First Year Advising Staff


Dr. Tarah Sweeting-Trotter, Director of CASADr. Tarah Sweeting-Trotter

I live in Springfield with my husband and three children. I have been with UIS since 2008 with 12 years of experience in higher education. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in English from MacMurray College, a Master’s Degree in English from UIS, and a Ph.D. in English with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Saint Louis University. I have taught in various departments across campus including English, Capital Scholars Honors, Sociology/Anthropology, and Women and Gender Studies. I have also worked as an advisor and as the coordinator of the STARS living-learning community and the UIS Summer Bridge Program. When I am not working, I enjoy recreational and competitive running, watching and coaching my children’s athletic activities and reading.

First Year Advisors

Patrick Anderson, Advisor Patrick Anderson headshot

I  love to hear the stories of people when I meet them. Allow me to tell you mine: Patrick G. Anderson Avilés was born and raised in Honduras, Central America. After getting a B.A. in Journalism and a M. A. in Geography from Louisiana State University, he returned to Central America, where he taught high school for several years. During his stint as a Social Studies teacher, Patrick was awarded a Scholarship for an M. Ed. which he completed in 2004. Following his childhood dreams, he then pursued aviation and flew as a turbo-prop Captain “island hopping” in the Western Caribbean. At UIS, he has served as a Writing Specialist for the Learning Hub.  Furthermore, he has been an instructor for the ECCE Speaker Series, and a couple of University courses. Residing now in Chatham IL, Patrick enjoys reading, travelling, and spending quality time with family. Besides learning some jazz piano,  acoustic guitar, and bass, laying down an intricate World Beat groove on his drum set is also one of his favorite pastimes. Patrick is professionally fluent in English, Spanish, and able to converse in très basique French.​

Lori Benedict, AdvisorLori

I am a central Illinois native that has worked in higher education in many capacities. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling, along with Diversity in Management and Higher Education Management Advanced Certificates. My passion is student success and I have spent my entire career with that goal in mind. First in secondary special education, then in a variety of higher education positions including ISTEP Coordinator, Workforce Director, Psychology and Sociology Instructor, Financial Aid Advisor, and Academic Advisor. My goal here at UIS is to help students find their path, be it original or newly formed. My focus is on positively supporting student academic success while helping students see the value of their education and its later practical application to their career choice. Email:

Mae Noll, Advisormae noll

I am a Springfield native and longtime UIS presence. I completed my B.A. at Illinois College, my Masters at UIUC, and my teaching certificate at UIS. Prior to joining the UIS staff, I worked in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs at UIUC and Springfield College in Illinois. I focus on supporting student academic success, while matching students with opportunities for personal growth and leadership development. I want our students to feel part of a community that values them as individuals, supports them as scholars, and prepares them for life outside of the institution. E-mail:

Carlleen Benoit, AdvisorCarlleen Benoit headshot

Carlleen earned a BS in English from MacMurray College and a MA in Communication from UIS, After nearly five years as a journalist, she returned to her native central Illinois to continue her career in higher education and teaching. Carlleen now serves as an Academic Advisor and STARS Coordinator in the Center for Academic Success and Advising (CASA) at UIS. She works closely with the CASA team to help students succeed at UIS by helping them access resources they need to successfully navigate their journeys through college. When she isn’t helping students, Carlleen enjoys recreational volleyball, reading, and traveling.

Nicole Hager, Director of Academic Support Services for AthleticsFullSizeRender (1)

I am the 1st Director of Academic Support Services for Athletics in partnership between athletics and OASIS. My responsibilities include serving as academic advisor to undergraduate student athletes. I came to UIS from Robert Morris University where I served as a professor for 11 years. I also served as Faculty Advisor for the Eagle Scholar Program. I have a BA and MA in English from UIS and PhD work in American Literature from St. Louis University. I live in Springfield with my husband Peter and daughter Caroline. Email:

Bri Edgar, Athletics AdvisorBri Headshot

I am really excited to be working as an Academic Advisor for Athletics. I played softball at UIS for 4 years and graduated in 2017 with a BA in Clinical/Counseling Psychology with a minor in Public Health. After graduating from UIS, I attended SIUE and obtained a MS in Kinesiology with a specialization in Exercise and Sport Psychology in 2019. I have also worked at Louisiana Tech as a GA in athletic development before returning to UIS in 2019 and serving as an Office Support Specialist in The Learning Hub. I always knew I wanted to work within college athletics and have a positive impact on the academic and athletic experience. When I am not working, you can find me at any sporting event, running, or spending time with loved ones.

College Advisors

Craig McFarland, College Advisorheadshot Craig McFarland

I am excited to work with you throughout your time at UIS. Originally I am from the Quad City area, I moved to Springfield over a decade ago to attend the University of Illinois Springfield. While I was on campus, I earned both my BA and MA in political science. I loved being on a college campus so much, that it was clear I’d like to spend my career close to college students. After graduation I worked at Lincoln Land Community College as a financial aid advisor for five years. In 2017 I returned to UIS as an academic advisor. Primarily I work with students in the sciences, as well as sociology/anthropology majors. I am heavily involved in community theater and the arts throughout the Springfield area. I also host several podcasts, and really enjoy talking movies and all things pop culture.

Andy Egizi, College Advisor

Coming soon!

Michelle Kenny, College Advisor

Coming soon!

John Snyder, College Advisor

Coming soon!

Robin Vansacik, College Advisor

Coming soon!

Student Workers

The Peer Advisor Program provides support to help new students transition into college life. New students who are undecided about their major are assigned to a Peer Advisor who can help provide direction. Peer Advisors also help new students understand the purpose and importance of general education and ECCE requirements, assist students with the social and emotional adjustments of being away from home, and guide students in how to successfully manage the multiple demands of college life.

Coming soon!