Valerie L. Popp, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Foundation and Corporate Engagement, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA


Bio: Valerie Popp

Valerie L. Popp serves as Senior Director of Foundation and Corporate Engagement at NASPA and the Center for First-generation Student Success. Prior to joining NASPA, she was the Senior Program Officer at the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), where she was instrumental in stewarding relationships with foundation partners including the Getty Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She played a lead role at ACLS in designing, administering, and evaluating a portfolio of fellowship and grant programs that awards over $25 million to nearly 400 humanities and social science scholars each year. Her professional fundraising experience also includes serving as Manager of Institutional Giving at the national K-12 education nonprofit EL Education, where she helped secure major foundation grants to support equity-focused initiatives such as the Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Network.

A proud first-generation college graduate, Valerie holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English literature from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. in English literature from Yale University. She is Secretary of the Board of Directors of the UCLA First-Gen Alumni Network and a member of 1stGenYale, an affinity and advocacy group for alumni who identify as first-generation. When she isn’t busy writing grant proposals, Valerie reviews literary criticism and poetry for Wasafiri magazine.