Mike DeJesus III

Mr. DeJesus is a program officer for Higher Education Opportunity Programs (HEOP) at the New York State Education Department (NYSED). There, he serves as a coordinator for HEOP and as a liaison to the HEOP institutions throughout the state. Prior to Mr. DeJesus’ role at NYSED, he worked as an analyst with Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development where he was instrumental in assisting New York State agencies in procuring with minority and women owned business enterprises (MWBEs) as well as certifying hundreds of small businesses as state-certified MWBEs. He also has a long history of working in education having held roles as an adjunct history professor, director of an intercultural diversity program at a private liberal arts college, and several roles in Residence Life. His passion for serving disadvantaged communities is not only evident in the career fields he has chosen but also through his volunteer service to his community and the furthering of his studies. While working full time and NYSED, Mr. DeJesus is also a fourth year doctoral student pursing a degree in education policy at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. There he is focusing on K-16 education policies as they relate to opportunity programs and black male academic achievement.

Areas of expertise: higher education opportunity programs, minority and women-owned business development, intercultural diversity programs, education policy, black male academic achievement


Phyllis A. H. Breland, M.Ed.

Phyllis A. H. Breland, M.Ed. is an 1980 Opportunity Program (HEOP) graduate of Hamilton College, and currently holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design. Her work experience includes program development, marketing, empowerment/assertiveness training, volunteer recruitment, health education, quality assurance, motivational speaking and policy development. She is currently the Director of Opportunity Programs at Hamilton College, which focuses on providing an opportunity for students whose socioeconomic circumstance has limited access to higher education. She begins her journey with students at the middle school level working on violence prevention, academic preparedness and the art of “dreaming big”. She works closely with junior high schools, high schools, churches, community groups and organizations throughout the State of New York. She is also the President for the New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program Professional Organization, and is affiliated with organizations such as Girls, Inc., Mohawk Valley Junior Frontiers, Boys and Girls Club of Mohawk Valley, Underground Café, Hamilton College Justice Project Initiative, Young Scholars, and works closely with colleges in the upstate New York region.

Areas of expertise: Program Development, Training, Effective Learning Strategies, Strategic Planning and Presentation


Hasani Carter, PhD, MPH

Dr. Carter is currently the New Jersey EOF Statewide Director. He has served as President of the Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association of New Jersey (EOFPANJ, Inc.).

Prior to his appointment within the OSHE, Dr. Carter served as the Associate Dean/Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund Programs at Seton Hall University where he managed Directorship over the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Plus Program (PMPDPP). From 2009-2011, Dr. Carter served as the President of the Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association of New Jersey (EOFPANJ) and now currently serves as the Immediate Past President and Advocacy Co-Chair.

Additionally, in 2009 he began serving as a member of the Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs Executive Board and now serves as its President. He completed his doctoral studies in Higher Education Administration from New York University and is a proud graduate of a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) where he obtained a B.S. from Virginia Union University. Additionally, he holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University.

Areas of expertise: An examination in the disparities in healthcare, federal and state policy development, leadership issues, factors that influence student engagement and performance, as well as looking at issues of equity, access and opportunity in higher education.


Carson Carr

carr1The Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs organization is sad to share about the passing of Dr. Carson Carr, Jr., on Friday, October 3, 2014.

For those reading this who did not know him, he was the beloved Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY Albany and held the rank of Vice President during his tenure there. Carr retired from the university in 2009.

He was a great champion for opportunity programs and was loved by the students at SUNY Albany.

The Carson Carr Graduate Diversity Scholar award (PDF) exists in his name at SUNY Albany.

Some of his expertise is shown in these articles about him from SUNY Albany: