HTG Team

Marie Bigham

Marie Bigham

Leadership Team

Founder/Leader, ACCEPT
Coordinator, Hack the Gates: Radically Reimagine Admissions

Marie Bigham is the founder and co-leader of ACCEPT: Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today, a nonprofit organization that empowers college admissions professionals who center justice, equity, and anti-racism in our work and communities. With 6000+ members since its founding in 2016, ACCEPT was honored by Facebook at the 2017 Facebook Community Summit, a gathering of 100 Facebook Groups that exemplify strong community engagement. In 2018, ACCEPT received the Excellence in Education Award from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, awarded to “those who use their prominence to advance equity and access in education”. With over 20 years in the profession, Marie has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC); as Vice Chair and Director of Communication for Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS); and on the Board of Directors of Texas Association of College Admissions Counseling (TACAC). Marie entered admissions at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis (Class of 1995), where she earned a BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies and a minor in Glassblowing. She served as Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Washington U, as Associate Director of College Counseling at Riverdale Country School (NY), and as Director of College Counseling at The Bishop’s School (CA), Greenhill School (TX), and Isidore Newman School (LA). Whenever possible, Marie enjoys the culture, food, and sounds of New Orleans with her husband, Colin Pettus, and their two Boston Terriers, Chelsea and Peeperton.

Erin S. Corbett, Ed.D.

Erin S. Corbett, Ed.D.

Research Team

Erin S. Corbett, Ed.D. has spent almost two decades in education access in a number of roles. With experience in independent school admission, enrichment programs, and postsecondary financial aid, her commitment to expanding postsecondary opportunities for all populations has served as the foundation of her professional endeavors. While pursuing her doctorate, Erin launched a nonprofit that provides not-for-credit, postsecondary level courses in three correctional facilities in Connecticut. In addition to the classes she taught there, and the volunteer instructors she manages, she has also taught in two correctional facilities in Rhode Island with College Unbound and guest lectured, via Zoom, to incarcerated students in the Iowa Medical Classification Center (IMCC) through the University of Iowa Liberal Arts Beyond Bars (UI LABB) program. Erin has guest lectured in a higher education policy course at the University of Michigan in addition to being an adjunct in Spring 2019, teaching higher education policy, at Howard University. Other notable speaking engagements include events hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) and Connecticut College. Most recently, Erin was the Assistant Director for Applied Research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy focusing on federal policy related to the intersection of higher education policy and policy related to educational access for justice-impacted people. She is now the Director of Policy at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, located in Hartford, CT with offices in Brooklyn, NY and Albany, NY.

Erin holds a B.A. in Psychology and Education from Swarthmore College. She earned her MBA from Post University (CT) and her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation examined the relationship between educational attainment level and post-release employment outcomes for formerly incarcerated people in the state of Connecticut.

Eileen Galvez

Eileen Galvez

Graduate Student Team

Eileen Galvez uses she/her/ella pronouns and is an Assistant Dean at Yale College and has been Director of Yale’s La Casa Cultural: The Latino Cultural Center since 2015. She is a first-generation college graduate, first-generation Salvadoran-American and grew up low-income in South Central Los Angeles. She has over ten years of experience as a student affairs administrator and is currently a third-year Higher Education Leadership PhD student at Colorado State University. Her research interests include free speech and student affairs administrators of color.

Adrian H. Huerta, Ph.D.

Adrian H. Huerta, Ph.D.

Research Team

Adrian H. Huerta, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Education in the Pullias Center for Higher Education located in Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on boys and men of color, college access and equity, and gang-associated youth. Dr. Huerta’s research has been funded by the ECMC Foundation, Center for Research on College to Workforce Transitions, Volunteers for America, and others. His scholarship appears in the Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Teachers College Record, The Urban Review, Urban Education, and other practitioner and scholarly journals.

Jessica M. Hurtado

Jessica M. Hurtado

Graduate Student Team

Jessica M. Hurtado (she/her/hers/ella) serves as the Director of Admissions at New Mexico Highlands University. As a higher education advocate, she has ten years of strategic enrollment management experience at two Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the southwest: the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Highlands University, respectively. Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico. She attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program in 2018 and is currently a second-year doctoral student at Colorado State University studying Higher Education Leadership. Her personal experiences drive her research interests. She is interested in the professional development of enrollment officers from a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to positively impact the enrollment experience for all students.

Douglas H. Lee

Douglas H. Lee

Graduate Student Team

Douglas H. Lee (he/him/his) serves as a graduate research assistant working with Dr. OiYan Poon and is currently a second-year doctoral student studying Higher Education Leadership at Colorado State University. He has worked in higher education for over a decade and was most recently the Associate Director of Student Leadership and Involvement at the University of Utah Asia Camps in Songdo, South Korea.

Federick Ngo, Ph.D.

Federick Ngo, Ph.D.

Research Team

Federick Ngo, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research examines how higher education policy affects college access and success, with a focus on community college students. He studies issues in postsecondary remediation, math education, financial aid, and ways to improve community college student outcomes. This work has been published in a number of scholarly journals including Educational Researcher, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, The Review of Higher Education, and Teachers College Record. His scholarship has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, and he was an AERA dissertation fellow. He was formerly a high school math teacher in Oakland, CA.

Eva Nip

Eva Nip

HTG: The Convening Team

Creative Reaction Lab

Eva is interested in the intersection of equity design, education, young people, healing and building community power. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with an Urban Studies major and Design minor, she was a teacher aid to public middle school students through City Year Chicago. Now, Eva is exploring community building and radical learning environments with young people. Thus, she is currently the Community Organizer at Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community in Chicago’s Chinatown, and does contracted facilitation with Chicago Freedom School and Creative Reaction Lab.

Lucas Ogden-Davis

Lucas Ogden-Davis

Lucas Ogden-Davis is a freelance web developer specializing in front-to-back website creation and support for small to medium businesses and organizations. Lucas has an undergraduate degree from Rice University and a MBA from the University of Tampa. Before beginning his career in web development, he worked as an admission officer at Rice University and Bentley University. He has also managed and owned multiple small businesses, primarily in the health and fitness industry. Lucas loves riding his bicycle and reading silly escapist novels. He lives in Thomasville, Georgia with his wife, dog, and cat.

Dr. Angel B. Pérez

Dr. Angel B. Pérez

HTG: The Convening Team

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Angel B. Pérez, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Trinity College (CT) leads efforts in admissions, financial aid, Posse Scholars, career development, student success, retention, and the Individualized Degree Program. Pérez is credited with transforming enrollment by adopting a values-based, student-centered approach, resulting in the most diverse classes in the college's history and surges in academic quality, yield, retention, and campus culture. Dr Pérez is a staunch advocate for test-optional policies, liberal arts, first-generation students, and internationalization.

Pérez has received several prestigious awards, including the NACAC's John B. Muir Editor Award for most significant contribution to the association's Journal of College Admission, two awards from Claremont Graduate University for excellence in the study of higher education, and several counseling and student affairs association awards for his leadership on behalf of low-income, first-generation college students.

OiYan Poon, Ph.D

OiYan Poon, Ph.D

Leadership Team

Associate Professor of Higher Education & Director of RISE Center of Colorado State University
Coordinator, Hack the Gates: Radically Reimagine Admissions

OiYan Poon is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Race & Intersectional Studies for Educational Equity (RISE) Center at Colorado State University. Dr. Poon is currently working on two major research projects relevant to the Hack the Gates project. First, she is completing a Spencer Foundation funded study on how race-conscious holistic review works at highly selective post-secondary institutions. A missing piece in research and ongoing debates over affirmative action is an accurate understanding of how race-conscious holistic admissions works at selective colleges and universities. This project offers an evidence-based understanding of how race-conscious holistic admissions works, which can inform future inquiries into racialized outcomes of selective college admissions structures and practices. Second, she is working on a book manuscript entitled Justice or Just Us: Asian Americans, affirmative action, and the color-line. The book demonstrates how Asian Americans are driven by divergent ideologies to navigate, resist, and leverage complex racial politics, drawing from interviews with Asian American affirmative action supporters and opponents. Throughout her scholarly career, Dr. Poon has engaged in research-practice partnerships to advance transformative systemic changes in higher education for racial justice.

Hilary Sedovic, LMSW

Hilary Sedovic, LMSW

HTG: The Convening Team

Creative Reaction Lab

Hilary Sedovic, LMSW is a social work professional specialized in designing programs that promote equitable community outcomes through systems change. As Learning & Education Manager at Creative Reaction Lab, she designs and facilitates workshops supporting institutions and individuals seeking to better understand and center equity and inclusion in their practice, develops curricula and other tools for the Equity-Centered Community Design process, and manages ongoing evaluation strategy. Hilary is a founding member of the Evaluation Association of St. Louis and a lead facilitator of the Witnessing Whiteness program through YWCA Metro St. Louis. Curiosity and growth mindset are foundational to her being, which typically looks like pointing at things and saying, “Why?” or “Tell me more.”

Brandi Smith

Brandi Smith

Ted Thornhill, Ph.D.

Ted Thornhill, Ph.D.

Research Team, Webinar Team

Ted Thornhill, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University. His research and writing examines color-blind ideology and new racism practices across social institutions and settings. Thornhill’s latest study, published in the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, investigated how white college admissions counselors screen black prospective students. Thornhill’s research and teaching has been covered by numerous media outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Boston Globe, and the BBC.

Paul Tough

Paul Tough

HTG: The Convening Team

Keynote Speaker

Paul Tough is the author, most recently, of The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes Us or Breaks Us. His three previous books include How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, which was translated into 27 languages and spent more than a year on the New York Times hardcover and paperback best-seller lists.

Paul is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, where he has written extensively about education, parenting, poverty, and politics. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, GQ, and Esquire, and on the op-ed page of The New York Times. He is a speaker on topics including education, parenting, equity, and student success. He has worked as an editor at The New York Times Magazine and Harper's Magazine and as a reporter and procuder for the public radio program This American Life. He was the founding editor of Open Letters, and online magazine.

He lives with his wife and two sons in Austin, Texas, and Montauk, New York.

Sojourner White

Sojourner White

HTG: The Convening Team

Creative Reaction Lab

Sojourner's community-minded upbringing in Milwaukee, WI shaped her passion for social justice, education, and racial and gender equity. She combines these interests as the Learning & Education Associate for Creative Reaction Lab while pursuing her Master's of Social Work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. With a concentration in International Social and Economic Development and specialization in Social Entrepreneurship, Sojourner uses her experiences as an alumna of Fulbright Spain and Public Allies to explore the connection between domestic and international systems of oppression. As a global traveler and writer on her website "Sojournies," she aspires to learn, unlearn, and grow every day to leave this world a little better than how she was born into it.