Remote video URL
Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Students

National Student-Parent Action through Research Knowledge (SPARK) Launch Event

Join the Urban Institute for the launch of the national Student-Parent Action through Research Knowledge (SPARK) Collaborative, a knowledge-driven movement for pregnant and parenting students. These students often sit at the crossroads of higher education, family mobility, and labor market policies, but those systems are not designed to promote their success. Based on a new framework of intersecting policy systems, we have developed the Roadmap for Change to Support Pregnant and Parenting Students, which lays out ways systems can help parents meet their education goals while supporting their families. In this event, we will share the framework and roadmap, describe how the Data-to-Action Campaign for Parenting Students is taking the necessary first steps to realize change, and explore research knowledge to inform action. Parenting students will also speak about their vision of change for making education, career, and life goals attainable. 


Attendees will leave with

  1. an action agenda for families to access and succeed in postsecondary education,
  2. an appreciation for how data and research support that agenda, and
  3. opportunities to engage with others dedicated to intergenerational family mobility through education.



  • Theresa Anderson, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute (moderator)
  • Amber Angel, Program Officer, ECMC Foundation
  • Mary Ann DeMario, Institutional Research Specialist, Monroe Community College
  • Autumn Green, Nonresident Fellow, Urban Institute (moderator)
  • Marie Hocker, Principal, Imaginable Futures
  • Cordero Holmes, Undergraduate Student, Arizona State University
  • Ryan Kelsey, Director of Building America’s Workforce, Urban Institute
  • Jessica Lee, Attorney and Managing Director of the Pregnant Scholar Initiative, University of California College of the Law San Francisco, Center for Work|Life Law (moderator)
  • Joanna Reyes, Postdoctoral Scholar, Arizona State University, and co-founder of Mothers of Color in Academia
  • Kimberly Salazar, Undergraduate Student, University of California Berkeley
  • Nathan Sick, Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Maria Williamson Ramirez, Director of Equity Initiatives at the Steinhardt School, New York University
  • Heather Willoughby, STARS Program Assistant, University of California Santa Cruz

More speakers to be announced.



  • Part 1: Student-Parent Families at the Center Framework and Roadmap
  • Part 2: Insights from the Data-to-Action Campaign for Parenting Students Policy Scan
  • Part 3: SPARK Collaborative


Support for this event is provided by ECMC Foundation and Imaginable Futures. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Urban Institute Speakers
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Principal Research Associate
  • Former Non-resident Fellow
  • Director, Building America's Workforce