Understanding the racialized educational experiences of foster youth

GSOE welcomes Ph.D. candidate Kenyon Lee Whitman as second Equity & Justice Research Series speaker on Jan. 30.

On Thursday, Jan. 30, GSOE welcomes Kenyon Lee Whitman, Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education and Policy doctoral program at UCR Graduate School of Education, who will be presenting “Understanding the Racialized Educational Experiences of Foster Youth."

Kenyon’s research focuses on underrepresented students in higher education, specifically, the college-going experiences of foster youth. He has worked in a range of student affairs venues, including residential life, service-learning, and outreach and recruitment, and is currently the Director of the Office of Foster Youth Support Services at UCR. As a former foster youth, he understands first-hand the challenges foster youth face as they work toward earning a college degree. Kenyon has a B.S. in Kinesiology from Fresno State and a M.A. from Fresno State in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Kenyon Lee Whitman
Understanding the Racialized Educational Experiences of Foster Youth”

Sproul Hall 1215, 12 p.m.- 1 p.m.
No RSVP required

Research shows that when given the support, foster youth perform equal to or better than their non-foster youth peers in the college setting. However, across the nation foster youth remain underrepresented and underserved within higher education. Although 80% of foster youth aspire to go to college, only 10% enroll in college, and about 3% will obtain a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges maintain an assumption that all students have family privilege as they pursue a college degree; this leaves foster youth to navigate the complexities of higher education without this expected support. 

The disproportionate representation of Black and Latinx youth in foster care also means many foster youth hold multiple marginalized identities, this further exacerbates the challenges they experience on college campuses. Centering the narratives of foster youth, this talk will discuss their racialized educational experiences and how they navigate the postsecondary landscape.  It will also share the support systems that foster youth use to navigate and resist their multiple forms of marginalization. Lastly, this talk will offer recommendations that colleges can use to create supportive and racially inclusive environments.


About the Equity & Justice Speaker Series
GSOE's new speaker series aims to engage the education research of GSOE students and faculty focused on equity and justice, and to also explore what equity and justice work looks like in practice. The series will be held throughout the academic year, and will invite researchers to present to students and faculty in an informal setting to encourage dialogue and discussion. GSOE is currently taking submissions for presenters. Presenters do not need to present advanced papers but may instead use the interaction with event participants to help refine their ideas and ongoing work. Students and faculty alike are encouraged to apply. If you’d like to be considered, send your name, presentation title, and abstract to Dr. Eddie Comeaux