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

Arkansas TRIO Day 2016

“National TRiO Day” is a day of celebration, reflection, and action around increased access to higher education for disadvantaged students. It was celebrated in Arkansas on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at University of Central Arkansas in Conway. TRiO programs from 14 of the state’s colleges and universities gathered for the event: Arkansas Northeastern College, Arkansas State University, Arkansas State University – Beebe, Arkansas State University – Heber Springs, College of the Ouachitas, East Arkansas Community College, Henderson State University, Lyon College, Ouachita Baptist University, Pulaski Technical College, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, and University of Central Arkansas.

UCA students volunteering in “The Big Event” for service back to the community helped with the day by providing directions, welcoming visitors, working at the registration tables, entertaining the crowd, and performing the “Roll Call” to acknowledge those institutions and programs participating in the day. With over 200 of the proud high school and college students being served by the state’s TRiO programs in attendance, the day began with the reading of the official Proclamation of TRiO Day from Governor Asa Hutchinson. AASAP President Jeanette Youngblood and SWASAP President Mary Kate Snow gave their remarks of encouragement and inspiration before the keynote speaker addressed the crowd.

Volunteers from “The Big Event” get the crowd dancing.

Volunteers from “The Big Event” get the crowd dancing.

Mary Kate Snow, SWASAP President (the regional association for TRiO programs), gives her remarks.

Mary Kate Snow, SWASAP President (the regional association for TRiO programs), gives her remarks.

The keynote speaker was Kelsey Lavigne, a TRiO alum from Lyon College’s APPLE Project Upward Bound who is now a Career Counselor at University of Arkansas, who spoke on the day’s theme, “The time is now!” Always a highlight of the day, Cody McMichael, Director of Upward Bound at Arkansas State University – Heber Springs, conducted the Arkansas’ TRiO Hall of Fame Presentation. One student from each program is nominated each year as a student who embodies the spirit of TRiO. Those students who were present received certificates for their hard work and accomplishments and in appreciation of their representation of the effectiveness of TRiO programs.

Kelsey Lavigne

Kelsey Lavigne

Arkansas TRiO Hall of Fame Students

Arkansas TRiO Hall of Fame Students

Another custom of the day is the Coins for College Scholarship. Students who attend are entered into a drawing to win a scholarship on TRiO Day by collecting their coins and donating them to be shared between one high school senior and one college student as a scholarship. Matthew Stringer from Arkansas Northeastern College and Kristal Brooks from Pulaski Technical College were the lucky winners. Michelle Hardin, AASAP Treasurer and Director of Upward Bound at University of Central Arkansas, presented each with a check for $135.50. In keeping with the mantra that “TRiO gives back,” baby items and towels were also collected and donated to the American Red Cross in Faulkner County.

Matthew Stringer (ANC) and Kristal Brooks (PTC), winners of the Coins for College Scholarships

Matthew Stringer (ANC) and Kristal Brooks (PTC), winners of the Coins for College Scholarships

A full trunk-load of items on its way to the American Red Cross in Faulkner County

A full trunk-load of items on its way to the American Red Cross in Faulkner County

Arkansas’ TRiO Achiever, Kory Mullens, who is an alum of the Student Support Services program at Arkansas State University – Heber Springs and is now a teacher at Heber Springs Middle School, submitted a video message for the students with advice and encouragement on their journeys into and through post-secondary education. The day concluded with a presentation from UCA Admissions who also conducted campus tours for students. Reactions to the day received through evaluations were overwhelmingly positive! Many thanks to the TRiO Day Committee for their hard work and dedication to the event: Cory Godbolt from Lyon College and Jessie Beal from University of Central Arkansas.

In 1986, Congress was asked by TRiO leaders to proclaim “National TRiO Day” in order to increase awareness and rally support for the programs. It is our hope that on this day, Arkansas continued that mission by communicating the significance of TRiO programs and celebrating the positive impact the programs have made in our state and our respective communities. TRiO works!


Just wanted to remind everyone that today is the deadline for Trio Day! If you have any questions about registration, please contact Michelle Hardin. Her contact information is below.


Register now for the 2016 Arkansas TRIO Day festivities to be held on March 12, 2016 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway! This year's theme is "The Time is Now." The day will include the Coins for College scholarship opportunity, a community service project, a special giveaway for participants, Hall of Fame recognition, campus tours of the UCA campus ... and more! Complete information and details will be sent as the event nears.

All registration will be handled through the link below. Registration fees are $20 per participant (price includes lunch). Copies of the Arkansas TRIO Hall of Fame Booklet can also be pre-ordered for $10.

Deadline for registration is Friday, February 26th. If you have questions about registration, please contact Michelle Hardin, AASAP Treasurer, at or 501-450-5864. If you have questions about Arkansas TRIO, please contact Jeanette Youngblood, AASAP President, at or 870-307-7263.

Josue Ramirez

AASAP Representative

National Park College

101 College Drive

Hot Springs, AR 71913

(501) 672-4558

TIME TO REORDER - Arkansas TRIO Sticker Skins

Arkansas TRIO:

AASAP is now accepting reorders for the Arkansas TRIO Sticker Skins. Did you miss out the first time, or do you simply need to restock for this next year? Or maybe you need to spend some extra program funds before your grant or grant year ends?

You can now purchase and pay for your Arkansas TRIO Sticker Skins online through the AASAP website ( or complete the ORDER FORM and email it to Most orders can be fulfilled and mailed within 48 hours.

TRIO Skins are sold by AASAP and profits made support TRIO scholarships, advocacy, and alumni efforts in the state.

Please contact Nathan Brown ( or 479-575-2625) if you have any questions.

AASAP Sends Team to COE Policy Seminar 2015

The Council for Opportunity in Education’s 35th Annual Policy Seminar was held in Washington, D.C. on March 15-17, 2015. Arkansas has a sixteen person delegation attend, which included fifteen professional TRIO staff members and one TRIO alumnus (see complete list at the end).

Through a combined effort, visits were made to the offices of all six members of Arkansas Congressional Delegation. AASAP members were able to meet personally with Representative Rick Crawford, Representative French Hill, Senator Tom Cotton, and Senator John Boozman. In addition, AASAP members were able to meet with designated staff personnel for Representative Steve Womack and Representative Bruce Westerman. It was exciting to discover that Representative Westerman’s staff included a Talent Search Alumna from Rich Mountain Community College and an Upward Bound Summer Staff Member from Southern Arkansas University.

In preparation for the visit, team members discussed a strategy for each meeting. Because some meeting times overlapped, not everyone was able to attend every meeting, so determining a plan of action was important. For each meeting, it was decided what state and national information and data should be shared, as well as who was willing to share it. Also, the group determined how best to utilize the stories of our TRIO students to personalize our message including having AASAP’s TRIO Achiever, Joe Berry, share his story in each meeting he was able to attend.

The consistent message of every visit was “Restoration before Innovation,” highlighting that based on their strong record of success, all TRIO programs deserve to have all financial appropriations restored before new initiatives receiving funding. In addition, each Congressman was asked to sign on to the appropriations letter for either the House or Senate and to join the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Congressional TRIO Caucus. AASAP members were also able to provide each office with infographics which utilized the most recent APR data for SSS, TS, and EOC.

When asked to reflect on what was the most successful from the Capital Hill visits, some of those attending listed the following: * Having our alum to speak his story. * Finding out that AR TRIO programs have connections (alums, former staffer, etc.) within certain offices. * Knowing some of the legislative interests of the individual Representatives and Senators so it was easier to tailor our message. * Feeling like the group had a “genuine audience” for the message being shared. Based on what had been shared from previous visits, more hostility was expected. * Seeing the overall professionalism that the group displayed before, during and after the visits. * Sharing the infographic. * Getting Senator Boozman to agree to join the TRIO Caucus.

As a follow-up to the Congressional Visits, a thank you letter was sent from AASAP to each Senator and Representative, along with a copy of the Arkansas Fact Book. This letter thanked them for taking the time meet with the Arkansas team and asked them to make TRIO students a priority. In addition, each member of the Arkansas team has been encouraged to extend a personal invitation for their own congressional leader to visit their program as a follow-up.

Important groundwork was completed during the Congressional Visits, as Representative French Hill’s office requested a visit with Pulaski Technical College’s Student Support Services Program for March 30, 2015. Upon visiting the program and with its students, he has identified as a TRIO supporter.

Arkansas Team

  • Joe Berry, TRIO Alum (ASU-Beebe)
  • Nathan Brown (UA)
  • Crista Gray (UALR)
  • Michelle Hardin (UCA)
  • Billy Ray Huggins, Jr. (UALR)
  • Elena Maina (UALR)
  • Stephanie Manning (SAU)
  • Cody McMichael (ASU—Heber Springs)
  • Ashia Muhammad (UALR)
  • Jeff Neufeld (RMCC)
  • Steven Ogden (UACCH)
  • Sharon Scudder (ASU—Heber Springs)
  • Mary Kate Snow (PTC)
  • Eunice Walker (SAU)
  • Carla Williamson (SAU)
  • Jeanette Youngblood (Lyon)