UALR's Delta Educational Opportunity Center News

A Brighter Future
January 31, 2018
By Special to Seark Today

Original Source:


William Mullenax, a resident at the Sobriety Living Center in Pine Bluff, has new hope. He is working toward something that can never be taken away from him: a college education.

Mullenax recently enrolled in college for the first time with the help of Delta Educational Opportunity Center and is attending classes at Southeast Arkansas College.

“I am proud of myself,” Mullenax said. “I wish my grandparents, who raised me, were here to see me going to school clean and sober.”

His new goals include giving back to his community. After completing an Associates of Arts in accounting at Southeast Arkansas College, he wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting and join the staff at Sobriety Living to help others, like him.

Mullenax is one of six Sobriety Living residents served by Delta EOC that is attending college this year.

“Delta EOC assisted me with the entire financial aid process, school enrollment and testing,” Mullenax said.

The Delta Educational Opportunity Center is an outreach program hosted by the University of Arkansas-Little Rock that serves Southeast Arkansas. As a federal TRIO program, it provides college access assistance to first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. The program has maintained a partnership with Sobriety Living Center since May 2016. Each month, Keisha Smith, a Delta EOC counselor, visits the center to assist participants like Mullenax with financial aid, college admission applications, and financial literacy.

“When I first met William he had goals but was unsure of how to accomplish them,” Smith said. “After sitting down and developing a plan by exploring local colleges and programs, his goals started to become realities. It was awesome to be a part of William’s transition. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.”

Jennifer Stewart, the facility coordinator at Sobriety Living Center, said the Sobriety Living Center is very thankful for the partnership with Delta EOC. “We pride ourselves on being a family, and have truly gained new family members through this partnership,” she said. “They have come into our facility and provided hope to the men. They let them know obtaining a higher education is not impossible.”

The Sobriety Living Center was founded in April of 2008 by Myra and Kent Rinehart as a licensed, transitional living center through Arkansas Community Corrections (ACC) that assists men coming out of prison in battling their various addictions. SLC staff teach facility residents how to live a productive lifestyle in order to eliminate the potential for recidivism. Sobriety Living focuses on prevention, intervention, family reunification, and career and after care to individuals with substance abuse problems. It is a non-profit program relying solely on self-pay residents and transitional funding.

Delta Educational Opportunity Center Counselors

Delta Educational Opportunity Center Counselors

Delta EOC is a proud partner of Sobriety Living Center.

For more information on the Delta EOC program call 501-907-2470 or visit

Presidential Update--February 2018

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone has survived all the rain that Arkansas has been receiving for the last week. I have some updates for the membership. I do apologize for not emailing you all sooner, however, the flu invaded my household and finally- we are now flu free!

Constitutional Changes Ballots: The ballots have been counted and due to not having 2/3 of the membership return ballots, the measure has failed. We have 164 members of AASAP and only 89 ballots were returned. However, the board has decided to develop a committee to review the Constitution and By-laws in order to best serve the needs of the membership. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact me or complete the google form .

I would really like to have this committee in place within the next couple of weeks.

TRIO Day: Thank you ASU Beebe for hosting TRIO Day this past weekend. Thank you to all the schools that braved the rain and flooding to attend a great TRIO Day! My students bragged on how great it was the whole drive home. If you did not attend, please make plans to try to bring your students next year! It is a wonderful way to have all TRIO programs together to celebrate the great things TRIO does every day for our students!

Hall of Fame: If you did not submit a Hall of Fame student for TRIO Day, there is still time! Sharon Scudder is still collecting Hall of Fame nominees. Please email completed nomination form, student’s picture, and 300 words or less biography to Sharon Scudder at Please make your selection as soon as possible and submit this form no later than Wednesday, February 28, 2018. I would love to have several stories from Arkansas to have in the Fact Book for Policy.

COE Policy Seminar: COE Policy Seminar is fast approaching. If you are planning on attending Policy this year and have not contacted me, please do so. I am making congressional appointments and I would like to have a estimated number of AASAP members that will be attending Policy this year. With the PROSPER Act and possible budget cuts it is so important for TRIO to have student stories and advocates for our programs. I hope that EVERYONE considers traveling to our nation's capital for this. We are in a crucial time and EVERY TRIO program is on the line, not just EOC and McNair. We need as many advocates and stories we can get.

Spring Leadership: Save the date for Spring Leadership at UAFS on March 26, 2018. I hope to see all of you at Spring Leadership this year.

If there is anything that I can do to assist you or if you have questions regarding any of the above information, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Ronda McLelland


Arkansas Association of Student Assistance Programs (AASAP) (870) 612-2024

Presidential Updates--January 2018

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful break and are ready for the upcoming year. I am so excited about the possibilities that a new year brings. Here I have some updates for the upcoming year.

Constitutional Changes Ballots: Just a reminder that all ballots need to be returned and postmarked no later than January 12, 2018 (this Friday). If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. If you have not received a ballot, please contact me as soon as possible.

TRIO Day: Big Thank You to ASU Beebe for hosting this year’s TRIO Day Olympics: Go for the Gold! TRIO Day will be held on February 24, 2018. Registration will begin at 8:30am and the program will begin at 9:30am and conclude at 2pm with campus tours available to those interested. Be on the look out for the registration form in next week! I look forward to seeing all of our students at TRIO Day.

Hall of Fame: It is time again to recognize our Hall of Famers! The Hall of Fame is an effort to showcase the array of students within Arkansas TRIO Program by noting their various academic and civic accomplishments. Each individual TRIO program can nominate one participant for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame nominees will be recognized during the Arkansas TRIO Day Program which will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the ASU Beebe campus.

Please email completed nomination form, student’s picture, and 300 words or less biography to Sharon Scudder at Please make your selection as soon as possible and submit this form no later than Friday, February 9, 2018.

COE Policy Seminar: The application for the Policy stipend is OPEN! Please click the link below and submit your application for free money to go toward your Policy expenses! AASAP and SWASAP partner to ensure Arkansas TRIO programs are represented on Capitol Hill as we advocate for our programs. Both organizations have pooled money together and every active AASAP member AND/OR Arkansas TRIO alum is invited to apply for this

Policy is a great way to connect with the TRIO cause on the federal level. For more information on this event, please visit the Council of Opportunity's website by clicking this link. Please note, there are registration discounts for newcomers. The SWASAP ELI class of 2015 made a video highlighting why you should go to Policy in Washington DC. Check it out!

The 2018 Stipend application can be found clicking this link.

The application deadline is January 17, 2018.

I hope that EVERYONE considers travelling to our nation's capital for this. We are in a crucial time and EVERY TRIO program is on the line, not just EOC and McNair. We need as many advocates and stories we can get.

I look forward to serving the membership this upcoming year! If there is anything that I can do to assist you or if you have questions regarding any of the above information, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Ronda McLelland AASAP President 870-612-2024

November 28, 2017: Vote on Constitutional Changes

At the fall conference, on October 3, 2017, the AASAP Executive Board received a petition from the membership proposing changes in the constitution. The petition was signed by 81 active members. These signatures were verified by secretary Shawna McKenzie-Neal and given to president Michelle Ciesielski on October 4, 2017. For the following months, the president worked to ensure the most up-to-date constitution was being utilized before any changes were voted on. The 8/20/2008 constitution on the website was found to be the most updated version. The following is the petition that was received:

Petition to strike "Fall" Conference and "Spring" Leadership in the Constitution of AASAP to be changed to "Annual" Conference and "Annual Leadership Institute.

And under Article 7, Section 2 strike "213" (as it already says two-thirds(2/3)).

As stated in the AASAP Constitution, this proposed amendment must be made available to all members at least 30 days before the expected action. This will be done on AASAP's website, social media accounts that direct members to the website, and email.

As stated in the AASAP Constitution, ballots will be mailed to each active member. This will be done via United States Postal Service, as the Constitution does not state electronic mail as an acceptable method. Each member shall indicate "for" or "against," sign the ballot and return it.

Members are strongly encouraged to review the AASAP Constitution before voting. Please be looking for updates on this issue.

Thank you,

Michelle Ciesielski President

Updates for AASAP Membership

Hi AASAP membership!

Thank you for all who donated $5 yesterday in honor of Valentine’s Fair Share! If you didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because you believe it is just another attempt for corporate America to line the pockets of big florists and chocolatiers, well guess what! You can still donate today since it’s back to being a normal day! ;-) Click here to donate!

I just wanted to remind you that Hall of Fame nominees are being accepted. TOMORROW is the deadline to submit your nominee. We would love if every program submitted one exceptional student! You do not need to attend TRIO day to nominate someone.

The deadline to register for TRIO day in Batesville is next Friday, February 24.

Click here to access the Hall of Fame nomination form and/or register for TRIO day!

Spring Leadership information will be released soon! Look for an email in the upcoming week!

As always, we continue to collect APR from programs to utilize for advocacy materials on the Hill next month. We are getting down to the wire. PLEASE submit those to me as soon as possible! If you want to sort through data we still need volunteers!

Thanks again for all you do, serving students and our organization!

Michelle Ciesielski

AASAP Membership Updates

Good evening, membership,

First, with great sadness I would like to ask the membership please keep Donna Mooney and her family in their thoughts and prayers. Donna’s son, Stephen Green, passed away and was laid to rest on Saturday. A child who precedes his parents in death is devastating. This news makes everyone's hearts heavy. I know the TRIO family is reaching out to Donna and her family with love and support during this difficult time. Please send condolences to 7909 Trophy Circle, Pine Bluff AR 71603.

TRIO Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville! The theme is “Be a Superhero for TRIO!” Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite superhero shirt or costume. The day will include the Coins for College Scholarship opportunity, Purse Project – a community service project, a special welcome gift for participants, Hall of Fame recognition, lunch, and campus tours of UACCB and Lyon college. Registration is $25/participant. The deadline to register is Friday, February 24. To register for the event please click here. If you have any questions about TRIO Day please contact Dorianne Dias at or 870-612-2140. For questions about registration, please contact Jeanette Youngblood, AASAP Past-President, at or 870-307-7263.

Hall of Fame nominations are now being accepted! Even if you are unable to participate in TRIO Day, we encourage your program to nominate one participant to be included in the Arkansas TRIO Hall of Fame. All nominees (whether in attendance or not) will be recognized. Please click here to visit the TRIO Day event on our website and access the nomination form. When completed, submit to Beka Sharp at

There is a position opening at SAU for a Tutor Coordinator. To access this, please click here. Feel free to forward this opportunity to anyone who may be interested.

Please continue to submit your APR for advocacy publications when we go to Policy next month! So far we have had a decent response, but nowhere near enough. We will begin compiling the information this week. I really hope everyone can be involved in this and we can be the fanciest state on the Hill with our eye-catching, data-driven supplemental materials. Please email me at and I will see your data is included in the pool.

If there are any announcements you would like to include in the next update, please let myself or your AASAP representative Carol Gilley know. Her email is

Thank you all, once again, for everything you do. Since becoming president, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your feedback and people stepping up to help out. This organization is truly strong when everyone chips in. If you haven’t gotten involved yet, feel free to reach out and we will gladly help you find your home in this organization. You don’t have to wait for a new semester or a new year to jump in.

Until next time,

Michelle Ciesielski

(501) 362-1233

UAPB Upward Bound Director Position

Upward Bound Director (12-Month; Grant Funded) The Upward Bound Program provides fundamental support to program participants in their preparation for college entrance. Serves high school students from low-income families & students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education & enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. Duties: The Upward Bound Director reports to the Dean of the School of Education & directs, plans, implements & coordinates program activities for the Upward Bound program; administers & manages budgets; responsible for making final selection of program participants; responsible for submitting Annual Performance Report to funding agency; maintains program coordination with University administration & faculty, target schools, community organizations; & performs other duties as needed for the efficient operation of the program.

Minimum Qualifications: Master’s degree in education, administration, guidance counseling, college student personnel services, social work, or a related field; a minimum of 3 years of administrative and/or teaching experience; experience in grant writing; direct work experience with low-income & ethnic minority students; experience in program & curriculum development; 3 years of budgetary experience; demonstrate good interpersonal skills, be committed to effective collaboration with colleagues, & exhibit excellent written & oral communication skills.

Salary: Salary is competitive & commensurate with qualification & experience. Qualified individuals must submit a UAPB application for employment, resume, and college/university transcripts, & 3 letters of recommendation to:

Upward Bound Search Committee Human Resources Department University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 1200 N. University Drive Mail Slot #4942 Pine Bluff, AR 71601

“UAPB is and Equal Employment/Affirmative Action Employer and full participation by Women and Minority Groups is encouraged.” E-Verify Employer

Important Information and Upcoming Deadlines

Hello AASAP membership!

The first meeting was held with the new board yesterday. Here are the highlights you need to know.


The board would like to reopen the stipend application for anyone interested in going to COE Policy. Programs do not always cover the cost of attendance, so this stipend is helpful for individuals needing additional funding. The link for the application is below. Applications are due January 31.

< Please click here for stipend application. >

The board would also like to consider taking student alumni. If you have any alumni from your program who are now professionals that could be interested in participating in Policy as an advocate for TRIO programs, please check with them and refer them to us by January 31. An alumni presence is a powerful narrative for our legislators and it would be a fantastic experience for any of our TRIO student alumni.

If you are going to Policy, please let me know. I will be making appointments to talk to legislators and we can split into groups to maximize our time on the Hill. Knowing who is coming ahead of time and assigning them to their district's representative will be more effective for our group.


A vacancy has opened in the AASAP ELI Class of 2017. This is an opportunity for professionals to get involved in the organization and develop their leadership skills. You do not necessarily have to be a new professional to benefit from the ELI. Because AASAP wants to invest in the future leaders of this organization, costs of transportation and meals will be covered. If you are interested in applying for this, please fill out the attached application and submit to by January 31.


Our treasurer position has opened up. Michelle Hardin has served this organization dutifully in this position for more than two years and unfortunately has resigned her post. Michelle has prepared by getting the books in order and ready for a pain-free transition. If you are interested in fulfilling this vacant position, please respond back to me by January 31. The board will appoint someone to this position for the entirety of the 2017 year.


If anyone is interested in serving a smaller role, please let me know and we can put you on a committee! Examples of some committees include membership, budget, public relations, regional and national issues committee, Fair Share, scholarships, and fall conference conference committee. Committees are where the real stuff happens and you can make an impact in the organization. I know there is real, and sometimes untapped talent in our state. I hope we can put it to use!

A new administration in our government always brings uncertainty and there is no better time to get more involved in our cause. The AASAP membership continues to be a leader for TRIO professionals across the country. We are currently the third highest state in personal contributions (only behind California and Kansas). Thank you so much for what you continue to do for our students, our organization, and our cause. I feel privileged to serve as your president this year and am always open to any ideas or feedback you may have. I look forward to working with you all!


Michelle Ciesielski

(501) 362-1233

ATU Upward Bound Video

The Arkansas Tech University Upward Bound programs collaborated with their Marketing & Communications office to create a video to share with their congressmen and representatives. According to Jill Hendricks, Director of Upward Bound Projects, "I’m very proud of our current students and alum for sharing the impact of the program."

Congressman Westerman Visits HSU TRIO Programs

November 10, 2016 - Mr. Bruce Westerman, U.S. Representative for Arkansas's 4th Congressional District visited the Henderson State University campus in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Mr. Westerman was greeted by Dr. Glendell Jones, President, Henderson State University, Dr. Lewis Shepherd, Vice President for Student and External Affairs, and Mrs. Kathy Muse, TRiO Director. Mr. Westerman began his visit by talking with TRiO students representing Student Support Services, McNair Scholars and Veterans Upward Bound along with program staff. Each student shared their personal history, academic major, and the services provided by TRiO that have contributed to their college success. SPC. Kevin Maxey, Veterans Upward Bound, shared the fact that he is presently not in school because he will be deploying to Africa next month.

Mr. Westerman also toured the Disability Resource Center hosted by Student Support Services Disability Director Mrs. Beverly Quillin. The Congressman was provided demonstrations on adaptive equipment used to assist students with learning and physical disabilities. He also visited with two students who were working on a class project and receiving tutoring.

Mr. Westerman visited the Educational Opportunity Center hosted by Mrs. Lou May, the Educational Talent Search program hosted by Mrs. Robin Chastain and the Veterans Upward Bound program hosted by Ms. Shawna McKenzie and several veterans.

Veterans Upward Bound (L to R): &nbsp;  SPC Kevin Maxey, &nbsp;2LT Jermaine Thurston, SPC. D’Anntionnette Wester,&nbsp;  Lee Hunter, and Jeremy Brents

Veterans Upward Bound (L to R):  SPC Kevin Maxey,  2LT Jermaine Thurston, SPC. D’Anntionnette Wester, Lee Hunter, and Jeremy Brents

Student Support Services, McNair, and Veterans Upward Bound (L to R): &nbsp;&nbsp;SPC. Kevin Maxey, 2LT Jermaine Thurston, &nbsp;SPC D’Anntionnette, Sierra Stormes, Raul Arce, and Tanner Oglesby&nbsp;

Student Support Services, McNair, and Veterans Upward Bound (L to R):   SPC. Kevin Maxey, 2LT Jermaine Thurston,  SPC D’Anntionnette, Sierra Stormes, Raul Arce, and Tanner Oglesby 

Congressman Westerman and Beverly Quillin, SSS Resource Center Director

Congressman Westerman and Beverly Quillin, SSS Resource Center Director

Congressman Westerman and Matthew Chappa

Congressman Westerman and Matthew Chappa

Thank You!


On behalf of the Board, I want to publicly acknowledge and thank our President, Jeanette Youngblood, for her service to the Association which has reached above and beyond any anticipated requirements! Please know that our oversight in showing our appreciation at the conference was a demonstration of our humanity in delegating tasks of a vacant President-Elect position and in no way a reflection of the amount of gratitude, love, and respect we have for her. Jeanette serves this Board and AASAP with heart, drive, and passion, and we are all the better because of it.

Jeanette has inspired each of us in different ways exercising her leadership roles with kindness, warmth, and humor. Her commitment to developing professionals in TRIO is evidenced in everything she does, and we have been blessed as recipients of that investment. Please join us in demonstrating our sincerest thanks to her by commenting below or emailing her your own words of appreciation. (Maybe we should skip a phone call for now since she's knee-deep in grant-writing?)

It has been an honor serving you alongside Jeanette, and we look forward to continuing to serve in 2017 whether on the incoming Board or in the committee work we will assume. We are proud of the work of TRIO programs and proud to have a strong state association in Arkansas. Thank you for your part in making us all "TRIO Strong."


Michelle Hardin

AASAP Treasurer

On Behalf of the 2016 AASAP Board: Shola McFadden-Kittrell, Shawna McKenzie, Billy Ray Huggins, Kathy Fincher, Josue Ramirez, Jennifer Harrington,

Arkansas Exceeds Fair Share Goal

Thanks to all of our TRIO professionals, Arkansas finished the 2016 COE Fair Share year at 104% and SWASAP finished the year at 110%! Thank you to to each of the programs that pushed their membership renewals through the payment process at their institutions and to everyone who dug into their own pockets to make a personal contribution.

The breakdown for Arkansas's 2016 Fair Share Contributions:
Inst. Membership: $81,218.00
Personal Contributions: $8,749.16
Total Contributions: $89,967.16

Also based on information I received from COE, 7 of the 10 regions reached their Fair Share goal along with 43 States and 1 Territory.

Again, thank you AASAP members for pushing Arkansas's Fair Share to 104% for 2016!!

Jeanette Youngblood
AASAP President

Position Opening at UA Fayetteville

Talent Search Programs at the University of Arkansas is seeking applications for Administrative Support Supervisor (30 hours per week). The successful candidate will assist with the organization and administration of daily office operations; train and evaluate student support staff; maintain student files, personnel records, and budget/inventory records in compliance with institutional, federal, and U.S. Department of Education regulations; make staff/student travel arrangements; process travel requests, leave, purchases, and reimbursements using the institution's BASIS system; oversee hourly/work study payroll; conduct student tracking; and assist directors and search chairs with advertising and the coordination of personnel searches. The position is governed by state and federal laws and agency/institutional policy.

The University of Arkansas is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The University welcomes applications without regard to age, race, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, religion, marital or parental status, protected veteran status, military service, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity. Persons must have proof of legal authority to work in the United States on the first day of employment. All applicant information is subject to public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

To apply, visit:

Personal Giving Challenge

Earlier today Mary Kate Snow, SWASAP President and AASAP Member, made the following challenge to AASAP members via our Arkansas TRIO Facebook page.

Good morning to my AASAP family and greetings from Washington and COE. At my resource development meeting I learned that we have not meet our goal in personal giving. I am challenging everyone in AASAP to a spontaneous day of giving. Please donate 10 dollars today in honor of one of your graduates. Please comment to commit that you will give your ten dollars and give a special shoutout to honor your student.

Each year Arkansas is asked to meet our Fair Share in giving to COE and as a state we have not yet met our goal for the current year ending in June. So please consider making a personal contribution today to COE. It is very easy and can be done online at:

It took less than a minute for me to make my own personal contribution and I ask that you please consider taking a few minutes to make your online contribution as well! And, if you made your contribution in honor of a special student or group of students, give them a shout-out on the Arkansas TRIO Facebook page.

Jeanette Youngblood
AASAP President

President's Update for May 2016

I hope that each of you have had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and fantastic sunshine that May has ushered in. I do have a few updates that I want to share with you.

AASAP Scholarships

The AASAP Scholarship competition is now open. As with last year, all AASAP scholarships will be using a common application this year. The application deadline is June 15th. Additional scholarship info can be found at:


The nomination form is now available for the Arkansas TRIO Achiever competition. I encourage you to nominate one of your outstanding TRIO Alums for this award. The deadline to submit TRIO Achiever nominations is July 15th. Nomination details can be found at:

2016 Fall Conference

The 2016 Fall Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Little Rock from Sunday, October 2nd to Tuesday, October 4th. Conference planning is ongoing and more information will be coming soon!

Thank Yous

A big thank you to the Southern Arkansas University TRIO Programs for hosting an amazing Spring Leadership conference in April and providing a great day of professional development. And another big thank you to the University of Central Arkansas Upward Bound Program for hosting our TRIO Day in March and providing a great event for students to learn and network.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Jeanette Youngblood
AASAP President