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Arkansas Association of Student Assistance PRograms ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

Dr. Desarae Nelson - President

Dr. Desarae Nelson currently serves as AASAP President. She has served the association in several capacities and has been a member of the association for over 5 years. She is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services/TRIO Director at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Ouachita Baptist University, a Master of Science in Sports Administration from Henderson State University, and a doctorate of Higher Education Administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Born and raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Desarae comes from a family of TRIO professionals. She loves fishing and spending time with friends and family. Education is her passion. She loves helping people expand their educational horizons because education, once achieved, can never be taken away.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

Desarae can be reached at president@arkansastrio.org or by calling 501-916-6165

Michael Barnes - Past-President

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Michael D. Barnes currently serves as the Past-President of the AASAP Board. He is the Director of Multicultural Student Programs at Ouachita Baptist University. Michael has over a decade of professional experience in TRIO programs. First serving as Upward Bound - Student Relations Coordinator at Ouachita Baptist University starting in 2008. He was promoted to the role of Assistant Talent Search Director at Ouachita Baptist University in 2015 and served. Michael received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Henderson State University. He completed his graduate work at Southern Arkansas University, receiving a Master of Public Administration.

Michael is an avid outdoorsmen and extensive traveler. He also enjoys humanitarian service projects in his local community and quality time with family.

Michael can be reached by email at Past-President@arkansastrio.org or 501-760-4364.

Brooke Siegler - President-Elect

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Brooke Siegler currently serves as the AASAP President-Elect and works as an Education Advisor for Arkansas Northeastern College’s Educational Talent Search program. She received both her Bachelor of Education in Social Science and her Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University. Prior to joining TRIO in 2015, Brooke worked as a high school history and government teacher. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, reading, traveling, and awards shows. .

Brooke can be reached at president-elect@arkansastrio.org or by phone at 870-838-2933 .

Pam Freer- Secretary

Pam Freer is the ETS Assistant Director for North Arkansas College. She has been an active AASAP member for 24+ years and serves as the AASAP Board Secretary. Pam has a BSE in Business Education and an MSE in Curriculum and Instruction, both from A-State. She is married and has two children and four incredible grandsons--Luke, Owen, Jack, and Rhett. When she's not at work or hanging with the grandsons, you can catch Pam at Lake Norfork.

Pam can be reached at secretary@arkansastrio.org or by phone at 870-391-3210.

Shanikia Williams - Treasurer


Shanikia Williams serves as the AASAP Board Treasurer (Term: January 2021- December 2022). She is currently the Administrative Specialist for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock TRIO Programs (Talent Search & Educational Opportunity Center). She started her experience with TRIO as a participant in Upward Bound at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Little did she know, she would become a TRIO Alumni by also participating in Student Support Services and McNair at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Shanikia received her Bachelors degree at UA Little Rock and is currently pursuing her Masters. She said, “Yes, being a low-income and the first person to pursue a college education is a spectacular accomplishment but this is not what I call my greatest success. No, it was not easy but anyone can do this with the correct nurturing.” Shanikia goes on to say, “My greatest success of all has been my spiritual growth which in turn helped me to become the role model dreamed of.”

”It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. See you at the top” ~UAM Upward Bound

Shanikia can be reached at treasurer@arkansastrio.org or by phone at 501-907-2475.

Georgia Sherman-Opawuyi- AASAP Representative