Reshaping Higher Education:


As COVID-19 began its rapid spread throughout the United States, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) had little choice but to close in-person campuses and transition their academic offerings to an online format. As a result, students were required to leave on-campus housing, laid off from campus employment, barred from crucial campus resources, to name just a few of students’ unforeseen hardships in the wake of campus closures. The transition to online education placed an immense burden on students as they were asked to rapidly adapt to a completely new learning environment. 


In light of all of this, it is more important than ever to hear directly from students regarding these experiences and elevate their voices.


The Sorenson Impact Center is recruiting future and current students from across the United States of diverse backgrounds and a variety of institutions to create an action-oriented cohort focused on addressing problems with higher education that have been further magnified through recent events. Join us to discuss the inequities of COVID-19’s impact on student experiences and develop solutions to overcome these obstacles.


This event is a part of Sorenson’s broader work on the MAPS Project, which focuses on addressing the inequities within higher education, particularly for students from historically underrepresented populations in higher education, first generation students, and those from both urban and rural backgrounds. Students who identify in any of these ways are especially encouraged to attend.


If you are a student and are interested in participating, please contact us at the link below.

Intended Outcomes

  • Offer a platform for students to share their experiences and ideas as these relate to their college experience

  • Provide an opportunity for students to hear from their peers 

  • Develop a message that captures the students’ voices that can be shared with higher education institutions, professionals, and researchers

  • Create an action-oriented cohort of diverse students with the intention of providing guidance to help them advocate for themselves and their peers within their own academic communities


August 5, 2020

10-11:45 AM MDT

10:00 - 10:05 AM  MDT

Introduction and overview

10:05 - 10:40 AM MDT

Moderated student panel

10:40 - 11:20 AM MDT

Breakout groups​

11:20 - 11:45 AM MDT

Group feedback and wrap up


Moderated by

Marin Murdock
University of Chicago
  • Marin graduated from the University of Utah this past spring with a Bachelor's Degree in International Development and Sustainability, and she will be continuing her education at the University of Chicago Law School this fall. She plans to utilize her law degree to advocate for human rights on domestic and international platforms and has a particular interest in women’s rights. Marin became a policy fellow at the Sorenson Impact Center in fall 2019, and has worked on several projects at the center including a Pay for Success project with Salt Lake County, research into higher education, and co-leading the Student Coalition for Social Impact at Sorenson’s 2020 Winter Innovation Summit.

  • One of the highlights of Marin’s time at Sorenson Impact has been working on the MAPS project, a research initiative around the inequities of higher education. Through this project, Marin has developed a passion for student advocacy and believes every student should have the opportunity to use their voice.


Katherine Lou
Harvard University
  • Katherine Lou (she/her/hers) is a rising senior at Harvard College studying Sociology with a minor in Computer Science, currently at her home in Vancouver, Canada. Her passion for entrepreneurship led her to become a Technology Innovation Fellow at Harvard Business School. Away from her laptop, she’s the captain of the Harvard curling team.

  • In her work, she seeks to bridge the divide between social scientists and technologists to build solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. She is especially interested in using technology to build community and meaningful human experiences.

  • Katherine is excited to discuss the opportunities and limitations of technology in adapting higher education and how these intertwine with issues of diversity and inclusion. She's even more eager to learn from the stories and perspectives of students from around the nation.

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James Pascali
Idaho State University
  • Currently a Doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at Idaho State University, James researches socialization and the acquisition of one’s beliefs toward issues of women’s rights. He has served in his university’s student senate as well as been actively involved in his department by way of serving as the president of the political science club and his university chapter of Phi Sigma Alpha Honor’s Society. He has a strong passion for education, being involved on campus, and learning more regarding the world of Political Science.

Wonuola Olagunju
California State University
  • Wonuola Olagunju, Psychology Major (BA) is a current senior at California State University, Stanislaus, where she will graduate in the Fall. Olagunju has served as the vice president of university affairs for CSSA and was president of her university's Black Student Union. She hopes to follow up with graduate school in the near future.

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Alex Rodriguez
El Paso Community College
  • Alex Rodriguez is the current Student Government Association President for El Paso Community College. He previously served as a Texas Junior College Student Government Association Executive Board Member filling in the Host School Position.

  • As a first-generation, non-traditional college student. He is currently transitioning into a University looking to obtain a bachelor's in Computer Science. In his free time, he likes to perform with his DJ sets across the state and provides resources and support towards other inspiring entertainers. One day he plans to continue his career and establish his own agency in the future.

Antwan Gardner
Morgan State University
  • Antwan Gardner is a highly motivated individual who is passionate about community initiatives and building community wealth. He is perusing a Bachelor's of Art in Sociology from Morgan State University. Energetic and eager to make a difference, Antwan fits perfectly with the mission and purpose of this foundation and success program. Before attending Morgan State University, he attended the Community College of Baltimore County leaving his mark as an efficient and effective leader. Nothing is to big or to small for him. He is about getting the job done.