Research Team


The research team is made up of undergraduate students affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater RAP program (Research Apprenticeship Program) and graduate students affiliated with the Higher Education Leadership Program.

Cherish Golden, MSE Professional Development

Cherish is currently the Assistant Director of Admissions at Beloit College. She is a graduate of the University of Whitewater’s Master of Science in Education,  in Professional Development with an emphasis in Higher Education Leadership.  Her interests include LGBT* affairs, multicultural affairs, admissions, and Trio programs. Cherish is committed to being a holistic scholar practitioner and assisting students from historically marginalized populations. Cherish plans to work in student affairs, with a long-term goal of receiving either her Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration. Her research interests includes how socialization in societies and cultures affects students at post-secondary institutions. She is specifically interested in using Emile Durkheim’s concept of Mechanical and Organic Solidarity to research collegiate environments.


Nayeli Govantes Alcantar

Nayeli received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Analytics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and initially started working on undergraduate research with Dr. Luedke through the RAP program. Nayeli was an executive board member for the DREAM Scholars and Colleagues and Voto Latino on campus. Nayeli is currently pursuing her MBA and serves as the Higher Education Leadership Graduate Assistant and continues to collaborate on both the ACSUS and USHE studies.






Isabella Virrueta, MSE Higher Education Leadership

Isabella Virrueta (she/her) is an MKE Scholars Success Coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She recently received her Master’s degree in Professional Development with an emphasis in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Apart from working on research with Dr. Luedke, Isabella works as an educator, facilitator, and activist through her work with local non-profits like GSAFE. She is also an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent time working as a professional actor. Isabella is a life-long learner and life-long activist.




Tyler Henderson, MSE Professional Development

Tyler Henderson is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Masters in Science Education, Higher Education Professional Development Program. She is currently the Greek Community and Service Coordinator at UWW. Tyler continues to collaborate on the ACSUS study exploring peer mentoring.









Matt D. Headshot
Matt Denney (he/him/his), Resident Learning Advisor, Graduate Student

Matt Denney (he/him/his) currently works at and studies at the University of Arizona within Arts Education with intimacy Directors and Coordinators and Aparisi Arts. He is a graduate of the UWW Higher Education Leadership Program. Apart from research with Dr. Luedke which explores the experiences of Undocumented Latina/o/x students in the Midwest, he explores the intersection of identity, storytelling, and theatre within Higher Education and low-income communities. His passions also include activism, Zumba, educational research, public speaking, and student engagement.





Gresham Collom, MSE Higher Education Leadership

Gresham Collom (he/him/his) is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater’s Higher Education Leadership program. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and served as a research assistant and postdoctoral fellow for the Postsecondary Education Research Center. He is currently a research associate for Research For Action, where he specializes in equity focused postsecondary policy research. His work is centered around inequity in higher education, higher education policy, and mixed-methods research methods.




Dr. Courtney Luedke
Dr. Courtney Luedke

Dr. Luedke began conducting research as a first-year student through the King-Chavez Scholars program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She went on to become a McNair Scholar and completed two summer research internships at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Summer Pre-Graduate Research Experience (SPGRE) and the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (MURAP). Through committed mentors who believed in her abilities, Courtney actively engaged in undergraduate research and pursued a career as a faculty member. Courtney is deeply committed to mentoring and supporting the next generation of Students of Color in preparing for, and pursuing, graduation education. Courtney leads a research team comprised of undergraduate and graduate students. Through the research team, Courtney seeks to de-mystify research, shedding light on all aspects of the process and breaking down each step along the way. 

Photo Credit: Photography by Damon Jay