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Presenter Bios

Carolyn Aspinwall has a Masters Degree in Counseling and is a Certified Vocational Evaluator. Carolyn has 25 years experience working with students and adults with disabilities and is presently the Director of Special Programs at the East Bay Educational Collaborative in Rhode Island. She is also the Coordinator of the East Bay Regional Transition Center that provides information, resources and professional development for Special Educators in eight public school systems. During her 14 years working at the Collaborative, she has written and developed several grant programs including vocational evaluation, assistive technology, vocational services and the Transition Academy at Roger Williams University.

Erin Blatz grew up in Brewster on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in education. Erin is interested in cultural anthropology and social aspects of public education in the United States. She is also interested in the experiences of Spanish-speaking individuals in United States public education. This fall she begins an M.Ed. at UMass Amherst. Erin also enjoys traveling, especially within Latin America and is considering the possibility of teaching English abroad.

Janice Bonanno serves as Dean of Student Affairs at Bunker Hill Community College. She regularly conducts assessments of student services to improve her institution’s support of students. She has presented on assessment and other topics in her field including orientation, retention, and partnerships. Dean Bonanno also served on the Task Force that developed the “Engaged Campus” project to build Learning Communities and continues to serve on the project through her participation on the project oversight committee and on the Learning Community Design Team.

Rob Bristow has been at Westfield State College (WSC) since 1989 when he joined WSC as a faculty member in the Geography and Regional Planning Department. He was department chair for nine years before moving into Academic Affairs, where he currently holds the title of Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management. Rob holds a B.S. and M.A. from Towson University and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.

Frederick W. Clark, Jr., was appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick to serve as volunteer Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education in August 2007. Fred’s extensive experience in and knowledge of public higher education includes four years (2002–2006) as Executive Officer of the Massachusetts State Colleges Council of Presidents and service as Chair (1998–2002) and Vice Chair (1995–1997) of the Governing Board of Trustees at Bridgewater State College, as well as Vice Chair of the Bridgewater State College Foundation (2002–2007). From 1983 to 2001, Fred worked for Congressman John Joseph Moakley, including as District Chief of Staff, Legal Counsel and Washington Liaison Officer. Fred is a graduate of public higher education, having earned his B.A. in Political Science from Bridgewater State College. He also has a J.D. from Suffolk Law School.

Maureen Conroy, Director of the Office for Students with Disabilities/Deaf Services, began at Holyoke Community College (HCC) in 1990 as the disability counselor prior to the Office’s establishment. Before joining HCC, she worked at United Cerebral Palsy and Springfield College, and as a coach for the Paralympics team under the United States Olympic Committee. After graduating from Bridgewater State College with a degree in education, she worked at Amherst Emergency Care Shelter for Adolescents and at the Hale Reservation as an outdoor educator.

Therese Curran received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island and is currently the Coordinator of Transition and Vocational Services for the West Bay Collaborative in RI. Therese has 20 years experience working with both adults and students and has developed innovative programs in vocational and life skill areas for students with disabilities. Therese is also the Coordinator of the West Bay Regional Transition Center serving eight public school systems in RI and the Director of the Transition Academy at Community Colleges of RI.

Pamela Day earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in German from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2008. Pamela is also a member of the University’s Commonwealth College and graduated with honors. She has been an active member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the Golden Key International Honor Society, and the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society. She also interned as a legal assistant at the UMass Student Legal Services Office. She earned an Outstanding Achievement Award for her service and dedication to protecting students’ rights. As a Sociology major, Pamela concentrated in social service programs. After graduation, she plans to work for a social service organization as a paralegal.

Mario Delci has served as a Senior Policy Analyst in Research and Planning at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) since September 2004. His work at the Department has involved performance measurement, secondary/postsecondary data linkages and analysis and studies of community college student success and transfer policies. He oversees the production of the School-to-College reports and serves as the primary data contact for the School-to-College Database. Prior to working at the DHE, he was employed as a research associate at the American Institutes for Research and before that as a Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban School Reform at the Consortium on Chicago School Research. He has a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Organization, and Measurement from the University of California Berkeley and an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard College.

Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria is the 11th President of Bridgewater State College. Not unlike many of the students who come to Bridgewater, President Mohler-Faria was the first member of his family to go to college. Prior to becoming president, Dr. Mohler-Faria served for 11 years as the college’s vice president for administration and finance, during which time he oversaw the largest construction and renovation program in college history. He has also held numerous senior administrative positions at Mount Wachusett Community College, Bristol Community College and Cape Cod Community College. Dr. Mohler-Faria holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from Boston University, and an associate’s degree from Cape Cod Community College. He has participated in the Oxford Roundtable, the Millennium Leadership Institute, and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education and Harvard University’s Institute for Education Management and Senior Executives Program. In addition to his work as President, Dr. Mohler-Faria serves as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s special advisor for education, an unpaid position in the governor’s cabinet.

Terry Grobe is a Program Director for Job for the Future’s efforts to raise graduation rates across the country and ensure that all young people are connected to a college and career trajectory by age 25. Ms. Grobe works on city and state initiatives directed at improving outcomes for low-income, struggling students and dropouts. She has extensive professional experience in school reform, alternative education, multi-sector partnerships and youth systems development.

Heidi Guarino is the Chief of Staff and Director of Communications for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE). In that role she works closely with both the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Commissioner on education policy issues and is responsible for shaping the Department’s overall message with local, state and national media. She has been the primary spokesperson for the Department for the past seven years. Prior to coming to the ESE, Heidi spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter, covering mainly education for the Associated Press and a variety of publications including the MetroWest Daily News and the Lowell Sun. Originally from Rhode Island, Heidi studied professional writing at Emerson College.

Tim Hagopian first came to Worcester State College in 1987. He has been a tutor, math lab supervisor, and, currently, is an Instructor of Math. He also taught math at Quinsigamond Community College and at the University of United Arab Emirates, and was an ESL instructor in Bangkok, Thailand. Tim holds a B.S. and M.S. from Worcester State College.

Ty Hanson is the higher education liaison to the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program at Holyoke Community College (HCC). She was formerly the Tech Prep Program Coordinator for Career Services at HCC and also taught in the Business and Technology Department at Holyoke High School. She graduated from the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and was recruited by the May Company as a corporate fashion buyer. She later completed her Master’s in Education at Cambridge College. Ty enjoys volunteering at therapeutic horseback riding programs and owns and operates Winding River Farm.

Terri Howard is the Dean of Cooperative Education and Career Services at Holyoke Community College (HCC). Terri also serves as Director of the Hampden-Hampshire Tech Prep Consortium which comprises representatives of Holyoke and Springfield Technical Community Colleges and 21 high schools in the two counties. Throughout her years at HCC, she has guided development of several Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Transition Grants and served as liaison for two alternative high school programs that are housed at HCC. One of these programs—The Early College High school—has been operating at the college since 2005; this small school program serves juniors and seniors from the Springfield school system.

Dr. Lisa Johnson is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked for the University of Massachusetts since 1992, including 12 years at UMass Lowell and four years at UMass Boston. Dr. Johnson has a Ph.D. in College and University Administration from Michigan State, an M.S. in College Personnel Services from Miami University, and a B.S. from Framingham State College. Her areas of expertise include enrollment planning, student affairs, and enrollment marketing.

Allison Jones, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, coordinates support to the California State University’s 23 campuses in K-12 academic preparation, outreach, enrollment management, transfer, financial aid, and other student services. Mr. Jones serves on systemwide, statewide, and national advisory committees that address academic preparation, enrollment management, transfer, and financial aid issues. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings appointed Mr. Jones to the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA), which provides advice and counsel to the Secretary of Education and Congress on student financial aid policy issues. He was appointed by California Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell to California’s P-16 Council, which is charged with examining ways to improve student achievement at all levels and link preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and higher education to create a comprehensive, integrated system of student learning. Mr. Jones serves as a Trustee of The College Board. Additionally, he was appointed by the Governor to the Governors’ Interagency Coordinating Council on the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, which is charged with coordinating the state’s strategic efforts to reduce the inappropriate use of alcohol and other drugs in K-12 and higher education, and by the state Senate to the Scholarshare Investment Board that administers California’s 529 College Savings Plan. He serves on California’s Intersegmental Coordinating Committee, which has responsibility for fostering collaboration within California’s educational community at all levels through activities and supporting strategies that link the public schools, community colleges, and baccalaureate- granting colleges and universities.

Carla Katz is the administrative assistant to the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program at Holyoke Community College. She formerly worked as Director of Staff Development and Curriculum Planning and Coordinator of Curriculum and Enrichment Programs for public school systems in Rochester, New York. She also chaired the Learning Support Services Department for students with disabilities at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She graduated from Hiram College and Brockport University with degrees in English, Reading (Teaching) and Administration.

Art Keene is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has taught for the last 29 years. He is also the first Terrence Murray Professor in the Commonwealth Honors College and was Associate Dean of the College during its inaugural year. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. While he formally trained as an archaeologist and directed the UMass Archaeological Field School for 15 years, his current research and teaching are in the fields of cultural and applied anthropology and in community service learning. He has done field work in Israel, Australia, Norway, France, and the Netherlands  and in various venues in North America. His current research interests focus on issues of community and social justice. Throughout the eighties and nineties, he conducted fieldwork on an Israeli kibbutz examining the struggles of that community to maintain its well-established webs of mutual assistance in the face of growing individualism and pressures to privatize. For the last decade, he has been asking similar questions about communities closer to home and this has led him into a deeper commitment to the fields of community service learning and civic education.

Stephen Keller is Vice-President for Academic Affairs for Springfield Technical Community College, where he co-chairs the Achieving The Dream initiative with Dr. Patrick Tigue, Vice-President for Enrollment Management. Mr. Keller is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and holds the Master of Arts Degree from Trinity College (Hartford, CT). He has served on a variety of committees and task forces, including the Board of Higher Education Performance Measures Task Force; Mass Colleges Online Program Committee; and the joint Board of Higher Education/Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Task Force on College Preparedness. He has served on a variety of boards in Connecticut and Massachusetts, including the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), and presently serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Music School of Springfield.

Amy Kent is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, following a B.A. track in cultural anthropology. Her academic focus has been in Middle Eastern Studies, alternative pedagogy and the effects of neo-liberalism in higher education. She has volunteered for an educational NGO, Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, for the past two years and worked in community centers in the West Bank during the summers of 2006 and 2007. This past year, she has divided her time between two capstone experiences, one working as a student facilitator of the course Grassroots Community Development and the other conducting ethnographic research on the student discourse around political engagement at UMass as part of the class “Ethnography of Us.”

Eileen Lee joined the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in September 2007 as the Director for Improving Teacher Quality and administers the federally funded Improving Teacher Quality Grant Program. Eileen earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Masters in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University. She has taught mathematics at both the high school and college level and was a Mathematics Professor from 2001 to 2007 at Framingham State College where she taught a full range of courses including developmental math.

Richard Lizotte has taught English as a Second Language for 23 years at Northern Essex Community College and is a national accreditor of ESL Programs. In addition, for the last nine years, he has served in the College’s Center for Instructional Technology as an instructional designer and coach for faculty building online courses and has presented at statewide and national conferences on the use of technology in instruction.

Lois Martin is a Professor of Mathematics at Massasoit Community College where she has taught since 1978. She has a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an M.A.T. in Mathematics from Bridgewater State College. At Massasoit, she has served as Mathematics Department Chair and Academic Senate President, as well as being involved in numerous campus committees and initiatives. She has received the Governor’s Performance Recognition Award and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Teaching Excellence Award, and she is a 2007 recipient of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges’ Teaching Excellence Award. Lois is the co-facilitator of Math CONNECT and an advisor to Massasoit’s award-winning Math Team.

Linda Murphy has been a developmental mathematics educator at Northern Essex Community College serving in the capacity of math center coordinator, faculty and developmental mathematics curriculum coordinator for the past 27 years. During 2003-2005, Linda had the privilege of serving as project manager for the 100% Math Initiative, a project funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and awarded to Massachusetts Community Colleges, to improve retention in developmental mathematics education.

Clare Niven-Blowers is Director of the Assessment Center at Cape Cod Community College and former coordinator of testing at Bunker Hill Community College. She has over 25 years experience working in the assessment arena including administration of ACCUPLACER, CLEP, MBTI, Learning Styles, GRE, GMAT and MCAT instruments. She has also been an adjunct faculty member since 1982 and teaches Psychology and Sociology courses at both Cape Cod and Bunker Hill Community Colleges.

Eileen O’Connor is the Director of Communications and External Affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE). Eileen oversees all communications and public outreach for the DHE, including marketing initiatives within the National Governors Association Honor States Grant to improve college readiness in Massachusetts. Prior to this, Eileen was Communications Director for Massachusetts State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill. She also spent five years working at Hill, Holliday, a top-20 national advertising agency based in Boston, where she worked in Corporate Communications for the agency, as well as for such clients as Dunkin’ Donuts, CVS, FleetBank (now Bank of America), Anheuser-Busch, Verizon Wireless and the Massachusetts State Lottery. Eileen attended Boston College, where she earned a B.S. in Marketing from the Carroll School of Management.

George O’Connor is the Director for the Office of Veterans Education at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE). George began his career with the DHE in 2001, managing the No Interest Loan Program for the Office of Student Financial Assistance. In 2004, he moved to the DHE Office of Veterans Education as Associate Director, and he became Director in 2008. George received his B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern University and his M.B.A. from Suffolk University.

Marybeth O’Sullivan is a Registered Nurse by profession and a Commander in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps by commission. She is the Outreach Advisor for Veterans Upward Bound at the University of Massachusetts Boston. As the Outreach Advisor, Marybeth has met with many military personnel prior to their deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and once again as they returned to the civilian sector. It was during this time that she observed specific behaviors and difficulties within the combat veteran population, particularly as they returned to the classroom. She combined her clinical skills and knowledge base of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury to show how these unseen wounds of war affect adult learning. She has spoken nationally on this subject to educators, healthcare professionals and the general public. Marybeth is a member of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and serves on several state veteran boards and many national and local organizations.

Stafford Peat is an administrator at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is leading many of the state’s high school redesign, secondary and postsecondary alignment initiatives to help increase college and career readiness. He also oversees the state Academic Support Program, 21st Century Learning Program, and Alternative Education Program.

Carlton Pickron has been at Westfield State College since 1983, holding administrative positions in Academic Advising, Urban Education and the Office of the President. He serves on various community board and committees, including the Walt Disney College World Program Advisory Board. Carlton has a B.S., M.Ed., and C.A.S. from Springfield College and an Ed.D from the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Patricia F. Plummer has been Commissioner (formerly Chancellor) of the Department of Higher Education since September 2006. In this role, she is the chief advocate for public higher education and leads statewide projects that help students prepare for and successfully complete college. Previously, Dr. Plummer was for five years Deputy Chancellor for Policy and Planning at the DHE, overseeing P-16 education coordination, teacher preparation initiatives and the STEM Pipeline Fund. Dr. Plummer began her career in higher education as a tenured professor at Framingham State College, where she worked for nearly 20 years, most recently as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Plummer earned her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from Framingham State College, her master’s degree in nutrition from Tufts University and her doctorate in higher education administration from Boston College.

Chad Schaedler is the Senior Regional Director, New England, for ConnectEdu. He has held this position for the past two years. Prior to his current position, he spent 12 years with Kaplan Test Prep as Executive Director of Pre-College Programs (in charge of College Admissions, SAT and ACT programs nationally). Chad has a B.A. from Skidmore College.

Augusto St. Silva has been with the University of Massachusetts Boston since 1980, first as a student, then as an employee. He began his career as a math instructor for the Veterans Upward Bound Program and as a Counselor for the Veterans Resource Project of the William Joiner Center. For the past 20 years, Mr. St. Silva has been the Director of the Office of Veterans Affairs.

Laurie Simpson has been counseling with the Academic Advising Center (AAC) at Westfield State College (WSC) since 1994. She is a three-time graduate of WSC holding a B.S. in Criminal Justice, an M.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Criminal Justice. In addition to her position in the Advising Office, she is an adjunct professor with the Psychology Department at WSC.

Shelley Tinkham is the Associate Director for Academic and K-16 Policy at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. She has special responsibility in the areas of K-16 coordination and planning, veterans’ education, and special projects and initiatives that support college readiness and success for traditionally unrepresented groups of students. She provides leadership for the Department’s School-to-College initiative and interacts with representatives from a cross-section of public K-12 and public higher education institutions and agencies to determine strategies for the development, dissemination and interpretation of the School-to-College Report. She holds an undergraduate degree from Kent State University and graduate degrees from Boston University and the University of Massachusetts Boston, and is working towards a Ph.D. in Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Katye Tuttle is a graduate of Westfield State College, Class of 2008. She completed a Psychology major with a minor in Sociology. She served as a Peer Advisor for over two years, finishing this last year as the Peer Advising Program Assistant. In addition to Peer Advising, Katye was President of the Psychology Club, Co-President of Psi Chi Honor Society and a member of Phi Kappa Phi. She will be attending graduate school in Florida in fall 2008.

Michael Walker is the Director of Institutional Research at Roxbury Community College. He has worked in the education research and information systems fields for the last 15 years, including for the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Tufts University, and, since January 2005, Roxbury Community College. During his career, he has focused on providing managers and educators with the analysis necessary to make complicated resource allocation decisions.

Dr. Michael Webb is Associate Vice President of Jobs for the Future. He gathers data that improves practice, leading to improved outcomes for young people. For the Early College High School Initiative, he leads the creation and implementation of the Student Information System (SIS), a secure, confidential collection of data about students at early-college high schools throughout the United States. The SIS provides information and analyses to guide the development and improvement of early-college high schools and provides evidence on how well early-college high schools are achieving their mission. Dr. Webb has previously served as Vice President of New Visions for Public Schools, where he helped lead the effort to create small schools in New York City, and as Director of Education of the National Urban League. He has served on city and state commissions to reform education for students underserved by the public school system. Dr. Webb received a B.A. in English/Ethnic Studies from St. John Fisher College, an M.A. from San Francisco State University, and a Doctor of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dawn Wendell has been an employee at North Shore Community College for 20 years, and for the past 14 years, Dawn has been the Veterans Affairs Certifying Official. Dawn works in the Student Financial Services Office at the Danvers Campus. Dawn is currently the appointed advisor to the North Shore Community College Veteran’s Club which also named her as “Honorary Veteran.” She was also honored to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Massachusetts Army National Guard for services to the Veterans of the North Shore Massachusetts area.


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