Featured Speakers

Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D.
Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, Temple University
Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University, and Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia.

Sara is best known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education, having led the four largest national studies on the subject, and for her work on making public higher education free. In 2016, POLITICO magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics and she is ranked 6th in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week.


D. Mark McCoy
President, DePauw University

D. Mark McCoy is DePauw University’s twentieth president, having served previously served as dean of the DePauw University School of Music from 2011-2016.

A first-generation college student and the son of a coal miner, Dr. McCoy has committed himself since his arrival in Greencastle to making DePauw an even greater place to learn, live and work, with an emphasis on building new bonds between the campus and the city to create what he calls a “communiversity."

Moderator: Kimberley Buster-Williams
Vice President for Enrollment Management, University of Mary Washington

Kimberley Buster-Williams has been an AACRAO member since 1996. She currently serves as Vice President for Enrollment Management at the University of Mary Washington.

Buster-Williams has more than two decades of experience in higher education, including senior administrative assignments at Northern Illinois University and the University of Michigan-Flint. Her background includes extensive work in strategic planning, enrollment management in the academic context, access and diversity, branding/marketing, and assessment.

Dhanfu Elston
Dhanfu Elston
Vice President, Strategy, Complete College America

Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston (pronounced: dah-nee-foo) serves as Complete College America’s Vice President of Strategy where he utilizes his campus expertise for practical application, implementation, and scaling of CCA momentum strategies at institutions throughout the nation. He provides oversight of the 15-To-Finish scale strategy,  Purpose First career choice grant, technology Seal of Approval, and scaling standards to close achievement gaps.

Elston coordinates relationships with Governor’s Offices and higher education state-wide systems in their college completion efforts. Recently, he launched a national initiative to amplify completion efforts at minority-serving institutions. Over two decades of his higher education career in academic and student affairs, Elston has created and implemented comprehensive success and retention programs that have garnered national attention.

Amardeep Kahlon

Dr. Amardeep Kahlon is a nationally recognized leader in competency-based education (CBE). Her project, Fast Track to Success, is aimed at expanding CBE across Texas. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), a national organization that advocates for CBE and has created quality standards for CBE.

Currently, Dr. Kahlon serves as the Assistant Dean of Distance Learning and External Relations at Austin Community College. She is also the director of the Women in IT program and the Fast Track to Success project. 

Van Wilson
Van Wilson
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Strategic Initiatives, Virginia Community College System

Dr. Van C. Wilson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Strategic Initiatives has over 35 years of experience in postsecondary education.  He joined the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Academic Services & Research staff in January of 2013 and currently serves as the chief student services administrator for the system. This includes enrollment management, credit for prior learning, admissions, registration, student leadership, financial aid, veteran’s services, library services, the early alert system and the Virginia Education Wizard, the system’s on-line educational portal.   

His current priorities includes working with VCCS colleges to accelerate educational attainment for military veterans by developing system-wide methodologies to evaluate and award academic credit for military educational experiences, the implementation of several system-wide technologies to support student success, teaching, and learning, and seeking system wide solutions to address student housing and food insecurity barriers. 

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Moderator: Luisa Havens Gerardo
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Virginia Tech

Dr. Luisa M. Havens Gerardo became Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at Virginia Tech on August 1, 2017. Prior to Virginia Tech, she served as the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Services at Florida International University (FIU). She began her career as a student recruiter at her Alma Mater, the University of Idaho.

She has served in leadership roles in the areas of admissions, recruitment, registration, international admissions, graduate admissions, financial aid and enrollment services.  Dr. Havens Gerardo is current AACRAO Board President, was Vice President for Access and Equity from 2010 to 2013, and is an institutional delegate to the College Board.

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi
Astrophysicist and Space Science Education Lead, NASA

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi grew up in some of the roughest neighborhoods in this country; he changed schools roughly 10 times in seven years. Living in chaotic circumstances led him to spend most of his time indoors reading and watching PBS nature shows. Discovering a love of science and a fascination with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Hakeem decided to teach himself these principles of science. He became determined to become a scientist and overcame incredible odds to earn 3 degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Tougaloo College, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford University.

After finishing up with school, Hakeem worked at one of Silicon Valley’s most successful companies and did research on manufacturing computer chips. Hakeem’s inventions can be found in the computer chips you use every day.

Sharing his roller-coaster ride of success and the setbacks he faced along the way, Hakeem inspires audiences around the world to chase their dreams no matter how unlikely they may seem.