Board of Directors » Officers

Board Chair

Oscar Felix
Associate Vice President for Diversity, Enrollment and Access; Executive Director of the Access Center, Colorado State University
304 Student Services Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523
Phone: (970) 491-6473, Fax: (970) 491-1077, E-mail: (

Oscar Felix serves as the Associate Vice President for Diversity, Enrollment and Access, under the Office of the Vice President for Diversity at Colorado State University. Oscar also serves as Executive Director of the Access Center, which includes EOC, Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, Bridge Scholars Program, and institutionally-funded programs with similar missions- Alliance Partnership, Dream Project and Reach Out. He has worked in the TRIO/College Access and Success field for over 25 years. He has served as state and regional ASPIRE President, regional conference chair, and served as faculty on several TRIO Training Grants and ECMC’s Persist college retention training team. Currently he co-leads Colorado’s State Initiatives efforts to increase opportunities for all students across the state. As Assistant Professor in the Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) masters program, Oscar serves as advisor and co-instructor for the Ethics and Global Perspectives on Student Affairs & Services courses, and a workshop on Access and Opportunity in Higher Education. The Global Perspectives course prepares SAHE students to participate in international field experiences focusing on higher education, student affairs, and student services in Canada, Qatar, China, and Morocco. For the past two years, Oscar served as Director of NASPA's International Symposium, and presented at two-day intensive NASPA International Student Services Institute in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. Oscar earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from U.S. International University, and his Masters in SAHE and Ph.D. in Education at Colorado State University. His dissertation studied success factors of under-prepared students attending an institution with selective admissions standards.

Past Board Chair

Amy Verlanic
Executive Director, Institute for Educational Opportunities, Montana Tech
1300 West Park, Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 496-4289, Cell: (406) 491-0766, Fax: (406) 496-4696, E-mail: (

Amy L. Verlanic is the Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Opportunities at Montana Tech where she works to provide teachers and students with college-based programs that enrich statewide science, engineering, and technology education. In addition to her numerous campus and community assignments, she is an active volunteer with ASPIRE; a professional development and lobbying organization that advocates for educational access and opportunities for low-income, disadvantaged, and Veteran students in the Mountain West. Ms. Verlanic has held office at the state, regional and national level and is currently the Past Board Chair for the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) Board of Directors. She is a sought after lecturer on educational access issues; often traveling to address educational aspirations with Native American students, incarcerated youth, veterans, and other disadvantaged populations. She is a proud member of the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) training team. Amy has been inducted in the International Women’s Leadership Association and is listed in Cambridge Who’s Who among American Executives and Professionals in Education. Ms. Verlanic has served seven years on the Anaconda School Board, is the Governor’s Appointee on the Montana Board of Personnel Appeals and was most recently made a legislative appointee to the Office of Public Instruction’s K-12 Data Task Force. Amy has earned many accolades through her career; such as a Michael Schwerner National Activist Award Nominee, Anaconda Chamber of Commerce Spark Plug Award, Montana Tech’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the U.S. Army’s Most Influential Educators Award. The things she is most proud of is her four beautiful daughters and being acknowledged by ASPIRE as the Art Quinn Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Board Chair-Elect

Trent Ball
Associate Dean of Students; Director of Student Retention, Southeast Missouri State University
University Center Room 414, Mailstop 1850, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Phone: (573) 986-6134, E-mail: (

Trent Ball currently serves as the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Retention at Southeast Missouri State University and provides leadership and management of the Academic Support Centers. This includes the administration of programs, hiring, training, supervision and evaluation of the staff and activities of Educational Access Programs, Learning Assistance Programs, the Plan for College Initiative (College Access Challenge Grant), the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program (TRIO), and Student Support Services (TRIO). Mr. Ball is the a past president of the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP) and MO-KAN-NE, the Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska Chapter of MAEOPP. Mr. Ball also has served as the Public Institution Representative to the Missouri College Personnel Association (MoCPA) Board as well as serves on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri’s Education and Employment Board, The Missouri Department of Higher Education’s College Access Advisory Committee, and the UNCF, Inc. St. Louis Leadership Advisory Council. He has presented numerous programs and training seminars at the local, state, regional and national level and has almost 20 years of professional experience in higher education.


Jorge Antonio Martínez Santiago
Associate Director, Academic Talent Search Program, Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus
441 East Fordham Road, Faculty Memorial Hall, Room 201, Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: (718) 817-4823, Fax: (718) 817-2514, E-mail: (

Mr. Martínez Santiago is the Associate Director for the Academic Talent Search Program at Fordham University. He has dedicated his entire professional career to the field of education. After graduating from the Universidad de Puerto Rico he went on to work as a high school teacher teaching English as a second language. Some years later he moved to New York City where he worked with the Talent Search program at Columbia University, first as the Senior Counselor and later as the Assistant Director. He then moved to Connecticut where he worked as the academic coordinator for the Upward Bound program at Fairfield University, before coming back to New York City to accept a position at Fordham University where he has been since 1993. Jorge Antonio is a past President of the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education, Inc. and is also a past Secretary for the COE Board of Directors (when it was known as the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations, or NCEOA). He served on the COE Board of Directors previously for six consecutive years and is very pleased to be back.


Tracy Karasinski
Dean, Office of Opportunity and Outreach, Community College of Rhode Island, Knight Campus
400 East Avenue, Room 1046, Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: (401) 825-2305, Fax: (401) 825-1148, E-mail: (

Tracy Karasinski has worked in TRIO since 1994 and has served her state and regional association in several capacities over the years, including past-president of the New England Educational Opportunity Association (NEOA). Currently, Tracy oversees the Office of Opportunity and Outreach at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), a multi-program department that includes the institution’s cadre of TRIO programs. Prior to CCRI, she worked for an independent living counseling agency as a counselor for persons with disabilities. In addition to her work with TRIO, Tracy has been active in her local community and has served on various boards and commissions including the RI Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Board of Trustees for the RI School for the Deaf and the Genesis Center, a family literacy agency in Providence, RI. Tracy is also certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation as a Basic Rider Coach.

A native of west Michigan, Tracy holds an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Grand Rapids Junior College, Grand Rapids, MI and a BSW and MSW in Policy, Planning and Administration from Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, MI.


Ronnie Gross
Executive Director, TRIO Programs, East Tennessee State University
P.O. Box 70714, Johnson City, TN 37614
Phone: (423) 439-4002, E-mail: (

Dr. Gross is a past Chair of the COE Board of Directors. He has been involved with the TRIO programs since 1982. He participated in and worked for the Special Services program (Student Support Services) and as a tutor counselor in the Upward Bound program while he was at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU). He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering and reclamation. While working full time as a counselor for LMU Upward Bound, he completed his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in mathematics education. In 1990, he became the Director of the Upward Bound program at East Tennessee State University. In May 1996, he completed his doctorate of educational leadership and policy analysis with a concentration in educational administration. He currently serves as the executive director of nine TRIO Programs at East Tennessee State University; Educational Opportunity Center, Educational Talent Search, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement, Student Support Services, Upward Bound (3), Upward Bound Math-Science and Veterans Upward Bound. He was named as a recipient of the Walter O. Mason, Jr. award in September 2014.


Maureen Hoyler
President, Council for Opportunity in Education
1025 Vermont Avenue N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 347-7430, Fax: (202) 347-0786, E-mail: (

On October 1, 2013, Maureen Hoyler assumed the position of President of the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit organization that provides professional development, program improvement, and advocacy for nearly 2,800 federally funded college opportunity programs at almost 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Ms. Hoyler has been a voice for low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities. As President, she oversees management of the Washington office and the fiscal affairs of the Association also while serving as the primary liaison between the Association and the United States Congress, the Executive Branch, all Governmental Agencies. She is the official representative of the Association with all other postsecondary educational associations.

She began her career at the Educational Opportunity Program at Marquette University as an assistant to the then Director, Dr. Arnold Mitchem. Ms. Hoyler moved to Washington in 1981 to establish the Council’s office. As the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, she has played an integral role in the growth of the organization over the past 33 years, which started with a staff of just one full-time professional in 1982. Ms. Hoyler has lectured widely on federal law and regulations. Her publications include “Collaboration to Widen Participation in Higher Education” (The European Access Network) and “Expanding College Access and Success: The Chicago Model” (with George Lowery). Over the years, she has received numerous awards from TRIO-based associations. She received her B.A. and her law degree from Marquette University from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.