PhD student; Graduate Assistant & Integrated Learning Instructor, University of Minnesota
Tabatha Cruz is a PhD student in the Organizational Leadership & Policy Development department at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus. Her research interests include first-generation college students, land-grant institutions, learning communities, cultural centers, and social justice education. She also holds a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration from Illinois State University, a Bachelor of Science in Family Services from the University of Northern Iowa, and an Associate of Arts in Psychology from Palo Alto Community College. Her professional journey into the field of Higher Education stems from a passion for college access, equity, and mentorship of students from marginalized backgrounds. Tabatha served the field of higher education for ten years with professional and volunteer experiences across the areas of retention, scholarships, multicultural programming, student organization advising, first-year experience programming, and fraternity and sorority life. As a scholar and practitioner, Tabatha is committed to supporting the students she serves by elevating and centering their voices. Students enter educational spaces with various lived experiences that will shape how they interact, learn, and express themselves. Tabatha believes in taking a holistic approach in creating an environment where students can feel respected and valued as co-designers of their learning and cultural spaces. Higher education needs authentic, values-congruent, and culturally-responsive leadership. Therefore, Tabatha wishes to pursue professional opportunities within the area of educational policy and hopes to someday serve with the U.S. Department of Education.