesota, Nitaila graduated from Burnsville High School, Class of 2017. Her mom, Angie, is a pharmacy technician, and her sister, Meelah, 16, is a student at South St. Paul Secondary.The family has one dog, a 3-year-old Doberman-hound mix named Boa.

Nitaila loves to sing. She received the Fred Waring Director’s Award for Chorus, a prestigious honor bestowed on one student every three years in middle and high school. Fred Waring was a bandleader and television personality known as “The Man Who Taught America How to Sing.”

Also passionate about art, Nitaila took second place in the Fall 2022 First-Generation Scholarship Contest for her digital arts depiction of her sister, Meelah, and herself.

Nitaila resides with her family in Minneapolis.

Nitaila Woods Q & A

Nitaila Woods
What advice would you give students who are thinking about joining TRIO/SSS?

I would say TRIO is what you make it. You can join and never go to any events and meet with ALicia and Matt once a semester as the minimum requirements, but I think that you get the most out of TRIO by really participating and going to the events we have and stopping by the office. TRIO is a great group of people, and the support you get from the TRIO/SSS team is like none other.

What have you learned about yourself as a college student during your time as a TRIO student mentor?

I think I’ve learned that I thrive when I’m involved here on campus. I also found that life on campus is a lot easier when you find support within the many resources Inver Hills has to offer.

What area of marketing interests you the most and why?

I think because I love beauty and fashion that marketing within those spheres interests me the most. I want to explore international marketing within the skincare/ beauty world. One of the brands I really love is called AMORE PACIFIC, so doing marketing for them would be really cool.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What do you look forward to most as you continue your college journey at a four-year school?

I think what I look forward to the most are all the new opportunities.

What did you like best about attending Inver Hills?

I liked how supported I felt. I always knew what resources were available for me and utilized them.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

The person who has influenced me the most in my life has to be Meelah, my younger sister. She is someone that even though she is seven years younger than me I always seem to be able to grow and learn through her. She is someone who has always supported me in all my ventures and reassures me when I second-guess myself. Everything I do is so that she might have a better life than I did. I want to show her that anything in this world is possible.

Meelah and Nitaila
Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

This is a hard question. 20 years from now…wow… hmmm.. I’d be 54 by then so I think I see myself enjoying life and doing whatever it is that makes me happy. Surrounded by people who love and support me.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Nitaila Woods 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Volleyball
  2. Place you would most like to visit: South Korea
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: BTS concert 2019 at Soldier Field
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Travel 2) Tickets to Beyoncé concert 3) New car
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Avatar: The Way of Water
  6. Time period (past or future) you would explore if you could time travel: I’d want to go back to Egypt to the time that Cleopatra was ruling
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in your life: Create generational wealth for me and my family
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: I would choose the lilac-breasted roller, an African bird
  9. Dream occupation: Singer
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Beyoncé or Mark Lee from NCT 127
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Learning languages
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Climate change
Learn more about TRIO/SSS at Inver Hills by contacting:

TRIO/Student Support Services
Inver Hills Community College
College Center Room 255

Learn more about attending Inver Hills by contacting:

Inver Hills Community College
Virtual Visit

More about TRIO Student Support Services

Empowering students to succeed.

Come find your community of support! TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) provides academic advising and guidance in the transfer process, plus social and cultural events. If you are planning to graduate from Inver Hills and transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree, TRIO SSS could be a great fit for you.


Why join TRIO SSS?

Make connections.

With TRIO, you’ll get personalized advising and so much more! Find friends and comradery, plus social and cultural events. TRIO offers workshops on study skills, financial literacy, time management and many other topics. Plus, take advantage of career planning, major exploration, college transfer planning, and campus visits to four-year institutions.



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