Join us for a conversation with higher education innovators who are actively driving strategies to engage more diverse learners on STEM pathways.
We'll explore examples of radical collaborations that are creating more equitable opportunities in STEM, encouraging institutions to rethink standard practices and empowering students to reimagine their futures.
Bring your vision and questions, as we plant seeds of possibility to germinate this summer.
MODERATOR AND PANELISTS
Board Member, The NROC Project, and Chief Officer for Equity in Learning, Riiid Labs
Jim is a connector, catalyst, and visionary striving to promote college readiness, access, and completion while advancing social mobility, equity, and justice. As a first-generation college grad, educator, and practitioner, he believes that schools and colleges need to adapt to better serve all students, develop talent rather than sort students, and leverage both technology and people time / relationships to help people unlock their potential. In a career spanning college administration, foundation program management, and as an equity officer, Jim actively seeks collaborators and partners who share those interests and commitments.
Michael Torrence, Ph.D.
President, Motlow State Community College (TN)
Dr. Michael Torrence leads Motlow State Community College, one of Tennessee’s top-performing post-secondary institutions. He encourages all communities to ‘lean into the college’ so that all can go and grow together. Purposefully and passionately, he models the strength, beauty, and value of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Dr. Torrence’s higher education career spans more than 30 years and represents a demonstrated love for the teaching and learning community; working both as faculty and as an administrator across Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. His exemplary leadership has garnered him recognition and awards including recent honors: Phi Theta Kappa Paragon Award for New Presidents and GlobalMindED Inclusive Leader of the Year Award in Higher Education. Dr. Torrence earned a Ph.D. in Exceptional Learning from Tennessee Technological University and an M.A. and B.A. in English from South Dakota State University.
Dean of Math and Science, Central Piedmont Community College (NC)
Across a career as both an instructor and an administrator in community colleges, Bruce has shown a commitment to transformative teaching and learning, and a passion for enhancing student success. Bruce has managed the development and execution of college and career readiness efforts, led the design, implementation, and assessment of scholarly, diverse, and learning-centered curriculum, and developed strong partnerships within the local, regional, and national educational ecosystem. He has served as Co-Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation (LSAMP)-funded project aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented minorities that complete high-quality degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines (the NC STEM Alliance).
Bruce holds a bachelor’s in mathematics from Central State University, a master’s in applied mathematics from Virginia Tech, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education administration at Liberty University. He is a 2022 ELI Fellow at Clark Atlanta University.
Jessica Rowland Williams, Ph.D.
Director, Every Learner Everywhere
Through her personal and educational experiences, Jessica developed a passion for improving student outcomes among underrepresented, minoritized, and poverty-affected students. Jessica has devoted her career to expanding access, increasing graduation rates, and promoting student success among students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. In her current role, she provides leadership and vision for a network of organizations with a mission to help institutions use new technology to innovate teaching and learning and to better serve Black, Latinx, Indigenous, poverty-affected, and first-generation students.
Jessica earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Institutional Programs, UNCF
Ed has dedicated his career to racial-justice equity, ensuring those with the most challenging educational journeys receive the support, encouragement, and engagement needed to achieve their dreams. Since joining UNCF six years ago, after serving as a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ed has played a pivotal role in securing more than $50 million in funding for institutional transformation.
Ed leads the Institute for Capacity Building where he designed and developed the Career Pathways Initiative to engage institutions in transformative practices to scale student-centered strategies and ensure graduates realize the promise of higher education. Ed is a proud, first-generation graduate of Morehouse College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in economics, Ed also earned a Master’s in Education from the Harvard GSE.