A Bridge from Self-Awareness of a Disability to Self-Worth for Navigating a Successful Education
Established in 2023, this partnership, with loving parents James and Kay Trosko, is a living legacy for their son Philip. It assists the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) with challenging and important tasks of accessibility, inclusion and belonging. Navigating successful educational journeys through MSU is the work of this endowment in his honor. The tagline, “A Bridge from Self-Awareness of a Disability to Self-Worth for Navigating a Successful Education,” emphasizes the partnership this endowment promotes.
Philip was born April 1966 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His abbreviated life journey ending at age 51 was motivated by several passions and talents including:
- Music: Philip played several guitars and was a member of the Okemos High School Jazz band and had his own rock & jazz band in high school where he was a vocalist and one of the lead guitar players.
- Poetry: International Society of Poetry Outstanding Achievement Recognition
- Volunteerism: serving in a range of community endeavors around hunger prevention for children, at WKAR, and with mental health education and service
- Love of the Outdoors: Sailing, canoeing, fishing, taking care of wild animals and birds
- Creativity through computer science: Undergraduate in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin, student aid at Argonne National Laboratory, and, while at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he worked on the Human Genome Project before graduating in 1988.
He entered the Ph.D. graduate program in the Department of Computer Science at MSU and was mentored by the late Dr. Carl Page (father of Google Co-founder Larry Page). It was here that Philip faced a substantial mental health challenge at a time when that disability was highly stigmatized and effective support was lacking. He was unable to complete his Ph.D. program but continued to influence the lives of others through community service. In service to others, he gained a sense of accomplishment and identity through community.
He retained a love for his academic training at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University. He admired and respected his first-rate academic professors at both institutions. He illustrated this by frequently wearing Wisconsin sweatpants and an MSU t-shirt or vice versa. His parents, Kay and James, know, if Philip was alive today, he would have championed the work of the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities assisting those with physical, emotional, or mental health disabilities. That is the work of this endowment in his name.