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Featured Speakers


Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D.
Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, Temple University

Opening Plenary

Addressing Students’ Basic Needs with a Culture of Caring

Financial stability is critical to success in college. In this talk Dr. Goldrick-Rab discusses the new economics of college and how they create conditions of poverty. Based on her extensive research, she documents the consequences for what she calls “#RealCollege” students and colleges, and describes approaches for addressing these challenges with a culture of caring. This includes a multi-level approach to shifting both practice and policy, and that begins by recognizing that students are humans first.

D. Mark McCoy
President, DePauw University

Monday Plenary Presenter

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."

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

Closing Plenary

The Stars in My Soul:
My Unlikely Journey Through Space and Time

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.