TRiO welcomes new advisors and retention specialists

By Kevin O'Connor
Posted August 4, 2016

TRiO welcomes new advisors and retention specialists

TRIO-Student Support Services welcomes Tam Knapton and Erin Harley as they join with TRIO advising staff Pa Yong Xiong and Tom Boylan. The four TRIO advisors and retention specialists will be working with Metro’s selected undergraduate students who are first generation college students, students who are receiving a Pell grant through federal financial aid and have a documented disability. TRIO-Student Support Services provides a variety of retention services, enriched advising, peer study strategies, mentoring, leadership, and cultural development programming. Tom Boylan is in his sixth year with TRIO. PaYong Xiong begins her third year and has been selected as part of the permanent staffing.


Tam Knapton is coming to us from Saint Paul College where she worked as an academic success coordinator. She got her start in Student Affairs working as a residence hall director at the University of Minnesota. She then transitioned into the academic side and explored the “for profit” world at Globe University before moving into the MnSCU system. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders at UW-Oshkosh and her master’s degree experiential education with an emphasis in student affairs from Minnesota State University Mankato. She is passionate about helping students successfully navigate college and achieve their dreams. In her spare time, Knapton enjoys gardening, reading, cooking, trying new restaurants with friends and being outdoors when the weather is nice.

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Erin Harley lives in Minneapolis and has her master’s degrees in educational psychology: counseling and student personnel psychology and instruction: Grades 5-12 Language Arts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and English from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most recently, she worked at Minnesota State University, Mankato as the advisor for University Extended Education (serving off-site and online programs), and also worked at Saint Paul College as a transfer specialist. She is excited to join the Metropolitan State University community and the TRIO team. She is passionate about studying and working to ensure higher education is appreciative of and accessible to all. Her spouse is a photojournalist, and they have a lively and compassionate 6-year-old daughter who keeps them on their toes.

TRIO Programs are federally funded through the U.S. Department of Education primarily located in lower level of Founder’s Hall L100-L108 complex.