The Hope Center

Meet the Scholars

We’re thrilled to welcome members of our new #RealCollege Research Collaborative who will begin working this summer to provide deeper dives into the #RealCollege survey data. The Research Collaborative builds the #RealCollege Movement by providing a cohort of new scholars with exclusive access to the #RealCollege Database. Members will have the unique opportunity to examine basic needs insecurity more deeply from the vantage points of their fields and disciplines. As they conduct research, they will receive technical assistance from The Hope Center and learn with other group members. They will receive access to The Hope Center’s dissemination channels to share the findings of their work.

Meet the Scholars

Click on profiles to learn more.

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Christelle Bamona is a Researcher for the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), an economic justice organization. She specializes in applied quantitative methods and her research supports the CRL policy team’s federal and state consumer protections work. Her projects center on the housing finance system, student lending, and small business lending issues. Prior to joining CRL, Christelle was an associate at Vega Economics where she analyzed data related to financial security litigation involving investment banks. Previously, she conducted economic research on risk management in agriculture for the International Food Policy Research Institute. She received her master’s degree in economics from the University of San Francisco, and her bachelor’s degree in economics from the Catholic University of Congo.

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Wayne L. Black, Jr. is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration at the University of Kansas. His research centers on equity and justice in college athletics, particularly related to governance, finance, and college athlete experiences. As a higher education scholar with a background in business and operations management, his research is grounded in college student development, but also draws upon organizational culture and behavioral theories to understand the issues facing college athletics. Wayne’s research interests stem from his time as college wrestler and his passion to help create a better college environment for student athletes.

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Dr. Gresham D. Collom is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Postsecondary Education Research Center (PERC) and a research fellow for the 2021 Postsecondary Career and Technical Education research initiative sponsored by the ECMC Foundation and North Carolina State University. Previously, Gresham served as a graduate research assistant for PERC while pursuing his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Tennessee, a minor in Statistics, and a graduate certificate in Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement. Prior to his doctoral work, he earned a Master of Science in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Gresham currently coordinates several studies exploring state and federal policies, specifically free-college programs in Tennessee. He deploys mixed methods to further the understanding of how policies are implemented, and how policy implementation influences student success in postsecondary education.

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Dr. Antonio Duran (he/him/el) is an Assistant Professor in the Higher Education program at Florida International University. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Antonio attended New York University for his bachelor’s degree and was a part of a first-generation college student scholars’ program. After his time at NYU, he attended Miami University in Oxford, OH, for his master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. While at Miami University, he discovered his passion for engaging in research that would better the lives of minoritized individuals in postsecondary education. He pursued this goal by obtaining his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University. Now, his scholarship involves understanding how historical and contemporary legacies of oppression influence college student development, experiences, and success. His research agenda focuses on how queer and trans people of color navigate postsecondary education institutions.

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Elmira Jangjou is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Policy and Leadership Studies Department at the University of Iowa. She received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics Engineering from the University of Tabriz. Her teaching experience inspired Elmira to pursue a graduate degree in the field of education abroad. Despite the challenges of applying her degrees to her new field of study, she was driven by a lifelong belief that access to equitable education is integral to help communities and individuals break the cycle of poverty. Elmira became interested in exploring food insecurity in higher education. She conducted a qualitative study to better understand the experience of postsecondary students visiting on-campus food pantries. By adding students’ voices and shedding light on their experiences, she hopes to increase awareness on the issue of food insecurity and contribute to the overall accessibility of on-campus food pantries.

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Dr. Delma Ramos is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Ramos’ work examines the experiences of historically marginalized populations in higher education from an equity and social justice lens. Her research is unified by a focus on interrogating paradigms and ideologies that sustain inequity in higher education while highlighting the assets, agency, and resistance of historically marginalized communities. Dr. Ramos is a first-generation college student; she earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education with a concentration in Research Methods and Statistics from the University of Denver.

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Dr. Jessica K. Ezell Sheets currently serves as an instructor and scholar-practitioner of student success at the University of Arkansas. Her research explores campus-based and policy-level structures and practices that promote equity in higher education, including characteristics supporting work-life integration and success for students, faculty, and staff with caregiving responsibilities. Jessica’s research has been published in Higher Education, International Journal of Research on Service-learning and Community Engagement, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Faculty Development, Research in Higher Education, and Teachers College Record, with work forthcoming in the Journal of Higher Education Management. Jessica is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, where she earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs. She also received an Ed.M. in Higher Education from the University of Illinois.

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Dr. Krista M. Soria (she/her) works as the Director for Student Affairs Assessment at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is a critical quantitative researcher seeking to investigate the most equitable and inclusive programmatic practices and institutional conditions to prepare students to engage in the complexities of social change. She examines how higher education institutions can create a more supportive campus climate for students from diverse backgrounds, whether programs are equitably accessible and beneficial to all students, and how we can create structural conditions to support students’ development and success. Dr. Soria has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, edited five books, and authored a volume on social class in higher education. She has been a Principal Investigator on several large grants, and she also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, St. Mary’s University, Augsburg University, and the University of Minnesota.

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Dr. Teniell L. Trolian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, and a B.A. in Sociology from The Ohio State University. Dr. Trolian’s research focuses on how educational experiences influence college outcomes, with an emphasis on five types of undergraduate student experiences: classroom experiences, experiences with diversity, interactions and experiences with faculty, experiences with applied and experiential learning, and out-of-class experiences, including employment, internships, social experiences, and student involvement. Dr. Trolian’s research with the #RealCollege Research Collaborative will focus on understanding the influence of student employment during college on student outcomes and success.