TRIO Student Support Services

The Department of TRIO and Academic Services helps students achieve their educational goals by providing counseling, financial and economic literacy, peer to peer supports, personal development workshops, graduate school preparation and cultural trips.

The Student Support Services (SSS) program is one of the three original TRIO programs authorized in 1968 by the Higher Education Act of 1965. The goal of SSS is to increase the postsecondary persistence and graduation rate of income eligible and/or, first-generation college students, or students with disabilities and to facilitate these students’ transition from one level of higher education to the next.  Activities and services offered by SSS include instruction in basic skills, peer support,  academic advising, financial aid and career counseling, graduate school counseling and mentoring.

Services Provided


Counselors conduct an initial interview with each student; provide an orientation for all new students; assess, develop and monitor an academic plan; help students to schedule and register; track each student’s academic progress; and provide students with information concerning academic policies, procedures, and practices.  Appreciative Academic Advisement and career counseling are also provided.

Individual and Group Counseling

  • Facilitates adjustment to college
  • Helps students identify goals and values
  • Guides student decision-making
  • Faculty support

Financial and Economic Literary

Students will work closely with their TRIO Counselors to secure necessary funds each semester. Students are provided a series of financial planning workshops and individual sessions to deter large debt as well as make sound financial decisions. Students are provided with an annual workshops to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Students are eligible for scholarship opportunities through the TRIO membership organizations as well as other providers. Students who meet eligibility may receive SSS Grant Aid.


TRIO faculty offer a series of college courses designed to engage the student and provide a solid foundation for college and career success. The 3 credit courses include: Critical Thinking and Reading, Career Planning, Career Readiness and First Year Seminar.

Critical Thinking & Reading EDU 210 (3 credit course)

  • Judge the quality of what you read and form opinions and arguments about what you read
  • Develop cognitive skills to use in a variety of courses
  • Engage in thinking through different perspectives

First Year Seminar (UNI 100) (1 credit course)

  • Assist students with transition into the university environment
  • Helps students achieve educational goals
  • Introduces students to a full range of institutional and community resources

Career Readiness (UNI 200) (1 credit course)

  • Helps identify job search resources
  • Develops job search skills and strategies
  • Explores relationships between career and life expectations
  • Increases understanding of workplace environments
  • Examines the role of personality in career satisfaction and success

Career Planning (XCP 194) (1 credit course)

  • Helps establish career goals
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Explore career interests
  • Provides an awareness of the relationship between careers and college majors

Literacy and Academic Support

A certified Reading Specialist is available to:

  • Work 1:1 with students in all aspects of literacy and support the development of reading at the college level.
  • Access students reading needs, implement strategies, and evaluate instruction.

TRIO will provide linkage to the Vulcan Learning Commons (VLC) that offers face to face and online tutoring support in 120 + subject areas

  • Supplemental Instruction that improves student performance in historically difficult courses
  • Connect with a student who have been successful in the course
  • Teaches skills in a supportive environment for academic success
  • Reviews lecture notes, textbooks and other course materials
  • Teaches test-taking skills


Students can join the club if they have an interest. This club is open to all students and has a focus on supporting TRIO eligible students through semester on/off campus events; Providing students with opportunities to stay connected and involved with their peers.

TRIO Mentor Program

Students can select from faculty, staff or administrative mentors on campus.  The mentor program helps students build relationships with faculty/staff members who share similar experiences. Students will have the opportunity to meet with their mentors throughout the semester and participate in campus events including the #IAMFIRST Campaign.



Department of TRIO and Academic Services

Box 76 – Suite 430 Manderino Library

Phone: 724-938-4230

Fax:  724-938-5981


Faculty and Staff

Lisa Driscoll
Assistant Professor/Chairperson

Counselor, Student Support Services

 Laura Giachetti
Assistant Professor

Director, Student Support Services 

Dr. Patricia Johnson
Associate Professor

Reading Specialist

 Nathan Knopp

Counselor, Student Support Services 

Katherine Nogy
Administrative Assistant

Department of TRIO and Academic Services
Student Support Services