Planning Team

Ademola Akinrinola

Ademola (Ade) Akinrinola is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership at Illinois, with dual specializations in global studies in education and higher education. He has more than 10 years of K through 16 teaching experience and currently teaches a leadership and professional development seminar in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Illinois.

Krystal Andrews

Krystal E. Andrews is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education. Her research interests include the Black female college student experience, women of color in executive leadership positions at HBCUs, and the retention and persistence of African American/ Black student populations at PWIs. Prior to pursuing her doctorate degree, Ms. Andrews gained 6 years of professional experience in student success and retention programs at both PWIs and HBCUs that fuel her passion for helping students envision their own success.

Esme Chang

Esme Chang is an undergraduate junior studying computer science and linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Inspired by technology-enriched Silicon Valley, where she was born and raised, Esme is pursuing her interests of connecting and advancing technology with language. She has previously worked at Sky Dental Solution as a website manager and is currently interning at OCCRL to expand her web-development experience and contribute to the unit's digital communications.



Dominique Jefferson

Dominique Jefferson is an undergraduate senior at Illinois who is studying linguistics. She is interested in re-engineering content across multiple platforms and is fascinated by how users' experiences and their interactions are affected by content. Dominique will assist the Office of Community College Research with content strategies and research.




Jason Keist focuses his reasearch on the experiences of student-parents at two-year public institutions. More specifically, Jason is interested in how low-income adult students with children successfully navigate community colleges (classrooms & student services). Ultimately, Jason would like to shed light onto how these institutions can best support adult learners with dependents from entry to credential/transfer, as well as assist adult learners in learning college success strategies and accessing related support services. Before starting his career in education, he trained as a social worker. During his MSW practicum, he was awarded a Consolidated Social Service Grant through the city of Urbana to create a youth program entitled the Indy Media & Arts Lab, housed within the Independent Media Center (Urbana). He started his career as an educator in 2010 as an Adult Education GED prep. instructor at Parkland College. During that time, he gained experience in student advising, program development and supervision (Early School Leaver Transition Program), college/career prep. instruction, and teaching computer basics to adult learners. He eventually landed a tenure-track position as a sociology and social work faculty member at Parkland College.

Sal Nudo has worked in the communications field at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since January of 2007. He began at the University of Illinois Alumni Association and joined the College of Education at Illinois in January of 2014.



Dr. Marci Rockey is project coordinator for OCCRL’s Pathways to Results (PTR) program. PTR aims to improve student transitions to and through postsecondary education and into employment. It empowers organizations to use methods, templates, and tools to continuously improve pathways and programs of study by addressing inequities in student outcomes and enhancing outcomes for students, programs, organizations, and systems. Her research interests include community college student transition and retention as well as rural student access and success in higher education. Prior to working at OCCRL, Dr. Rockey served as a community college student services administrator with adjunct teaching experience in college success skills, leadership development, and public speaking.


Makiko Shimizu is a fourth-year undergraduate student who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in global political economy from Waseda University in Japan. She is an exchange student at Illinois and will assist the Office of Community College Research with research and development efforts and Web design, media, and marketing.


   Senior Consultant

Frank Harris III

Frank Harris III, Ph.D., (SDSU Senior Personnel) is Professor of Postsecondary Education in the College of Education and Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) – Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3) at San Diego State University. His research is broadly focused on student development and success in postsecondary education. With more than 50 scholarly publications to his credit, Harris’s scholarship has been published in leading journals for higher education and student affairs research and practice. He has also delivered more than 300 academic and professional presentations throughout his career. His commentary has been sought by several high-profile media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, to name a few. Before joining the faculty at San Diego State, Harris worked as a student affairs educator and college administrator in the areas of student affairs administration, student crisis support and advocacy, new student orientation programs, multicultural student affairs, academic advising, and enrollment services. He also served as an adjunct professor of speech communication at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Loyola Marymount University, a master’s degree in speech communication at California State University Northridge, and a doctorate in higher education from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

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