Advisory Board

Maddy DayMaddy Day
Maddy Day founded the University of Washington Champions Program in 2010, developed and directed Fostering Success Michigan until 2018, and started the Fostering Academic Achievement Nationwide network in 2016. Maddy lives in Michigan and is currently a child welfare and education consultant and owner of Maddy Day, LLC & Associates, a consulting firm focused on systems reform.

Jennifer GeigerJennifer Geiger
Jennifer M. Geiger, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Geiger is the Co-Founder for the National Research Collaborative for Foster Alumni and Higher Education (NRC-FAHE), was a Co-Investigator for Bridging Success at Arizona State University, a recruitment and retention program for foster care alumni at ASU, and Co-PI for Bridging Success Early-Start, a pre-college program for foster care alumni designed to orient new students to college life and expectations in college. She is committed to furthering research and developing effective practice and policy to promote postsecondary education and training options for young people with foster care histories.

Kenyon Lee WhitmanKenyon Lee Whitman
Kenyon Lee Whitman is the Program Director of the Office of Foster Youth Support Services at UC Riverside where he oversees their flagship program Guardian Scholars. Kenyon's research focuses on underrepresented students in higher education, specifically, the college-going experiences of foster youth. As a former foster youth, he understands first-hand the challenges foster youth face as they work toward earning a college degree.

Valerie PoppValerie Popp
Valerie Popp is a NYC-based program builder, grantmaker, and humanities expert with a lifelong commitment to promoting equity and justice in K-12 and higher education. She currently directs strategic initiatives at a state humanities council

Kris StevensKris Stevens
Kris Stevens is a data scientist at the Kentucky Center for Statistics and fellow with the Strategic Data Project.

Matt BerryMatt Berry
Matt Berry is the Chief Scholarship & Policy Officer at Evolve502.

Sara GamezSara Gamez
Sara I. Gamez, Ed.D., serves as the Associate Director for Student Support & Equity Programs at Cal Poly Pomona, assisting to oversee the Renaissance Scholars (RS) foster youth support program, the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and the Veterans Resource Center. She is chair for the Southern California Higher Education Foster Youth Consortium and a co-founder of the Foster Scholars community. She is an alumni of care, with over 17 years of professional experience in higher education supporting first-generation, low-income students, and students with foster care lived experiences. Her practice and research interest are focused on highlighting the experiences of young people from foster care to improve practice in the field, improve youth outcomes in higher education, and to positively change the narrative about youth from foster care.

Rachel Mayes StrawnRachel Mayes Strawn
Rachel Mayes Strawn, Ph.D., is passionate about the transformative power of education and sees that power in action every day as the Program Director of Great Expectations, the Virginia Community College System's program for youth who have experienced foster care. Under her tenure, the program has expanded to 21 of Virginia's 23 Community Colleges and gained national recognition.