The Hope Center


Monique Curry-Mims

As Principal of Civic Capital Consulting, Monique oversees all business development and client implementation. She​ has over 15 years of development and leadership experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors providing development, marketing, and strategic planning professionals with experience in graphic design, branding, and public relations. As a Penn State MBA graduate who holds a BS in Digital Design from Philadelphia University and an MSEd from Walden University, Monique has an ​innovative approach to developing education and nonprofit organizations.  

Eileen Horng

Eileen Horng is an independent education research consultant and founder of Evaluation, Research and Assessment Solutions. She provides project management for the full project cycle including: planning, grant writing, executing (data collection and analysis), monitoring progress, reporting to stakeholders, and disseminating results. She also provides third-party data de-identification services. Eileen received a BA in Human Biology (with a concentration on education and child development) from Stanford University and a PhD in Education (in the Urban Schooling Division) from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has previously been a Project Director at the Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice at Stanford University, the Director of Research, Assessment and Accountability for the Redwood City School District, and an elementary school teacher. Click here to learn more.

Max Lubin

Max Lubin

Max Lubin is the CEO of Rise, Inc. a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former Obama Administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Education. At the U.S. Department of Education, Max helped shape more than $1 billion in annual investments in innovative schools, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education nationwide. Previously, Max worked on local, state, and national electoral and advocacy campaigns focused on advancing equity and opportunity.

The Hope Center/RISE partnership is an effort to grow and lead college affordability advocacy campaigns nationwide. It pairs the Hope Center’s scholars, advocates, and education experts with student and youth advocates who can build powerful campaigns to address concerning findings identified by researchers. 

Samantha Swaim

Samantha Swaim has worked in nonprofit fundraising and event production for over 20 years and has passion for working for a purpose. She comes from theatre + TV production roots with a focus on details and a vision for the big picture. She believes that great events are made better when they share a story and have impact. Sam and her team at Swaim Strategies are leading event planning for our #RealCollege 2019 convening.

Mayra Olivares-Urueta

Mayra Olivares-Urueta, Ph.D. works to remove institutional barriers and ensure the success of all students, especially historically marginalized and excluded populations. She currently serves as associate professor of professional practice in the graduate Higher Education Leadership Program at Texas Christian University. Prior to teaching, Dr. OU served as vice president for student development services at Tarrant County College Northeast Campus. Dr. OU’s research and writing focus on removing barriers to executive leadership for Latina mothers in community college, making college a family affair, and increasing access and success of Latinx students in higher education. In 2018, she was named an American Association of Women in Community Colleges 40 under 40, and in 2020, she became a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Presidential Fellows program. She is a member of the NASPA Latinx Task Force within the Community Colleges Division, a member of the board of directors for Camp Fire Texas, and the proud spouse of Alejandro and mother of Isabel and Olivia.

Akilah Patterson

Akilah Patterson, MPH is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health and a graduate of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Her research is focused on equity in mental health for communities of color and stamping out racism and its effects on mental wellbeing. Her previous experience includes both research and health education practice focused on improving the health and well-being of college students in the United States.


Rise is a student-led nonprofit organization advocating for free public higher education with more than 25,000 students and supporters nationwide. Since its founding, Rise has led successful campaign to enact two years of free community college in California, to stop public university tuition hikes, and win hundreds of millions of dollars in new state funding for students. 

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