The 2013 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award Winners

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education; who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others; and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning.

AAC&U is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award:

The Cross Scholars were introduced to the AAC&U audience at the Opening Plenary of AAC&U's 2013 Annual Meeting, followed by their session on "Faculty of the Future." Brief profiles of the recipients are below.

Political Science, University of Delaware

B.A., Economics M.P.A., Public Management, Rutgers University-Camden
M.A., Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware Ph.D., (expected 2013), Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware

Atnreakn Alleyne is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware and a fellow with the Strategic Data Project at the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research. Atnreakn’s dissertation uses quantitative and social network analyses to test key theories used to understand the transnational lobbying industry and its influence on American foreign policy. At the University of Delaware, Atnreakn has been a James R. Soles fellow and has taught courses in quantitative analysis and civil society. He has also worked with the College of Arts and Sciences to advise incoming freshmen and coordinated an orientation and mentoring program for graduate students while working with the Office of Graduate and Professional Education.

Atnreakn has also taught courses at Towson University and in the Graduate Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University in Camden. His use of project-based and service learning in his graduate research methods courses at Rutgers-Camden allowed students to gain practical experience with the course content through consulting projects with local nonprofit organizations.

In his current capacity as a Harvard Strategic Data Project fellow, Atnreakn utilizes his expertise in research and evaluation methods to promote rich opportunities to learn for all students. During his fellowship, Atnreakn is working with the Delaware Department of Education in the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit. His key projects include evaluating Delaware’s Race to the Top-funded school leadership coaching programs and the state’s educator performance appraisal system. He is also leading Delaware’s first statewide survey of teaching and learning conditions. Atnreakn brings to this role experience developing performance measurement systems for a Camden charter school as a researcher at the Rutgers Community Leadership Center and working in the private sector with consulting firms, The Gallup Organization and the Hay Group.

While in graduate school, Atnreakn and his wife founded TeenSHARP, a college preparatory and leadership program for minority students ages 10-17 in the Philadelphia region. TeenSHARP is now in its fourth program year and accomplishes its mission through leadership and college prep trainings, early college exposure, academic support, individualized college prep planning, and parent empowerment workshops. TeenSHARP has served over 100 students and their families since its inception, has received grant funding from Scholastic, Inc. in a national competition, and received awards from the Camden County board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey Black Issues Convention.


Literature, Duke University

Fiona Barnett is a Ph.D. candidate in the Literature Program and Women's Studies at Duke University. She is committed to building a diverse community around rethinking higher education for the 21st century. As Director of the HASTAC Scholars program, Fiona has organized over 30 major forums and projects on a diverse set of questions (pedagogical tools, disciplinary questions, research development, digital publishing, etc.) including projects such as Queer & Feminist New Media Spaces, Race & Ethnic Studies in the Digital Age, and Grading 2.0. Over the past four years, she has built a network of over 700 graduate & undergraduate students who actively blog, develop projects, create workshops and conference panels, and peer-review their work. The unique program brings together 200+ interdisciplinary students a year, from universities across the US and many other countries, to build a community of collaborative, innovative and committed future leaders in higher education. She is also actively involved with the #transformDH collective which is committed to rethinking how the digital and political intersect, especially around questions of identity, diversity, labor, access, and structures of power.

Her scholarly work is at the intersection of science and technology studies, feminist and queer theory, critical theory and visual studies. She is currently writing her dissertation,Turning the Body Inside Out, a critical genealogy of the production of the inside of the body as a visible – and thus knowable – object which requires investigation. In particular, her project charts the historical practices and contemporary situations that reinscribe the desire for an open and legible body and focuses on several illustrative examples, including the influential autopsy report of Sara Baartman (also known as the Hottentot Venus), the public autopsy of Joice Heth (the first person on whom PT Barnum made his name), the infection imaginary during the early years of HIV/AIDS, and the current infatuation with the ability to determine identity through DNA, as seen through the serial killer case of Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton.

As part of her commitment to pedagogy, she has developed a series of workshops for grad students and professors on digital pedagogies, research techniques, collaborative learning and other ways of rethinking higher education. Fiona graduated with a B.A. in Modern Culture & Media from Brown University in 2001.



Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

B.A., Sociology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
M.S.W., Administration, Policy, and Planning, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Ed.D. (expected 2013), Higher Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Milagros Castillo-Montoya is an advanced doctoral candidate and part-time instructor in the Higher & Postsecondary Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on college teaching and learning as it relates to diverse students. Her dissertation research seeks to understand how first-generation African American and Latino students develop their sociopolitical capacity—ways of thinking and acting towards themselves, others, and society relative to social issues—while engaging with academic subject matter (sociology) during college. She has found that students’ sociopolitical capacity forms part of what students bring with them to college and informs how they interact with subject-matter ideas. Milagros’ research also indicates that as students interact with concepts and theories their sociopolitical capacity may further develop. She views development of students’ sociopolitical capacity as part and parcel of higher education’s aim to prepare students for their roles as citizens and leaders in their lives, professions, and society.

Milagros incorporates what she learns from her research into her own teaching. She is committed to having her students draw on their prior knowledge to understand substantive concepts and to apply their learning to their professional or occupational practice, scholarship, or lives. Further, Milagros draws on her own personal and professional experiences to serve and advocate for first-generation college and graduate students. She enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate students informally and formally to help prepare them for the next steps in their academic or professional careers. She continues in such work, for graduate students, as a member of the mentoring committee for the ASHE (Association for the Study of Higher Education) Council on Ethnic Participation


The Ohio State University, College of Education and Human Ecology

B.S., Honors, Psychology, The Ohio State University
M.S., Human Ecology, Early Childhood Development and Education, The Ohio State University
Ph.D. Candidate, Human Development and Family Science, Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in College Teaching, The Ohio State University

Dissertation: Exploring the relationships between families and early childhood educators: The importance of cocaring for infants and toddlers.

Sarah is fascinated by young children and particularly interested in the way key relationships in young children’s lives impact their development. As a former infant-toddler and preschool educator, Sarah had an opportunity to develop a broad perspective on the myriad of relationships within which children and families function. Sarah’s research thus far has focused on how individual characteristics of new parents may interact to influence each other’s parenting, and how particular parenting practices may predict children’s social-emotional and cognitive development. However, for her dissertation work, she is investigating the relationships between early childhood teachers and families, applying theoretical models of coparenting to the childcare setting. She is studying how teachers and families understand their relationships with each other, what factors are associated with how these relationships function, as well as how these relationships are associated with family involvement and child social-emotional functioning.

Although Sarah is no longer a practicing early childhood teacher, she maintains a connection to the early childhood field by mentoring early childhood educators in documenting and presenting their knowledge and practice at professional conferences. Sarah also serves on the Board of Trustees of a non-profit childcare center/family cooperative in Columbus, Ohio. She believes strongly in helping early childhood teachers recognize their expertise and guiding them to develop the skills and courage to share it with others. 

Sarah has also been recognized for her strong service to students at The Ohio State University.  She has been nominated for multiple teaching awards and last year (2012) received the graduate student teacher of the year award from the Department of Human Development and Family Science (which has approximately 900 majors). Sarah has served two terms on University Senate, three years on the Council on Academic Affairs, and is an active member of the Council of Graduate Students (CGS), receiving the Outstanding Committee Chair Award from CGS in 2011. She also served a year as president of the OSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, an all-discipline honors society. She encourages her students and colleagues to be involved and make their communities, academic and otherwise, better places by attending to the needs and rights of all constituents.  


Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

B.S., Chemistry, University of Michigan
Ph.D. in Chemistry (expected 2013), University of California, Berkeley

Justin Lomont is a 4th year PhD student studying Physical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout his academic career Justin has devoted significant efforts to his work in science education, including working with educational outreach programs, developing new classroom laboratory experiments, and completing his undergraduate thesis in Chemistry education. Justin has taught as a graduate student instructor for classes in Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, and Statistical Mechanics, and he earned an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award for his teaching at UC-Berkeley.

Justin is a recipient of the National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, and his research in physical chemistry has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences in the U.S. and abroad. He has worked as a visiting researcher at Peking University in Beijing, China, and he helped to run a research exchange program between universities in Beijing and colleges and universities around the U.S. Justin is interested in continuing to promote international training and collaborations in science education, and he aspires to become a faculty member at a large research institution in the near future. Along with former Cross scholar Ian Stewart, Justin is also currently co-authoring a book on chemistry for a general audience.


Laurie A. PinkertLAURIE A. PINKERT
English, Purdue University

Ph.D., English: Rhetoric and Composition, Purdue University (to be awarded 2013)
M.A., English with Composition Studies Concentration, University of Maine
B.A., English and Religious Studies/Philosophy, Gardner-Webb University

Laurie A. Pinkert is a doctoral candidate in the Rhetoric and Composition program at Purdue University where she specializes in writing program administration and professional writing. As a teacher, Laurie has designed and implemented a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses across disciplines and worked one-on-one with writers as a writing center consultant. In her writing courses, Laurie often integrates community engagement, experiential learning, and inquiry-driven research to spark a sense of academic and civic responsibility in her students. She also mentors new graduate teaching assistants, consults on program assessment, and fosters interdisciplinary infrastructure for writing engagement within and beyond students' coursework. 

Laurie's commitment to effective pedagogy and programs extends into her scholarship where she conducts cross-disciplinary writing research. Her dissertation, [In]Visible Writing Programs: The Infrastructure of Graduate Writing Courses Across and Within the Disciplines, which was recognized by the Janice M. Lauer Award for Excellence in Dissertation Work, lays the groundwork for articulating writing in ways that are visible within the evolving American University system and contributes to our growing knowledge of graduate writing education. Similarly, her collaborative research projects investigating the impact of service-learning courses on students' rhetorical abilities and the effects of curricula on writing teachers are poised to affect programmatic change in higher education.

As someone who works to create writing programs that are flexible enough to respond to emerging needs but stable enough to support engaged learning, Laurie has been highly involved local and national organizations that foster similar initiatives. She currently serves as an Executive Board member for the Council of Writing Program Administrators, a Steering Committee Member for the Purdue Cancer Culture and Community Colloquia, and a Co-Chair for the College Composition and Communication Graduate Student Special Interest Group and her recent academic appointments at Purdue include Assistant Director of Introductory Composition, Technical Communication Consultant in Biomedical Engineering, Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator in Animal Sciences, and Business Writing Coordinator in the Writing Lab. In addition to her teaching, research, and service, she has written several grant proposals to fund departmental and university-wide writing initiatives and has partnered with local organizations such as the Tippecanoe County Historical Association and the City of West Lafayette to engage in locally-based engagement projects. For more information about her work, visit


Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gina is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studying the implications of neighborhood racial diversity for race relations. Gina also works as a Project Assistant for the Delta Program for Research, Teaching and Learning at UW, organizing a teaching certificate program for graduate students and managing monthly roundtables on teaching and learning topics for the campus community. Gina has also extended her passion for understanding racial diversity and addressing racial inequality to the UW campus through her participation in Delta's Bridging the Achievement Gap program that aims to reduce the academic achievement gap that separates under-represented minority students from their peers. Gina is passionate about becoming a professor whose research, teaching, and service is centered on understanding racial and ethnic difference and fostering more inclusive environments in higher education and in the communities she studies.

About K. Patricia Cross

K. Patricia Cross is Professor of Higher Education Emerita of the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an author of seven books on classroom teaching, learning, and assessment. Her distinguished career in higher education began as Assistant Dean of Women at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, then continued as Dean of Students at Cornell. She served as Distinguished Research Scientist at the Educational Testing Service; Professor and Chair of the Department of Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and then as David Pierpont Gardner Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Cross is a member of the National Academy of Education and twice served as chair of the Board of the American Association for Higher Education.  She is a former board member for The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Berkeley Public Library, and Elderhostel (now known as Road Scholar).

Contact Information
For more information, contact Suzanne Hyers at 202.387.3760 (ext. 425): email