Student Advisory Council

Student Support Services Student Advisory Council

Meet Our Current Members!

Lauren Beard
Lauren is a first-year PhD student studying sociology. She previously attended the University of Pennsylvania as a Quest Scholar and worked on initiatives relating to food security, mentoring, financial education, and resource accessibility. She currently serves as a member on the National Alumni Advisory Board for QuestBridge. She is looking forward to working with the SSS Student Advisory Council and getting to better know the UChicago community!

placeholderLaura Chen
My name is Laura Chen and I am currently a second year intending to major in Comparative Human Development and minor in Creative Writing. I'm from Brooklyn, NY and my favorite place to visit there is definitely St. Marks in the Lower East Village of Manhattan, where my friends and I usually go to eat ramen or sushi and see what's busy around the area. In my free time, I love to read, indulge in occasional celeb gossip, listen to jazz, hi hop and R&B music, watch TV shows and journal! I am also involved in Active Minds, MUNUC and MODA on campus. I'm very excited to work on the SSS student advisory council!

Ashley Cureton
Ashley Cureton Turner is a 5th year PhD candidate and lecturer at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA).  She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in Human Rights at UChicago .  She received her master's degree from SSA in 2010 with a concentration in Social Administration and Community Schools.  She also received graduate certificates in forced migration studies from Northwestern University and Oxford University.  Her fields of study include forced migration studies, international social work, refugee resettlement, adolescent development, schooling among disadvantaged populations, and school-based interventions.  As someone who identifies as a first generation college student and a former Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Ashley is excited to serve on the SSS advisory board to assist other students who are navigating college and graduate school. 

placeholderBridgette Davis
Bridgette Davis is currently a PhD student, Point Foundation Scholar, and Institute of Educational Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.  Prior to earning her master’s degree in social service administration, Bridgette worked in charter and traditional public schools in Atlanta and Chicago for eleven years.  She taught both middle school and high school, served as a Dean of Instruction for the Noble Network of Charter Schools, worked as a program director for both Teach For America and One Goal, and managed a school-based college counseling team aimed at attaching high school graduates to four-year college and other meaningful post-secondary opportunities.  Bridgette’s experiences in both being a first-generation college student from a rural community and in supporting students from underserved communities during the onset of adolescence through their transitions to adulthood informs her research interests. Her research interests include transitions to adulthood, homelessness, post-secondary education organizations, community colleges, and policy advocacy in the education sector.  Bridgette plans to study the emerging field of diverse organizations seeking to attach “disconnected” or “opportunity” youth to school and/or work. 

placeholderEbony Hinton


placeholderLuke Hwang
Luke Hwang is a sixth-year PhD candidate in the department of chemistry and the physical sciences division. His scientific interests include membrane physical chemistry, protein-lipid interactions, and X-ray scattering of soft condensed matter. When he is not in the laboratory, he actively engages in Korean American-led grassroots activism and community organizing around issues on immigration, as part of Hana Center and the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium. As a college student at the City College of New York, he was part of a New York City based, pan-Asian network of students and activists who worked on humanizing immigrants through storytelling. At the university, with the SSS advisory council he is particularly interested in connecting with students directly impacted by current immigration laws.

Amy Maldonado
Amy Maldonado is a first-year student at the College originally from Naples, FL. She identifies as a first-generation, low-income daughter of immigrant parents from Honduras. Though she is undecided in her major, she is leaning towards the Social Sciences with a minor in Biology. Amy’s background and research experiences reflect her involvement on/off campus, including college access for underprivileged students and marijuana reform. You can find Amy heavily involved on campus; whether she is at a MEChA board meeting, mentoring middle school girls through WYSE, or promoting women in public service through WPSP. You can also see her impacting the community outside of campus through organizations like GoNorml, which promotes marijuana reform by educating and provides legal assistance to victims of current legislation, and ZeeMee, which is an app-based platform that connects underprivileged high school students to current college students. Amy hopes to make a lasting impact on campus for underprivileged students through SSS and is excited to accomplish this with the Council!

placeholderBlake Mcghghy
Originally from Iowa, Blake McGhghy is a first-gen college graduate who studies sociology in the Master's Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS). Before UChicago, he was a Social Studies concentrator at Harvard with a focus field in “American Civic Epistemology,” which he explored through the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Science, Technology, and Society (STS). He is thrilled to be a part of the student advisory council to help make UChicago more welcoming and supportive of first-gen, low income, and immigrant students. 

placeholderStephen Simpson


placeholderJessica Guadalupe Vargas
Jessica Guadalupe Vargas is from the SouthEast Side of Chicago where she graduated from her Neighborhood high school, Washington as the first female to attend the University of Chicago. She is a first generation immigrant from Mexico and is first in her family to attend college. She currently plans to study sociology and is exploring careers in education focused on higher education and youth civic empowerment through the University of Chicago Education Professions. She has been involved at University of Chicago Center for Community service through serving as a group leader in Chicago Bound and Summer Links participant.  She has also been involved at the Institute of Politics through being on the board for the Women in Public Service and public leadership programs such as Bridging the Divide and Leaders of color.