Joseph Alonzo

Joseph Alonzo has over thirteen years of service in higher education. He has worked in student services and affairs, high school programs, academic support, student leadership initiatives (in the U.S. and South Africa), and is presently leading the equity initiative at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, California. At the core of Joseph’s professional identity is the belief that college students thrive in challenging yet supportive environments that facilitate opportunities for academic and social growth through engagement with the campus community. He believes that to promote students’ intellectual development, student-affairs professionals and faculty should collaborate to fulfill the academic mission of the institution while providing meaningful experiences and opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. Joseph believes that students are and should always be at the center of planning and decision-making. When all students are intentionally included and celebrated, the ability to create validating environments in which students feel they belong, and where true learning can occur, shines through.

Read Joseph's Voices and Viewpoints blog titled "How One College is Supporting Its 'Small Population' of African American/Black Students."

Lisa Bergin

Dr. Lisa Bergin teaches philosophy at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she has also served as a consultant for teaching and learning. Lisa has been a key member of a team that has worked together to shift the institution to a model in which equity and inclusion are embedded throughout institutional policies, practices, and procedures. Lisa strives to bring greater equity and inclusion into her own courses and has served on the organizing committee of the summer 2018 Anti-Racist Pedagogy Across the Curriculum workshop. At the college level, she has chaired the Minneapolis College Equity and Inclusion Curriculum & Pedagogy Committee, initiating a college-wide strategic goal to create an expectation of culturally responsive pedagogy. Through her leadership role at the Center for Teaching and Learning, Lisa has developed faculty workshops covering topics such as implicit bias, stereotype threat, culturally responsive pedagogy, and poverty responsive pedagogy. She has also created a New Faculty Core course with a module on culturally responsive pedagogy and universal design. She is now on sabbatical to create cohort training that will help faculty embed culturally responsive pedagogy into teaching practices.

 

Jennifer Billingsley

Jennifer Billingsley earned her undergraduate degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and completed her graduate work at Western Illinois University. She began her career as an English instructor at Carl Sandburg College and MacMurray College and has been working with correctional students since 1995, starting as an adjunct instructor and then serving as a youth offender counselor who focused on inmates under the age of 25 with a high risk of recidivating. In 2001 Jennifer became a supervising associate dean of a college program at a medium-security prison before becoming northern dean of correctional programs at Lake Land College in 2010. The college currently serves approximately 6,000 students annually within 25 correctional centers. Students are able to earn certificates in 13 vocational areas of study and earn an Associate of Liberal Studies in their academic program.

 

Alvina Thomas square

As the first in her family to graduate from college, Alvina Clayton-Thomas strongly believes in supporting student success through higher education. Alvina is currently the dean of Student Success Services and a Title IX coordinator at Louisiana Delta Community College. She has worked for the college in various roles since 2004 and previously served as the director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Grambling State University and as an assistant director of Financial Aid at the University of Louisiana Monroe. Alvina earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master of Education degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Currently, she is a third-year doctoral student at Louisiana State University-Shreveport, with an emphasis in higher education leadership. Alvina has served on various boards and as president of numerous professional higher education organizations. She actively serves in her community and is a member of Riverside Missionary Baptist Church and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

 

Richard Diaz

Richard Diaz is an award-winning student-affairs professional at Salt Lake Community College who serves as the interim director for the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Prior to that position he was the director of the First-Year Experience department. In both roles he has demonstrated his passion for supporting students who want to access higher education and graduate successfully. As a practitioner, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the profession with experiences ranging from working in admissions as an advisor for two Latinx/a/o student organizations, an adjunct faculty for the College of Education, a member of the Orientation and Leadership Development Office, and the Center for Empowered Students of Color. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social justice education and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy, with an emphasis in student affairs. Both degrees were from the University of Utah. Richard deeply believes in the importance of community colleges in society and hopes to spend the remainder of his professional career devoted to living up to the mission of these institutions.

 

Richard Hayes

Richard Hayes is the director of Financial Aid at Olive-Harvey College, where he champions initiatives that bring financial awareness to the campus community. During the past 12 years, he has served in leadership roles in admissions, project management, academic advising, customer service and now financial aid. He also serves as an adjunct to continuing education and business departments. Richard's strengths are centered around data-driven strategic initiatives, community outreach campaigns that promote community engagement, customer service, and articulating complex processes to audiences at all communication levels. Recently, Director Hayes was recognized as a recipient of the 2019 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award for his work with the college and community. He holds an MBA from University of Phoenix and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management. Richard's gregarious personality, innovative teaching style, and genuine care for student success are what he believes make higher education worthwhile.

 

Antonio Jackson

Dr. Antonio Jackson is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and serves as the dean of arts and humanities at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Prior to his career in education, Antonio served for six years in the North Carolina National Guard and the U.S. Army. While serving in the Armed Forces, he attended Fayetteville State University and earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in sociology. Additionally, he earned an educational specialist degree and a Doctor of Education degree in community college executive leadership from Wingate University. Throughout his career in higher education, Antonio has served as a sociology instructor, a department chair, and now as a dean. He has also served as a program coordinator, a program evaluator, and a chair of first-year experience initiatives. He is a proponent of education at all levels, and as a former community college student, Antonio believes in the mission of the institutions. He also believes that community colleges serve the most diverse student populations in higher education and have created many postsecondary opportunities for underserved communities. As a community college educator and leader, it is his passion and goal to help community college students achieve success.

 

Maati Ka'awa

Maati “Ati” Ka’awa is a former enrollment manager for apprenticeship and interim assistant registrar at South Seattle College, where she provided enrollment, funding, and student-services support to apprenticeships programs that deliver on-the-job training and education in livable wage pathways. She is now the director of Branch Locations at Green River College for Auburn Center, Enumclaw, and Kent Station. Ati earned a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and a master’s degree in higher education from Central Washington University. She has previously worked in continuing education and workforce funding programs that deliver high-demand and livable-wage alternatives to traditional education within the community college system in Washington. Ati is passionate about supporting improved higher education access and removing barriers to degree attainment for nontraditional and underserved minority populations.

 

Keith Kirkland

Dr. Keith Kirkland serves as the dean of student affairs at Essex County College (ECC). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Seton Hall University and a Master of Science degree in management science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Keith then earned a doctorate in educational leadership at Rowan University. He has been on staff at ECC since 1985 with increased responsibilities in each appointment that have ranged from being the director of an Upward Bound Program to the acting dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, where he oversaw professional development programming and training programs and was a grants administrator. As the current dean of student affairs, Keith is responsible for overseeing student-support services that promote student success including counseling, career planning, athletics, child care and student extracurricular programs. He has served as an adjunct instructor for the Business Division at Essex County College for the last 10 years and has worked with community-based organizations promoting scholarship among inner-city youth. He has also served on community college committees statewide.

 

Corey Lansing

Corey Lansing is the director of Student Outreach and Engagement at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, Michigan. He has worked in higher education throughout his adult life. Prior to his time in Michigan, Corey was the director of Campus Activities at Marquette University in Milwaukee for 14 years. Education and the process of helping develop students into leaders and then productive citizens are his vocational passions. He is also very interested in becoming a greater advocate for underserved individuals in Northern Michigan and serving in the community in which he lives. Outside of work, Corey enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends, participating in activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, and skiing.

 

 

Julius Lloyd

Julius Lloyd is from the greater Seattle area and attended West Hills Junior College in California before transferring to Montana State University after two years. Julius earned his bachelor’s degree in political science while playing football for the Montana State Bobcats. After graduation he moved back to Seattle to begin his career serving the community through social justice causes including as a program instructor for the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. He began his work with South Seattle College approximately two years ago as a financial literacy program assistant with Retention & Completion Services through United Way. In his current position as the basic food employment and training specialist for workforce education, Julius takes pride in working with students to determine eligibility for funding. Working with low-income and first-generation college students has provided him with a great opportunity to bridge the educational achievement gap by addressing socio-economic issues.

 

Greg McCarthy

Greg McCarthy is an articulation coordinator and advisor at Feather River College, a rural community college located in Northern California that includes approximately 300 student-athletes among around 650 full-time students. Greg serves students from a variety of backgrounds from across the U.S. and throughout the world, advising them about degree requirements, academic progress, class registration, and transfer rules and regulations for NCAA Division I, II, III, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He is specifically tasked with helping student-athletes become successful by offering career and life guidance. Greg has a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Western Oregon University and a Master of Science degree in health and human performance from Fort Hays State University. He has also taken coursework in the Master of Education Adult Education Program at Oregon State University. Greg is married and has two children.

 

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Dr. Aubria Nance is an accomplished, results-driven, and compassionate leader in education with more than 10 years of experience in higher education, a period in which she has played a critical role in driving student retention and success. Aubria is an associate professor and counselor at the Community College of Philadelphia, where she helps students with academic issues explore careers and manage personal concerns. Prior to her time at the college, Aubria worked as an academic counselor in Drexel's Act 101 program, which provides mentorship and academic counseling to first- generation, veteran, and low-income students. Before entering the higher education field, Aubria had an extensive career as a mental-health counselor for youth and families. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, a Master of Science degree from West Chester University, and a doctorate in higher education leadership and innovation from Wilmington University. Her own struggles as a first-generation, low-income student of color with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and a learning disability drives her passion to advocate for equity in higher education for all students.

 

Jaclyn Randall

Jaclyn Randall was born and raised in Southern California in a rural, agricultural community on the Arizona border. After graduating high school, she attended Palo Verde College but took a break to pursue other areas of life. After having her daughter, Jaclyn worked in retail for several years before returning to college as a way to “lead by example” and encourage her child to attend college. Jaclyn graduated from California State University, San Bernardino in 2014 and earned a master’s degree in psychology from Walden University in December 2017. She is currently the director of Student Success & Equity at Palo Verde College. Her immediate focus is to launch the Student Success Lab, the food pantry, the athletic program, and the Puente Project while continuing the work of the PVC Umoja Community and PVC Pirates Basketball Club, all in an effort to increase student success and academic achievement rates. Jaclyn plans to return to higher learning later this year to complete her doctorate by 2021. She is supported and motivated by her husband and two granddaughters.

 

Brenda Refaei

Dr. Brenda Refaei is an associate professor in the Department of English and Communication at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College, where she teaches developmental, first-year, and second-year composition. She was recognized for her commitment to teaching when she was inducted into the University of Cincinnati’s Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning in 2011. Brenda also received the Distinguished Teaching Award from her college in 2018. Her research interests include examining composition pedagogy, ePortfolio pedagogy, and assessment process to better support equity and inclusion initiatives. As a former participant in the Inter/National Coalition of ePortfolio Research, she has been a strong advocate of ePortfolio use at the college and university. As acting honors director of UCBA Honors, Brenda worked to incorporate a focus on equity and inclusion in students’ projects and learning portfolios. She has presented her work at noteworthy conferences, and her writing has been published in College Teaching, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and Basic Writing eJournal.

 

Gabrielle Thompson (1)

Gabrielle Thompson is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services at The State University of New York (SUNY) Jefferson. Gabrielle is a proud SUNY Jefferson alumna who went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, an NYS Teaching Certificate in social studies, and a Master of Science degree in education from the State University of New York College at Potsdam. She spent the early years of her career as a classroom teacher, eventually returning to SUNY Jefferson in 2008 in a professional capacity. Gabrielle is an experienced member of the national TRIO community, having served as a director since 2011. Her work is focused mostly in the areas of retention, persistence, and degree completion for the students who are identified as the most “at risk.” She encourages others to advocate for and retain historically underrepresented students, with the goal of creating equitable outcomes for all. In November 2018, Gabrielle helped spearhead Jefferson’s First-Generation Celebration, which recognized the efforts and achievements of first-generation faculty, staff, and students. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and traveling with her husband and children.

 

DeSandra Washington (1)

Dr. DeSandra Washington is associate vice president for academic support at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC). In this role, she oversees various support areas that tie into student success such as the Paul H. Thompson Library, University Outreach, the Student Learning Center, and the Minority Male Success Initiative. She is the first African-American woman to serve in this role at FTCC. Over the years, DeSandra has also worked at FTCC as an academic counselor, a testing coordinator, a director of counseling services, and as dean of the Spring Lake campus. Her other activities include being an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce. She is also a part of The Links, an international women’s volunteer service organization that is committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and other individuals of African ancestry.

 

Sarah Wolfe

Sarah Wolfe is an energetic, innovative, and committed educator who is dedicated to supporting student learning and development. Her objective is to build transparent and collaborative partnerships that positively influence both her institution and the community. Sarah hopes to serve as a catalyst for transformative experiences for students by creating opportunities for access to, readiness for, and support in higher education. She is currently the director of student engagement at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College. In this capacity, she is committed to helping students connect, engage, learn, and grow in and out of the classroom. She has served in a variety of roles at the college, with responsibilities in new-student orientation, student-leadership programming, career services, and multicultural student affairs. Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and continued her education at Miami University, where she earned a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education. She lives with her husband and two cats in Cincinnati. They enjoy visiting new places, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on their favorite teams at sporting events.

Read Sarah's Voices and Viewpoints blog titled "Equalizing College Readiness, Access, and Success."