Institute of Urban Policy

Staff Bios

Kevin Cokley, PhD, DirectorKevin Cokley, PhD | Director | 512-471-4672 | GWB 4.106
Dr. Cokley is a Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and holds the Oscar and Anne Mauzy Regents Professorship for Educational Research and Development in the College of Education. He is a Fellow of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and a member of the UT Academy of Distinguished Teachers. His research can be broadly categorized in the area of African American psychology, with a focus on racial and ethnic identity and understanding the psychological and environmental factors that impact African American students’ academic achievement. He is author of the 2014 book “The Myth of Black Anti-Intellectualism” that challenges the notion that African American students are anti-intellectual. He has written several Op-Eds in major media outlets on topics such as Blacks’ rational mistrust of police, the aftermath of Ferguson, police and race relations, racism and White supremacy, the use of school vouchers, and racial disparities in school discipline. His research has been recognized in media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, and Inside Higher Education.

Danielle Wright, PhD, Associate DirectorDanielle C. H. Wright, PhD | Associate Director | 512-471-4728 | GWB 4.108
Dr. Danielle C. H. Wright is the Associate Director for the Institute. Dr. Wright oversees all policy, research and strategic planning for the center and has over twenty years of experience in higher education, community engagement, and strategic consulting. Dr. Wright served as higher education administrator at New York University, The University of Texas at Austin, and as faculty at The University of Texas at Austin and The New School, NY, where she taught courses on policy, critical lines of inquiry and qualitative research methods. Dr. Wright’s areas of expertise include higher education and community engagement. Her research areas cover critical inquiry, race and identity, social cultural analysis, critical policy analysis, and P-20 education.

Tracie Lowe, PhD, Postdoctoral FellowTracie A. Lowe, PhD | Assistant Director of Assessment | 512-471-6094 | GWB 4.110
Dr. Tracie A. Lowe is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin for IUPRA. Her research focuses on the experiences of Black students in higher education with a particular focus on Black women graduate students. Additionally, her research interests include issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Tracie holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from The University of Texas at Austin; a master's degree in educational administration and bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies both from Texas A&M university.

Ricardo Lowe, MS, Research AssociateRicardo Lowe, Jr., MS | Research Associate | 512-471-4551 | GWB 4.114
Ricardo Lowe, Jr. is a Research Associate for IUPRA and Doctoral Student in Applied Demography at UT San Antonio. He served five years as a federal statistician and is well-versed in statistical application and quantitative methods. His research interests are broad, but typically involve suburbanization, maternal health, and education. Ricardo also is a trained sociologist, and holds membership with the Association of Black Sociologists (ABS), along with two nationally renowned Honor Societies – Alpha Kappa Delta and Alpha Chi.

Annika Olson, MA, MPP, Policy CoordinatorAnnika Olson, MA, MPP | Assistant Director of Policy Research | 512-471-4225 | GWB 4.116
Olson is passionate about using research and legislative analysis to inform policies that impact the lives of vulnerable members of our community. At IUPRA, she serves as the liaison to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, community members, and policy makers at all levels. She received a dual Master’s degree in Psychology and Public Policy at Georgetown University and her Bachelors in Psychology from the Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst.  Olson previously served as an AmeriCorps member with at-risk youth in rural New Mexico and Austin, Texas.

Holly Collins, BA, Multimedia Communications SpecialistHolly W. Collins, BA | Multimedia Communications Specialist | 512-475-7882 | GWB 4.130
Collins is a communications specialist passionate about using storytelling and education to inspire action. At IUPRA, she manages all communications initiatives and strategy through concise writing and careful editing, creative design, and engaging multimedia content. Collins previously worked for CORE Group in Washington, DC, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Journalism from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is a Certified Knowledge Management Specialist with the Knowledge Management Institute (KMI).



Rachel Boggs, MEd
Rachel Boggs is a doctoral student in the Education Policy and Planning Program at The University of Texas at Austin. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and M. Ed. from The University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include school closures, school choice policy, teacher turnover, and improving school culture and leadership. In particular, she studies school and school district culture and the ways responsive leadership can foster more stable K-12 classroom environments. As a member of the IUPRA team, Rachel strives to bridge the gap between research and practice through community engaged work.

Lynn Huynh
Lynn Huynh is a third-year undergraduate student studying Women's & Gender Studies and Advertising with a certificate in Design Strategies. As a research intern at IUPRA, she assists in policy writing, primary and secondary research, and data collection. Passionate about socio-spatial justice, human-centered design, and community organizing/activism, her academic studies, creative work, and professional aspirations are grounded in the ultimate goal to provide accessibility, empowerment and education to marginalized communities.

Valerie Sterne, MA
Valerie is a first year Education Policy and Planning doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. She has over 15 years experience as an educator. She is interested in studying education policies that impact equity in P-12 schools and more broadly, create social change. As a parent of two students in Austin ISD, she has spent the past few years looking at segregation and equity issues in the district. She is a founding member of Integrated Schools Austin, a community group that advocates for policies that would increase equity, cultural proficiency and integration in AISD schools. She is also interested in evaluating the current AISD school closure plan through a lens of equity, focusing particularly on the impact of the plan on low income students and students of color. She earned a B.A. in Child Study and Language Development from Southwestern University and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University.

Stephanie Asper, BA
Stephanie Asper is a master’s degree student in Educational Policy and Planning within the College of Education at UT Austin. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include mental health treatment and access, as well as wellness and prevention programming for students in PK-20 educational environments.

Chloe White, BA
Chloe White is a second year Master's student in the Education Policy program. She is specifically interested in policies surrounding trauma informed care, and more broadly interested in policies surrounding sexual assault, sexual education, and professional development.

Nabeeha Engineer
Nabeeha Engineer is a third-year undergraduate student studying Public Health with a certificate in Children and Society. Her research interests include health disparities among marginalized populations and the relationship between the quality of childhood education and future health outcomes. Her undergraduate research has focused on adolescent- experienced racial discrimination, racial identity, and depressive symptoms among Black fathers.