Sasah Tillman Richardson
Manager, Student Advising Center
Sasah is dedicated to insuring that students have the best advising experience possible. She has committed most of her professional life to helping disadvantaged students and families access resources and education. As a former JJC student and long resident of the district, she understands the complexities and challenges of community college students. Sasah transferred from Joliet Junior College in 2003 and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also has a Master of Science in systems based counseling from Northwestern University and holds clinical licensure in the state of IL. Before transitioning to higher ed, Sasah worked in community mental health and schools in Chicago as a counselor/therapist.
Sasah has worked at JJC since 2010 in various advising roles before becoming the Manager. She also brings expertise to the role from her time as an adjunct Counselor at both JJC and Moraine Valley Community College. Additionally, she is active in several professional organizations, such as, NACADA (National Academic Advising Association), NCDA (National Career Development Association), and NODA (Association for Orientation, Transfer and Retention) .
"My absolute passion in life is mentoring and empowering young people. It’s so rewarding to witness them recognize their strengths and work to their full abilities. I found my own passion at JJC and am fortunate to be in a position to help others do the same."
First Year Experience Specialists
Robin began her work with JJC in 2010 as an adjunct faculty member, teaching College Success to new students. She joined the Counseling Department in April 2013 as a part-time Orientation Specialist, and moved into her full-time First Year Experience Specialist position in January 2015 while also continuing her work as an adjunct faculty member. Robin brings extensive orientation and advising experience to the Student Advising Center. Having been a first-generation college student, she also brings a strong commitment to empowering students as they transition into and navigate through their educational journey. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Aurora University, and completed her graduate work in Biological Anthropology with an emphasis on primate behavior at Northern Illinois University. Robin is a member of NACADA (National Academic Advising Association) and NODA (Association for Orientation, Transfer and Retention).
“I enjoy working with JJC students as they transition into their college experience, and am here to help them successfully navigate their educational journey. It’s incredibly exciting and so rewarding to work with students on a daily basis to help them reach their personal and academic goals!”
Brenna joined the Student Advising Center in 2016; bringing more than 14 years of experience in higher education with an extensive background in academic advising, orientation, and transfer educational planning. Brenna brings with her a wealth of knowledge from her previous academic advising roles at Moraine Valley Community College, Northern Illinois University, and Lewis University. As a First Year Experience Specialist, she provides in-depth and skilled academic advising and transfer planning to incoming and continuing students. In addition to her work experience, she holds a Masters of Education in Adult and Higher Education from Northern Illinois University and Bachelors of Arts degree in both Theatre and Communications from Hope College. Brenna is an active member of NACADA (National Academic Advising Association) and NODA (Association for Orientation, Transfer, and Retention).
“I enjoy working with students and supporters and helping them navigate the first year of college; I consider it a privilege to help students pursue their educational and career goals.”
Sean joins the Student Advising Center as a First Year Experience Specialist, coming from Governors State University. At GSU he wore several hats, initially as a Cohort Advisor and Coordinator of New Student Programs, and most recently as the Coordinator for The Male Success Initiative. Prior to GSU, Sean worked at Prairie State College for over 10 years, also serving in several capacities: Career Advisor, Academic Advisor, Coordinator of Student Leadership, and Coordinator of the Protege Program. Sean loves working with students, to ensure they are "properly educated about becoming educated". He has worked in both academic affairs and student affairs, and being a first generation college student himself, he understands the complexities and intimidation first year students face when deciding to go to college. Sean earned his Associate and Bachelor degrees from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, his Masters of Arts degree from Governors State University, and is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
"Advisors are the pathway between students' dreams and their realities, and being able to contribute to a students' success is a privilege and a serious responsibility."
Student Success Coaches
Matthew came to JJC as a Student Success Coach after working at National Louis University in the College of Education as a Graduate Advisor. Matthew helped students navigate program and state requirements in order to obtain their teaching license and degree. He also worked for as a Student Success Coach at Colorado Technical University managing and coaching a cohort of undergraduate student through their degree programs. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from DePaul University, and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Governors State University. Before entering higher education Matthew was a high school teacher and track coach for thirteen years.
Before accepting the position of Student Success Coach, “Lisa” Rivera worked at JJC as an Adjunct Counselor and College Success Instructor. Lisa is a skilled advisor with an in-depth understanding of the complexities of JJC students. She has spent the last seventeen years providing academic advising, educational planning and coaching, and personal support to students. She also worked as a Lead Mentor and Coordinator for the Project Success mentoring program. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Social Work from New Mexico State University and a Master of Social Work from University of Southern California. Before her time in higher education Lisa spent many years working in the mental health field as a clinician and administrator.
Kim has extensive experience as an academic and career advisor. She came to JJC from Waubonsee Community College where she was a Career and Transition Advisor for the Adult Education program. There she provided academic and career advising, assisted students with the transition from adult education to post-secondary education and employment, and provided regular support to students to aid in retention. Kim also brings a wealth of advising experience and knowledge from her previous academic and career advising positions at the University of Akron, Wayne College, and Indiana University. Kim holds both a Master’s degree in College Student Personnel and Bachelor’s in Secondary Education from Bowling Green State University. Kim is active in NACADA (National Academic Advising Association), NCPN (National Career Pathways Network), and IACEA (Illinois Adult and Continuing Educators Association).
Kandis is a proud alumnus of Joliet Junior College, where she earned her Associates of Arts degree in Accounting. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Governor’s State University. Kandis brings experience from her work at the college as an Educational Outreach Specialist for the Educational Talent Search TRIO Program. In this role she was responsible for recruiting, supporting, and tracking the success of over 800 high school students. She also developed and planned several student programs and workshops with the purpose of transitioning high school students from underrepresented groups successfully to college. Kandis also previously worked as a Secretary in the Fine Arts Department. In addition to her work in higher education, Kandis is a Youth Volunteer in Chicago’s Lawndale community. In her free time she mentors, tutors, and provides overall support to disadvantage youth.
Mariah came to Joliet Junior College as a Student Success Coach after managing and advising cohorts of public health graduate students, who were obtaining their degrees fully onlin with Benedictine University. Mariah helped students navigate their program and acquire internships to complete their practicum hours needed for their public health program. Mariah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University. Before becoming an Advisor, Mariah started her higher education career as a Residence Hall Director at Rockford University.
Giovanni earned a Bachelor's degree in Communications with a minor in Spanish as well as a Master of Science in Sports and Leadership from DePaul University. While completing his education, he worked as a radio host for Chicago's Spanish station, Univision Radio, where he covered academic segments. Giovanni worked with DePaul's New Student Orientation program as a Student Center Manager while acting as a Spanish liaison for many first-generation college students. He also worked as a First-Year Advisor at DeVry University. Giovanni has coaching experience on and off the field! He previously coached soccer at JFK Middle School in Plainfield and is an assistant men's soccer coach at Joliet Junior College. Giovanni habla español.
A friendly Student Advising Center office staff member will be ready to greet you as you call or come into the center. They will ask a few simple questions and then walk you through steps to meet with an advisor or direct you to the correct location.
Office staff members schedule appointments, respond to email messages, assist students with navigating JJC technology, and provide overall excellent customer service to students, parents, and supporters.
Aura "Alina" Rupnow