TRIO Student Support Services


Student Support Services (RISE) is a federally-funded TRIO program that provides opportunities for academic development, assists scholars in meeting college requirements, and serves to motivate scholars towards the successful completion of their post-secondary education. Although each program is different, we all have the same purpose: to retain and graduate the scholars we serve. Check out our mission, goals, & objectives for TRIO RISE at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts below.

Services Offered

Academic Support

  • Academic Advising
  • Academic Tutoring
  • Degree Program Planning
  • Graduate School Counseling
  • Personal Support

Enrichment & Personal Development

  • Career Guidance
  • College Success Workshops
  • Cultural Enrichment Activities
  • Leadership Conferences
  • External Opportunities

Educational & Personal Resources


Applicants must be currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment at MCLA; be a U.S. citizen or National of the United States or meet the requirements for federal student financial assistance; and have at least ONE of the following apply to you:

  • You are a first-generation college student (neither parent nor guardian had a bachelor's degree as of your 18th birthday);
  • You are income eligible according to federal guidelines;
  • You have a documented disability.

RISE enrollment is limited. All services are provided at no cost to scholars. 

Ready to apply for the TRIO RISE Program? Start the application process today.


Application Process

graphic showing apply, intake, verify, decision


Please complete our short application form and we will be notified of your application as soon as it is submitted. Make sure to read the questions carefully and respond to each one.

Step 2: INTAKE

Within 24 business hours, you will be contacted by a member of the office to schedule an intake interview. The interview is approximately 30 minutes and consists of standard questions, program overview, and expectations.

Step 3: VERIFY

Upon conditional acceptance we will reach out to Enrollment,  Financial Aid, and Disability Resources to verify status (if needed).


Upon verification of FG/LI/DI an official admission decision will be sent and you will be eligible for all TRIO resources and services.


Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA prepares its graduates to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

The TRIO Student Support Services Program (SSS) at MCLA empowers first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities to explore and engage with their educational, professional, and personal goals. SSS offers comprehensive academic and personal support designed to assist with retention, academic success, and persistence to graduate.

Respect: We approach every individual with their unique ideas, beliefs, cultures, personal situations, values, priorities, and objectives in mind. Empathy, consideration, and willingness to help is at the forefront of every interaction. We remain dedicated and patient in all situations to live up to our core value of respect.

Inclusivity: We welcome and serve a range of diverse people who are valued, accepted, and appreciated. We are committed to creating a climate and culture of mutual respect that represents and honors diversity. We remain vigilant and cognizant of the individuality and uniqueness each student brings to live up to our core value of inclusivity.

Scholarship: The RISE program instills and nurtures a passion for learning that goes beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge. Through a student-centered approach to learning we challenge thinking to encourage growth and exploring possibilities within a supportive environment. We empower learners to rise to their highest potential. We continuously empower learners to rise to their highest potential to live up to our core value of scholarship.

Equity: Honesty and transparency are a commitment of this program to allow us to do what is best for our students and the MCLA community. We acknowledge that our current social and economic systems are unjust, so we boldly marshal our resources to advance equitable opportunities for all in order to live up to our core value of equity.

The RISE program at MCLA will meet the following grant objectives:

  • Serve 160 scholars each year.
  • Assure that 2/3 of scholars qualify as first-generation and low-income, or disabled.
  • 70% of all scholars serviced will persist from one academic year to the beginning of the next academic year.
  • 77% of all enrolled scholars served by Student Support Services will meet the performance level required to stay in good academic standing.
  • 40% of new scholars served each year will graduate within six years.


Dr. Alicia M. Reddin, Director

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers

Alicia ReddinDr. Reddin serves as the Director of TRIO Student Support Services (RISE). Dr. Reddin’s own experience as a first generation, low income, student with a disability has driven her to dedicate her career to supporting and advocating for equity and access to a quality education leveraging a strengths-based approach. Dr. Reddin joins us from Suffolk University in Downtown Boston where she was the Director for the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) TRiO program.

A United States Navy Veteran, Dr. Reddin holds a PhD in Educational Studies with a specialization in Adult Learning and Development from Lesley University. Dr. Reddin’s research led to the use of intersectionality and self-care as foundations for TRiO programming, which she looks forward to continuing to expand at MCLA.

She is a devoted wife and mother of two. In her spare time she enjoys binging Netflix, being on the beach, playing softball, and traveling.

Dr. Kristopher K. Merceron, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his 

Kris photoDr. Kristopher K. Merceron serves as the Assistant Director for the TRiO Student Support Services program. Dr. Merceron joins us from Valencia College in Kissimmee Florida where he has served as the Program Director for Speech and the New Student Experience. Dr. Merceron also works as a Communications Instructor for Suffolk University’s Veterans Upward Bound TRiO Program and has previously taught at the University of Tampa and Hillsborough Community College. He maintains instructional experience and program development within corporate and higher education.

Dr. Merceron holds a Bachelor's Degree in Health Sciences from the University of South Florida, a Master's Degree in Corporate and Organizational Communications from Northeastern University,  and a PhD in Educational Studies specializing in Adult Learning and Development from Lesley University. Dr. Mercerons dissertation research focused on leadership opportunities for Black male college students in predominantly White social fraternities. Additionally, Dr. Merceron is the co-author of Managing Nervousness as a Public Speaker, and he has a passion for teaching public speaking and communications, particularly discussing nervousness and anxiety. Dr. Merceron has also served as a reviewer for the Journal of Technology & Higher Education: Emerging Practice.

AnnaMaria Sebastino

Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

AnnaMaria photoAnnaMaria Sebastino serves as the Program Coordinator of TRiO Student Support Services (RISE). AnnaMaria is a first-generation student who has had to be resourceful in finding a way to complete her degree through The University of Alabama as a Distance Learning Student. She will graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Human Environmental Sciences in the Fall of 2022. AnnaMaria served as the Academic Leader for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Kids2College Program as well as the Program Assistant for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Adult Basic Education Program. Prior to coming to MCLA, AnnaMaria oversaw Berkshire County for The Support Network as a Family Support Specialist, providing support and advocacy to families with children who have social/emotional and/or behavioral challenges and helping them navigate systems of care and community resources. She is a member of Berkshire Business and Professional Women (BBPW) and participates in their mentorship program and is also a graduate of 1Berkshire's Berkshire Leadership Program. 

Contact Us!

Freel Library, Lower Level
Phone Number: 413.662.5075 

To schedule a virtual meeting with a TRiO Professional click here.

MCLA students applying for themselves click here.

If you are a member of the MCLA Faculty and/or Staff and would like to make a referral click here.

If you are not an employee of MCLA but would like to refer someone click here.

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