Alex Aljets is responsible for managing collaborative projects designed to improve educational outcomes for undergraduate students at Oregon State University. She is a leader in applying process improvement and human-centered design techniques to redesign university processes, policies, and pathways around the needs of today’s college students. She regularly coaches higher education leaders to apply process mapping strategies which has resulted in addressing barriers and improving student services efforts across the campus. Prior to her fellowship with University Innovation Alliance, Alex served as an academic advisor and held a national role with the health professions advising community. She holds a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry & Biophysics from Oregon State University.
Lande Ajose is the senior policy advisor for higher education for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. She has expertise in education; poverty alleviation; workforce development, especially for low-income adults; and issues of inequity. Before she joined the Newsom administration, she was executive director of California Competes for four years. She also served as managing director at the strategic consulting firm Informing Change and focused on community college success at MDRC and the James Irvine Foundation. In addition to serving on the PPIC Higher Education Center Advisory Council, she is a member of the California Student Aid Commission—she was appointed in 2014 and reappointed in 2018 by Governor Brown. She is also a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. She holds a PhD in urban and regional studies from MIT, an MA in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA from Occidental College.
Alexandra (Alex) Bernadotte is the founder and chief executive officer of Beyond 12, a high-tech, high-touch nonprofit that integrates personalized coaching with mobile technology to increase the number of traditionally underserved students who graduate from college. She has more than 18 years of executive management and strategic development experience in the nonprofit and private sectors. Immediately before launching Beyond 12, Alex was an entrepreneur in residence at NewSchools Venture Fund where she developed the business plan for Beyond 12.
Alex’s previous professional experience includes serving as executive director of The Princeton Review’s Silicon Valley office; executive director of Foundation for a College Education, a nonprofit college access program; co-founder and vice president of marketing at educational travel startup Explorica; director of operations at EF Education; and operations manager at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she coordinated the efforts of an international youth substance abuse prevention foundation. Alex currently serves on the board of directors of Great Oakland Public Schools and the board of advisors of the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College.
Alex received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and earned a master’s degree with a concentration in policy and organizational leadership from Stanford. She is an Ashoka Fellow, a recipient of the 2011 NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneur of the Year award, a 2012 Jefferson Award for Public Service winner, a Fellow of the 22nd class of the Pahara - Aspen Education Fellowship, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. In addition, Beyond 12 was named one of the world’s 10 most innovative education companies by Fast Company and the organization’s MyCoach mobile app won the 2016 Xammy Award for best social impact app from Xamarin, a Microsoft- owned mobile development platform.
Dr. Michelle Bombaugh began her higher education career in 2003. Most of her professional experience has been in enrollment management, specifically admissions and academic advising. She currently serves as the Assistant Director for the Office of Academic Advocacy at University of South Florida. She has presented at numerous conferences across the country, on topics such as case management, first-year persistence, and predictive analytics.
Danny Gancayco, born and raised in the Bay Area, is a first-generation Filipino-American and a graduating senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Cal State Eastbay. He stays involved on campus by participating in multiple clubs and organizations, including serving as Treasurer for the Asian and Pacific Islander Club. Some of his passions Include tennis, improv comedy, and philosophy.
Dr. Gazi oversees learning design and development, technology infrastructure, compliance, and assessment for Georgia institute of Technology. She has worked at higher education institutions in the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and Spain as an instructional designer, media specialist, IT consultant, faculty member, and technology leader since 1993. Prior to joining GTPE, she was the assistant vice chancellor for engineering remote education at Texas A&M University, providing collaborative institutional leadership to develop innovative, strategic solutions for online, blended, distance, and open programs and courses.
Dr. Gazi is a Council Member of the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education (IACEE), a member of the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Board, and is on the editorial review board of the Educational Technology, Research, and Development (ETR&D), Journal of Social Media in Society, and the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Dr. Gazi has her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University, and an M.A. in Educational Sciences and a B.S. in Teaching Chemistry, both from Bogazici University in Turkey.
Jeff Gold provides leadership to Graduation Initiative 2025, the CSU’s signature strategic effort to eliminate equity gaps and facilitate the path to a high-quality college degree for an additional half-million students. In support of this work, Jeff oversees a variety of mission-driven projects that provide faculty, staff, and administrators with innovative analytical tools that enable them to understand the impact of their programs on student success. Jeff began his career as a bilingual public school teacher in San Diego, and has served as an adjunct professor in Pepperdine University’s Master of Educational Technology Program. Jeff received an Masters of Business Administration from the Escuela de Negocios Las Palmas, a business school in Spain, and has over twenty-five years of higher education experience in both the public and private sectors.
Doug is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Scott Jaschik, he leads the site’s editorial operations, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Doug speaks widely about higher education, including on C-Span and National Public Radio and at meetings around the country, and his work has appeared in The New York Times and USA Today, among other publications. Doug was managing editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education from 1999 to 2003. Before that, Doug had worked at The Chronicle since 1986 in a variety of roles, first as an athletics reporter and editor. He has won three National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, including one in 2009 for a series of Inside Higher Ed articles he co-wrote on college rankings. He began his career as a news clerk at The New York Times. He grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and graduated in 1984 from Princeton University. Doug lives in Bethesda, Md.
Cynthia Mejia is a senior at Sacramento State majoring in international relations. For more than two years, she has worked as a government relations student assistant for the Cal State Student Association. During her time at Sacramento State, she was an active and respected leader in her sorority—Alpha Chi Omega—and the College Democrats. Cynthia will be graduating from Sacramento State in Fall 2019 and plans to pursue a career in public service.
Dr. Miller has an extensive career in higher education, having served both as a faculty and administrator. He moved to his current position in 2006 from an earlier post as Dean of Students at USF, which he held since 2001. Before that time, he was the senior student affairs administrator at Eckerd College and earlier held a similar post at Canisius College. He has also worked in student affairs positions at Indiana University and at Shippensburg University. Dr. Miller holds a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and master and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. Dr. Miller served two terms on the NASPA Board of Directors and has been on several Annual Conference planning committees. He has been on the faculty for NASPA’s Stevens Institute for Senior Student Affairs Administrators. He received the Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean from NASPA in 2002, was chosen as a Pillar of the Profession in 2004, and received the Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member in 2015. He has been on more than a dozen institutional accreditation teams and NCAA Certification review teams. He received the Elizabeth Greenleaf Distinguished Alumnus Award from Indiana University’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Program in 1989. Dr. Miller received an administrative Fulbright Award in 1992 for the review of higher education in several countries in Europe. He served as chair of the board of directors of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports for over 20 years.
James T. Minor, Ph.D. serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Strategist at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. He provides leadership and strategy to advance the
CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025 focused on dramatically increasing graduation rates while eliminating equity gaps. Dr. Minor is a recognized thought leader on Minority-Serving Institutions, higher education policy development, and issues related to improving degree completion nationally. His scholarly work has focused on academic governance and improving institutional performance. He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and associate professor of higher education policy at Michigan State University.
Areline Naranjo is entering her second year of undergraduate studies at California State University, Stanislaus. She aspires to be a teacher and is currently working hard to receive her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and receive multiple subject credentials. As a bilingual teacher, Areline hopes to help her future students overcome the challenges that come with learning a new language and shuttling between languages. She knows firsthand the obstacles and barriers many Latino children experience, which is why she wants to offer them an opportunity to learn, grow, and allow them to become the best they can possibly be. Being a first-generation student, Areline makes sure her education is her priority. She demonstrates passion, ambition, discipline, and a love for learning.
Gavin Newsom is the Governor of California, former Lieutenant Governor of California, and former Mayor of San Francisco. Newsom is widely recognized for his willingness to lead – repeatedly developing, advocating, and implementing innovative and groundbreaking solutions to some of our most challenging issues. On a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, technology, criminal justice reform, and the minimum wage, Newsom stuck his neck out and did the right thing, which often led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.
Newsom’s top priorities for his administration are tackling our state’s affordability crisis, creating inclusive economic growth and opportunity for every child, and standing up for California values — from civil rights, to immigration, environmental protection, access to quality schools at all levels, and justice.
Governor Newsom is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom. They have four children: Montana, Hunter, Brooklynn, and Dutch.
Coral Olynyk is a senior majoring in English Education at California State University, Chico. Coral came to Chico State as a transfer student and will graduate this Fall 2019 with a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate and will pursue a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Spring 2020. She is a first-generation college student and former foster youth who works as a Peer Coach with students with similar backgrounds in the PATH Scholars program. The barriers Coral has faced as a first-generation, low-income, former foster youth have sparked her passion to advocate for herself and others. Coral was born and raised in Quincy, CA, a small town with little diversity, which allows her to appreciate opportunities to support and increase diversity even more.
Kimberly Silverio-Bautista is a graduating senior at California State University, Northridge, double majoring in Chicana and Chicano Studies and Journalism - Broadcast with a minor in Spanish Language Journalism. She was born in the city of Pasadena in a predominantly low-income neighborhood and is a proud student from the Educational Opportunity Program—a program that she feels supported her academically and personally. She continues to give back to the program by mentoring incoming EOP students, mentoring over 60 high-potential college freshman students over the past two and a half years. She also serves as the assistant News Editor for the school newspaper, The Sundial, writing stories about the Latino community, educational issues, and social justice. Kimberly’s dream career is to be a news reporter and an anchor for Univision 34 Los Angeles or Telemundo 52.
Zachary Smith currently a senior at California State University, San Bernardino majoring in business. Zachary works two jobs on campus as an audio visual technician at the Santos Manuel Student Union and as a student assistant in the office of the vice president of student affairs. His goal is to obtain his degree and pursue a career that blends his love for basketball and business. He attributes the staff at the Santos Manuel Student Union and the CARE team on campus with providing him the academic and physical support he needed to be successful during a time of personal adversity. In his spare time, Zachary loves to go bowling, and watching and playing basketball.
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 146-year history of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership Paul Quinn has become nationally renowned for its innovative approach of using higher education to address the most persistent and pressing problems of society.
Among the school’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s eleven-year tenure have been the following: winning the HBCU of the Year, the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year, and the HBCU Business Program of the Year awards; achieving recognition as a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; creating the New Urban College Model; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to transform the football field into the “WE over Me Farm”; achieving full-accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); creating the College’s first faculty-led study abroad program; and rewriting all institutional fundraising records.
Michael received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Government. Michael also has an honorary degree from Austin College.
Sherri Watson oversees the exploratory advising office and the university's first success coaching initiative which provides pre-selected students with a success coach during their first year of attendance. As a senior member of the enrollment management team, Sherri is also involved in university retention and graduation efforts. Prior to this role, Sherri served as a success advisor at Old Dominion University and a student services manager and academic advisor in both the School of Government and School of Education at Regent University. She holds a master's degree in Counseling, is a National Certified Counselor, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Occupational and Technical Studies. Her research interests include student success and retention, women in higher education, and leadership development training.
Michelle R. Weise is the SVP, workforce strategies and Chief Innovation Officer at Strada Education Network. She leads the organization’s workforce alignment initiatives as well as innovation and thought leadership priorities. Based in Indianapolis, Strada Education is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving lives by strengthening the pathways between education and employment.
Michelle works with CEOs of start-ups, foundation heads, and institutional leaders across the U.S. She is a senior advisor for Entangled Solutions and serves on the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as on the advisory board of Village Capital. Highly active in and across the various networks of higher education policy, innovation, philanthropy, and institutions, Michelle is dedicated to connecting students to affordable educational pathways into and within the workforce that are validated by employers.
She is a columnist for EdSurge and the former Chief Innovation Officer of Sandbox ColLABorative, the research and development lab of strategy and innovation at Southern New Hampshire University. She co-authored the book, Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, with Clayton Christensen while serving as the Senior Research Fellow in higher education at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. She has also served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs for Fidelis Education and taught at Skidmore College and Stanford University. Michelle is a former Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Harvard and Stanford. Her commentaries and research have been featured in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Boston Globe, and PBS Newshour.
Ann resides in Portland, Oregon where she works for InsideTrack, supporting student success through training, consulting and student coaching. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from DePauw University, before moving to Chicago, where she worked for SCORE! Educational Centers.. Her entire career has been focused in education, as she believes in its power to transform lives for the better, including her own. Ann also has a 4-year-old son with Down syndrome which has continued to ignite a passion for true inclusivity, access and support in higher ed, for all.
Michael Wiafe is a graduating senior at San Diego State University studying Political Science, and the 2019/2020 president of the Cal State Student Association--which represents over 480,000 students across the 23 campuses of the CSU. Michael has worked for members of the California State Assembly and U.S. House of Representatives, was the co-lead for the CSSA CSU Student Success Data Analytics Certificate Program team, and previously served as the vice president for external relations at Associated Students of SDSU. Raised in the Inland Empire and possessing a passion for serving his fellow Californians, Michael recently completed a fellowship in the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to prepare him for his pursuit of a career in public policy.