Please join us for our next TLFSS Monthly Webinar on February 21st, 2019 at 3:00pm CST


color photo of LaDrina Wilson in a black dress standing in front of a ferris wheel

February 21st, 2019

Catherine Olivarez and Kelsey Kunkle

"Navigating the Pathway to a Bachelor's Degree: How State Policies Shape Student Success and Completion"

How does state policy affect the decisions community college students make as they seek to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree? In "Navigating the Pathway to a Bachelor's Degree: How State Policies Shape Student Success and Completion," Dr. Catherine Olivarez and Kelsey Kunkle present their research on precisely this question. Policies in Texas surrounding higher education and completion can have numerous effects, good and bad, on the students we serve. Their presentation highlights the consequences of state policy on student enrollment, transfer, and completion, particularly for Latina/o Texas students. They will shed light on such policies and share some of our latest research findings. Their study uses community cultural wealth and transformational resistance to elucidate the resilience of Latina/o transfer students. These Latina/o students began their postsecondary education at a community college then transferred to a university to complete the baccalaureate. Specifically, we explore the ways in which these students are (or have been) affected by policies in Texas, continue to maneuver through one institution and into another, and navigate their pathway to college success. Join us on February 21st, 2019 at 3:00pm CST / 4:00pm EST to learn more about how Latinx students navigate state policies through cultural wealth and reslience in order to complete their bachelor's degrees.

To Join the Webinar:

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About this month’s speakers:

Catherine Prieto Olivarez, Ph.D., was born and raised in the Bronx, NY and moved often between Texas and New York. She graduated from Temple High School in Temple, TX and left for her new home in San Antonio to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio. There, she earned a B.A. in Psychology in 2006 and in 2010, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. In 2017, she earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and a Community College Leadership certificate, both from the University of North Texas.

Currently, Olivarez is the Articulation Specialist for Guided Pathways to Success with the Dallas County Community College District and is an adjunct at Richland College. She has previously held positions in enrollment management, student affairs, and academic advising at UNT, TAMU-SA, and UTSA.

Her dissertation examined why Latina/o students undermatched; more specifically, Latina/o students had been admitted to a university yet chose instead to attend a community college. For this work, she received an Honorable Mention for the 2018 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Kurt M. Landgraf Outstanding Dissertation Award. Olivarez continues her research on community college choice, the role of parents and families, and upward transfer for Latinas/os. She examines issues of student access, transfer, and equity in higher education, particularly for Latinas/os and students who begin their higher education journey at a community college.

Catherine has presented her work at various local, regional, and national conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC), and AAHHE. In 2015 and 2016, she was chosen to participate in the AERA Division J (Postsecondary Education) Emerging Scholars workshop, and in 2015, she was named a Graduate Student Fellow by AAHHE.

Passionate about mentorship and leadership development for young Latinas, she is a member of the Dallas Chapter of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and has served in numerous leadership positions within Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority, Inc. (a Latina-based, service-oriented sorority), including as an Alumna Advisor to several chapters over the last 12 years. She has twice won the Alumna of the Year Award (2015 and 2018) for her mentorship of her sisters and contributions to the organization, both locally and nationally. As of July 2018, she was recently elected to serve as the Executive Director to the organization’s National Board of Directors.

Kelsey Kunkle, M.Ed., is currently an Academic Advisor in the College of Science at the University of North Texas and is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program at the university. She earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Maryland and M.Ed. from Western Carolina University. Kelsey has also been involved with NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, having previously served as NASPA NPGS Region III Co-Coordinator for Special Projects and Initiatives and currently serves as NASPA NPGS Co-Coordinator for Doctoral Student Professional Development.

2018-19 Webinar Calendar


August 16th, 2018

Erik Pavia (CTN Community Leadership Mentor)

Struggle as Entrepreneurial Asset

September 20th, 2018

Dr. Dora Elias McAllister

Designing a Qualitative Research Study (Part 1 of 2)

October 18th, 2018

Dr. Laura Rendón

Maintaining Balance as Social Justice Educators

November 15th, 2018

Diane Lerma

Strategies for Student Success in Learning Frameworks

December 20th, 2018

No Webinar This Month – Happy Holidays!

January 17th, 2019

LaDrina Wilson

Teaching from Diversity and Social Justice

February 21st, 2019

Dr. Catherine Olivarez

State Policy and CC Student Transfer

March 21st, 2019

No Webinar This Month – Enjoy Spring Break

April 18th, 2019

Keylan Morgan

State Policy Updates from THECB

May 16th, 2019

Dr. Dora Elias McAllister

Writing for a Qualitative Research Study (Part 2 of 2)


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