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Minnesota college access and success nonprofit taps expert on student success and DEIB as executive director

College Possible Minnesota names former Macalester College and NDSU administrator Dr. Aida Martinez-Freeman as new executive director

Professional headshot of woman in a suit jacketST. PAUL, MN. (MAY 30, 2023) — College Possible Minnesota, the Minnesota chapter of the pioneering national nonprofit on a mission to boost college access and success by connecting high school and college students with near-peer coaches, announced today the appointment of Dr. Aida Martinez-Freeman as its new executive director. A seasoned higher education leader and expert in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB+), Martinez-Freeman brings decades of relevant experience working with nonprofits, universities, and other social impact organizations.

“Creating a more equitable and inclusive system of education has been a life’s work for me. I’m honored to join College Possible at a time when systemically excluded students and communities face a set of new challenges that threaten to underscore the progress made toward increasing access, success and equitable outcomes in higher education,” said Dr. Aida Martinez-Freeman. “I look forward to working with the College Possible Minnesota team as we advance student access and success nationally.”

With a career spanning more than 20 years in higher education leadership, DEIB+, and student support, Dr. Martinez-Freeman served as the director for TRIO student support services at North Dakota State University, the largest academic support services program in the state that serves first-generation college students, students from low-income backgrounds, and students with disabilities. In that role, she successfully navigated a challenging financial audit that threatened the future of the program, ultimately securing a $1.2 million grant and transforming the program into a center of excellence for academic support.

Previously, Dr. Martinez-Freeman served as the Director of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center at Macalester College in St. Paul, where she oversaw the operations of a multicultural center, living-learning community, and gender and sexuality center. Her innovative initiatives, including a popular speaker series and a dialogue program on social justice, garnered recognition and accolades across the campus.

“Dr. Martinez-Freeman’s work and expertise has positively impacted the lives of countless first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities through high-touch academic support programs,” said Julio Vargas-Essex, Board Chair and Interim Provost at North Hennepin Community College. “We’re thrilled to welcome her to College Possible Minnesota as our new executive director.”
Dr. Martinez-Freeman holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a doctorate in occupational & adult education from North Dakota State University.

Nationally, College Possible is one of the largest and most successful college access and success programs in the country. Its evidence-based near-peer coaching model leverages the power of passionate, dedicated, recent college graduates to offer evidence-based coaching as students navigate the complex world of higher education. Expanding from its flagship, site-based programming, College Possible expanded its reach in 2018 with the Catalyze college success coaching program, and CoPilot in 2021, an industry-leading student information system that empowers student support professionals with a 360-degree view of actionable student data.

For more information about College Possible Minnesota, visit


About College Possible Minnesota: Since its founding in 2000, College Possible Minnesota has empowered more than 15,300 students from under-represented communities to get into and through college through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Its pioneering model matches students with a near-peer coach and an evidence-based curriculum designed to help students overcome the most common barriers to getting into college and completing their degree – all at no cost to students or their families. Nationwide, College Possible students are three times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years than their peers from similar backgrounds. Headquartered in Saint Paul, MN, College Possible operates: regional sites in Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; and Seattle, WA; College Forward in Austin, TX; and Catalyze partnerships in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. Learn more at

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