Stephanie Sowl

Research Fellow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (EdM)
"I believe postsecondary education should be accessible and equitable to everyone and one of the ways we can work toward that is by conducting research to inform policy decisions and challenge existing structures."

Stephanie Sowl was born and raised primarily by her mother and grandmother in Rockford, IL. As a working-class, first-generation college student, Stephanie attended a federally recognized work college where she gained experience within the admissions and registrar’s offices. There, she discovered her passion for helping college students from matriculation to graduation and became more aware of the barriers facing students in that process.

Stephanie has been working in higher education for more than a decade in academic advising and college access programming, as well as data management under a First in the World research grant at Arizona State University designed to increase student retention, critical thinking skills, and graduation through project-based learning. Currently, Stephanie is a Ph.D. candidate at Iowa State University and her dissertation explores how college enrollment is spatialized across the United States and how social and economic diversity at a community-level impacts the formation of college-going cultures. Her research interests include college access and success by examining spatial inequality, geographic mobility, and social class.