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TRiO Student Support Services

Staff Information

Rose Gray
TRiO Program Director

Gray, Rose in office, verticleHi! I joined the Winthrop community in 2005 as the inaugural TRiO SSS Program Director. Each day I have the pleasure of working with a superb group of TRiO professionals and a very lively, motivated group of students.

After completing my undergraduate work at the State University of New York at Buffalo, I received an M.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and an M.A. in Counselor Education from the University of South Florida. I stayed at USF and worked in the University’s Counseling Center as a counselor for 2 years prior to returning to New York where I began my TRiO career. In New York, I worked at Cazenovia College as the Associate Director of a TRiO SSS program. My 10+ years of TRiO experience in New York prepared me well for building Winthrop’s new TRiO program and designing services to help you excel.

When not at Winthrop, I try to balance my family with other interests, such as traveling, FCC activities (Families with Children from China), and schleping my daughter Lily to her various activities!

It’s exciting to be a part of TRiO; I am very passionate about TRiO and providing students with opportunities for success. I look forward to meeting you and helping you reach your educational goals!

Janell Stevens
Senior Academic Counselor

Stevens, Janell in officeHello! My name is Janell Stevens, and I am a native of Hampton, Virginia. In December 2000, I graduated from South Carolina State University with a degree in Psychology. My family and I relocated to Rock Hill, SC in January 2007 when my husband was offered a position at the Small Business Development Center, and I began working as the Program Assistant for TRiO at Winthrop. I was promoted to TRiO Academic Counselor in August 2009 and began my master’s degree in Counseling and Development with a concentration in Community Mental Health. I’m proud to say that I received my Masters of Education in May 2011 from Winthrop!

Outside of TRiO, I love being a mom to my daughters Brianna, Skylyn, and Tori, and wife to Larry Stevens! If you are in the program long enough, you will find out that I love cooking! I also love traveling and singing. I am a family girl and love spending time with them.

I am excited to work with TRiO students and providing them the tools needed to be successful. I’m even more excited about helping all reach your full potential!

Huff, Alicia in office

Alicia Huff
Academic Counselor

Hi! I am Alicia Huff, and I am originally from Greenville, South Carolina. I graduated from Winthrop University in May of 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science. I had the privilege of being in the TRiO program at Winthrop for four years as an undergraduate student. I love TRiO so much that I just couldn’t leave! After graduation, I permanently relocated to Rock Hill and began working with TRiO as an Academic Counselor.

When not at work, I love spending time with my family in Greenville, traveling, and being outdoors! I am so excited to continue working with the students of TRiO and assist them as they reach their academic goals and gain leadership skills.

Mitrovich, Monica in officeMonica Mitrovich
Program Assistant

Hi! My name is Monica Mitrovich. I joined the TRiO team in December 2012. I have a degree in Communications from Cleveland State University where I was a student athlete playing basketball. I am very grateful to work for Winthrop University and to be part of the TRiO family! I love seeing your smiling faces everyday and know that you all have the potential to change the world! If I can be of assistance to you in anyway, just stop by and see me, I’m happy to help!

When not working, I enjoy traveling, especially to the beach! I love learning about and listening to all types of music and really enjoy going to concerts. Most of my time is spent on the run as a busy mother of three!

Jontai BlandingJontai Blanding
Academic Counselor/GA

Greetings!  I am Jontai Blanding, and I hail from St. Stephen, South Carolina.  I graduated with honors from Winthrop University in May of 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, concentration in Accounting.  I am pursuing my Masters in Business Administration, also with a concentration in Accounting.  Although I am new to the TRiO staff, I had the privilege of being a student in the program throughout my undergraduate years.  I love TRiO and helping others so much that I could not pass on the opportunity to work with the program as a graduate assistant.

Outside of TRiO and school, I love playing and watching sports!  I am a huge basketball and football fan, and I recently fell in love with volleyball.  I look forward to competing with and against many of you on Winthrop’s Intramural courts and fields.


Jeff Whatley
Academic Counselor/GA

Hi! My name is Jeff Whatley. I was born and raised in Greenwood, SC. I graduated from Lander University with a bachelors in Mass Communications. I'm earning my masters in School Counseling with hopes of counseling youth or college students one day. My favorite food is chicken and I don't eat cheese. In fact, my favorite pizza is no cheese pizza! I'm a fan of the Carolina Panthers, Disney World, Chick-Fil-A and The Walking Dead. I enjoy traveling, hiking, camping, and backpacking.JeffWhatley