Demetri L. Morgan, Ph.D.


Demetri (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor in the Higher Education Program at Loyola University Chicago. The future of democracy is wrapped up with increasingly diverse demographic trends. The Diverse Democracy and Higher Education Project is the outgrowth of Demetri's deep belief in the necessity of cultivating quality and equitable educational experiences for all students. These types of educational experiences will be one of the only ways to encourage social responsibility and democratic engagement.  ustice and  and education's connection to the the development of critical need for an engaged and informed society.


To this end, Demetri collaboratively leads a number of studies in support of this vision including: a series of studies on student political engagement and activism, serving as Co-PI on on the ILSPRA project, and a founding member of the Critical Higher Education Governance Collaborative (CHEGC).

Demetri enjoys living in Chicago with his wife and daughter. He is an avid fan of the Florida Gators and Miami Heat, a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and an active member at NewStory Church Chicago. Demetri earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has an M.S. Ed. in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida.

Norma López, Ph.D.


Norma (she/hers/ella) is an instructor in higher education administration at Northern Illinois University and a postdoctoral research associate on the ILSPRA project. She has over 20 years of professional experience in higher education ranging from admissions and orientation at a small liberal arts college, Williams, to residential life and academic advising at a private research university, The University of Chicago.  Norma has taught a wide array of courses, including:  Organization and Governance, Internship in Higher Education, Helping Skills for Student Affairs Professionals, Budget and Finance, and Social Change Leadership.  

As a critical researcher, her research agenda is focused on examining the academic trajectory, experience, and success of Latinx/a/o students. Norma is specifically interested in narrating the role of critical consciousness in the academic identity development of Latinx college students, as well as discerning how critical consciousness impacts thriving and resilience in that population, if at all. She utilizes Latcrit methodological approaches in this research and is also interested in drawing distinctions within those methods

Quortne Hutchings, M. Ed.


​Quortne (he/him/his) is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the higher education program at Loyola University Chicago. His research primarily focuses on Black queer men's experiences on college campuses, student affairs professionals’ experiences, and underrepresented graduate students with an emphasis on gender studies, intersectionality, and critical queer frameworks. Quortne is currently working on his dissertation, which examines Black gay, bisexual, and queer men's experiences in men of color and Black male initiative (BMI) programs at higher education institutions. As a doctoral student, Quortne engaged in research projects in civic engagement, political identity development among first-year students of color, and organizational learning in STEM under the direction of Dr. Demetri Morgan. Additionally, he has served as a Teaching Assistant for two years in the higher education department and as an Instructor for a first-year seminar course with the Ramblers Success Program (RSP) at Loyola University Chicago. He has over nine years of higher education professional experience in academic advising, orientation, multicultural affairs, and leadership development.

He previously served as a Program Coordinator for LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, & Asexual) & Men's Initiatives and Graduate Intern for Seizing Opportunities for Academic Resilience (SOAR) in the Department of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs. Quortne also served as an Academic Advisor in the First & Second Year Advising Office at Loyola University Chicago. Before working at Loyola, he worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a College Scholar Advisor for the People (Pre-College Enrichment Program for Learning Excellence) Program.

Quortne earned his B.A. in African and African-American Studies with minors in Sociology and Human Development & Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University and earned his M.Ed. in Education, Organization, and Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Meet the Research Team

Kendrick B. Davis,  Ph.D.


Kendrick (he/him/his) is CEO of KBD Consulting LLC., an educational consulting firm focused on equity-minded research, professional development, and policy analysis. He also serves as senior research personnel and educational research manager for the ILSPRA project. He most recently served as the Vice President of Policy Research at the Campaign for College Opportunity in Los Angeles, CA where he was responsible for developing and implementing a research agenda around college access and completion for all Californians, particularly the most vulnerable subgroups.


Prior to the Campaign, Kendrick was awarded a nationally-recognized American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Fellowship where he served as an education policy advisor for United States Senator Kamala D. Harris in Washington, DC. His responsibilities included writing legislation and advising in the areas of workforce and K-12, postsecondary, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. 


Before arriving in DC, Kendrick served as the Director of STEM for the city of Philadelphia under Mayors Michael Nutter and Jim Kenney. In that position he coordinated citywide efforts in STEM education, youth workforce development, and poverty reduction strategies. Additionally, he advised the mayor and cabinet on STEM policy and programs with statewide and national exposure, and served as the city's liaison to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP).


Kendrick earned his Ph.D. in higher education, and his master's degrees in both robotics and law from the University of Pennsylvania; his bachelor's in mechanical engineering is from Temple University.


Jon (he/him/his) is a doctoral student in the higher education program at Loyola University Chicago and works as a research assistant with Dr. Morgan on the ILSPRA project. Jon also works as a higher education/non-profit consultant. Prior to enrolling at Loyola and relocating to Chicago, he served in various higher education roles within academic affairs, advancement, alumni relations, and student activities. Previously, he worked in the non-profit sector in the United States and Central America for an NGO.


Jon received his baccalaureate degree from North Dakota State University with a triple major in sociology, gender studies, and public relations & advertising. He holds a Master's Degree in Youth Development Leadership with a focus in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development–Higher Education from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s of Business Administration from St. Catherine University. He is a certified professional project manager (CPPM) from the University of St. Thomas.


When not studying as a full-time student or being a research assistant, you'll find him planning or enjoying his next trip, relaxing at the cabin, or spending time with family and friends

Tori Callais, M.A. 


Tori (she/her/hers) is a first-year doctoral student in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago and works in support of a number of projects with Dr. Morgan. She has previously served as a practitioner in the areas of orientation, first-year experience, college access and has experience in state government. Her research interests include white privilege, white consciousness, and intersectionality in higher education.


She enjoys playing with her dog, exploring the nearest park, rooting for the LSU Tigers, and spending time with family and friends. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts, concentration Women and Gender Studies, and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University.

Jonathan J. Okstad, MBA, MEd


Maria Acevedo


Maria (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year bachelor student in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also working on a project to refine the measures of redshifting supernovae. Her other passions include minority representation in STEM and social awareness.

When not focusing on academics, she enjoys knitting, playing with her dog, and watching shuttle launches from the Space Coast.