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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 will bring 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 14-16 months following the conference. A follow-up national conference is planned for Sept. 15-16, 2021.

Conference Date February 19-20, 2020
Location Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington D.C.
Call for Proposals The call for proposals is currently closed. However, late proposals may be considered on a case-by-case basis in order to fill a gap of needed skills and/or knowledge for a research team. For more information, please email
Registration Open for authors of accepted proposals. Conference registration fee:  $229
Hotel Reservations

There are a limited number of rooms available. Early reservations are encouraged while submitted proposals are pending. Please request the rate for the FYE Conference.

To receive direct email updates about the conference and copies of the related bi-monthly series of research summaries, The Scholar-Practitioner, click here.

The conference will be co-located with the 39th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, an annual event of the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, director Jennifer Keup, PhD. The FYE Conference dates are February 21 – 23, 2020. Registration and fees for the FYE conference are separate and may be accessed at the conference webpage.

General Conference Goals:

Save the Date

Follow-up national conference

September 15-16, 2021
    • 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

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.

2020 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 is being 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.