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The National Conference for Engaged Scholarship on Hidden Student Populations (NCHP)




2022 In-Person Conference

The National Conference on Hidden Student Populations will be held September 14-16, 2022, at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The in-person conference will include research presentations and special interest tracks. New research teams will also be seated and will complete planning for research to be conducted for the 18 months following the conference and presented at the 2024 follow up conference. 


All Calls for Proposal (CFPs) for 2022 will open November 1, 2021. Criteria and selection details will be available in the Calls for Proposals. 


Additional Timeline Information for Calls for Proposals:


    • December 1, 2021, Deadline
      • Planning Team (notifications in January 2022)
    • March 1, 2022, Deadline
      • Research Team Leads (notifications in April 2022)
    • April 1, 2022, Deadline
      • Research Presentations (notifications in May 2022)
      • Research Team Members (notifications in May 2022)

Request to be on the email list for announcements by emailing your information to


Financial support for the inaugural conference provided by the Spencer Foundation. Ongoing support provided by the Oklahoma State University College of Education and Human Sciences, and the OSU Christine Cashel Professorship in Higher Education and Student Affairs.


Campus Map



NCHP Fellows

A small group of colleagues served as the guiding committee for the 2020 inaugural National Conference for Engaged Scholarship on Hidden Populations. United through their emerging expertise and commitment to better understanding the diverse lived experiences of students on college campuses, dedication to inclusivity, and commitment to establishing multidisciplinary collaborative space, these individuals were honored with the distinction and title of NCHP Fellow. The Fellows group were contributors to the Conference’s initial success, are current champions of its work, and are committed to providing a foundation of support for its future.


  • Jen Geiger, Fellow, University of Illinois- Chicago
  • Royel Johnson, Fellow, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Kerri Kearney, Fellow & Conference Founder, Oklahoma State University
  • Megan Piel, Fellow, University of Texas – San Antonio
  • Lori Tiller, Fellow, University of Georgia
  • Lisa Will, Fellow & Conference Coordinator, Oklahoma State University



  • To stimulate research-to-practice-to-research knowledge about foster alumni and other traditionally hidden populations who are college-bound, in college or college graduates.
  • To create bridges among diverse areas of knowledge, researchers and practitioners conducting research with or supporting foster alumni or other hidden populations.
  • To share updates and ways for higher education researchers, practitioners and others to get involved.


Working Definitions

Hidden populations: Students who are not visibly identifiable, experience or perceive a lack of voice in higher education processes and systems and who are often resistant to self-identifying (typically because of fears about social judgment and/or labeling). Although our knowledge continues to evolve, current examples of hidden populations include students with foster care or other out-of-home experience, survivors of sexual violence (including sex trafficking), justice-involved students, Third Culture Kids, those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction and those facing housing insecurity.


College: All types of degree-granting educational institutions including two-year, four-year, public, private, faith-based, tribal, etc. Students may be college bound, current college students or college graduates.


Past Conferences

2021 Virtual Conference

Due to impacts from COVID-19, the National Conference for Engaged Scholarship on Hidden Student Populations was held virtually on September 15 and 16, 2021, and included research updates from pre-existing conference research teams and additional original, empirical research presentations.


2020 Conference

Planning team

2020 Conference Booklet


Financial support for the 2020 conference was provided by the Spencer Foundation (Co-PIs Kerri Kearney and Jennifer Keup), the Oklahoma State University College of Education, Health and Aviation and the OSU Christine Cashel Professorship in Higher Education and Student Affairs.

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