A New NPEA Member Spotlight On… the Fair Opportunity Project!

Carole Trone, Director of Strategic Initiatives


What’s on your desk at the moment?
Building and launching a new pilot, the Checklist Program. This is a virtual, scaleable coaching model for motivated students that will walk them through the key steps of the college application and aid process. We hope to reach underserved students across the U.S. and especially in rural areas.

What are your goals for this year?
My main goal is to successfully launch the Checklist Program. This academic year, we will be testing its scalability and its effectiveness in increasing informed college and financial aid application completions for underserved students. The Checklist Program is free for students and so a related goal is to identify sustaining support through corporate sponsorships, grants, CBO or school support.

What challenges do you or your organization/school face that you were hoping to address by joining NPEA?
Our team is virtual and spread across the country. I’m looking forward to building out our network of knowledgeable and passionate college access professionals.

What have you found most helpful since you joined?
Alex Newell, the NPEA Member Services Associate, has been tremendously helpful!

What’s one thing about your background that you’d like to share with the membership?
I’ve benefited from every advantage that my family background has brought to me and it pains me to see how increasingly inequitable the college trajectory has become. I loved college and the college experience and want to bring that opportunity to as many others as I can.

Describe your program or your work in one sentence.
Fair Opportunity Project is a fairly new, nationally-focused nonprofit organization with a mission to empower students to access and afford college through freely available digital tools and resources. 

What’s a hobby you use to relax outside of work?
I like to bike and have done a few multi-day trips. Hoping to do more!

What’s your favorite way to stay on top of news about educational access? (Podcasts, Books, the NPEA Twitter account, etc.)
I’m a growing fan of podcasts: The Crush, EdSurge on Air, This Week in California Education, NASFAA’s Off the Cuff, Future U. I’m curious about the regular conversations around education, so awaiting the new Off Campus podcast and Gangster Capitalism. Twitter is an astonishingly useful news resource for educational access and policy research. I follow too many handles to list here! @JonBoeckenstedt is crusty and informative and entertaining.

If you could be known as an expert in one topic related to educational access, what would it be?
I have a PhD in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But what we most strive to do at FOP is look for the great, student-first resources out there and spread the news. I guess you could call that expertise in curating the most current and best resources.

Is there anything you’d like to share with the rest of the membership?
Our resources are freely available on our website and you can use and repurpose them for your programs and mentoring however you’d like!