Sara Goldrick-Rab is Founder of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice and Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University. She is the recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholars Award and the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, and in 2016 POLITICO named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics. Her latest book, “Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream” (University of Chicago, 2016), won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award, and was featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The Chronicle of Higher Education calls her “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” she is ranked sixth in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week, and in April 2018 the Carnegie Corporation awarded her the Carnegie Fellowship. Sara is married to a Philadelphia native who graduated from the Community College of Philadelphia, and is raising two children attending the city’s public schools.
Sara’s hope: We will fight for a financing system that recognizes the right of every American to a high-quality college education.
Christine Baker-Smith is the Managing Director and Director of Research of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Before joining the Hope Center, she was a lecturer in Research Methodology for the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences M.A. program at Columbia University and an Education Policy Analyst for the NYC Independent Budget Office. She also served as Project Manager for the “NYC High School Admissions Study” — a randomized controlled trial. A sociologist of education, Christine’s training is in mixed-methods research and causal inference with a focus on student social and academic engagement across schooling transitions. She holds a PhD from New York University in Sociology of Education, an EdM in Leadership, Policy and Politics from Teachers College, Columbia University, an MA in Social Sciences of Education from Stanford University, and a BA in Sociology from Whitman College. She has published on adolescence and school transitions in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as Sociology of Education, Peabody Journal of Education, and Education Finance and Policy.
Christine’s hope: We will identify practices for a national audience that improve student outcomes across the K-12 to post-secondary transition.
Benjamin Daniel is the Director of Communications at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. A lifelong New Jersey resident, Benjamin was raised with a houseful of siblings and friends in Camden. After graduating Camden High School, he completed his undergraduate studies in English at Rutgers University and earned a Master’s degree in Public Relations from Rowan University. He has been a communications professional for more than two decades, working in the for-profit, public and non-profit sectors. He has studied and lectured in fields as wide-ranging as social research, writing, editing, graphic design and education policy research and advocacy. Some of his specialties include branding, research, survey instrument development, media relations, crisis communications, event planning, legislative advocacy and grant and proposal writing.
Benjamin’s hope: Socioeconomic equality is an achievable goal, however long it takes.
Bianca Van Heydoorn
Bianca Van Heydoorn is the Director of Community Engagement and Research Application for the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. In her role, she provides leadership, strategic planning, and visioning for community engagement across multiple research projects. Bianca’s work focuses on challenges facing vulnerable populations including former foster youth, returning citizens, and student-parents. Prior to joining the Hope Center, Bianca served as the Director of Educational Initiatives at the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she oversaw a continuum of educational services for incarcerated and community-based college students impacted by the criminal justice system. Bianca is a first-generation college student who holds an MA in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a BA in Correctional Sociology from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program for Interdisciplinary Studies. She currently sits on the board of the national Alliance for Higher Education in Prison.
Bianca’s hope: We will work together to create justice, equity, and college access for all.
Kevin Wesolowski is the Director of Operations at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. He is an experienced operations leader with over a decade of experience working in the non-profit sector. Throughout his career, Kevin has worked with teams to design and implement creative and cost-effective solutions to enhance organizational effectiveness and impact. Most recently, Kevin served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, a DC-based education advocacy non-profit. Additionally, he has worked for other education associations, including the Consortium for School Networking and the National School Boards Association. Kevin’s experience also includes time in the classroom as an early learning educator. Kevin holds a Master of Public Administration degree and Graduate Certificate in City Management from Villanova University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
Kevin’s hope: Our Nation’s leaders will recognize a high-quality education – including a college education – as a fundamental human right and will fight to make that a reality.