Mauriell H. Amechi, Ph.D.

Social Scientist, Professor, and Consultant in Chicago, IL

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Dr. Mauriell Amechi is a social scientist, professor, keynote speaker, and consultant with an enduring commitment to educational equity, particularly improving postsecondary education outcomes and opportunities for marginalized learners. Before joining the University of Illinois, Professor Amechi served on the faculty at Old Dominion University and the University of Redlands, producing policy-relevant research and teaching classes in higher education/student affairs administration. He is also the Founder of Foster Youth Empowered, which provides technical services to organizations, and a board member at Foster Progress, a non-profit advocacy organization committed to removing college enrollment and success barriers. Amechi's scholarship centers on higher education policy and research, emphasizing educational equity, access, diversity, social justice, and student success. His early research seeks to influence public policy and practice by documenting the experiences and educational trajectories of youth and young adults aging out of foster care systems, emphasizing the resiliency they exhibit to overcome adversity.

Dr. Amechi's peer-reviewed journal publications appear in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Journal of African American Males in Education, and the Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition (JFYSIT), to name a few. His public scholarship has been featured in venues such as The Education Trust and Third Way. In addition to serving on editorial boards for JFYESIT and the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, he remains active in professional associations, namely the American Educational Research Association, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, NASPA, and ACPA. Dr. Amechi is also affiliate faculty at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a Visiting Scholar at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Born and raised in Chicago, the West Side native is a proud alumnus of Chicago Public Schools. He earned his B.A. with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.A. from Ohio State University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

He enjoys travel, music, sports, cycling, mentoring, and performing arts in his free time.

  • Work
    • University of Illinois
  • Education
    • University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
    • Ohio State University
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
It was a sincere pleasure working with Dr. Amechi as a contributor to Third Way’s ACADEMIX Upshot policy brief series in June 2020. Dr. Amechi’s report on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on postsecondary students aging out of the foster care system offers tremendous insight for state and federal legislators, and his research and advocacy on behalf of this critical yet often overlooked student population have far-reaching implications for meaningful policy reform.
Michelle Domino, Education Senior Policy Advisor, Third Way
I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Amechi who was the keynote of the California State University Monterey Bay Guardian Scholars - Foster Care Awareness event in May 2019. This was the first time the Guardian Scholars Program hosted a scholar to bring awareness about the obstacles and resilience of foster youth navigating higher education. His research and passion advocating for foster youth in higher education left an imprint on the Guardian Scholars Program and the greater CSUMB community.
Keyiona Ritchey, Guardian Scholars Advisor, Cal State Univ, Monterey Bay
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