Tuesday, September 12

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

8:00 am – 8:45 am

Breakfast Plenary Session: Exploring Career Options 

How do students explore options and determine what they want to be when they grow up? How can they explore the steps involved in pursuing a specific career and what a day in the life of an employee is really like? Come hear from representatives from AVID, RoadTrip Nation, a teacher and a student about the value of encouraging students to do this research early on and the positive outcomes it can yield on the lives of students, employers and community. This plenary is part of the Connecting College and Career Success track sponsored by Strada Education Network.

Cynthia Coria

 This summer many events occurred that have changed my life and the direction that it is heading. I visited six different countries around Europe with the Girl Scouts and while on this trip went to an international convention where I met people from 12 different countries, and I was able to listen to the Prime Minister of Luxemburg discuss how even though we are all in different parts of the world, we all share the same planet and need to work to make it a better place. I was gifted with amounts of free time, and with this free time came a lot of self-reflection. I realized that the world is filled with immense beauty that is yet to be discovered and this has only strengthened my desire to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. My name is Cynthia Coria and now my road to becoming an astronomer is being paved by my determination and love of the unknown.


Andrea Giordino-Rink, Teacher, AVID

Andrea will be beginning her 25th year teaching in the  Sweetwater Union High School District and has been teaching  AVID for 10 years at San Ysidro High School, an AVID National  Demonstration School. San Ysidro is a demo school because of  the relentless work of their coordinator and teachers, but mostly  because of their students being willing to take risks. The students  trusted Andrea to take them on the Roadtrip Nation journey last year, even when they thought it, and she, was crazy! This is her favorite part of being a teacher: she is constantly pushed to learn, grow and risk in order to give her kids - her partners - the very best education she can. 

Mike Marriner, Co-Founder of Roadtrip Nation

Mike Marriner is a Co-founder of Roadtrip Nation, and l  leads Roadtrip Nation’s program management and  strategic partnership efforts with organizations including  KQED, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the  College Board, The California Department of  Education, AVID, and other national and state-wide  organizations that help bring the Roadtrip Nation  Experience to millions of people. He is a co-author of  all three Roadtrip Nation books, has been featured on  national outlets such as NBC’s Today Show and  Esquire’s “Best & Brightest” list, is an Ashoka Fellow,  and a frequent public speaker. Mike graduated from  Pepperdine University in 2000 with a degree in biology,  and the Harvard Business School - Social Enterprise  program in 2012.

Carlo Salerno, Vice President, Data Analytics

As vice president, Data Analytics, Carlo Salerno identifies and leverages postsecondary education data to help Strada Education NetworkSM advance Completion With a Purpose, enhancing student success in college - or other postsecondary programs - and connecting graduates to rewarding careers and fulfilling lives. Salerno’s data analysis focuses primarily on college access, affordability, completion, and workforce transition issues.

Prior to joining Strada Education, then known as USA Funds®, in 2016, Salerno was a private consultant conducting research and policy analysis for a broad range of partners in the higher education community. He has provided higher education analysis for national advocacy groups and private sector companies, working to develop solutions for students and schools. His work also includes research for private and government groups on income share agreements, social impact bonds, and the challenges of the information collection burden.

Salerno also has served as a senior analyst on higher education issues for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He is a two-time entrepreneur, co-founding a boutique education analytics firm in 2008 and working with Pave.com in 2012 to develop one of the nation’s first income share agreement marketplaces. He formerly was a senior research associate with the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies in the Netherlands. His writing has been featured in Inside Higher Ed, Forbes and The Huffington Post. In 2016 Salerno was named one of LinkedIn’s top 10 education writers.

Salerno holds a doctoral degree in higher education, with a concentration in economics, from Penn State University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Eastern Michigan University.

Strada Education Network, formerly USA Funds, is a new kind of nonprofit organization that takes a fresh approach to improving the college-to-career connection. Through a unique combination of strategic philanthropy, research and insights, and innovative solutions, Strada Education Network advances Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to rewarding careers and fulfilling lives.

Learn more at www.stradaeducation.org. 

Dr. Edward Lee Vargas, Executive Vice President, AVID Center       

Lee joined AVID Center after serving as superintendent in large urban school districts in California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington, where he received numerous awards for outstanding leadership from the school districts, as well as the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, city mayors, the legislative branch of the California State Assembly, and a special congressional recognition from members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. He was honored as State Superintendent of the Year in California (2006) and Washington (2014). After being named Superintendent of the Year in California, he was recruited to the Stupski Foundation as a “Superintendent in Residence,” where he coached other system leaders around the country.

Most recently, Lee served as superintendent of the Kent School District, the fourth largest district in the state of Washington and one of the most diverse districts in the nation, with more than 135 languages spoken by students and families. In Kent, Lee was widely regarded as a critical part of the district’s innovative approaches and success in improving test scores, increasing graduation rates, advancing technological integration, and significantly increasing parent and community engagement.

Lee is a nationally recognized speaker on leadership for creating high-performing school systems grounded in equity and excellence for all. He is also a Distinguished Lecturer on “School System Readiness to Transform,” keynoting numerous state and national conferences, including the National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on 21st Century Skills, speaking at USA–China Educational Symposiums in China, and presenting at Microsoft’s Global Forum on Technology in Prague, Czech Republic (2012), and Barcelona, Spain (2014).

Lee received his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico in Educational Diagnosis and a doctorate from the University of Washington in Leadership and Policy. He is currently serving as president elect for the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS). 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm 

Luncheon Plenary Panel: California’s Path to Postsecondary Equity 

This plenary session will highlight the work California has done to provide access and affordability to all California residents. Panelists will share their perspective on California’s effective policies and strategies to increase postsecondary access and success for all, including what new initiatives hold promise for improvement, what barriers persist, and which barriers California has already overcome.

Danette Howard, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Lumina Foundation for Education               

Danette Gerald Howard, Ph.D. is senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing student access and success in postsecondary education. Howard oversees several of Lumina’s key strategies to increase Americans’ attainment of high-quality postsecondary degrees and credentials, including strategic work in both state and federal policy and the Foundation’s growing national convening function. She also leads the Foundation’s efforts to mobilize and engage employers, metropolitan areas, higher education institutions and other key actors with a stake in postsecondary attainment.

Prior to joining Lumina, Howard served as Secretary of Higher Education in Maryland, leading the state’s postsecondary education coordinating agency, the Maryland Higher Education Commission.  As secretary she oversaw Maryland’s statewide financial aid program, approved new academic programs and institutions seeking to operate in the state, and advised the governor and legislators on higher education policies and initiatives.

A nationally regarded analyst and thought leader, Howard previously served as director of research and policy analysis at the Maryland Higher Education Commission.  She also held positions as the assistant director of higher education policy at the Education Trust in Washington, D.C., as a researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park, and as a student affairs administrator and admissions counselor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Howard earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Howard University. She also received her master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and her Ph.D. in higher education policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2015, she was honored for her outstanding success and national distinction in the fields of education and policy with Howard University's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Lupita Cortez Alcalá, Executive Director, California Student Aid Commission

Lupita Cortez Alcalá joined the California Student Aid Commission in January 2016 as the Executive Director. Lupita heads the organization and serves as the leader and spokesperson for issues impacting California’s $2 billion Cal Grant student financial aid program. She also oversees delivery of the agency’s Cal Grant, Middle Class Scholarship, California Dream Act, and seven other grant or loan repayment programs, supporting schools and students.

Lupita is also the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Lupita came to the California Student Aid Commission with comprehensive experience in education policy; program development and evaluation; government and legislative affairs; and, advocacy and community relations. As a chief advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Lupita spent more than 12 years with the California Department of Education (CDE) and worked closely with the state Board of Education. Lupita was a key leader in strategic policy for kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) education, serving as Deputy Superintendent of instruction and learning support. While there, Lupita advanced issues for English learners; language arts; history; visual & performing arts; physical education; teacher support; migrant students; curriculum and instructional resources; early childhood programs; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; high school initiatives; and, career technical education. Lupita was notably responsible for implementing the California State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Blueprint for Environmental Literacy, and Innovate: A Blueprint for Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM). She is credited with creating the 2013 through 2015 California STEM Symposium, overhauling the Migrant Education Program, and implementing $500 million in Career Pathway Trust Grants and the Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards and Frameworks.

Lupita previously served as Deputy Legislative Secretary, for Governor Gray Davis. In this capacity, Lupita advised Governor Davis on all K-12 and higher education matters, while helping to increase and expand access to available state programs for the state’s education community.

Lupita began her career as an Early Academic Outreach Counselor for the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), serving students in the San Diego region.

In 2014 and 2015, Lupita was a participant in the prestigious Resnick Aspen Action Forum in Aspen, Colorado. Lupita holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in planning administration and social policy from the Harvard University, School of Education in Boston, Massachusetts. Lupita is a native of Tijuana, Mexico and a former financial aid recipient. She is a PUENTE Advisory Board Member and a Mariemont Elementary school site council member. Lupita is passionate about helping students and parents navigate their personal pathway to higher education. 

Maria Espinosa Booth, Chief Executive Officer, Fulfillment Fund

Maria Espinosa Booth was named Chief Executive Officer in Dec. 2016.

Booth, who joined the Fulfillment Fund in 2000, has served as Vice President of Programs from 2010 to 2013, Chief Programs Officer from 2013 to 2014, and Chief Operations Officer from 2014-2016. She has been instrumental in expanding the Fulfillment Fund’s programs to serve more students, as well as improving the Fulfillment Fund’s evaluation, data and collection standards to better serve students, volunteers and families.

Under her leadership, the Fulfillment Fund’s graduation and college matriculation rates have risen steadily. More than 93% of Fulfillment Fund high school graduates go on to college, compared to only about 50% of students from low-income communities nationwide.  Whereas nationally, only 33% of students from low-income communities who enroll in four-year colleges graduate, more than 75% of Fulfillment Fund scholars do.

"So many lives are transformed when a young person becomes the first in their family to achieve a college education – there is a ripple effect to their entire family and community,” she says. “My dream is for the Fulfillment Fund to reach more students over the next five years. We know our model works and there are so many young people who need us."

In addition to leading programs, she plays a key leadership role in the organization’s external affairs, managing program partnerships and relationships in the community. In 2012, the Fulfillment Fund expanded services to Clark County, Nevada, where it is now serving hundreds of students in two high schools.

A native of the Los Angeles area, Booth received a B.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Chris.

Jacqueline Khor, Vice President for Programs, College Futures Foundation

Jacqueline Khor joined the Foundation in 2011. As vice president for programs, Jackie works closely with the President and Chief Learning Officer to manage the development and implementation of the Foundation’s strategy and initiatives. She also oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking operations. 

Previously, Jackie was a managing director at Imprint Capital Advisors, a San Francisco-based impact investment advisory firm that has since been acquired by Goldman Sachs & Co. She also served as associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation, director of Employment Programs for the New York City Partnership, and vice president in Lehman Brothers’ Public Finance division. 

Jackie received her bachelor’s degree from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management. Jackie tries to start every day with a quick swim. She also serves on the Haas Alumni Diversity Council and combines her passion for food and community service by volunteering for Street Meals in Berkeley. 

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors appointed Eloy Ortiz Oakley as chancellor for the California Community Colleges beginning December 19, 2016.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley is best known throughout California and the nation for implementing innovative programs and policies that help students succeed in college. Oakley strongly believes that California’s emerging economies demand a workforce with quality credentials and that the state’s 113 community colleges play a pivotal role in moving California forward. Under Oakley’s leadership, the Long Beach Community College District has received numerous awards and recognitions for its efforts to improve student completion rates and for directly supporting a strong small business and entrepreneurship eco-system throughout the greater Southern California region.

Oakley was appointed as the Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. While there he led one of the most diverse community colleges in the nation and provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the education outcomes of historically underrepresented students. For his efforts, the James Irvine Foundation recognized him with their 2014 Leadership Award. Also in 2014, Gov. Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents. In this role, Oakley is using his experiences to better serve all Californians in higher education. In November of 2017, President Obama recognized him as a White House Champion of Change for his work promoting and supporting the national college promise movement.

In 2014, he was invited to provide testimony on minority serving institutions to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee. In his remarks, Oakley stresses that if America is to remain competitive, it must adopt innovative reforms to ensure its citizens are provided a realistic opportunity to succeed in college, regardless of their socioeconomic, racial or ethnic background.

Oakley’s trailblazing efforts have been acknowledged through his appointments to the California Chamber of Commerce, the University of California Board of Regents, the Fair Shake Commission, the College Futures Foundation and the LA 2024 Advisory Board. He is frequently invited to speak to education, philanthropic and business organizations throughout the nation.  Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, he enrolled at Golden West College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he received his degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Design and Master of Business Administration.