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Program Staff

Shun Robertson, Ph. D.

Principal Investigator |

Dr. Shun Robertson serves as a state policy expert for the Strategy and Policy Division of the UNC System, researching key higher education issues to advance the System’s strategic goals. Prior to joining the UNC System, Robertson was a program director at MDC and Jobs for the Future, providing senior-level policy and research support to education and community-based projects. She also served as a policy analyst for the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS). In her role with SCTCS, Robertson provided ongoing analysis of education and economic trends affecting community colleges. She also has several years of experience working in admissions offices at colleges in Georgia and South Carolina. Dr. Robertson received her Bachelor of Science in business administration and doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Carolina; and her Master of Business Administration from Augusta State University. She earned a certificate in nonprofit administration from Duke University. 

Patti Harris

Director |

Patti is the Director of GEAR UP NC where she facilitates GEAR UP NC’s uCoach partnership with eight community colleges and four-year public institutions. Additionally, she develops and oversees statewide programming and outreach initiatives, building and sustaining relationships with businesses, community partners and parents to leverage local support for GEAR UP related activities. Prior to working with GEAR UP, she served as director of the NC State College Advising Corps, a college-access non-profit whose mission is to increase the number of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students who enter and complete higher education. Patti earned her Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University and her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, Patti is working on her PhD in Higher Education from North Carolina State University. As a first-generation college student, and North Carolina native, Patti serves to ensure all students have access to earn a post-secondary credential.

Miodrag Stojnic, Ph. D.

Research and Evaluation Specialist | 

Miodrag is the Research and Evaluation Specialist with GEAR UP NC. His main tasks include survey development, data management, and data analysis with the purpose of evaluating the impact of GEAR UP NC’s efforts on students’ educational outcomes. He received his PhD in Sociology from New York University and was post-doctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Estefane Santiago-Lopez

Program Specialist |

As Program Specialist, Estefane manages various administrative tasks and supports GEAR UP programming, outreach, and evaluation efforts. Prior to her role with GEAR UP, Estefane served as a College Adviser for two high schools in Davidson County, North Carolina as part of the Carolina College Advising Corps. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Peace, War and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Estefane identifies as a multilingual indigenous woman from a low-income, single-mother household and a first-generation college student. Her identity and previous experience fuel her passion for increasing college access for underserved communities. She believes that obtaining a higher education is fundamental to closing the opportunity gap in North Carolina.