EPOL Department - Student Spotlight

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EPOL Department - Student Spotlight

Meet our EPOL Graduate Students!

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  • EPOL Profile

    Jewel Bourne is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with a concentration in higher education. As a former community college transfer student and Sally Casanova Scholar, her research interests revolve around the promotion of access, persistence, and empowerment of  systemically excluded student populations in higher education, with a focus on the experience of Black female-identifying students who transition from community college to four-year institutions.  

    Jewel’s professional experience include serving as an academic advisor and program coordinator and supporting historically underepresented student populations achieve their transfer ambitions through the transfer sending and receptive culture frameworks.

    Advisor: Dr. Eboni Zamani Gallaher 

    Expected Graduation: 2024 

    Educational Background

    M.A., Higher Education Leadership, California State University, Northridge

    B.A., English and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

    A.A., Liberal Arts:  Arts and Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences, Santa Monica College

    LinkedIn: Jewel Bourne

  • Alexander Rosado-Torres (he/him/él)

    Alex is a doctoral student in the History of Education concentration via Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership. In addition to this he also holds a graduate minor in Queer Studies within the department of Gender & Women Studies. 
His research is rooted in documenting the role of LGBTQ+ student and teacher activism in educational spaces. Alex is particularly curious how past LGBTQ+ activism has shaped modern day educational spaces which are viewed as LGBTQ+ friendly/safe.

    As a Queer Latinx person, he is especially interested in exploring the experiences of racialized LGBTQ+ folks within these educational contexts. Overall, his research is most informed by oral history, archival methods, and critical theory.

    Advisor: Dr. Jon Hale 

    Anticipated Graduation: 2026 

    Social Media: LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram

  • Christopher Getowicz (he/him/his)

    As a doctoral student at the University of Illinois in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, my current research focuses on the historical intersections of education, race, protest, urban renewal, and law-and-order politics in the midwestern United States. 

    My recent work has focused on the intersections of race, housing, and school closure in Minneapolis, Minnesota between the 1970’s and 2000’s. My ongoing work is currently focused on the rise of law-and-order politics, school desegregation, urban renewal, and student protest during the late 1960's and early 1970's. 

    • Academic Background:
      • Ph.D. (in progress) Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, History of Education - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      • M.Ed. Instructional Leadership, Educational Policy Studies - University of Illinois, Chicago 
      • B.A. History - Univerity of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Alejandro J. Suñé

    Alejandro (Alex) J. Suñé, M.S. (he/him/his)

    Alex is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with a concentration in higher education. His specific focus of research is on food insecurity within the college environment. Alex currently serves as Senior Associate Director for Student Engagement and Assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success & Engagement at Illinois. In these roles, he oversees Student Org Development & Administration (SODA), the Student Org Finance Center (SOFC), student spirit and tradition initiatives. He also serves as the advisor to Illinois Student Government. He's worked at Illinois since 2014. Before joining the Illini family, Alex worked at Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity Headquarters, Northwestern University, and Texas A&M University.

    Advisor: Dr. Denice Hood

    Anticipated Graduation: December 2022

    Academic Background:

    • Ph.D. (in progress), Education Policy, Organization & Leadership | University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • M.S. Counseling & Student Development | Kansas State Unversity
    • B.S. Management Information Systems | Kansas State University

    LinkedIn: Alejandro J. Suñé

  • Profile picture

    Sean Reeder

    Sean is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education.  His research focus is in higher education finance and he currently serves as the Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at Eastern Illinois University.

    Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Delaney

    Anticipated Graduation: 2022

    Academic Background: 

    Ph.D. Candidate, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with concentration in Higher Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    M.B.A, with concentration in Finance, University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign

    B.S. General Engineering with concentration in Control Systems, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sean-reeder-973aa33/

     

     

  • Tara Adams

    Tara Adams

    Tara Adams is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with a concentration in higher education. Her academic interests are rooted in higher education fundraising, specifically policy matters and gender disparity issues. Tara is the Assistant Director of Advancement at the University of Illinois College of Law and the co-founder of the Cognitive Empowerment Consulting Group, LLC.

    Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Delaney

    Anticipated Graduation: 2023

    Academic Background:

    Ph.D. (in progress), Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Concentration: Higher Education

    Ed.M., 2020, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Concentration: Higher Education

    JD, 2013, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bar Passage: Illinois

    B.S., 2010, Finance & International Business, Illinois State University 

    LinkedIn: Tara Adams

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    Anna Barkley

    Anna Barkley is a doctoral student in the department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership. Her research interests include the P-16 pipeline, college access, and transitions. Currently, she is interested in student-centered development of college readiness policy.

    Advisor: Dr. Adrienne Dixson

    Anticipated Graduation: 2025

    Academic Background

    • PhD, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      • Concentration: Social Sciences & Education Policy
    • EdM, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      • Concentration: Social Sciences & Education Policy 
    • BME, Choral Music Education, Winthrop University

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/anna-barkley-77b219226/

  • ACP Stonehenge

    Alicia Cabrera-Prado (she/her)

    Alicia Cabrera-Prado is a doctoral student in the Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

    Her research interests include Dual Language teacher training and study abroad programs. 

    Prior to coming to UIUC, Alicia worked in education as a National Board Certified high school Heritage Spanish teacher, a department chair for World Languages, and as an assistant principal. 

    Graduate Advisor: Dr. Allison Witt

    Expected Graduation Year: 2023

    Academic Background

    Ph.D. Student, Global Studies, Organization & Leadership in Global Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    M.A., Educational Leadership, Concordia University

    M.A., Secondary Education in World Languages, Roosevelt University 

    B.S., Mass Communications, Illinois State University 

    LinkedIn: ACP

  • Jennifer Hain Teper

    Jennifer Hain Teper is a part-time doctoral student in the Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership Department with a focus on the History of Education. Her research interests lie in the development of formal education pathways for art and cultural heritage conservators and understanding the historic and current barriers towards increasing racial and ethnic diversity within the profession. Jennifer is trained as a book and paper conservator and serves as Velde Professor and Head of the Preservation Services Unit at the University Library at UIUC. She is also adjunct teaching faculty for the ISchool. 

    Advisor: Dr. Christopher Span

    Anticipated Graduation: 2025

    Academic Background:

    Ph.D. (in progress) Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Concentration: History of Education

    M.S.L.I.S. and Certificate of Advanced Study, Conservation and Preservation of Library and Archive Materials, The University of Texas at Austin. 

    M.S. Biology and English, University of Richmond. 

    https://experts.illinois.edu/en/persons/jennifer-hain-teper

  • Hanna Kim

    Hanna Kim

    Hanna Kim is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with a concentration in Global Studies in Education (GSE) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Her research interests focus on Americans' perception of Korean Americans as well as Korean international graduate students' academic challenges and adjustment in an American university. Hanna serves as a research assistant for the College of Education’s International Program and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She also works for the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (CEAPS) in a graduate student hourly position. Prior to coming to UIUC, Hanna worked for World Vision Korea as a broadcast filing coordinator and studied her master's in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Mississippi.

    Advisor: Dr. Hyun-Sook Kang

    Anticipated Graduation: 2026

    Academic Background:

    Ph.D. Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

          Concentration: Global Studies in Education

    M.A., Modern Languages with a concentration on Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, University of Mississippi

    B.A., International Cultural Studies with Education in Early Childhood Education, Soonchunhang University

    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/hanna-kim-487ba81b0

  • Jasmine Porter-Rallins

    Jasmine Porter-Rallins is a doctoral student in the Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

    Her research interests include the history of African American boarding schools, the evolution and impact of the Afrocentric school model, and the relationship between sense of belonging and academic achievement for Black students. 

    Prior to coming to UIUC, Jasmine worked in education as a middle school science teacher in Boston Public Schools (MA) and Fulton County Public Schools (GA), a program director for the federally funded Upward Bound Program, and as an adjunct professor at Tufts University and Northeastern Illinois University. 

     

    Graduate Advisor: Dr. Yoon Pak

    Expected Graduation Year: 2023

    Academic Background

    Ph.D. Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in Social Sciences & Education Policy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    M.Ed., International Education Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    B.A., Economics, Spelman College

     

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasmine-porter-rallins-22244620

     

  • Shang Li (she/her/hers)

    Shang Li is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, with a concentration in Human Resource Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and also serves as an instructional design assistant at the eLearning Office in the Gies College of Business. Her research interests explore the influence of mobile learning on undergraduates' academic performance, learning motivation, and learning readiness.

    Advisor: Dr. Wenhao David Huang

    Expected Graduation: 2023

    Academic Background

    • Ph.D. student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in Human Resource Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • B.S., Business Administration, East China Normal University

    Linkedln: www.linkedin.com/in/shang(lisa-li-53844541 

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    Ayinde Rochon

    Ayinde Rochon is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with a concentration in higher education. His research interests focus on identity and efficacy development of Black students on college campuses. By using autoethnography, photography, and filmmaking as methods of collecting and displaying research, Rochon brings both the arts and academy together as one. He serves as a research assistant for the Office of Community College Research and Leadership and a teaching assistant for the College of Education.

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2025

    Advisor: Dr. Christopher Span

    Education

    Ph.D., Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Ed.M., Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

    B.A., Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington

  • Jessica Harless (she/her/hers)

            I am a doctoral candidate in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, specializing in philosophy of education. My professional background in college access and student development, coupled with my academic philosophical training, has led me to research and write about the intersection of higher education, ethics, and educational & social theory. My current project explores the role of inquiry in campus debates about free speech and safe spaces.

            In my time at Illinois, I have served as teaching assistant for EDUC 201 and EPOL 406, as editorial assistant for the journal Educational Theory, and as research assistant for a project on ethics in higher education. Recent publications include a chapter in the book Ethics in Higher Education, an article in Educational Theory, and an article in Ethics and Education.

    Graduate Advisor: Chris Higgins

    Expected Graduation Year: 2022

    Education

    • Ph.D., Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • M.A., Philosophy and Education, Teachers College-Columbia University
    • B.A., Philosophy, University of Florida

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jharless

     

  • Nicole M. DelMastro-Jeffery (she/her/hers)

    Nicole DelMastro-Jeffery is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, with a concentration in higher education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests center on undergraduate student experiences to and through math pathways amid the COVID pandemic.

    DelMastro-Jeffery's professional experience includes a decade of education equity work in higher education administration, student services, and program coordination in both the two- and four-year college sectors. Before joining OCCRL, she served as a community college research assistant, TRIO advisor, UIUC academic advisor, faculty member, and higher education administrator for students pursuing graduate degrees in the field of public health.

    Advisor: Dr. Eboni Zamani-Gallaher

    Anticipated Graduation: 2022

    Academic Background:

    M.Ed., Higher Education Organization and Leadership at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    B.S.W., American Social Policy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    A.A., Liberal Arts: Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences at Long Beach Community College

  • Danté Studamire

    Danté R. Studamire (he/him/his)

    Dante Studamire is a scholar-activist who attributes social activism and purposeful scholarship as key motivations. Presently, a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership (EPOL), I also serve as a mentor through the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) and a Teaching Assistant within the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    My scholarly research activity engages, troubles, and interrogates experiences in academe across a multiplicity of identities. I bring intersectional framing and a critical theoretical lens to explore the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and education. I aim to contribute counternarratives to dominant discourse and add to an emerging body of literature on African American social and educational resilience, but more largely, to provide visibility to a population that is often pathologically approached, if represented at all, in research concerning Black men in America and education scholarship.

    Advisor: Dr. Adrienne Dixson

    Anticipated Graduation: 2023

    Academic Background

    • Ph.D. Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

             Concentration: Social Sciences & Education Policy

    • M. A., Africana Studies, Georgia State University
    • B. A., Africana Studies, Georgia State University
  • Image of Anastasia Olga (Olnancy) Tzirides

    Anastasia Olga (Olnancy) Tzirides (she/her/hers)

    Program of Study, Research Interests, & Advisor

    Anastasia-Olga (Olnancy) Tzirides is a Ph.D. candidate in the Learning Design and Leadership Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

    Her research interests include emerging digital technologies, online education, as well as language and culture learning. Her dissertation research project focuses on exploring the potential of using digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence combined with a multimodal and translanguaging approach to language learning.

    Advisor: Dr. Mary Kalantzis.

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2022

    Professional & Educational Background

    • Ph.D. Candidate, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in Learning Design and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • M.A., Multicultural and Multilingual Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece & Le Mans Université, France
    • B.A., Elementary Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/anastasia-olga-olnancy-tzirides

    Website: http://aotzirides.web.illinois.edu/

  • Image of Chequita Brown

    Chequita S. Brown (She/Her/Hers)

    Chequita S. Brown, a Chicago native, is doctoral student in the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership. Professionally, she has 10+ years’ experience working in postsecondary administration, instruction, and course and program development.

    Chequita’s research interests center on the lived experiences of minoritized populations in higher education, including college access and retention, student engagement and development, and educational equity and diversity. Equally important, she works as a research assistant for Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) and a teaching assistant for College of Liberal Arts and Science.

    Graduate Advisor: Dr. Denice Hood

    Expected Graduation Year: 2022

    Education

    • Ph.D., Student, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • M.S., English Studies, Illinois State University
    • B.S., Sociology, Illinois State University

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chequitabrown/

    Updated CV

  • Image of Nathan Tanner

    Nathan Tanner (he/him/his)

    Program of Study, Research Interests, & Advisor

    As a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership (EPOL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign my research critically examines Whiteness in historic and contemporary educational contexts; I seek to document and illuminate its pernicious influence on educational opportunity structures, and the ways racially minoritized students navigate and resist oppressive educational configurations. A major focus of my research agenda is drawing educators and policymakers’ attention to the intersections in place, race, and religion on schools, past and present. I transitioned to doctoral studies and educational research after working as an ESL teacher in Tianjin, China and a public school social studies teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    My advisor is Dr. Christopher M. Span.

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2023

    Professional & Educational Background

    •  Ph.D. Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in Social Sciences & Education Policy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    • M.Ed., Educational Leadership & Policy, The University of Utah

    • B.A., History, Brigham Young University

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathan-tanner-a5b35439/

  • Ade's headshot

    Ade Akinrinola, Ph.D. (ABD)

    Program of Study, Research Interests, & Advisors

    My interests in and passion for international education and higher education anchor on the philosophy that one cannot aspire toward a future that one does not know is possible. Anchored on the values of equity and fairness, education can equip one with the tools to dream, actualize and become more—for oneself and others.  

    My research interests focus on the racialized experiences and Black identity formation of Black African international students in American higher education institutions. My work problematizes and unpacks the politics of (Black) identity formation at the intersection of race and international education, advancing its implications for policy, research, and praxis. 

    At the core of my career and life aspiration is the desire and commitment to inspire and support young people of color toward the fulfillment of their dreams. 

    Advisors:

                   Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Primary; GSE)

                   Dr. Eboni Zamani-Gallaher (Secondary; Higher Education)

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2021

    Professional & Educational Background

    • Ph.D. Candidate (ABD), Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in Global Studies in Education and Higher Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • M.A., K-12 Educational Administration, Michigan State University 
    • B.A., Educational Administration, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ademola-akinrinola  

  • a photo of man with skyline in background

    Amari Simpson (he/him/his)

    Program of Study, Research Interests, & Advisor

    My passion for higher education and education policy stems from my personal experiences and desire to utilize resources (e.g., connections, opportunities, support, etc.) to support the development of those that I have the chance to meet during my lifetime.

    My research interests center on Black, Latino, American Indian, first-generation, women, and low-income persons’ interests and access to STEM majors and careers via pre-college programs. I intend to leverage this work to evaluate and provide insights on STEM education, equity, and inclusion to educators across the P-20 pipeline.

    My advisor is Dr. William Trent.

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2022

    Professional & Educational Background

    •  Ph.D. Candidate, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership in Higher Education Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • Ed.M., Curriculum and Teaching in Secondary Science Education, Boston University
    • B.A., Psychology, Middlebury College

    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amarisimpson  

    Current CV