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Oklahoma State University

National Conference for Engaged Scholarship on Foster Alumni

Graduate standing on a rooftop

The National Conference for Engaged Scholarship on Foster Alumni and other traditionally hidden college populations brings together diverse researchers in higher education, social work, and other fields to consider current research and to form interdisciplinary research teams for empirical research studies to be conducted in the 18 months following the conference. The inaugural conference was held in Washington D.C. in February 2020. A follow-up national conference is planned for Sept. 15-16, 2021.

Conference Date September 15-26, 2021
Location Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Call for Proposals Call for proposals will open Feb. 1, 2021. For more information, please email
Registration To be determined
Hotel Reservations

To be determined

To receive direct email updates about the conference, click here.

General Conference Goals:

    • To stimulate research-to-practice 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

Save the Date

Follow-up national conference

September 15-16, 2021

Conference Definitions:

Foster care alumni: Students who were in foster care or similar out-of-home conditions at age 13 or older without concern for their status at age 18 (e.g. they may have been reunified, adopted, or aged out).

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).

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:


Download the 2020 conference booklet.

2020 Conference Planning Team:

Kerri Kearney, MBA, Ed.D, Oklahoma State University
Jennifer Geiger, MSW, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
Lori Tiller, M.A., University of Georgia
Megan Piel, MSW, Ph.D., University of Texas at San Antonio
Royel Johnson, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University

Conference Coordinator: Lisa Will, Ph.D. (

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 & Aviation and the OSU Christine Cashel Professorship in Higher Education & Student Affairs.