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2022 Policy Fellows

Malerie Barnes


Malerie Barnes, Director of Admissions/ Ph.D. Candidate, University of Colorado Boulder- she/her/hers

Malerie is the director of admissions for the CU Boulder School of Education and is also a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice program in the same department. Her research is centered on university recruitment practices-- namely, the use of merit scholarships to attract targeted students-- and how those practices are informed by state and federal policies. Her work is equal parts philosophical inquiry and quantitative analysis of the impact of these policies.

Lizz Bohl


Lizz Bohl, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Colorado Boulder - she/her/hers

Lizz is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Teacher Learning, Research, and Practice program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on the preparation of justice-oriented, anti-racist and community-engaged elementary school teachers. She is also passionate about addressing inequity in the policies and practices of teacher education, especially through mitigating financial barriers to becoming a teacher.

Shelby Burroughs


Shelby Burroughs, Master of Arts in Education, Colorado Mesa University- she/her/hers

Shelby is a second year master of arts in education candidate at Colorado Mesa University. Her research interests include first-generation student success, equitable enrollment and recruitment practices for students of color, low-income students and creating accessible campuses for non-traditional students. She also serves as a representative on CMU's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group.

Becky Chavez


Rebecca "Becky" Chavez, Director of TRIO Student Support Services at Front Range Community College Boulder County Campus - she/her/hers

Becky is a second-year education doctorate student in the University of Colorado Denver Leadership in Education Equity in Higher Education program. She is currently researching what organizational culture needs to exist for staff in designated bilingual positions to be successful in role at community colleges. She is one of the founding co-creators of the LEADS (Latinx leadership program) at FRCC-Boulder County Campus and was the driving force behind the creation of FRCC’s first designated bilingual position (there are now nine across the institution).

Flor Cruz


Flor Cruz, Academic Advisor, Colorado Mountain College - she/her/ella

Flor is a student at Colorado State University Global Campus in the Master of Organizational Leadership program. Her scholarly interests are related to the lack of ethnic diversity in leadership across higher education. Flor is passionate about inclusivity research and making sure students can have a true sense of belonging throughout their education.


W.F. Preston Cumming, Ph.D. Professional Development Lead, Center for Teaching & Learning, University of Colorado Boulder – he/ him/ they/ them

Preston is a master’s student in the Higher Education program in the School of Education at the University of Colorado. His scholarship and interests lie in deficiencies in the current and future tenure process for faculty of color and historically underrepresented groups. Preston also works with graduate students through his role in CU Boulder's Center for Teaching & Learning, serves as a board member for the Professional and Organizational Developers Network and works with the newly formed Rocky Mountain Teaching & Learning Collaborative.


Jeanette Dias, University of Colorado Colorado Springs – she/ her/ hers

Jeanette is a third year Ph.D. student in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She also serves as assistant dean for Internal Operations for the UCCS College of Business. Her research interests include higher education performance funding, faculty evaluation and student STEM identity.


Alexandra Federico McGrath, Ph.D. Student, University of Colorado Boulder- she/her/hers

Alexandra is a third year Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research explores issues of access and persistence among historically excluded students in higher education, with a focus on first-generation and bilingual students. She is a former high school teacher and advisor from New York City and currently teaches in the undergraduate elementary education program at CU.


Mary Funston, Master of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University- she/ her/ hers

Mary is a first-year master of occupational therapy student at Colorado State University. Her scholarship interests include occupational mental health and occupational justice, or “the right of every individual to be able to meet basic needs and to have equal opportunities and life chances to reach toward her or his potential but specific to the individual’s engagement in diverse and meaningful occupation.” (Wilcock & Townsend, 2009, p. 193) She is the treasurer for DiverseOT, an organization which aims to integrate equity and cultural responsiveness and develop/support the recruitment of underrepresented students into occupational therapy programs through community outreach and mentoring.


Fernando Gomez, University of Denver - University College- he/ him/ his

Fernando is a graduate student at the University of Denver - University College. Fernando’s research interest looks to cultivate connections and advocate for art, culture and education in communities of all kinds. Fernando serves as the operations coordinator for the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office at the Anschutz Medical Campus.


Atiya Harvey, Master of Arts, Colorado College- she/ her/ hers

Atiya is starting her master of arts in Teaching at Colorado College. Her scholarship interests look to explore culturally responsive pedagogy in K-12 and higher education. She is also a certified environmental educator in the state of Colorado through the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.

Claire Kopp


Claire Kopp, Ph.D. student, Colorado State University - she/her/hers

Claire is a third year Ph.D. student at Colorado State University. Her research centers unpartnered student parents in higher education institutions. She is most interested in the community college sector and has spent most of her career there. Recently, she moved to CU Denver to work in academic support for engineering students, with a focus on transfer students.

Gina M Loftus


Gina Loftus, Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice MA, University of Colorado Boulder-she/her/hers

Gina is in her final year of her master’s program at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is currently working on identifying the contextual and personal factors that contribute to the teacher attrition rate throughout the country. It is her deep-rooted passion to inform educators and administration about the importance of self-care and mentorship in teacher preparation programs. As a first-generation college student, she feels very strongly that one's academic journey, and the experiences they encounter throughout that journey, can change the trajectory of an individual’s life.

Mary Ann Lucero


Mary Ann Lucero, Ph.D. Colorado State University – she/ her/ hers

Mary Ann is a second year Ph.D. student at Colorado State University in the School of Education, higher education leadership program. Her research interest is focused on addressing the underpinnings of racism in education, deconstructing and reimaging student success through a lens of racial equity and examining the invisible influences and underlying assumptions of minoritized communities within postsecondary education.

Fabiola Mora


Fabiola Mora, Academic Advancement Center Director, Colorado State University- she/hers/ella

Fabiola is a second year Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Leadership program at Colorado State University. Her interests include examining and challenging systems of power, privilege and oppression that perpetuate violence on students and staff who have been historically marginalized in higher education. Fabiola strives to root her student success work and research in equity, justice, liberation and love.

Anna Noble


Anna Noble, Ph.D. student, University of Colorado Boulder- she/her/hers

Anna is a former high school teacher and is a third year Ph.D. student in Education Policy and Practice. Her graduate work with the National Education Policy Center at CU Boulder includes monitoring trends in education markets and examining relationships between public and private institutions in the field of K-12 public education. Her research interests include critical analysis of policies intended to support historically marginalized students including school choice, the role of charters and third-party management organizations.

Annie Ngo


Annie Ngo, Master of Arts, University of Denver - she/her/hers

Annie is a second year master of arts student in the Higher Education program at The University of Denver. Prior to entering the program, Annie worked as an early childhood teacher at a bilingual school and has worked as a mentor for the Upward Bound '77 program. As a first-generation student, Annie's work includes working with first-generation and students of color in areas of leadership development and inclusive programming both at The Cultural Center at The University of Denver and the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion at MSU Denver.

Mark Ostrander


Mark Ostrander, Master of Public Administration, University of Colorado Denver – he/ him/ his

Mark is in the master of public administration program at CU Denver working on his capstone project. The project is focused on ways colleges and universities can minimize housing insecurity among college students.

Elizabeth Peterson


Elizabeth Peterson, Master of Science, University of Colorado Colorado Springs - she/her/hers

Elizabeth is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Leadership, Research and Foundations at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She earned her bachelor of science degree in pure mathematics and master of science in applied mathematics, also from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Accordingly, her research interests include the use of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of social science problems as well as the assessment and improvement of secondary and tertiary STEM education.

Ashley Sherman


Ashley Sherman, Master of Education, University of Denver - she/her/hers

Ashley is a third year EdD student at the University of Denver with a dissertation focus on the impact of public service loan forgiveness programs on Black and African American borrowers. Her research focus is federal financial aid policy, state-level higher education funding and institution-level budget development. She hopes to develop policy that focuses on funding equity in higher education.

Noelle Strom


Noelle Strom, University of Denver - she/her/hers

Noelle is a second year EdD student in the Higher Education program at the University of Denver. Her scholarship interests include equitable access to leadership opportunities and higher education financing. She currently works as a research administrator in DU's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, supporting the institution's researchers as they pursue and secure external funding.

Debora Silva Viana


Débora Viana, PhD. Colorado State University- she/her/hers

Débora is a first year Social Work Ph.D. student at Colorado State University.