Today is the day! It’s the first full day of NPEA’s National Conference, and we’re thrilled to welcome close to 475 educational access professionals from around the country.

The afternoon will kick off with a speech from Stella Flores, one of the three keynote speakers. Get to know her below!

“Ask me what works,” reads Stella Flores’s Twitter bio. After all, if you’re going to ask anyone just what leads to success for underrepresented students, why not ask an expert with decades of experience and knowledge under her belt?

An internationally renowned researcher in the field of college access, Flores expertly uses quantitative methods to investigate the factors that lead to college access and success for underrepresented students, and to figure out how to implement positive and effective solutions. Her research and writing have spanned topics like demographic changes in U.S. education, the role of alternative admissions plans and financial aid programs in college admissions in the U.S and abroad, Minority Serving Institutions, Latino and immigrant students, English Language Learners, and community colleges.

Unafraid to explore difficult and complicated questions, Flores recently conducted a study on why Black and Latino students are more likely to drop out of college. She investigated pre-college factors as well as factors that exist when students are in school. When asked what schools and states should do to change these statistics, she responded,

Having a lot of data, being able to track students from kindergarten all the way to graduate school is a valuable first step in identifying solutions. The information available to us suggests that our policies need to be targeted along the entire educational trajectory.

If I were a school superintendent, I’d like to know, where is it that my most vulnerable students are experiencing the most declines or a lack of access to particular factors that we know play a role in college access AND completion.

Flores’s work has been cited in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Gratz v. Bollinger decision and in various amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court on affirmative action cases in higher education admissions. Professor Flores serves on the editorial boards of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, The Review of Higher Education, Sociology of Education, the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, and AERA Open. Her research has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the Educational Testing Service.

She has the chance to work with students and to continue her research as an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University and as the Director of Access and Equity at NYU’s Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Stella Flores will speak at the NPEA Conference on Thursday, April 6. For more information, click here!