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EPOL Department - Student Spotlight
Diversity & Equity

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  • Kelsey W. Knutson, Ed.D Student (she/her)

    Program of Study, Research Interests & Professional Profile:

    Kelsey Knutson is a doctoral student of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, concentrating in Global Education and Diversity and Equity at the University of Illinois. Kelsey's continued research and studies center on inequities in access to digital learning, teacher-student relationships and the intersections of race, sexuality, and gender, grading bias in multicultural and multiracial classrooms, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and sustainable international education policy. Kelsey has recently entered the world of education consulting and is in a 6-month doctoral internship for the education sector of the U.N., specifically the Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems and Teacher Development departments, at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris. Kelsey is a full-time social studies teacher, D.E.I. facilitator and coordinator, and newly appointed travel and foreign exchange director in Phoenix.

    Advisor: Dr. Hyun-Sook Kang

    Expected Graduation: 2025

    Academic Background:

    • Ed.D., (In-progress) Global Studies; Diversity & Equity, in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
    • M.Ed., Education, Arizona State University, 2016
    • B.A., Global Studies: Human Rights & Justice; Spanish, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 2013

    LinkedIn: /kelseyknutson or Kelsey W. Knutson's LinkedIn

  • Corinne Smith (she/her)

    Corinne Smith is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership with a concentration in Diversity and Equity in Education. Her research interests focus on the intersectional identities of rural and small-town students and the college access barriers many of them face. Corinne currently serves as an Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale University. Previously, she worked in undergraduation admissions as well as athletic advising at Northwestern University. Recently, Corinne co-authored a book called the College Essay Journal, which helps students brainstorm and write their college applications. 

    Advisor: Sharon Lee

    Expected Graduation: 2024

    Academic Background:

    Ed.D. (in progress) Education Policy, Organization & Leadership | University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    M.S. Higher Education Administration and Policy | Northwestern University

    B.A. Political Science and Sociology | Northwestern University



  • Shamez Mukhi

    I am pursuing Ed.D in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a concentration in Diversity & Equity. My Ed.D research will focus on the role of the civil society in providing underprivileged children (in poverty) equitable access to primary education in Pakistan. I am based in Karachi and work for a private university as Director Student Life.

    Advisor: Jon Hale

    Expected Graduation: 2024

    Academic Background:

    MA. Global Diplomacy - SOAS, University of London, England

    MSc. in Computer Science - University of Kent, England


  • Tasia Fields

    Tasia is an online doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a concentration in Diversity and Equity. Her research interest includes Best Practices of Equity Directors in a K-12 setting. 

    Currently, Tasia is the Director of Equity and Inclusion for Waukegan Public Schools and an adjunct professor for the College of Lake County.  Education has always been her passion, she founded a website called Great Minds TEACH Alike where she writes and offers consulting services. 

    Graduate Advisor: Dr. Denice Hood 

    Expected Graduation Year: 2023

    Academic Background: 

    Ed.D., Student, Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Ed.S., Educational Leadership, National Louis University M.Ed., Curriculum & Instruction, Concordia University Chicago B.A., Elementary Education, Western Michigan University 



  • Taylor Masamitsu (he/they), Ed.M.

    Taylor is a PhD student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership. He studies the dislocating rhetoric that affects queer Asian American students. 


    PhD, Social Sciences and Education Policy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    EdM, Diversity and Equity in Education, Unviersity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    MA, Vocal Music Education, Columbia University, Teachers College

    BFA, Vocal Performance, California Institute of the Arts


    Advisor: Dr. Yoon Pak

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2025



    Current CV

  • 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