Cobretti D. Williams, Editor in Chief

Cobretti D. Williams

Cobretti is a second-year doctoral student in the Higher Education program at Loyola University Chicago. In addition to his duties as a Research Assistant, Cobretti also serves as an Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Student Affairs and Research Practice. His research interests broadly explore critical, queer and feminist theory and practice in higher education. Cobretti is deeply passionate about issues of social justice and liberation. In his spare time, Cobretti likes to read, listen to music, and travel around the world (whenever possible).

Curtis Main, Senior Layout Editor, E-mail

Curtis Main

Curtis is Web Content Developer for the Division of Student Development in the Office of the Vice President at Loyola University Chicago. Curtis loves everything tech, graphic design, and justice related, receiving their MA in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola, while currently finishing their MS in Computer Science from Loyola. While Curtis’ career is being built in Chicago, their heart lies in NC, where they grew up and graduated from UNC- Chapel Hill. Curtis’ interests include social justice in increasingly digital ways, such as through JCSHESA and BROAD magazine.

Ashley Brown, Associate Editor

Ashley Brown

Ashley is a first-year doctoral student in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. Most recently she served as Assistant Director in the College of Letters and Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ashley received her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University and her B.A. in English and Women's Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Her research interests include experiences of multiracial college students along with academic and programmatic interventions in higher education that re-imagine masculinities. Ashley is excited to return to Loyola as a student and serve on the JCSHESA EditorialBoard!

Emely Medina, Associate Editor

Emely Medina

Emely comes from a surfing town, west of the island of Puerto Rico. At the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) she got involved in researching the access of students from public housing projects to the UPR. This experience motivated her to study Educational Policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Working for a college access program after her master’s degree, she developed her research interest in the field of higher education. She is interested in understanding the social and structural disadvantages women with children face in college, especially those coming from low-income families. Representing people’s stories in their personal, social and structural complexity is her main aspiration as a researcher.

Kristen Surla, Associate Editor

Kristen Surla

Kristen Surla is a 2nd year M.Ed. Student in the Higher Education Student Affairs Program at Loyola University Chicago, where she also graduated with a B.A. in English and Sociology in 2013. While at Loyola, Kristen contributed to research initiatives through the Center for Urban Research and Learning and the Graduate School of Education, focusing on undocumented students, mixed immigrant status families, college choice among Southeast Asian students, and Asian American political engagement around affirmative action. Kristen has also served as a research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI). During her time at CMSI, Kristen worked on projects for the Aspiring Leaders program focusing on mentorship for current and aspiring presidents of Minority Serving Institutions and an independent project on barriers and opportunities for LGBTQ student support at AANAPISIs. Prior to graduate school, Kristen worked at Oberlin College and Conservatory as the Assistant Director and Asian/Pacific Islander Coordinator at the Multicultural Resource Center. Kristen's interests include the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in higher education. Specifically, Kristen hopes to continue pursuing her education and apply to PhD programs where she can continue uplifting the experiences of Asian & Pacific Islanders and queer women of color through research.

Carlos Ballinas, Editorial Assistant

Carlos Ballinas

Carlos has completed his second year as a student in Loyola’s Higher Education Doctoral Program. Carlos started his college career as a part-time student at Wilbur Wright College. He eventually transferred from Wright College and received his BA in Latin American / Latino Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007. He then went on to receive his MA in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University in 2012. Through his professional career, he has had the opportunity to work in private and public universities; in two-year and four-year institutions; and in academic and student center based departments/programs. Through his educational and professional experiences, he has worked toward serving as a source of empowerment and access to students coming from underserved communities.

Sydney Curtis, Editorial Assistant

Sydney Curtis

Sydney is a second year Master's student in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. Currently, she works as Academic Coaching Coordinator in the Loyola Center for tutoring and Academic Excellence. Before moving to Chicago, Sydney completed her Bachelor's of Science in Athletic Training at Texas State University. Sydney's research interests include holistic student success, retention, experiential learning, and culturally competent pedagogy.

Hilary Houlette, Editorial Assistant

Hilary Houlette

Hilary Houlette is pursuing her Master's of Education in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. Supplemental to her studies, Hilary is the graduate assistant of the Chicago Center, an incoming study abroad program designed for students residing outside of the United States. Having studied abroad in Cyprus and France during her undergraduate career at the University of Denver, Hilary is passionate about International Higher Education. Hilary also works as a research assistant for a Loyola faculty member who is researching intercultural interactions and diversity on U.S. college campuses. Born in Colorado, Hilary enjoys running and rock climbing in her spare time.

Brandi Simmons, Editorial Assistant

Brandi Simmons

Brandi is a first year master’s student in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. She obtained her B.A in English, with a focus in African American Literature from Ohio University. Upon graduating she began working at I Know I Can, a non-profit college access program, serving the largest school district in Ohio, Columbus City Schools. Her work as a college and career adviser there secured her path towards pursuing college access. The passion that drives her life's work is rooted and grounded in providing equitable measures of academic opportunities for all students, and eliminating barriers in post-secondary education. This passion has developed an immense interest in researching diversity and inclusion for students of color within the education sector.

Lilianne Tang, Editorial Assistant

Lilianne Tang

Lilianne is a second year Master's student in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. She received her B.A. in Political Science and B.A. in Sociology: Social Inequalities from UC San Diego. This is where she learned the bureaucratic ins and outs of the systems and structures in place, and how they reproduce inequality for communities of color. She grew passionate about educational equity and became a College Adviser to directly engage and support first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students in their pursuit to higher education. Now, she is taking her experience in college access to the other side of this process, working as a Graduate Assistant with Loyola's Undergraduate Admissions Office. Lilianne's research interests include affirmative action, college access, student of color activism, and political identity development of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American students.

Dr. Blanca Torres-Olave, Journal Advisor

Dr. Blanca Torres-Olave

Dr. Blanca Torres-Olave is an assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches in the Higher Education and International Higher Education programs. Her domestic research is focused on the reorganization of academic labor in the knowledge economy, including its impact on collaboration/competition networks, and the growth of precarious and contingent employment in scientific work. Her international research agenda is concerned with the complex relationships that university students and faculty, especially those that engage in different forms or mobility, establish with the spaces they inhabit. Her work seeks to explore how university actors belong simultaneously to multiple social worlds and play multiple social roles at the local, national, and global levels. In addition to serving as faculty advisor for JCSHESA, Blanca is Chair for the Council of International Higher Education (CIHE) and ex-officio member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education Board of Members.

Advisory Council (2014-2017)

Dian Squire, Loyola University Chicago, E-mail, Twitter

Dian is a Ph.D candidate in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. Previously he was the Assistant Director of Orientation and New Student Programs and the Coordinator of The One Project--a first year experience program for LGBTQA students--at the University of Maryland College Park. He received his B.S. in Secondary English Education at Florida State University and his M.A. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies with a concentration in Higher Education at the University of Maryland College Park. His research interests include diversity,equity, and justice in graduate education.

Jenny Betz, GLSEN, Twitter

Jenny Betz is the Senior Education Manager at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) where she develops resources and professional development for K-12 educators across the US to make schools safer and more respectful for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Before joining GLSEN, Jenny worked for the Anti-Defamation League, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and Ally Action, providing anti-bias training, educational programming and community events designed to give schools and communities the tools to create bias-free environments. Jenny is also a Board Member of the International Bullying Prevention Association. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in English from St. Mary's College and her Master's Degree in Gender/Cultural Studies from Simmons College.

Raja Gopal Bhattar, University of California Los Angeles, Twitter

Raja Bhattar is a community organizer, social justice educator, speaker and author. He currently serves as the director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center at UCLA and has previously worked at the University of Vermont, Champlain College, Semester at Sea, and the University of Redlands in various positions focusing on diversity and social justice initiatives. He holds a Master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont (Burlington, VT) and completed his Bachelors in Psychology and Spanish Literature at Boston University (Boston, MA). Raja is a regular presenter and national leader on LGBT policy and advocacy. He has been featured in India Abroad, the Advocate, Huffington Post, and other publications.

Laura M. Bohorquez, United We Dream Network

Laura was born in Mexico City, moved to the U.S. at the age of 4, and was raised in Brewster, Washington, a small rural agricultural town in Washington State. Growing up Bohorquez joined her parents in immigrant rights rallies and in the packing sheds where she and her community worked. Laura is a recent first generation graduate from Loyola University Chicago's School of Education. At Loyola she served as the graduate assistant for the Department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs where she piloted the Safe Space and Ally Training Initiative for Undocumented Students. Prior to graduate school, Laura co-created the Raza Latina Studies Minor at WWU and graduated as the "Outstanding Graduate from the American Cultural Studies Department. Laura's commitment towards the educational equity, respect, and dignity for immigrant communities continues to fuel her trajectory to change the policy and practices that influence the lives of immigrant communities.

Erik Glenn, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, Twitter

With over eight years in the HIV/AIDS field, Erik has dedicated his career to the cause, supporting his friends, family, and community members affected by the HIV epidemic. Today, he works as Program Manager for the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus where he leads the agency' s three-tier strategy of HIV Prevention, Community & Leadership Development, and Advocacy. Erik is a recent graduate of University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration.

Ramona Gupta, Columbia College Chicago, Twitter

Ramona Gupta is the Coordinator of Asian American Cultural Affairs at Columbia College Chicago, where she serves as advisor to the Asian Student Organization, Muslim Student Association, and One Tribe. She is also the advisor for the One Tribe Scholars program, a student social justice leadership initiative focused on multiculturalism and inclusion. A community educator and activist, she previously worked and volunteered with a number of nonprofits focused on education and/or the Asian Pacific American community in Chicago. Ramona received bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University. She currently serves on the core organizing team of the South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC), a volunteer-run collective that strives to raise a South Asian voice for justice and equality. She welcomes ALL opportunities to connect and work toward justice together.

Dr. Bridget Turner Kelly, Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Bridget Turner Kelly is Associate Professor of Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Kelly's scholarship is focused on marginalized populations in higher education; more specifically, she studies the experiences of students of color on predominantly White campuses, women and faculty of color at research universities, and how all students can become multiculturally competent educators. She has authored articles in peer-refereed journals of high national reputation and also presented numerous refereed papers at national conferences. She was a 2013 Diamond Honoree for College Student Educators International (ACPA), awarded the NASPA IV-East Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs through Teaching in 2011, recognized as an Emerging Scholar by the ACPA in 2005, and received the Peggy R. Williams Emerging Professional Award in 2004 from the Office on Women in Higher Education, a division of the American Council on Education.

Dr. Chris Linder, University of Georgia, Twitter

Dr. Linder's research and teaching interests include creating and maintaining inclusive campus environments. Her previous work has explored race in graduate and undergraduate classrooms and the intersections of race and gender in activist spaces on campuses. Currently, she is engaged in a research project exploring undergraduate women's attempts to navigate multiple contradictory messages about gender through an intersectional lens.

Dr. Christa Porter, Michigan State University, Twitter

Dr. Christa J. Porter is a Fixed Term Assistant Professor in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) and Coordinator of the Student Affairs Administration Masters program at Michigan State University. Her research interests consist of the socialization processes, achievement, and identity development of Blacks throughout the educational pipeline, with a particular focus on Black undergraduate women. Dr. Porter received her Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services and an Interdisciplinary Qualitative Research Studies Certificate at the University of Georgia.

Kamaria Porter, University of Michigan, Twitter

Kamaria B. Porter is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with B.A. in History with a concentration of US Labor History, she worked as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation. Focusing on increasing affordable housing and health care access, she recruited and trained leaders from religious institutions to build local campaigns, organize public assemblies, and launch non-partisan electoral efforts. At Loyola University Chicago, she became active in sexual assault prevention and support programs as a survivor advocate. Kamaria's research interests include sexual health and violence prevention, diversity experiences, and moral development. As an avid film and television watcher, she wants to interrogate ways media supports and challenges systems of oppression to promote dialogue and action.

Ernie Sanders, Community Activist and Alumnus, Twitter

Ernest Sanders is the Founder and Managing Partner for COMEUNITY Based Solutions. Sanders is a business professional of more than 30 years and has worked on national causes to reduce recidivism, enhance middle school education and social services, and promote digital excellence in lower income populations. Sanders received his Bachelors Degree from Loyola University of Chicago, majoring in Political Science. He is a community activist and strategist, and also candidate for a Masters Degree at DePaul University's School for New Learning Professional Integrated Studies with a focus on Comprehensive Community and Economic Development. Sanders also attended Harvard University's Divinity School and earned a certification in Faith Based Community and Economic Development. He also serves on board several boards and volunteers with multiple non-profit organizations. In each, he infuses concepts of community and economic development into curriculum, programs, etc., thus creating best practices.

Sarah Smith, University of Maryland College Park, Twitter

From the southernmost part of Chicagoland, Sarah completed her undergraduate career at Vanderbilt Univ. where she spent her time in LGBTQI Life and Campus Recreation. Sarah is a Master's student at the University of Maryland - College Park in the Student Affairs program. Her interests are in learning/education, (women's) sports, and social justice.

Dr. David Stovall, University of Illinois Chicago

David Stovall, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently his research interests include Critical Race Theory (CRT), school/community relationships, youth culture and community organizing. He is also a volunteer social studies teacher at the Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice, where he was a member of the design team.