Maria L. Espino is a Research Analyst for the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Administration Program in the School of Education at Iowa State University. Her dissertation is exploring how Latin* first-generation, low-income early college high school graduates are transitioning to a Bachelors granting institutions. She obtained her Masters’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership at Marquette University in her hometown of Milwaukee, WI. She completed her Bachelors degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Community and Nonprofit Leadership and Gender and Women studies. At the center, Maria is working on a project that centers on the experiences of Youth who have experienced/are experiencing the foster system and/or homelessness. As a researcher, Maria’s larger research scope explores and centers on the (in)equities in higher education, particularly focusing on the experiences of marginalized students. As a scholar and a student advocate, Maria believes that centering, humanizing, empowering, and supporting the communities in which we serve through practical and policy reform.