Tom Black photo (cropped)

Tom Black

Assistant Vice Provost & University Registrar, The Johns Hopkins University

Tom Black is the Assistant Vice Provost & University Registrar at The Johns Hopkins University. He has worked in higher education for over 40 years in various administrative positions including the registrar offices of Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Most recently, he has worked to prototype the CLR (comprehensive learner record) with an emphasis on helping learners understand what knowledge, skills and abilities they are acquiring, and developing narratives that enable them to become successful in the marketplace.  Accordingly, he's turned his attention toward increasing the exchange of learner data using national standards while ensuring only authorized access to improve learner mobility in the marketplace. 

Ibram X. Kendi

Founding Director, Antiracist Research and Policy Center, American University

Ibram X. Kendi is the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped From The Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist. His relentless and passionate research puts into question the notion of a post-racial society and opens readers' and audiences' eyes to the reality of racism in America today. Kendi's lectures are sharp, informative, and hopeful, serving as a strong platform for any institution's discussions on racial discrimination.
When Dr. Ibram X. Kendi won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016 for a book about the history of racist ideas in America, some people felt a disconnect. Emerging from eight years of leadership under an African-American president, a narrative was building in America about the emergence of a post-racial society, colorblind to race and valuing merit over skin color. Kendi challenges this notion in his New York Times-bestselling book Stamped from the Beginning, taking an expansive view on race and racist ideas that spans from 15th century Europe until modern day America. Kendi’s insight on racist structures are the focus of his latest book, How to Be an Antiracist, which empowers readers and audiences to not only recognize the pervasive influence of racism and racist ideas, but to actively participate in dismantling it.
Kendi embarked on the research for his book under the assumption that the major producers of racist ideas were hateful and ignorant. And that borne from racist ideas were racist policies like slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration. But as Kendi dug deeper and contextualized motives, he began to gain a new understanding of the cause and effect actually at play. He soon discovered that political, economic, and cultural self-interest are behind the creation of racist policies and these policies in turn create the racist ideas that rationalize the deep inequities in everything from wealth to health.
Ibram X. Kendi is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is a frequent public speaker who speaks with great expertise and compassion about the findings of his book and how they can fit into the national conversation on racial and social justice.
Kendi has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the American Historical Association, Library of Congress, National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Brown University, Princeton University, Duke University, University of Chicago, and UCLA. Most recently, he was named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow for his work.
In addition to winning the National Book Award, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas was also named a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. The book was featured on many Best Books of 2016 lists, including in the Boston Globe, Kirkus, The Washington Post, The Root, Chicago Review of Books, and Buzzfeed.
Kendi has published numerous academic essays as well as op-eds in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, The Guardian, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972. In 2018, he was named a columnist for a new vertical of The Atlantic focusing on ideas, opinion, and political and cultural commentary.

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Joel Zeff

Author and Humorist

Joel Zeff creates energy. He is a dynamic speaker, improvisational humorist and author. His interactive performances invite members of the audience to participate in hilarious improvisational exercises that illustrate Joel's central message: That organizations and individuals should CELEBRATE every day successes to increase collaboration, productivity, passion and innovation.
Since 1997, Joel has inspired audiences from Wells Fargo to Samsung to KPMG and even the IRS. Yes, the IRS. Joel is a masterful public speaker and a nationally renowned motivator, lifelong humorist and improvisational actor.
His career is a search for fun and passion. He quickly realized the importance of both at his first jobs delivering the hometown newspaper and cleaning up trash at a suburban movie theater.
He started his professional career as a newspaper journalist and public relations executive. In 1994, Joel went out on his own as corporate communications specialist. He helped clients with their employee communications, media relations, strategy and customer marketing. Throughout the consulting process, Joel realized his clients – many of them high-level technology and telecommunications firms – needed more than marketing and public relations strategy. Many of his clients’ employees were starving for fun, passion and new perspective on finding success.
At the time, Joel was having fun on the weekends as a comedian. Through friends, he discovered improvisational comedy. One of his clients (a large technology company) knew Joel performed comedy on the weekend. The client asked him to play some improvisational games before dinner for a group of high level executives. He brought a fellow comedian and a corporate speaking career was born.
He connects to his audience with humor that has them laughing so uncontrollably that their mascara runs, their cheeks hurt, and their bellies ache. And he doesn't do it alone. Volunteers from the audience join him on stage and play an integral role in an improvisation game in front of hundreds or thousands of people—something the audience members have never done. He expects nothing less than their success. He expects the volunteers to focus and work together as a team; communicate effectively; positively support each other; and take responsibility.
Joel makes his audience laugh so hard that they forget about the corporate nonsense of conference calls, "strategic deliverables," PowerPoint presentations with upside-down triangles, or "paradigm shifts in a cross-functional organization." Make the Right Choice is conversational, funny, and very informative. Yes, Joel will make you laugh, but he'll also make you think. This presentation delivers a combination of inspiration, essential business knowledge, and significant ideas to help audience members reconnect with their own passion and success.
As discussed in his book, Make the Right Choice, Joel believes that we all encounter choices in our careers. We always have the opportunity to make the right choice to live a more creative, passionate, and productive life. How do you “make the right choice”? You can choose to provide opportunity. You can choose to provide positive support. And along the way, you can choose to have fun. It’s really that simple. Joel teaches us just how easy it is to make these choices.
When he is not speaking, Joel expresses his creativity as an actor, writer and comedian. He started performing professionally in 1992. In Dallas, he was co-host of The Movie Zone on UPN 21. He has appeared in dozens of commercials for numerous clients, including the Dallas Cowboys, Harrah's Casino,, Time Warner Cable, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Eagle Country Markets, and Extraco Bank. He has appeared in hundreds of corporate videos and has appeared on shows from CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch to the Fox Network’s Fox and Friends Weekend. His articles have been featured in The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Kansas City Star, among many other mainstream media outlets.

Paul C. McCarty

Registrar, Washington College

Paul McCarty is the Registrar at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. He began his career in higher education at the University of Denver where he was the Associate Registrar for Academic Services.

He has been involved in AACRAO both nationally and regionally--previously serving as on the board of directors and as newsletter editor for the Rocky Mountain Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (RMACRAO).

James Miller

Director of Admissions, Seattle University

Miller, host of Admit It, brings a passion for the inclusive mission of higher education and the development of recruitment and enrollment plans that open the doors as widely as possible to those who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education. 

Miller has worked in the admissions office for 13 years serving the University of Washington Bothell, Oregon State University, University of San Francisco, and University of Puget Sound.

Miller received a Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Psychology from Oregon State University. He has served in leadership positions in state, regional and national professional organizations. 

Christopher Huang

Registrar, Wheaton College

Chris Huang is the Registrar at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has served as a registrar since 2006 at both private and public institutions. Chris’ career in higher education began as an admissions counselor at this alma mater, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He holds a Master of Arts in Communication from Purdue Northwest. Since 2013, Chris has been an active member of the Illinois Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers holding several leadership positions: District Chair, Professional Activities Officer and President.

Since 2017, Chris has been involved with AACRAO’s Asian and Pacific-Islander Caucus. He currently serves as the Chair of the Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus. 

Connect with Chris on LinkedIn. 

Kristy Goodwin

Kristy is Director of the College Pathways Program at Governors State University. Beginning her career at Rush University Meical Center as a coordinator, Kristy is highly involved in AACRAO, with special emphasis on programs that call to her passions: mentorship, youth advancement, and developing future leaders. 

Years of experience with program development, public speaking, recruitment and admissions, and program development in higher education have made her no stranger to challenges and new ideas. Her skills and education speaks to a plethora of experiences as a leader in and out of the higher education network.

Connect with Kristy on LinkedIn. 

Ewa Nowicki CC

Ewa Nowicki

Ewa (she/her/hers) began her career in education in 2003 working as a teacher, and in 2008 she started her journey in higher education as an academic administrator. She has served at institutions such as Boston University, Stanford University, and Amherst College. 

Ewa is currently a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University and an Education Policy Fellow with the Institute for Educational Leadership and Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy. She is passionate about advancing access, equity, and inclusion for all members of higher education learning communities.

Connect with Ewa on LinkedIn. 

Soraira Urquiza CC

Soraira Urquiza

Registrar, American Film Institute Conservatory

Soraira is the Registrar for the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, California. A native of Los Angeles with over ten years of registrar’s office experience, she is currently the chair of the Latinx Caucus. She completed her MA degree at CSU Northridge in Chicana/o Studies and is currently working on her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Soraira is very passionate about higher education both as an administrator and faculty. She has taught courses in Chicana/o Studies at various community colleges in LA as well as CSUN. When not working on her dissertation she can be found at Disneyland, teaching 6 am spin classes at her local gym or at her hobby-job, giving tours of Dodger Stadium. GO DODGERS!

Kimberley Buster-Williams

Vice President for Enrollment Management, University of Mary Washington

Kimberley Buster-Williams has been a member of AACRAO 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. 


Buster-Williams earned an Ed.S. degree in Higher Education Administration, a master's degree in Education Administration, and a bachelor's degree in English, all from Old Dominion University. She also has a postmaster's certificate in leadership from the University of Michigan's Center for the Education of Women.

Kimberley’s background includes extensive work in strategic planning, enrollment management in the academic context, access and diversity, branding/marketing, and assessment. Kimberley has published over 20 articles in several academic journals and has presented at AACRAO related conferences. Recent presentations include “SEM and Retention; The Perfect Pair” AACRAO Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Conference, November 2018 and "We check More Than One Racial Category... Are You Ready for Us?" (College Board Southern Regional Forum, February 2016). 

Luisa Havens Gerardo

Vice Provost 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 currently serving as President for AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) and also served as Vice President for Access and Equity from 2010 to 2013 for AACRAO and is an institutional delegate to the College Board.
Originally from Honduras, she holds a BS degree in Radio and TV production, a Master's degree in Resource Recreation and Tourism and a Education with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration from the University of Idaho.
Throughout her career, Dr. Havens Gerardo has worked with diverse, underrepresented and/or at-risk populations. Such experiences contributed to her doctoral research focus culminating in her doctoral dissertation titled “Academic integration and self-efficacy: An exploratory study of at-risk student persistence”. In her role at FIU and previously at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), both Hispanic Serving Institutions with strong commitment to access and student success, she diligently worked on initiatives aimed at serving transfer students, military veterans, low socioeconomic status (SES) populations and first generation college students. She frequently presents at local, regional and national forums on varied topics such as applying strategic enrollment management practices at urban universities, process reengineering in enrollment services, staff development and training and leadership/management development.

Amardeep Kahlon cropped

Amardeep Kahlon

Assistant Dean Distance Learning & External Relations, Austin Community College

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.

As the founder and chair of the annual Fast Track to Success conference, Dr. Kahlon has created a valuable forum to discuss innovation in higher education across Texas. In October 2017, the Chronicle of Higher Education profiled her as one of the top ten innovators for her work in CBE. She was the lead for the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate project at Austin Community College (ACC). Prior to assuming her current roles, Dr. Kahlon spent a sabbatical year (2013-14) in India as the founding Dean of Academics at an emerging new university. She has presented at local, state, and international conferences and has been invited to speak in different forums.

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. Dr. Kahlon earned a Masters in Computer Science from Binghamton University and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.


Dhanfu Elston

Dhanfu E. Elston

Vice President for 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.


Dr. Elston earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University where he conducted research in student retention, intercultural relations, learning communities, leadership development, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He earned both an M.A. in Educational Leadership and B.S. in Biology from Clark Atlanta University.

John Papinchak

University Registrar, Carnegie Mellon University

In his role as University Registrar, John Papinchak focuses on student privacy, data stewardship and governance, academic policy, academic calendars, and university learning spaces. John began working at Carnegie Mellon's Office of Admission in 1984 and in 1988 became an Associate Director of Admission. He served as the Director of Summer Studies from 1986 until 1994. In 1994, he became Carnegie Mellon's University Registrar. He was involved with the re-engineering of Enrollment Services in 1995 and with implementing several process improvements including the first Student Information Online (SIO), online registration (OLR) and electronic grades (E-Grades/FIO). He has since been intimately involved in the Student Services Suite (S3) project to modernize SIO, the implementation of My Plaid Student, the current development of the S3 Admin Console and S3 Faculty Course & Grade Information, and the development of the Student Data Warehouse (SDW). John currently sits on the Associate Deans Council, Associate Deans for Graduate Programs, the University Education Council, Learning Spaces and Information as an Asset Teams, and he serves on the University Committee on Discipline. He is also co-chair of the Veteran Students’ Success Steering Committee.

John received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with an additional major in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 1984. In 1990, he earned a Master of Science degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. He is active in several professional organizations, including American Association of University Registrars, on which he currently serves as a board member and Conference Program Director, MSACRAO, and AACRAO, where he serves on the Program Activities Committee. John is a former Staff Council Representative and Chair, and former member of the Carnegie Mellon Admissions Council (CMAC). He has served as the co-sponsor of Carnegie Mellon's Faculty/Staff blood drives with the Central Blood Bank since 1986. He is also a faculty advisor with Alpha Phi Omega's Kappa Chapter, presently chairing the Advisory Committee. He has served as a Class of 1984 representative as part of the Inspire Innovation campaign, an alumni volunteer, and is a member of the Order of The May and a Loyal Scot.

Outside of Carnegie Mellon, John was formerly involved as a Cubmaster and Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America, local Little League president and coach, local soccer association president and board member, and recreational and travel soccer coach. He remains active as a local soccer referee officiating youth and high school matches and is the current registrar for the Western PA State Referee Committee. John lives in South Park with his wife and has three adult sons.

Beka Tavartkiladze

Senior Director, Evaluation Services at World Education Services

Beka has 17 years of experience in credential evaluation and has extensive knowledge of foreign educational systems and the issues surrounding the recognition of international educational credentials. He frequently presents on foreign educational systems and the recognition of international educational qualifications at national and international conferences and workshops.

Chantel Reynolds

Recognitions Manager, Cambridge Assessment International Education

Chantel Reynolds is a Recognitions Manager with Cambridge Assessment International Education, where she engages with college and universities across the southern United States.  In this role, Chantel supports faculty and administrators as they develop comprehensive prior learning assessment policies that acknowledge the skills and experiences Cambridge students bring to the institution.

Prior to joining Cambridge International, Chantel served in a similar role at the College Board, where she supported institutions using both ACCUPLACER and CLEP.  Chantel was the primary project manager for the implementation of two statewide custom assessments: the NC_DAP for the North Carolina Community College System and the TSI Assessment for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  In addition, she has several years of experience in student services and academic support and as adjunct faculty at both two- and four-year institutions.  She is currently pursuing her Ed.D in community college leadership.

In her spare time, Chantel volunteers with the Earthwatch Institute, a non-profit environmental organization, working on projects ranging from panda conservation in China to archaeological sites in Italy to orca observation off the coast of Iceland.  She is happy to tell stories and share photos.

Adina Chapman

Recognitions Manager, Cambridge Assessment International Education

Adina Chapman is a Recognitions Manager with Cambridge Assessment International Education, where she engages with college and universities across the western United States and Canada.  In this role, Adina supports faculty and administrators as they develop comprehensive prior learning assessment policies that acknowledge the skills and experiences Cambridge students bring to the institution.

Prior to joining Cambridge International, Adina served in a similar role at the College Board as Director of Higher Education Policy Analysis, where she communicated AP Program changes and developed research-based support for teams of College Board staff to use in cultivating AP policies, with a particular focus on statewide policies.  At the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Adina led the statewide general education taskforce, faculty development, policy development on statewide transfer initiatives, and implementation of CollegeSources's Transfer Equivalency System (TES) with Kentucky’s public registrars. In addition, she began her career at the Kentucky Approving Agency for Veterans Education, a part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) where she reviewed and recommended improvements to academic, admissions, and financial aid policies as well as approved programs at Kentucky colleges and universities to ensure that veterans received quality education and training that foster economic growth and opportunity for them and the Commonwealth.

In her spare time, Adina volunteers with Hands Up for the Children, a not for profit organization in Denver whose mission is to feed hungry children and nourish their souls by providing nutritious food on the weekends and during vacations to food insecure school children.

Van C. Wilson

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Strategic Initiatives, VCCS

Dr. Van C. Wilson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Strategic Initiatives has over 35 years of experience in post-secondary 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.
Prior to joining the VCCS, Dr. Wilson served as Associate Vice President for Student Learning and Success for the North Carolina Community College System.  He also worked as Vice President for Student Services at Forsyth Community College located in Winston-Salem North Carolina and held leadership positions at Winston-Salem State University and Western Carolina University. 

Sully Saucedo

Assistant Director International Admissions - Texas Women's University

Sully Saucedo currently serves as Assistant Director, International Admissions at Texas Woman's University. She has worked in higher educations for 18 years, including seven years in international education. She has co-presented at regional NAFSA conferences, the 2018 AACRAO Annual Meeting and previously served on the AACRAO International Admissions Committee. Prior to her current role, Sully held positions in the Office of the Registrar and Office of Internal Audits.

Chris Adams

Asst Director International Admissions Ops - Indiana University Bloomington

Chris Adams completed his bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 2011 and entered into the field of international education at Indiana University (IU) soon after. Following roles as a data processor and international credentials analyst in the Office of International Services at IU, he now serves as Assistant Director of International Admissions Operations, ensuring that all international applications to the university are successfully processed. Chris has participated with AACRAO on many professional endeavors including a research trip to Cuba and a paper on best practice for admitting displaced and at-risk populations to US universities. He is currently completing a master’s degree in International and Comparative Education at Indiana University.