Presenter Biographies

Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim
The CEO of the Future Foundation, a non-profit, which empowers Atlanta’s youth, Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim is a status-quo disruptor. The Atlanta native attended the University of California, Berkeley and realized local schools had not prepared her for college. She earned her degree in social work, then a master’s from the University of California San Francisco, before returning to Atlanta to help kids like her. Transforming a small afterschool program into a phenomenon spanning nonprofit, business, and government sectors, Qaadirah quadrupled the Foundation’s revenue while earning an MBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. The results speak for themselves: Future Foundation participants have a 100% high school graduation rate, compared to a 60% average across community high schools.
Website Link: Future Foundation
Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter : @FutureFndation
Linkedin: Future Foundation, Inc.

Joanna Agnlin
Joanna Anglin, Director of Innovative Programs for Rockdale County Public Schools, has worked in education for the past 16 years, serving first as a high school English teacher and then as the gifted coordinator at the district level. She has experience in curriculum and grant writing. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia, where her research focuses on how students use popular culture to make meaning of difficult texts and how teachers can empower students through the creation of hybrid spaces in the classroom.

Brandi Asley
Brandi Ansley is an Office of Special Education (OSEP) doctoral fellow at Georgia State University. Her professional background includes 15+ years as a special educator and mental health practitioner with research specialties in educator wellness, working conditions, and school climate. As part of the CREST-Ed (Collaboration and Resources for Encouraging and Supporting Transformations in Education) project and GSU’s Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management, Brandi has facilitated professional development workshops to more than 500 education professionals in settings ranging from local schools to national conferences.

Nadia Behizadeh
Dr. Nadia Behizadeh is an Assistant Professor of Adolescent Literacy in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia State University. Her research interests include authentic and culturally sustaining writing instruction for youth, problem- and project-based literacy learning, sociocultural writing assessment, validity of writing assessment, and social justice teacher education. Dr. Behizadeh’s current research project examines access to powerful writing pedagogy in urban, public schools, and is funded by the Spencer Foundation and the Conference on English Education (CEE). She has published in a wide range of journals, including Review of Research in Education, Educational Researcher, English Journal, andAssessing Writing, and she serves on multiple editorial boards, including the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and Language Arts. Dr. Behizadeh teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in educational research, teacher education, content literacy, and middle level education. She currently serves as Program Faculty for the BSE in Middle Level Education and PhD in Teaching and Learning programs, and she also coordinates the MEd in Literacy Education program. Her past middle level experience includes teaching English Language Arts, history, and reading; co-developing and running an advisory program; serving on a design team for a small school, and leading school-wide professional development using Critical Friendship Groups.

Grace Belangia
Grace Belangia advocates around the southeast and around the nation for the maker movement as a consultant. A founding member of in Augusta Georgia, Board Member of Southeast Makers Alliance, she also collaborates with other maker spaces sharing best practices on how to start a maker space and the economic development of creating sustainability for spaces that connect communities, inspire ideas and build companies. Challenging those in government, education, philanthropy, technology and business to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, she encourages entrepreneurs with an idea to execute it! She contributes a unique perspective to Augusta, Georgia having grown up in Silicon Valley, a graduate from UCLA, she holds a M.S. degree in Communications and Public Relations. Early stage angel investor and employee in four technology start-ups, including Sumo Robot League, an educational robotics platform. She is also a TEDxAugusta organizer, National Conference Speaker at SXSW, Maker Con San Francisco, Maker Fair New York, Dig South, Geekend, One Spark, Maker Ed Faire Atlanta, The Collective, Main Street America, One Million Cups and Advisor for CSRA Alliance.
Website link: theClubhouse
LinkedIn: Grace Belangia
Twitter : @GraceBelangia

Melanie Blinder
Melanie Blinder was a public-school teacher for 10 years in an elementary setting before she left the classroom to pursue advanced studies in School Psychology. Ms. Blinder is passionate about the art of teaching, fostering engaging and challenging learning environments, and building student-teacher relationships. Currently, Ms. Blinder is a School Psychologist/Ed.S. intern serving in an elementary and high school in Fulton County.

Jarrett Burgess
Jarrett I. Burgess is a 4th-year doctoral student majoring in Kinesiology and Health, with a cognate in Public Health. Since his arrival to Georgia State University, Jarrett has carefully taken the time to locate his niche in the “marriage” of Physical Education and Public Health. Currently, Jarrett is studying student perceptions of health and its effect on physical activity levels of adolescent’s, and how Health and Physical Education can be the resolution. Jarrett is also involved in studies investigating the effectiveness of rubrics in determining the skill level of 8th graders in badminton. Jarrett is projecting Spring/Summer 2019 as his date of completion.

Namisi Chilungu
Namisi Chilungu is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology. Her teaching and research examine issues related to equity in access including: race/ethnicity, bi/multiracial identity and school experiences, and engaging students in empowering experiences (e.g., problem-solution projects). Chilungu is interested in partnerships and community-based work that enhance teacher preparation and students’ learning experiences. In addition, she has extensive experience working on various grants (ranging from university-level to federal grants), and with several education nonprofit organizations (e.g., Somali and American Fund for Education, GA National Association for Multicultural Education). A professional in her field, she has published and contributed to multiple articles and journals in the area of education. In addition, Chilungu is a lifelong musician having played the violin since age five and piano since age six. She is passionate about supporting opportunities in music education for all children and is excited about being a board member for the Kilgore Music Foundation.

Glenda Chisolm
Glenda Chisholm received a B.A. in Elementary Education with a science concentration from Michigan State University and a M.Ed. in Middle Grades Education from the University of West Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Middle and Secondary Education with a concentration in Teaching and Teacher Education from Georgia State University.
Glenda spent nine years teaching in the metropolitan area of Atlanta where she taught both elementary and middle grades school students as well as served as an Early Intervention Program Teacher. Throughout the course of her career she held positions as the Student Support Team Chair and Science Department Chair. Additionally, she mentored many young girls in school-based programs and also served as an advisor for students in the National Junior Beta Club, where her students won several competitions on the state and national level.
Recently, she was named an Asa Hilliard, III and Barbara Sizemore Research Fellow. Currently, Glenda is the Vice President of the Middle and Secondary Education Doctoral Student Council and the Vice President of the Teaching & Teacher Education organization, (TTEDs), and is a founding charter member of WE-ROC (Women Educational Researchers of Color). She also serves as a Project Coordinator at the Urban Child Study Center where she works in partnership with early childhood centers to measure student success. Her professional interests include teacher education, social justice in education, social justice in elementary curriculum and critical pedagogies.

Leroy Chapman Jr.
Leroy Chapman Jr. is Deputy Managing Editor for News at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In that role, he supervises state and local coverage, including the 2017 race for Atlanta’s next mayor. Before joining the AJC, he worked at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. He was an associate editorial page editor at The Greenville, S.C. News from 1999-2005. A Greenville native, he is married to Dawn Ford Chapman. They have three children, including a son who is a freshman at Georgia State University.

Daniella Cordioli
Daniella Cordioli is an international graduate student majoring in International and Intercultural Education at Florida International University. In Brazil, Daniella worked at Juan Uribe Ensino Afetivo as an English teacher, in which she had the opportunity to work closely with Fatima Freire –Paulo Freire’s daughter and pedagogical coordinator. In this position, Daniella acquired strategies in critical and relevant pedagogy and decided to study in the USA to pursue her masters in the field. Currently, Daniella is developing a project that aims to engage teachers and other members of communities (mainly Brazilian favelas) in critical thinking by discussing the context they live and addressing issues they face.

Roy Craft
Roy Craft has had a long and varied career from technical and retail fields to international corporate business to non-profit and higher education. He has simultaneously had strong avocational interests in positive peace, sustainability, education and making. Craft is President of GroupSpace LLC.
During the last ten years in higher education, first at Morehouse College and then at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Craft developed programs in sustainability, vocational discernment, leadership development, and furthering STEM education in Georgia K-12 schools. In recent years he has served as one of the organizers of Maker Faire Atlanta, and annual festival that attracts 30,000 plus people in celebration of innovation, invention and learning. Currently he is working to bring an education program in Inter-Cultural Intelligence to Atlanta and the United States.

Stephenie Behm Cross
Stephanie Behm Cross is an assistant professor in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia State University. Her scholarly work focuses on the clinical preparation of teachers, new teacher induction, and professional learning communities for both in-service and pre-service teachers. Using case study and narrative inquiry, Stephanie investigates teachers’ experiences throughout student teaching and the first years of teaching in urban settings. Her most recent research, funded through multi-year federal grant, investigates the impact of a 3-year residency model on both new and veteran teachers in area Atlanta schools. Stephanie has a secondary interest in issues of autonomy and agency in mathematics teachers’ curricular decision-making. She has published this and other work in several teacher education research journals and books. At GSU, Stephanie teaches undergraduate courses focused on middle level curriculum and mathematics pedagogy, and also teaches doctoral seminars in teacher education and mathematics education. She previously worked as a middle grades mathematics teacher and implemented project-based, integrated curriculum across multiple grades at her school. Stephanie lives in Brookhaven, GA with her husband and two young girls. In her spare time she enjoys yoga and neighborhood happy hours!

Malena Cunnigham
Malena Cunningham Anderson is an Emmy-Award winning former television news anchor and reporter who spent 23 years in the news business. For 12 years, she worked as an anchor for WVTM-TV in Birmingham. In 2017, she re-invented her career as a documentary filmmaker when she founded Newslady Productions. Malena’s documentary, “Little Music Manchild: The Malik Kofi Story,” was a winner in this year’s Bronze Lens Film Festival in Atlanta. Malena is a South Carolina native and a graduate of the University of Georgia. She is a lifetime member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Kristen Daniel
Kristen Daniel is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pentorship, a social enterprise that designs soft skills content for agencies and organizations preparing returning citizens and similar populations for the 21st-century workplace. Kristen is a graduate of Florida A&M University (B.S. – Business Administration: 2005) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (MBA: 2013). Her cross-disciplinary background includes enterprise sales and operations, K12 ESL instruction, and correctional education. Kristen was invited to the White House in 2016 to share her expertise in entrepreneurship education for the formerly incarcerated. She is the 2017 recipient of the Federal Bureau of Prison Volunteer of the Year award at US Penitentiary Atlanta. Daniel is a graduate of the 2016 Launchpad 2X class. She is in the 2017 Women’s Fellowship cohort at Center for Civic Innovation. Kristen is passionate about using technology and content design to create more inclusive learning environments for returning citizens and adult learners at risk of being left behind by the dynamics of the fourth industrial revolution.

Regan Durkin
Regan Durkin believes the entrepreneurial mindset is key to making education relevant and meaningful. As Assistant Director of the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center, Regan hosts entrepreneurial mindset retreats, leads Atlanta’s first student women entrepreneurs fellowship, EC Angels, and designs programming to accelerate students’ transformation into entrepreneurs. To scale this entrepreneurial impact, Regan partners with primary through post-secondary educators from all subject areas around the world to craft classroom experiences and programs that change students into entrepreneurs. She refuses for students, business owners or educators to settle. Her other entrepreneurial endeavors have included businesses in different spaces like aquaponics, curriculum development and digital marketing. Regan received her BBA in Digital Marketing from the University of Georgia.

Shaneeka Favors-Welch
Shaneeka Favors-Welch is a native of Atlanta and has received a B.S in Mathematics from Southern Polytechnic University and a M.A.T in Mathematics from Clayton State University. She is a fourth- year doctoral student in Georgia State University’s College of Education with a concentration in Teaching and Teacher Education. In 2008 she founded a non-profit, G.R.O.W.E (Giving Resources and Opportunities to Women through Education), dedicated to advancing women in STEM fields. She spent her first year as a doctoral student in China teaching high school mathematics and physics courses. Her particular areas of interests are cultural asset pedagogies, decolonization theories, and critical quantitative methods. She hopes to engage educators and other stakeholders in culturally responsive practices.

Brittany Gil
Brittany Gil is a Graduate Student majoring in International/Intercultural Education at the Florida International University and has developed an interest in education policy. Having graduated with a Women & Gender Studies degree from the University of Central Florida, Brittany developed a passion for social issues focused on the oppression of black and brown people.
Today, Brittany works as teacher’s assistant in Miami-Dade Public School and continues to develop a passion for finding a solution to the inequitable issues in the public-school system. Brittany continues serving her community through grassroots efforts and stands in solidarity with black and brown people all over the country in their efforts to implement change.

Indira Gil
I am currently working on a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in STEM with a concentration in mathematics at Florida International University. As a middle and high public school mathematics teacher, I became aware of a disconnect between how students learn and how they are taught. The more teachers and students I became acquainted with, the more I realized that my passion went further than the k-12 classroom; I wanted to use the skills I had acquired to assist in preparing pre-service teachers for their careers. Moreover, to prepare myself for such an immense task, I craved to further my learning of mathematics education.
My career objectives are to create a curriculum targeting issues of equity in the mathematics classroom and to continue developing my own understanding of the systematic structures in place that prevent particular groups of people from succeeding academically. I am especially interesting in how power is distributed and the implications this has on the beliefs students and teachers hold about who can be a mathematician. My interests also extend to issues of gender and race disparities that continue to hinder the achievements of females and people of color.

Alvin Glymph
Alvin Glymph works in the DeKalb County School District Office of Research, Assessment, and Grants. He is also the founder of Glymph and Associates, LLC and co-author of the novel, Tourist in Your Own Town.
After earning a Bachelors of Arts in Religion from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, Alvin earned his master’s in educational research from Emory University in Atlanta. He has spent most of his life using those skills to improve conditions for underserved people across the nation. In acknowledgement of his record of meritorious service, he has received the Maroon Citation from Colgate and the Atlanta Partners for Education A+ Partnership Award by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
He is a staunch believer that all students need the opportunity to be educated so they can have realistic options to be productive citizens. He is an advocate that people living with challenges, need help and a community that supports them. He serves as the board chair for the Brighter DeKalb Foundation, a foundation that supports the services provided by the DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB).
He makes his home in Georgia, with his wife, and two kids.

Tiffany Green-Abdullah
Tiffany Green-Abdullah, M.Ed, PMP is a visionary leader in education and a thought leader in innovation in education, technology, design education as well as community development. She was the first recipient of the Masters of Education in Education and Technology from Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University. Tiffany is now the Manager of Learning Community Development at Georgia State University within the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Tiffany is the Board Chair and Co-Founder of The Community Academy for Architecture and Design aka TCAAD (t-cad), a developing charter opening in Fall 2019. Tiffany has a strong efficacy in technology and developing culturally responsive learning programs leading to S.T.E.A.M career pathways. Tiffany is advisor to PantherHackers, a student organization she assisted students in creating to develop a culture of coding and technology design innovation at GSU. She began the Teaching for Social Justice and Democracy program at CETL and wrote the winning grant, Social Justice and Student Success. She lives in Stone Mountain with her 3 children and her husband Tariq Abdullah, an architect and social entrepreneur. If Tiffany could do anything else she would be acting, writing and producing television shows and movies.
Instagram : @Mactificent
Twitter : @TiffanyGreenAbd

Wanda L. Gross
Grant and Program Administrator of the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative
Wanda L. Gross is an accomplished professional with a combined 30+ years of experience in business ownership; corporate management; commercial, government and nonprofit proposal/grant writing; organizational gap analysis; strategic solutions development and implementation; account management; training; and managing projects and people to achieve growth objectives and sustainability.
Ms. Gross currently serves as the Grant and Program Administrator of the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative – a statewide program whose mission is to increase the enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of Black males from the USG’s public colleges and universities.
She is a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), alumni of Kennesaw State University’s Excel Leadership program and the SBA’s Premier Development Program for Women-Owned Businesses; and a recipient of the National Association of Professional Women 2012/2013 Woman of the Year Award.
A graduate of Eastern Michigan University (EMU), Ms. Gross is the co-founder of the EMU Black Alumni Association. She is also the founder of the 26-year old Zion/Richard B. Gross Scholarship at Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Roswell, GA.
Ms. Gross is a member of the Associations of Certified Nonprofit Professionals, Grant Professionals Association, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has also served on several boards of directors.

Jacob Daniel Hackett
Jacob Hackett is a clinical assistant professor and program coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Education program within the Departmetn of Middle & Secondary Education here at Georgia State. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, in June 2016. While in Seattle, Jacob was a course instructor and field placement supervisor for both the Seattle Teacher Residency (STR) as well as the traditional Master of Education in elementary education and Master of Education in special education teacher preparation programs.

Jacob was a special educator for the Atlanta Public Schools district (2006-2011) before departing for Seattle, and a cornerstone to his teacher preparation philosophy is integrating strong, active community and family partnerships. Other interests of his include socially just urban teacher preparation, Design-Based Research (DBR), culturally responsive school wide positive behavior interventions and supports (SWPBIS), Disability Studies, inclusion, and social emotional instruction including restorative justice and outdoor education.

Tanya Hyman
Tanya Hyman is a founder of MakEdu ( – Making in Education. She is also President of the Southeast Makers Alliance, producers of Maker Faire Atlanta. She is a graduate of Georgia Tech (BS Management, MS History and Sociology of Technology and Science) and teaches high school science at Cartersville High School. Tanya has spoken at numerous conferences about the Maker Movement in Education and is a champion of celebrating “Making” in communities, schools and businesses.

Cheryl Jamison
Cheryl Jamison serves as an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an interrelated teacher in the Atlanta Public School community. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University, a Master of Education in Special Education from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spelman College. Her research interests include secondary girls’ education, culturally responsive teaching, and theories of resistance and survival among minority communities which she explores through African American and women’s literatures.
Additionally, Dr. Jamison is a member of several professional organizations. She is a member of National Council for Teachers of English, the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates, Council on Exceptional Children, Georgia Educational Researchers Association, and the Georgia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.
Dr. Jamison is particularly passionate about educating and developing successful young women. She believes in mentorship. She has received several awards and acknowledgements for her mentoring work with secondary and post-secondary students over the years.

Joyce E. King
Joyce E. King holds the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership at GSU. She received the Ph.D. in the Sociology of Education and a BA Degree in Sociology from Stanford University. She has served as Provost at Spelman College, Associate Provost, Medgar Evers College (CUNY), Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Diversity Programs at the University of New Orleans, Director of Teacher Education at Santa Clara University and Head of the Department of Ethnic Studies at Mills College. Her concept of “dysconscious racism” continues to influence education research and practice and the sociology of race. She holds affiliated faculty status in the GSU Department of African American Studies, the Women’s and Gender Studies Institute and the Partnership for Urban Health Research. She is leading a Comparative Urban Partnership grant with faculty in South Africa and Brazil and she is co-Principal Investigator of GSU’s Collaborative Opportunity Grant funded by the Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU).Dr. King was the 2014-2015 President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She is president of the Board of Directors of the Food and Development Policy Institute ( and she is a member of the National African American Reparations Commission.

Lonnie King
Lonnie King is a veteran of the civil rights movement. In 1960-61, he was one of the leaders of the Atlanta Student Movement, which after a series of sit-ins and a successful economic boycott, helped desegregate businesses in downtown Atlanta. A graduate of Morehouse College, King is a retired history teacher who lives in Atlanta. He remains active in voter
education and registration efforts. King is a veteran of the United States Navy. He is one 13 activists profiled in the 2017 book “Somewhere Listening for my Name: 1960s Activists tell their Stories.”

Ana Laboy
Ana LaBoy was born and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta. Graduating from Georgia State University with a degree in Political Science, she continued on to graduate school at Georgia State University in the Sociology department, earning her masters in Fall 2017. As a graduate student, she is interested in both Social Movement Theory, LGBT Health Issues and Disparities, homelessness, and resilience. She is an advocate of a strength based approach to sociological research. She worked as a graduate student on the Atlanta Youth Count and Needs Assessment 2015, and is now working as the Project Manager on the Atlanta Youth Count 2018. Her long term goals include using academic research to enact policy change locally.

Lew Lefton
Dr. Lew Lefton is a faculty member in the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics and the Assistant Dean of Information Technology for the Georgia Tech College of Sciences. He also has the role of Assistant Vice President for Research Cyberinfrastructure.Lefton co-founded and is the acting executive director of Decatur Makers, a family-friendly makerspace in downtown Decatur. He is on the board of the Southeast Makers Alliance and has been involved as a co-producer of Maker Faire Atlanta since 2014.Lefton has a bachelor of science degree in math and computer science from New Mexico Tech, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois. He moved to Decatur in 1999. Lefton is also an accomplished and experienced comedian who has done stand up and improv comedy for more than 30 years.

Candice Little
Candice Little has 31 years of combined experience in science education and biomedical research and technology. She attended undergraduate school at Tougaloo College, Mississippi’s University for Women, and the University of DC; pre-medical summer enrichment programs at Fisk University and Meharry Medical College and graduate programs at Mississippi State University, University of South Florida, Valdosta State University, and Georgia State University. She has a BS and a Master’s degree in Biology, and a Master’s degree in Middle Grades Math and Science Education. She served as a medical laboratory specialist for 6 years in the US Army Reserves and has worked as an electron microscope technician and a histotechnologist at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, MO and at the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Atlanta, GA. Mrs. Little taught high school science in DC, MS, FL and here in the DeKalb County School District prior to becoming an instructional support specialist. She is currently completing the dissertation requirements for her doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from Valdosta State University. Research and teaching have been a dominant force throughout her career. She enjoys using both skills together to enhance the lives of her students, coworkers and herself.

Maria K. Lovett
Dr. Maria K. Lovett is a Clinical Assistant Professor teaching social foundations and urban education at the undergraduate and graduate levels in FIU’s School of Education and Human Development. She is a community-based educator and researcher, and has taught youth media production and arts-based community action projects in cities across the United States and Montreal, Canada. Maria’s past work includes a multi-modal examination of the repercussions of Hurricane Katrina though the narrative of one 84-year-old man’s struggle to rebuild his home in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
Since coming to FIU in 2008, Maria has been working with students from the Algebra Project and the Young People’s Project to advance multiple literacy skills and promote community action. She spent four years as the director and faculty liaison of The Education Effect, FIU’s first university community school partnership in Liberty City. Maria’s scholarly research and teaching continues to look for practical realizations of pedagogical theories committed to social change. Employing backgrounds as a documentary filmmaker and educator she uses a methodology she calls Video Action Research and Pedagogy to connect documentary production, visual ethnography and critical pedagogical praxis to explore interdisciplinary ways of knowing and producing knowledge.

Ryan Maltese
Dr. Ryan Maltese began his career as an attorney. He holds a law degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law and has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 1999. Later, Dr. Maltese transitioned his professional career to higher education administration.   Dr. Maltese has taught a variety of undergraduate courses in Political Science, Education and Life Skills. He holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict and Peace Studies from UNC Greensboro and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University. His research explores access to postsecondary education for undocumented and DACA students in the state of Georgia. He currently serves as University Innovation Alliance Fellow and Project Director in the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success at Georgia State University. He manages a variety of projects focusing on student success programs, including College-to-Career initiatives, financial management, and student support and progression through AI-enhanced technologies.

Laura Meyers
Laura believes creative and innovative endeavors are a lot like sunshine and rain puddles – simultaneously beautiful, messy, and full of opportunities – if we’re willing to have to take a risk and try something new. As a creative scholar, Laura writes, directs, casts for, acts in, and produces independent films as well as craft scripts, design sets, directs, and acts in local theatre productions. Also, Laura created Tiles for Social Justice, a visual-arts based approach for experiencing critical issues with young people. She serves on an edational advisory board at the Alliance Theatre of the Woodruff Arts Center, and is a reviewer for an annual children’s book award sponsored by the Children’s Book Council. When she’s not professing or working on set, you’ll find Laura shrimping when her nephew along the coast, or hiking with her furry sidekick, Canyon.

Ewa McGrail
Ewa McGrail, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Georgia State University.
In her research, Dr. McGrail examines digital writing and new media composition; copyright and media literacy; technology in teaching and learning, and multimodal assessment. She is also an ardent supporter of students and educators from outgroups or who are otherwise not in the mainstream.
Dr. McGrail is the winner (with Anne Davis) of the Journal of Research in Childhood Education Distinguished Education Research Article Award, the GATE Distinguished Research Award (with J. P. McGrail) and the recipient of the National Leadership Fellowship Award Program from the Conference on English Education (CEE), National Council of Teachers of English, and the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). Her recent publication (with Anne Davis) is a book on online digital dialogic writing with an authentic audience and how it can transform the elementary classroom. She is a co-founder of a multi-disciplinary international multimodal online journal, Ubiquity: The Journal of Literature, Literacy and the Arts that publishes thought-provoking research, analyses of practice and creative work from urban, rural and international perspectives and contexts.

Sherell McArthur
Sherell A. McArthur is an Assistant Professor in the department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include Black girls and identity, media literacy development of children and youth, parents’ media literacy, popular culture as an educative site, and Social Justice Education. Her research agenda focuses on the intersectionality of gender, race, and class and popular culture engagement in the lives of girls of color in and out of school settings, and the role of both parents and teachers in their identity construction and academic successes. She facilitates this through Beyond Your Perception, an afterschool media literacy collective for girls of color.

Natasha McClendon
Natasha McClendon is a second year doctoral student in the Educational Policy Studies, Social Foundations program in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State. Before coming to Georgia State University, she worked in community-led, research-based initiatives using Participatory Action Research to enact change in the areas of education and poverty. As a student at Georgia State University, Natasha has served in the roles of Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant as well as a Field Research Assistant for the Education Development Center based in Boston. As a researcher, Natasha is committed to community engaged research, educational equity and social justice with a specific interest in policies within Higher Education.

Gholnecsar “Gholdy” Muhammad
Gholnecsar “Gholdy” Muhammad began her career as a reading, language arts, and history middle school teacher. After teaching in the classroom, she served as a school district curriculum supervisor and was responsible for K-12 literacy instruction, assessments, and professional development. Dr. Muhammad received her PhD in Literacy, Language and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests are situated in the social and historical foundations of literacy development among African Americans and writing representations among Black adolescent girls. She explores literacy groups to understand how writing pedagogy and the roles of writing can be advanced and reconceptualized in secondary classrooms. She became interested in this line of research when she led a summer writing institute with Black girls (Black Girls Write!) and examined literacies from nineteenth century literary societies. She continues to explore how historical practices can be used with students today. Some of the journals she has published articles in include, Research in the Teaching of English, Urban Education and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and Written Communication.
Dr. Muhammad is an assistant professor at Georgia State University teaching literacy and language in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education. Additionally, she serves as the executive director of the Urban Literacy Collaborative and Clinic. She strives to shape the national conversation for educating youth who have been historically underserved and support the next generation of university students who are seeking practical and intellectual pathways to meet some of the most pressing challenges encountered in urban schools. Concurrently, she works with teachers and youth across the United States in best practices in literacy instruction. Dr. Muhammad is the 2014 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English, Promising New Researcher Award and more recently the 2016 NCTE CEE Janet Emig awardee.

Yohannce F. Murray
Dr. Yohance F. Murray is an Assistant Professor at Morehouse College in the Department of Psychology where he teaches a variety of psychology courses. He earned his BA in Psychology from Morehouse and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Murray has worked in a variety of clinical settings including counseling centers and the VA hospital. He has experience treating adults with psychological disorders in individual, group, and couples counseling.

Nicole Pourchier
Nicole is constantly searching for new and different experiences that push her understandings about communication, learning, and creativity. Easily bored by the comfortable and mundane, she has worked in a variety of environments: K-12 education, higher education, and is currently dabbling in entrepreneurial project. Her research interests in post-process writing and communication theories inform how she thinks about creative educational children’s products and teaching parents how to use creative play to learn with their kids. When she’s not working, you’ll find her fiddling with new technologies, making stuff, blogging, or embarrassing her two kids.

Kim R. Ramsey-White
Dr. Kim R. Ramsey-White has been at Georgia State University for 19 years and currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Education in Public Health. In her role as director of the undergraduate program she has primary oversight for the development and day to day operations of the newest degree program at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health. She is extremely excited to be in a position that will educate and train public health professionals to confront and reduce public health issues, including health disparities, in our country and abroad. She also continues to champion diversity and inclusion programming and planning in institutions of higher education. She is also a proud alumnus of Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development.
Dr. Ramsey-White is a strong advocate for out of class experiential opportunities for students. Since 2014 she has used an instructional strategy known as “Connected Learning” to introduce her students to public health and more specifically, health disparities. She and her colleagues will discuss how introducing students to hands on, connected learning opportunities has increased student engagement and facilitated the discovery of the students own truth in understanding many of the social issues facing the country today.
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Valora Richardson
Valora M. Richardson, Ph.D. is the Manager of Faculty Development and Support and adjunct faculty in Educational policy studies at Georgia State University. She has an extensive career in supporting higher education faculty in the adoption and implementation of technology for instructional use. In addition, her research interests include educational game and virtual environment development to support heritage knowledge acquisition. As an educator and technology leader, Dr. Richardson is an advisor, collaborator, and problem solver. She has a track record of recognizing unique needs and teaching/consulting accordingly to maximize the full potential of faculty, staff and students. Before working at Georgia State, she was employed as an Educational Technologist at Fernbank Science Center. At Fernbank she was responsible for leading and facilitating the development of the third grade curriculum for the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) and SpaceStation Fernbank (NASA funded programs). Dr. Richardson holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University and a Master’s in Technical Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University. She is married to Peter Richardson and they have two daughters – Anaia and Alaina.

Christy Robinson
Christy has taught in both the private and public sector for over 25 years. Her appreciation for STEAM2 Education (M2 includes Maker education) was developed while in the Hampton Virginia district through affiliation with various NASA and other technology-based programs in the Tidewater area.
Christy relocated to Atlanta in 1998. She currently serves as the Director of Extended Day and Summer Learning at The Children’s School (TCS), an independent school for children ages 3 years through the eighth grade in the heart of Midtown. When asked to create a partnership between TCS and Maker Faire, she joined the movement in 2014 and created the Innovator’s Playground, the area for the youngest Makers.
Christy serves as part of the leadership team for MakEdu, the educational component of the Southeastern Makers Alliance and its Board of Directors. She also sits on Atlanta Technical College’s Foundation Board. Through her various educational, business and community relationships, she desires to connect all entities collaboratively resulting in co-branding learning opportunities for all in the greater Atlanta area. “We are all Makers and it is my quest to make sure that everyone has access to the tools necessary to produce what their hearts desire to Make.”

Julia Rugg
Julia is the Chief Strategy Officer at WINGS for kids, a nonprofit organization focused on developing social and emotional (SE) skills in at-risk elementary school age youth through direct service afterschool programming and partnerships with in-school and out-of-school time providers. She has launched WINGS’ expansion efforts across the southeast, ensured the WINGS model has been replicated with fidelity and quality through internal and external evaluations, evaluates future growth opportunities, develops partner relationships, and leads efforts to drive the SEL field forward. She has been a presenter at the National Afterschool Association Convention SEL Convening, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Conference, Effective Learners Convening (hosted by Bridgespan, CASEL, and Character Lab), and has contributed to SEL conversations locally in Charleston, SC. She was a National Afterschool Matters Fellow with NIOST at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
FB: WINGS for kids
Twitter: @wingsforkids
Instagram: @wingsforkids

Gerson Sanchez
Gerson Sanchez is a second year doctoral student in the Higher Education program at Florida International University based in Miami, Florida. His research focus centers around the creation, manifestation, and perpetuation of oppressive structures within colleges and universities. At the culmination of his degree, he hopes to attain a professorial position.
Instagram: @WokeWednesdays

Caroline Sullivan
Caroline C. Sullivan is a clinical associate professor in the College of Education & Human Development’s Department of Middle and Secondary Education at GSU. She currently serves as director of Initial Teacher Preparation and the Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. These appointments demand both that the knowledge and practices of social justice are active in our curriculum and that we use research based decision-making to support innovative curriculum and teaching. Her teaching and research agenda demonstrates an abiding interest in the socioconstructionist paradigm in contemporary classrooms and the intersections between critical socioconstructivism and social studies, middle level and teacher education. As a clinical associate professor, she engages in teaching and research that addresses the crux of theory and practice. She advocates for student success by designing and supporting equitable and rigorous learning environments both in the metro Atlanta area and internationally in South Africa, Denmark and other countries.

Clarice Thomas
Clarice Thomas is a doctoral candidate in the Teaching and Teacher Education program at Georgia State University. Her research interests include narrative research of experiences within the school-to-prison nexus, equitable education for African American students, pre-service teacher preparation in urban education, and qualitative research methodology. Clarice is a former alternative education instructor and secondary history teacher.

Gertrude Tinker Sachs
Gertrude Tinker Sachs is chair of the Department of Middle and Secondary Education in Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development. She is an associate professor of ESOL, language and literacy. As a critical teacher educator professor, Tinker Sachs’ research focuses on inquiry-oriented local and international teacher professional development through transformative, culturally-responsive literacy pedagogies in English as a first or additional language in low-income communities.

Stephen D. Truscott
Dr. Stephen Truscott is Professor and Coordinator of the School Psychology Ph.D. at Georgia State University. He practiced in New York State before completing his Psy.D. at the University at Albany, and was a faculty member at the University at Buffalo, SUNY and Alfred University before coming to GSU in 2005.
Dr. Truscott’s research interests include applied research about school-based consultation and professional issues in professional school psychology such as diversity of the workforce. He is past Editor of the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. His work was recognized as the 2004 Article of the Year for APA Division 16/ School Psychology Quarterly (financial conflicts of interest), and as a finalist for 2012 Article of the Year for the Journal of School Psychology (why African-American students leave school psychology programs). In 2005, he was identified as one of the top 50 school psychology research contributors and in 2013, Dr. Truscott was recognized as one of 54 “Leading Researchers” in school psychology by McIntosh et al. (2013). He is a member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology. Steve has provided consultation and program review services to 24 school districts and is the Principal Investigator for the GSU Multi-Level Interventions for Non-Responding Students (GSU-MINRS). His and his students have been awarded $1,900,000.000 in Federal, State, Local, and Foundation support.

Angela Tuck
Angela Tuck is an award-winning journalist and co-author of a new book, “Somewhere Listening for my Name: 1960s activists tell their Stories” (Pembroke Productions, 2017). Angela spent 26 years as a writer and editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tuck has written extensively about the 1961 Freedom Riders and other civil rights activists. In 2013, she profiled the family of Denise McNair, one of four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. During her time at the AJC, she worked as a reporter, editor, newsroom recruiter, trainer and public editor. As public editor, she wrote a weekly column that shed light on the newspaper’s coverage decisions. Angela has worked as a reporter at the Lexington, KY Herald-Leader and the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, FL and was a deputy metro editor at the Detroit Free Press. In her current job, she serves as senior engagement editor for The Greenville, S.C. News.

Kris Varjas
Kris Varjas is a Professor in School Psychology and the director of The Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management at Georgia State University. Dr. Varjas’s primary areas of interest include a wide variety of issues: bullying, school safety and school climate, and mental health prevention and intervention.

Joan T. Wynne
Joan T. Wynne, Ph.D. is a former high school teacher, and Associate Director of two Urban Centers, one in Atlanta, Ga. and one in Miami at Florida International University, where she was a professor in Educational Leadership. She co-designed and directed an Urban Teacher Leadership Master’s Program at Georgia State University; was a leadership and diversity consultant for public schools in Atlanta and in Fulton County, GA. and for corporations and foundations. Taught at Morehouse College, designed and directed The Benjamin E. Mays Scholars Program.
Research interests include the instruction of urban children; racism’s impact in schools; and grassroots leadership, especially that of Bob Moses and the Algebra Project. Has published research studies in multiple professional journals and books.
In 2000, she received the “Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award” for work in diversity, and in 2015 received an Urban Affairs Association UAA-SAGE Marilyn Gittell Activist Scholar Award. Her recent co-authored texts include: Who speaks for Justice: Raising our voices in the noise of hegemony; Confessions of a white educator: Stories in search of justice and diversity; Quality education as a Constitutional right.
The work of Lisa Delpit, Asa G. Hilliard, III, Bob Moses and her brilliant students, living on the fringes of society, have inspired her writing and research. All those lives, her daughter, Catharine, and her great big southern family have taught her how little she knows, and more importantly, how to be joyful in the midst of a painful world. Wynne is a retired professor now and a writer/educator with the Miami Algebra Project Council.

Milton Walker
Milton is a 21 year old veteran of Intel Corporation where he held a number of technical and sales roles. He spent much of his career working on engineering Intel products into many customer solutions and solving various technical problems along the way.
He’s currently a board member of the Southeast Makers Alliance which produces Maker Faire Atlanta and is a passionate advocate for Making and innovation in Atlanta.
Some of his hobbies are: Robotics, Snowboarding, Astrophotography, and Mountain Biking.

Rhina Fernandes Williams
Rhina Fernandes Williams is a Clinical Associate Professor in the College of Education and Human Development’ s Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University. Her work centers around critical pedagogy and social justice education and is grounded in the belief in the power of critically conscious educators as agents of empowerment and change. Her work extends into schools and the community through professional development in community building and critical and culturally responsive pedagogy. In addition to teaching various graduate and undergraduate foundational courses on the social, cultural and political context of teaching and learning, she is co-Program Coordinator for the Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction degree program at Georgia State University. Dr. Rhina Williams is an affiliate faculty in the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence where she connects and collaborates with other students and faculty committed to providing all children with access to a high quality education. Her work extends into schools and the community through professional development in community building and critical and culturally responsive pedagogy. Her scholarship includes critical urban education, equity and culturally responsive pedagogy, and recent immigrant and refugee education.

Joycelyn Wilson
Dr. Joycelyn Wilson is a cultural studies and digital media scholar on faculty in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication in the Ivan Allen College at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was also its 2016-2017 Fellow in the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC). Prior to Georgia Tech, she held a faculty position in the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech, affiliate faculty status in its Africana Studies Program and Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). She is also an alumni fellow of the Harvard Hiphop Archive, and the Founding Co-Chair of the Hip Hop Theories, Pedagogies, and Praxis Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Harold (Bob) Wise
Bob received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from West Chester University and his MBA in International Business from Kennesaw State University. He served for over 30 years in the Navy Reserve and retired as a Navy Captain where he held several leadership positions including Commanding Officer of three Navy Reserve units. He attended the Naval War College, the Armed Forces Staff College, completed the Reserve Components National Security Course and served as a member of the Secretary of the Navy’s National Naval Reserve Policy Board. He is the past National President of the National Naval Officers Association, the past National Vice President of the Association of the United States Navy, and currently is a member of the board of directors and Treasurer for the Atlanta Council – Navy League of the United States.
Bob worked at IBM for almost twenty years in marketing, sales training, and management assignments before joining Emerson Electric’s Computer Power Division as the Regional Sales Director. From there, he joined Equifax, Inc. where he worked for sixteen years as Director of Sales Training, Director of Data Security, Director of Systems Services and Director of Fulfillment Services. In August of 2007, Bob joined Kennesaw State University as the Director of Development for the College of Science and Mathematics. From there he took the position of Assistant Project Director for the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative (AAMI).
AAMI Website is www.usg@edu/aami

Eric Wright
Eric R. Wright is a 2nd Century Initiative (2CI) Professor of Sociology and Public Health and Chair of the Sociology Department at Georgia State University. He holds a BA in sociology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and an MA and PhD in sociology from Indiana University Bloomington. As a medical sociologist, his research interests center on social and public policy responses to mental health and illness, substance use and addictions, sexual health, and HIV/STI prevention. In addition, Dr. Wright is actively involved in conducting research to understand and ameliorate health problems and disparities in minority and other vulnerable communities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (LGBTQ). He has extensive experience in working with community organizations as well as local and state government to better understand community health needs and improve the effectiveness of health- and healthcare- related programs and policies. He is or has been the Principal or Co-Principal Investigator of numerous externally federally and state-funded research and evaluation projects and has published many policy briefs, technical reports, and peer-reviewed scientific papers which have appeared in medical sociology as well as interdisciplinary health, psychiatric, and health policy journals. Professor Wright also is an award winning teacher and deeply committed to involving students in research and service learning projects to make learning more relevant and to build stronger bridges between the academy and the community. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia State University, Dr. Wright was a Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management and Director of the Center for Health Policy in the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Lindsay Wyczalkowski
Lindsay Wyczalkowski began her career in education, after receiving a M.Ed. from Georgia State University in Urban Education. In her tenure as a teacher, she developed programming and presented nationally on topics including environmental education, project-based service learning, and student empowerment. In 2015, Lindsay joined the Atlanta Public Schools Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Department, working to develop and implement the APS SEL initiative. As an SEL Coordinator, Lindsay advises and coordinates programming for elementary schools across the district. In addition to her role in APS, Lindsay is an educational consultant, published author, and lifelong learner, currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. When she is not working or studying, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
Twitter @atlhummingbird
Website on Social and Emotional Learning:

Laura Zamudio
Laura Zamudio is a doctoral student majoring in Curriculum and Instruction- Mathematics Education at Florida International University. Laura is focused on critically examining the role that mathematics plays in students’ lives and what resistance looks like in the mathematics classroom for students and educators. Currently, Laura is teaching a course centered around content and methods of teaching elementary mathematics. In this course, preservice teachers collaborate to gain greater mathematical understanding as we focus on teaching through problem solving, which places great emphasis on equity, critical reflection, communication, representations, connections, and reasoning in the classroom