Pre-Doctoral Fellows Diversity Program

The goal of AEFP’s Diversity Program is to provide opportunities for individuals who have not yet applied to doctoral programs to learn more about education finance and policy research and to help them navigate the process of applying to doctoral programs. Eligible participants include current undergraduates, master’s students, and other college graduates (i.e., not limited to current students) who are considering applying to a doctoral program (but have not yet applied) and who identify with a group underrepresented in AEFP’s membership: e.g., Black and Latinx scholars, first-generation students, and LGBTQIA+.

Through this new initiative, AEFP will provide financial support for students to attend the conference. This will allow students to attend paper and poster sessions, policy talks, special programming for participants, and networking events. The fellowships will cover membership and registration costs for the 46th annual conference. During the conference, students will participate in specialized programming to discuss navigating the graduate school application process and other targeted education finance and policy topics. Further, students will attend a diverse scholars networking reception. Fellows will also attend general programming, including policy talks, poster sessions, and paper sessions. Students will be selected via a competitive application process.

Recent graduates are eligible to apply for this. Current students enrolled in a doctoral degree program will not be eligible.

AEFP 2021 Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellows


Jeremy Anderson
Jeremy Anderson
Jeremy is a data resource analyst at EPIC. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to earning his Master’s, he taught middle school social studies in Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

Richard Davis
Richard Davis
Richard Davis Jr. is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in Public Administration at Louisiana State University. In addition to his work as a graduate research assistant at LSU, Richard serves as a Federal Advocacy Fellow, working with the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance and the National College Attainment Network to advance federal policies focused on closing equity gaps in postsecondary attainment for all students. Prior to his current studies, Richard earned a bachelor's degree in Middle School Education from Southeastern Louisiana University and taught English/Math in the school district where he was raised. His area(s) of interests center on issues of access and attainment in higher education with a particular focus on underserved student populations. Richard believes that everyone is deserving of a high-quality education and lives by the quote espoused by the late Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Gabriel Guitierrez-Aragon
Gabriel Guitierrez-Aragon
Gabriel is a Gates Millennium Scholar interested in the effects of educational policy on social mobility and inequality. He investigates racial and socioeconomic achievement disparities as well as the social consequences of mass schooling and aims to develop knowledge of applied statistical methods for educational research. Gabriel served as a Research Assistant at the Public Policy Institute of California as well as Research for Action and contributed to a published educational policy project via the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research on Higher Education.

Neven Holland
Neven Holland
Neven Holland serves as a 4th-grade mathematics teacher at Treadwell Elementary with Shelby County Schools in Memphis. He is an Educator Diversity Advocacy Council member for the Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance and The Education Trust in Tennessee, a mathematics content reviewer for EdReports.org, a 2015 Memphis Teacher Residency graduate, and an alumnus of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education. In addition, he serves as a remote research assistant for the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education on a mixed method, quasi-experimental study around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics integration. Recently, he worked during the summer as a policy and research intern at the Learning Policy Institute in Palo Alto, California where he collaborated and assisted numerous research teams on multiple projects around school segregation, teacher retention and recruitment, and college access. He is passionate about research, racial equity, and equitable access for all students across the P-16 pipeline.

Shanae Irving
Shanae Irving
Shanae Irving (she/her) is a graduate student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she is currently enrolled in the Human Development and Psychology Program. As an artist-educator, her work at HGSE is heavily focused on delving deeper into research within the realms of education, human development, and psychology to advocate for the gains of art-infused programs and strategies (locally and internationally). In bridging gaps between theory and practice, Shanae has committed the past eleven years to working with Art's House Schools of Music, Dance, and Fine Art in New York, serving within administrative roles and design capacities, especially for the dance program, to support ballet, tap, hip-hop, and contemporary dances. She has also been capitalizing on her B.A. in Neuroscience and Theater, working for the New York City Department of Education, to push forth utilizing art-infused interventions within K-12 classrooms to support varied learning styles for students with and without exceptionalities over the past four years. For her doctoral studies, Shanae intends to continue this work of capitalizing on psychological and developmental research to emphasize the effectiveness of art-infused intervention models while pushing forth improved, healing-centered learning settings for children. Moreover, she intends to continue advocating for improved resource allocation for K-12 students, especially those from marginalized groups.

Dave Kobel
Dave Kobel
Dave Kobel is a Secondary Science Teacher and Assistant Wrestling Coach at Livonia Public Schools and a graduate student at the University of Michigan. Dave will graduate in May with an MPH in Health Behavior & Health Education and an MA in Educational Leadership & Policy. Dave's academic interests revolve around how administrators can promote healthier and more equitable schools and districts. Prior to graduate school Dave taught secondary science, coached wrestling, and served as a Motor Transport Operator in the Army Reserve.

Rogelio Salazar

Rogelio Salazar
Having experienced the school-to-prison pipeline, I aim to conduct critical policy research to advance racial equity in the community college sector, and college access in urban communities. As a first-generation critical policy scholar, Migrant Education beneficiary, and son of Mexican immigrants my educational responsibility rests on advancing college access, racial equity, and affordability through the implementation of equitable policy, so that non-traditional students like myself can access and succeed in post-secondary education.

Through having served various California higher education systems, schools, TRIO programs, and Migrant Education for nearly a decade, I am interested in policy effects surrounding affordability, access, and upward mobility of racially minoritized students in the education system. In particular, I am interested in dual enrollment and college promise programs, and the ways they seek to advance access and equity through policy and practice. As an independent scholar, I am examining dual enrollment policy through a critical discourse approach, data presents growing access and participation inequities affecting Black and Latinx students. This work is proceeding as a manuscript in New Directions for Community Colleges.

I am a product of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at California State University San Marcos. Additionally, I am a Research Assistant for the Community College HigherEd Access Leadership Equity Scholarship (CCHALES) Research Collective under the guidance of Dr. Eric Felix at San Diego State University. Furthermore, I am a founding member for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Formerly Incarcerated Students & System Impacted Families (FISSIF) Knowledge Community.


Josefina Senese
Josefina Senese
Josefina holds a BA in International Studies from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina) and is currently pursuing a Master in Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. For the last five years, she has worked as a research and teaching assistant in Argentina and abroad. She has also worked as a consultant to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Alliance for the Digitalization of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (ADELA). Josefina is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, the Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship, and the University of Notre Dame's Kellogg Institute Fellowship.

Rodrigo Surraco
Rodrigo Surraco
Rodrigo is a final-year economics undergraduate student at Universidad de la República (Uruguay) and Young Professional intern at UNDP, where he works on issues related to multidimensional poverty and inequality. His main interests lie at the intersection of labor economics, education policy and development. #rstats

Kathy Tran
Kathy Tran
Kathy is from Santa Ana, California. She is currently in graduate school working towards her Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She previously worked at OC Human Relations and coordinated the BRIDGES program in public schools throughout Orange County. She is passionate about education policy and wants to continue to work with youth to build more equitable education opportunities for all students to thrive.