TRIO Student Support Services






Roy Saldana

As the project director, Roy is tasked with the coordination of support services and program components, overall project administration, collaborating with other university student support units, staff supervision, budget administration, and project evaluation.

Roy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Humanistic Studies with a Spanish minor from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. After several years in the workforce, he enrolled in graduate school and eventually earned a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science with a specialization in community informatics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Strengths: Consistency - Discipline - Achiever - Correctedness - Empathy

TRIO Project Director, 312-369-8131,

 Madeline (Maddy) Smith


Madeline Smith graduated with a BA in Game Art from Columbia College Chicago. Maddy now works for Columbia's TRIO office, helping underserved students fully utilize their strengths and abilities to succeed in college and after graduation. Her goal is to provide the resources students need in order to meet their own goals, and work on forming habits for post-college life.


Strengths:  Empathy - Restorative - Individualization - Ideation - Harmony

TRIO Program Associate, (312) 369-8135,


Kahrie (Kar) Mason

Kahrie Mason's mission as an advisor is to serve as a support system for students who have had similar experiences and challenges to the ones he faced in college. As a first-generation college student, Kar's biggest challenge was learning financial literacy and using campus resources. His passion is to provide resources that allow students to empower themselves to reach their full potential while in their studies.

Kar strives to create a safe and inclusive environment for students so that all students feel heard and seen. He is an advocator of communication, empathy, and listening. He feels possessing those three skills allows him to be present in his work and developing holistic relationships with students. Kar loves helping students find themselves in many ways and teaching students the importance of being open minded with their skills.


Strengths:  Input - Consistency - Futuristic - Connectedness - Achiever

TRIO Project Advisor, 312-369-8133,


Elizabeth (Beth) Rodriguez

As TRIO Project Advisor, Elizabeth Rodriguez provides holistic support to assist students with academic options and requirements, transitioning to college, engagement with the community, and baseline career preparation. Elizabeth is passionate about being a resource to students and serving with empathy and compassion.

Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership, both from North Central College. During her years at North Central College, Elizabeth was actively involved in Residence Life, Education Abroad, Multicultural Affairs, Cardinal First (a program for first-generation students), and many other departments on campus. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, traveling, going to concerts, finding new restaurants, and roaming the Flea Market with her Grandma.


Strengths:  Positivity - Includer - Maximizer - Communication - Adaptability

TRIO Project Advisor, 312-369-8132,



Student Workers

James Rabon

James is a current undergraduate student at Columbia College Chicago studying Creative Writing and is minoring in Education. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina and is a first-generation college student. You can often find James in the TRIO suite chatting with TRIO scholars, typing away on his laptop, or taking a nap. James’s career goals are to eventually become a teacher/professor in English, but for now he is thrilled to leading his fellow students towards success.  


Strengths:  Woo - Communication - Ideation - Input - Competition

TRIO Peer Coach, jrabon@colum.eduu 

Antonia (Toni) Butka

Antonia is a current undergraduate student at Columbia College Chicago studying Acting and Film and Television. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, Michigan and loves all things pop culture. At Columbia, she is apart of the Student Programming Board and Outdoor Collective in addition to TRIO. She is so excited to be apart of the TRIO Team and help support students in this amazing program!


Strengths:  Input - Individualization - Achiever - Focus - Woo

TRIO Peer Coach,