Log in
Log in

Arkansas Association of Student Assistance PROGRAMS 

Arkansas TRIO Achiever 

Recognizing outstanding former TRIO participants through the TRIO Achiever Award is a special event allowing our TRIO community to showcase our alumni and their successes.   The TRIO Achievers Award is a source of pride in knowing that TRIO continues to make a difference in the lives of thousands of first-generation and low-income students throughout the AASAP region and the United States.


The TRIO Achiever nominee must:

  • Be a former TRIO project participant who successfully completed a TRIO program in the AASAP region;
  • Be a person of high stature within their profession or has received recognition for outstanding academic achievement;
  • Have made significant civic, community, or professional contributions; and
  • Acknowledge that participation in the TRIO project significantly impacted obtaining their educational and/or professional objectives.

    **The TRIO person making this nomination must be a current member of AASAP**

    The following must be submitted via this form: Nominate Here

    1. Nomination Form (Sections 2-5)
    2. Nominee’s Personal Statement outlining the impact that TRIO had on their life (Section 6)
    3. Nominee’s B/W Photo (.jpg format) (Section 6)
    4. Nominee’s Resume/CV (.pdf format) (Section 6)
    5. Professional letter of reference (pdf format) from someone familiar with the nominee’s work (Section 6)
    6. Nominator's Information (Section 7)
    **All materials should be prepared before beginning the nomination form below. **

    Submissions will open at 8:00 AM on June 17, 2024, and will close on August 25, 2024, at 5:00 PM. The selected TRIO Achiever will be notified by or on September 6, 2024.

     If you have any questions, please contact Beth Thompson, TRIO Achiever Chair at

    PLEASE NOTE: The selected TRIO Achiever is expected to attend the 2024 AASAP Achievers Recognition event in October and the 2024 SWASAP Achievers Recognition event in November. AASAP will provide a travel stipend for the Achiever and work with him/her to make the required travel arrangements for these events.

    Virtual attendance is an option as well as the submission of a recorded speech.

    Past TRIO Achievers


    Leslie Yingling, PhD

    Leslie Yingling (she|her) is an Associate Dean of Students and an Assistant Vice Chancellor in Student Affairs at the University of Arkansas, where she aspires to increase representation, equity, ease of college completion and a sense of community and belonging among minoritized students. Her path to college began with Talent Search and then Upward Bound, which helped her to become the only student in her high school class of 18 to attend a four-year university. She has worked with TRIO programs continuously since then. She studied political science, journalism, and psychology as an undergraduate, later earning a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in public policy at the University of Arkansas. She believes that curiosity and learning nurture generosity and justice and that education has the power to remodel systems, change trajectories, and transform lives.


    Gabrielle Davis, Esq.

    Gabrielle Davis is a Magnolia, Arkansas native and 2014 Upward Bound graduate who finished as Valedictorian of the graduating class. Davis earned a Bachelor of Arts-Political Science degree with Summa Cum Laude honors from Southern Arkansas University in 2018. Davis’ dedication, hard work, and determination to avoid a life of poverty and mediocrity inspired her to then attend law school at the historically black college-university, Texas Southern University – Thurgood Marshall School of Law. She graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors and passed the Uniform Bar Exam on her first attempt which enabled her to practice in all UBE jurisdictions, including Arkansas. Davis currently specializes in creditors rights, estate planning, and real estate law. Davis has a unique background in elegant leadership and community service. Davis is a woman of many honors but to name a few, she was named Columbia County’s Young Person of the Year (2014), SAU Homecoming Queen (2016), SAU Student Leader of the Year (2018), Outstanding Student in the History of Political Science, Geography, and History (2018), completed two study abroad experiences (Paris, China), and selected intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. During her time at SAU, she also became a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is on a mission to help and inspire first-generation minority students, like herself, break generational curses. In 2021, Davis launched her Give Back fund initiative which sponsored a law school admissions test for a student with a financial need. Davis looks forward to continuing her philanthropic efforts and sowing back into the community that sowed into her. Davis is deeply indebted to Upward Bound who initially showed her the way. Davis is positive the direction and mentorship she gained from Upward Bound has brought her to where she is today.


    Jermaine Marshall, PhD


    Ashley Kincannon

    Ashley Kincannon.png

    Ashley Kincannon, is a computer science teacher at Lake Hamilton Junior High who is currently teaching eighth grade coding and ninth grade computer science one and two. Prior to teaching computer science, she taught secondary English for five years. Ashley believes being an educator is a true blessing because “I have the incredible opportunity to support, encourage, and enlighten my students on a daily basis.” Ashley says her teachers helped her to be resilient, and they made her believe she could be successful one day. Although she decided she  would be successful one day, but still did not know how to begin her journey to success. “Thankfully, I participated in a life-changing program called TRIO Talent Search... My Talent Search representative was an anchor, and she took the time to instill confidence within me.” Throughout her undergraduate studies, Ashley spent countless hours in the TRIO SSS facilities, and it was her home away from home. TRIO SSS played a huge role in her college success. Ashley has four college degrees: Associate of Arts in Teaching, Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Science in Education, and Educational Specialist. In the future, she plans to obtain one more degree – her doctoral degree, so she can teach at the collegiate level after retiring as a public school teacher. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys facilitating professional development and has presented at about thirty conferences and venues. She has also been a featured profile in both state and national magazines. National Park College selected her as their 2018 Outstanding Alumni. Ashley has been married for almost twelve years to her forever love, Michael; has two daughters, Laura and Emily, as well as a son, Greg. Ashely says she can hardly believe what she has accomplished in life thus far because her future did not always look so bright. She will be forever grateful for the role TRIO has played in her life. “Because of TRIO, I have achieved success.” 


    Whiquitta Kee Tobar

    Kee Bio PIc.jpg

    Whiquitta Kee Tobar is a civil rights attorney and author currently residing in Philadelphia, PA. She is a former Division 1 Southwestern Athletic Collegiate Conference Most Valuable Player in women’s basketball and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Alabama A&M University. Ms. Tobar is also a Deans Certificate recipient, Public Interest Law Scholar, and graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. After graduating law school Ms. Tobar became an attorney at the oldest children’s law firm in the country, Juvenile Law Center, where she worked on national policy relating to youth homelessness, transition to adulthood for foster youth, education access in juvenile justice facilities, and juvenile solitary confinement. After working at Juvenile Law Center as a Zubrow fellow and staff attorney, Whiquitta became a Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow and attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, working to provide civil legal services to homeless youth. She is currently a staff attorney at Community Legal Services in the Social Security - Supplemental Security Income unit, where she represents severely disabled older youth clients in need of social security benefits. Lastly, Whiquitta is also co-founder of an app, Safe Nite, which connects homeless youth to host homes in the community.


    Michelle Henderson

    MichelleHenderson (1).jpg

    As a non-traditional, first generation college student, the apprehension to be successful was in full force when I decided after being a stay at home mother for 13 years to pursue my dreams of becoming a nurse. I was nervous about leaving my children, being able to keep up with student’s half of my age in such a competitive field and balancing my time between school and family responsibilities. I prayed daily that my focus and mindset would stay positive throughout my journey. When I was approached by a staff member from Trio student support services, I had no idea that initial meeting would be the beginning of my success on the way to making my dreams my reality. From day one of my appointment, I realized then not only was Trio an organization that would provide me endless opportunities, I was gaining an entire family. From the staff to the other members, we all connect and support each other on levels that I had never imagined. I faced many challenges and successes during my time at the University of Arkansas Pulaski Tech. My Trio family celebrated each and every success and held my hand, wiped my tears and picked me up when I was down during my challenges. I honestly do not know what I would have done or if I would have even continued on without my Trio cheering section. I am now in my senior year of Nursing school and not a day goes by that I do not reflect on my blessings of being a member of Trio. I AM TRIO and Proud.


    2801 South University Ave.

    Student Support Services 

    Trojan B 100 

    Little Rock, AR 72204

    © 2024 AASAP. All Rights Reserved.

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software