AAEOPP is a non-profit organization designed to bring together into a work and study community those persons who have an active interest in or who are professionally involved in broadening accessibility to and success in formal postsecondary education.
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Rik Tate
Charletta Wiggins, Ph.D.
Keith Robinson
Catresa Hawkins
Past President: 
Michael Harrison
The purpose of the Alabama 
Association of Educational 
Opportunity Program Personnel shall 
be to bring together into a work and 
study community those persons who 
have an active interest in or who are professionally involved in broadening accessibility to and success in formal postsecondary education.

The major focus of the Association will be

1) those elements which prepare and condition 
  students for postsecondary educational experiences
2) institutional responses to the challenge of serving
  more diverse student populations.

Although the Association will have a broad base of student concern, it will be particularly concerned about those students who by reason of socioeconomic station, ethnic definition, physical handicap, and/or restricted cultural-educational experiences find themselves in a position of disadvantage with traditional mainstream American students.
What is AAEOPP?
What is TRIO?

TRIO Programs are our nation’s way of carrying out a commitment to educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. They are funded under the Title IV Higher Education Act of 1965. TRIO Programs help students to overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education and to realize their educational potential.

TRIO Programs provide services to students who come from low-income families and whose parents have not graduated with a four-year degree. Congress has mandated that two-thirds of those students enrolled in TRIO Programs must fall into both these categories. Students enrolled in today’s TRIO Programs mirror our nation’s multi-cultural and multiethnic society. Thirty-seven percent of TRIO students are White, 35% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic,4% are Native American, and 4% are Asian-American. Twenty-two thousand TRIO students are disabled.

TRIO college graduates work in business, government, medicine, law, education, communications, finance, politics, transportation, publishing, law enforcement, computer science and technology, engineering, and accounting.
Upward Bound - comprehensive services for high school students
Educational Talent Search - services for secondary school students
Educational Opportunity Centers - services for adults
Upward Bound Math & Science - services for high school students
Veterans’ Upward Bound - services for our nation’s veterans
Student Support Services - services for college underclassmen
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program -services for graduate students
T​he Federal TRIO Programs Include:
Rik Tate is the Program Coordinator for TRIO Teach (SSS) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has served as the President of AAEOPP (Alabama TRIO) from Aug. 2022 to present. Before accepting the roles and duties of President, he was elected during a special election to serve as Vice-President of AAEOPP. He has served as VP from May 2021-Aug. 2022. While serving in the capacity of VP, Rik was the Conference Chair of the 2022 Spring Conference in New Orleans. Under his administration as President, his tenure brought forth the 1st Inaugural AAEOPP Student Leadership Conference where he welcomed over 170 Alabama TRIO students and staff members to Birmingham, Alabama.

Rik started his journey with AAEOPP in the 2019-2020 ELI Cohort in Pigeon Forge, TN and completed all ELI requirements in March 2020 in San Destin, Florida right before COVID-19. During his time with AAEOPP he has served on the following committees: AAEOPP 2021 Spring Conference, 2022 Spring Conference Chair, SAEOPP 50TH Conference Committee, SAEOPP 51ST Conference Committee, SAEOPP Development Committee, SAEOPP Marketing Committee, SAEOPP Conference Committee, and AAEOPP Student Leadership Conference. He has contributed to fundraising efforts for COE FairShare, increased AAEOPP visibility within the state & social media outlets, and increased institutional membership

Rik is a graduate of SAEOPP 2023 ELI Cohort and COE ELI 2023 Cohort of Princeton University Executive Leadership. Rik is an alumni of the TRIO Classic Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Rik has a true passion for his students and the members of Alabama TRIO. He will receive his MEng from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Spring 2023 and has obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American Studies from UAB.
Charletta Wiggins, PhD, is a native of Dothan, AL. After she graduated high school, she moved to Birmingham, AL to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Communication Management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a TRIO alum of both Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services, serving TRIO eligible students has been her passion for as long as she can remember. In 2021, Charletta received her Doctor of Philosophy degree with a concentration in Educational Studies in Diverse Populations from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and continues to work with TRIO eligible students to give back to the very population that she was once a part of. 

 Dr. Wiggins currently serves as the Director of The Upward Bound Academy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which consists of two Classic Upward Bound programs and two Upward Bound Math & Science programs. She has a passion for helping potential first-generation college students navigate environments that were not particularly created for their success. Being the first person in your family to earn a four-year degree can seem like an improbable task but in her experience, students simply need an extra set of skills and an unwavering support system to help them succeed. 

Dr. Wiggins is a graduate of the COE Emerging Leaders Institute (2023), SAEOPP Emerging Leaders Institute (2023), AAEOPP Emerging Leaders Institute (2018) and currently serves as the Chair of the AAEOPP Emerging Leaders Institute (2022-current). In 2022, she planted a seed for AAEOPP’s first Student Leadership Conference, and this labor of love established the Inaugural ASLC that took place in Birmingham, AL in February of 2023. Dr. Wiggins looks forward to serving her state by continuing to do the good work, loving other people’s children and helping to take AAEOPP to the next level.
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Harold Ingram Jr, is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. Ingram came to Stillman College as a student-athlete in 2013, transferring from Chattahoochee Valley Community College with an Associates degree. Ingram graduated from Stillman in 2016 with a degree in Physical Education, and went on to earn his master’s degree in Human Environmental Sciences (Sports Business Management) at the University of Alabama in 2020, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. 

Upon graduating from Stillman Ingram was hired as the UB academic Advisor. Ingram has been an UB advisor and SSS Academic Advisor, and now serves as the UB Coordinator/Counselor. Ingram has gained 6 years of experience in TRiO, and looks forwards to becoming a director of a TRiO program in the coming year. Ingram just recently completed his ELI Leadership training and is now ready to work for AAEOPP. 

Ingram has served on AAEOPP 2022 Conference Committee, AAEOPP 2023 Conference Committee, and AAEOPP Technology Committee.  Ingram has donated his time and talents to the association during varies AAEOPP events including AAEOPP Student Leadership Conference. 

 My motto in life is an comes from Philippians 4:13, I can do all this through Christ who strengthens me. Lastly, he has a son Ashton, who he loves a lot.
Kirra Merriweather is an enthusiastic, and passionate advisor at Enterprise State Community College for SSS. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from Troy University she also received her master’s in strategic communications and marketing. In addition to her working diligently at ESCC, she is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Proud advisor of Student Government Association and a mentor within her community. As a servant leader in her community, she is dedicated to ensuring that her students and the community she serves reaches their highest potential. 

Kirra is an upcoming AAEOPP ELI graduate and will present at the Spring Conference in Nashville, TN.   Merriweather served as a team lead on AAEOPP 1st Inaugural Student Leadership Conference and AAEOPP FairShare Committee for COE.  

One of Kirra’s favorite quotes is, “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives. -Michelle Obama” Kirra is fully devoted to the social progress and the betterment of ALL students in the hopes and guarantee of them reaching the highest, most productive versions of themselves.