an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

TRIO Student Support Services

A federally funded, student-oriented program that offers supportive services to help its participants achieve success.

The services provided through TRIO are designed to help participants maximize their effectiveness as students and make informed decisions which will lead to a successful graduation and/or transfer. Each TRIO participant is assigned an academic coach (advisor) who offers students the kind of support necessary to take them from enrollment through graduation/transfer. Coaches are dedicated to providing individualized assistance that will enhance the academic, professional, and personal potential of the students who participate in the program.

Office Hours

Regular Hours

Mon - Fri
8:00am - 4:30pm

Summer Hours

Mon - Thu
7:00am - 5:00pm

Contact Information

Room Number:

TRIO Student Support Services Staff

photo of Dr. Lori A CortezDr. Lori A Cortez
Program Director
Lori is a community college graduate and holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Studies, Bachelor and Master Degrees in History, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. The focus of her dissertation was on the barriers that nontraditional students face at rural community colleges and how to alleviate those barriers to make education more accessible and possible. Currently, Lori works as the Director of the TRIO Student Support Services at Sauk Valley Community College where she aims to improve college access and affordability for over 200 Sauk students.
photo of Tedra S. MewhirterTedra S. Mewhirter
Transfer Advisor
Tedra is a SVCC, TRIO, & PTK Alumni. She holds an Associate in Science Degree, Bachelor in Psychology, and a Master Degree in Organization Leadership. She has worked with the Single Parent Committee for the past five years and is a mother of two daughters who currently attend Sterling High School. As a former mental health professional at Sinnissippi Centers Tedra is equipped to discuss strategies for empowerment and guide students to the resources they need to be successful. Tedra is a Sterling native and is familiar with the barriers that Program students often have to overcome. She created and advises the Social Justice Organization on campus to provide opportunities for TRIO students to be engaged and conscientious leaders. As the Transfer and Program advisor she has over six years of experience in guiding students towards academic and transfer success.
photo of Joe BrightJoe Bright
Tutoring and Career Services Advisor
Joe Bright was a first generation college student who graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois in 2013. After obtaining a degree he started working for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission in high schools throughout the Sauk Valley Area. Now Joe works at SVCC in the TRIO program and is excited to continue assisting area students.
photo of Kari WhittenbergKari Whittenberg
TRIO SSS Program Assistant
Kari is a 2013 Sauk Valley Community College graduate who holds a Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems. Shortly after graduation, Kari became employed with SVCC as Administrative Assistant to the TRIO Student Support Services Program. Her experiences as a nontraditional, first generation student drives her desire to assist other students who are in similar situations.