The livestream below will begin at the time of the event.

COVID-19 has uniquely impacted the lives of college students. The global pandemic has halted many students’ ability to meet their basic financial needs, revealed unfair grading policies, and exposed the need for increased mental health services.

Join us on Thursday, July 15, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM ET as we discuss how the future of higher education can be made more equitable during and after the pandemic. We will investigate policy recommendations to provide greater emergency and support funds for students; envision grading alternatives; and address mental health needs.

Please register to obtain the Zoom link.


  • Julia Chaffers, summer scholar, The Century Foundation 


  • Isabel Banda, higher education summer scholar, The Century Foundation
  • Peter Granville, senior policy associate, The Century Foundation
  • Lydia Laramore, editorial/communications summer scholar, The Century Foundation
  • Dr. James Pope, associate professor and program coordinator, Africana studies, Winston Salem State University

Speaker Bios

Isabel Banda is a recent Brandeis University graduate with a BA in film, sociology and international and global studies. As a Latina and first generation college graduate from Houston, Texas, she is very passionate about education access for first-generation low-income (FGLI) students. Isabel is The Century Foundation’s Higher Education Summer Scholar and a college access coach with Let’s Get Ready.

Julia Chaffers is a senior at Princeton University, where she studies History and African American Studies. Originally from Wellesley, Massachusetts, Julia is president of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society (Whig-Clio), the nation’s oldest collegiate literary and debate society and Princeton’s largest student organization. She is also a senior columnist for The Daily Princetonian, Princeton’s independent student newspaper. Julia is a TCF Summer Scholar working with Next100.

Peter Granville is a senior policy associate at The Century Foundation, studying federal and state policy efforts to improve college access and affordability. His research promotes equity in the design and distribution of financial aid. He supports TCF’s college affordability projects in Michigan and California, as well as research on state promise programs and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Prior to joining TCF, he published research on state higher education finance at the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania, and he mentored students as an academic coach at Haverford College. He holds a BA in mathematics and English from Kenyon College and an MSEd in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lydia Laramore is a recent graduate of Spelman College where she excelled as a Presidential and Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Scholar and distinguished member of Phi Beta Kappa. There, she pursued her love of international relations and French in the classroom while channeling her passion for language and leveling the academic playing field as a peer tutor in the Writing Center. Among her fellowships and awards, she has been honored as a Harvard Kennedy School of Government PPLC Scholar, Millennium Fellow, and Research Day first place winner. A world traveler, Lydia cherishes her semester abroad in Paris and formative internships that include the Foreign Service Institute and Center for Policing Equity. Currently the Editorial and Communications Summer Scholar for The Century Foundation, Lydia is elated to continue her next chapter by pursuing her Juris Doctorate at Yale Law School.

Dr. James Pope is an Associate Professor & Program Coordinator of Africana Studies at Winston Salem State University (North Carolina, USA). Before coming to WSSU, James taught at Georgetown, Howard, and Virginia Commonwealth Universities.

He has published on topics ranging from race & human rights to Pan Africanism & identity. James is author of An Africana Reader: An Anthology of Sociopolitical Thought and Cultural Resistance. His work has appeared in the Journal of African American Studies; ROAR Magazine; Poverty & Race Journal to name a few. James has appeared on, but not limited to, RT; Fox News; NPR; and Pacifica.

James is creator and curator of Africa World Now Project, a digital humanities project and educational platform [available on every podcast platform and the National Humanities Center, humanities in class digital library] designed to explore the continuities in history, culture, and politics of the entire African world.