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Please see the tentative Agenda below for each day's activities. Click here for a list of helpful FAQs.
Please note: All times are Eastern Time (ET). 

Achieving the Dream’s Virtual Equity and Justice Institute Agenda

May 1, 2024



11:00–11:10 a.m.

Equity and Justice Institute Welcome and Framing


Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO, Achieving the Dream

Francesca I. Carpenter, Director of Equity Initiatives, Achieving the Dream

11:10 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Opening Keynote: Policy, Practice, Call to Action


Syrita Steib, Founder and Executive Director, Operation Restoration

12:05–1:00 p.m.

Session Block 1

Equity Principle 1: Develop an Equity Mindset
Equity Practices for Cultivating an Equity Mindset

Leveraging Emotional Intelligence for Success in DEI Initiatives
As we navigate the complexities of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work, it's imperative to transcend cultural boundaries and embrace the emotional intelligence principles that foster meaningful connections. During this session, attendees will learn how to harness the power of emotional intelligence in DEI conversations and actions.


Keisha Jones, VP of Student Affairs/Chief Diversity Officer, Davidson-Davie Community College and Director of Equity at the North Carolina Student Success Center

Equity Principle 3: Integrate Holistic Supports Throughout the Student Experience

Caring for the Whole Student: Culturally Affirming Supports for Minoritized and Marginalized Students
Over the last decade, there has been an increase in need for mental health support on community college campuses. During this session, a Tribal College and South African institution share strategies that work to center the whole student in care services.


Dr. Loyiso Maciko, Program Specialist, SAIDE

Representative from an ATD Network Tribal College

Equity Principle 2: Interrogate Institutional Practices, Structures, and Policies and Replace Those That Are Inequitable

Going Beyond Access: The Pell Grant and Justice-Impacted Students
The July 2023 return of Pell Grant eligibility for all people in prisons brings not only a monumental shift in opportunity but also a responsibility to ensure that everyone — regardless of race or ethnicity — has access to opportunity. During this session, learn how to advance racial equity from all positions, particularly by those who are responsible for administering programs, such as prison education program directors from postsecondary institutions as well as education and programs directors from corrections agencies.


Ruth Delaney, Initiative Director, Unlocking Potential, Vera Institute of Justice

Kayla James, Senior Program Associate, Vera Institute of Justice

12:55–1:40 p.m.

Session Block 2

Equity Principle 6: Drive Positive Change Through Perseverance and Power Sharing

Introduction to UndocuAllyship: Supporting Students Impacted by Undocumentation
In order to increase postsecondary access, enrollment, and success for undocumented students, it is essential to understand the challenges they face. This session will provide practical tips for working with students while learning about affirming language, deconstructing harmful narratives, common barriers, and undocu-friendly options.


Elaine Utin, Co-Founder, LatinXEd

Equity Principle 3: Integrate Holistic Supports Throughout the Student Experience (HSS)

Community College of Philadelphia: I Am More Reentry Engagement Program
I am More” is a college-wide initiative designed to holistically address the academic, career, and social needs of justice-involved students as they pursue a certificate or associate degree at the the Community College of Philadelphia. During this session, hear from a college who has developed a specialized program, and learn how it can be replicated at other institutions.


Dr. Derrick A. Perkins, Executive Director, Student Transition Success Programs, Community College of Philadelphia

Equity Principle 7: Engage With the Local Community To Develop Partnerships That Lead to Economic Vitality

Opening Closed Doors: Supporting Students in Custody, Adjudicated, and Reentering the Community

Navigating the steps to start college and accessing resources needed to be successful requires dedicated support and counsel. During this session, participants will learn how one community college helps justice-impacted students navigate the institution in partnership with Youth Rights and Justice Oregon’s leading nonprofit law firm dedicated exclusively to children and families and how another college works with paralegals to determine if students are eligible to have prior arrests or convictions expunged or sealed from their records.


Allison Trowbridge, PDX Bridge Coordinator, Portland Community College

Josue Gomez and Seth Lichenstein-Hill, J.D., Youth Rights and Justice

Keeley Mitchell, JD, MBA, MAHD, Assistant Professor, Delaware County Community College Expungement Clinic

1:45–2:30 p.m.

Mental Health Matters — Strategies for Moving Forward with Care

Community and technical colleges are looking for new ways to build and enhance their capacity to support students, particularly those seeking mental health assistance. During this closing plenary, practitioners from colleges working to increase their capacity to support mental health services will join ATD staff in highlighting high-impact policies and practices.


Dr. Melinda Anderson, Executive Director for Network Engagement, Achieving the Dream

Dr. Abraham Dones, Vice President, Chief Student Services Officer, Durham Technical Community College

Jairo McMican, Associate Director of Equity Initiatives, Achieving the Dream 

2:30–3:00 p.m.   Plenary Session: Fighting the Injustice of Politicized Attacks on DEI
Many states have passed legislative bans on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and public agencies. In this session, Dr. Shaun Harper will briefly discuss the impact of these new laws on higher education institutions and on system-impacted Americans. He will also offer strategic, collaborative ways to stop the anti-DEI movement from further threatening our democracy.



Dr. Monica Parrish Trent, Chief Program and Network Officer, Achieving the Dream 

Dr. Shaun Harper,  University Professor, Provost Professor of Education and Business, Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, USC Race and Equity Center Founder and Executive Director  

May 2, 2024



11:00–11:10 a.m.

Welcome and Overview of Day 1
During the Day 2 opening session, the ATD Equity team will provide a recap of Day 1 and preview upcoming equity work.


Jairo McMican, Associate Director of Equity Initiatives, Achieving the Dream

11:10 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Plenary Session: Pell Reinstatement for Incarcerated Learners: What Next?

Addressing broader educational equity and policy issues is essential to ensuring success for incarcerated students. The Day 2 keynote examines the impact of Pell Grant reinstatement on higher education in prisons, focusing on how it affects academic institutions, incarcerated students, and correctional facilities.


Ved Price, Executive Director, Alliance for Higher Education in Prison and student panel

12:05–12:55 p.m.

Session Block 3

Equity Principle 2: Interrogate Institutional Practices, Structures, and Policies and Replace Those That Are Inequitable

Beyond Words, Beyond Bars: Empowering Justice-Impacted Students to Break the Cycle
Community College prison programs face many barriers, ranging from access to funding to accurate data collection. During this session, participants will learn innovative strategies that have been implemented, showcasing how institutions are transforming education and rehabilitation opportunities available to incarcerated students.


Molly Lasagna, Senior Program Officer — Expand Postsecondary Education in Prison, Ascendium Education Group


Dr. Laura Ferguson-Mimms, Executive Director of Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) 

Jamol Wynn, Nashville State Community College Student and THEI-Affiliate

Nicole Hendricks, Director, Western Mass CORE, Holyoke Community College

Equity Principle 2: Interrogate Institutional Practices, Structures, and Policies and Replace Those That Are Inequitable

Equity at Work: Workforce Programs and Student Success

Colleges and stakeholders in the learn and work ecosystem are crucial in connecting formally incarcerated students with high-paying jobs. During this session, learn about the levers necessary to ensure every person with a record has a fair chance to secure a quality job and a better life.


Ramona Curtis, Director for Workforce Programming, Tulsa Community College and DEI Consultant

Dr. Brandon Warren, Director of Reentry Services and Adjunct Professor, Lee College

Dr. Jenna Dreier, Director, Solutions Design & Delivery, JFF

Equity Principle 4: Embrace Cultural Competence and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

Fostering Algorithmic Equity: Navigating AI's Impact on Higher Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to impact higher education, social justice, and equity. This session will explore how AI can be used in community colleges, examining the potential negative impact on different communities and populations of students and ways to mitigate negative effects.


Francesca I. Carpenter, Director of Equity Initiatives, Achieving the Dream

H. Ray Keith, Associate Director, Teaching and Learning, Achieving the Dream

Eric Fiero, Project Manager, Program Development, Achieving the Dream

Paula Talley, Executive Director, Program Development, Achieving the Dream

1:00–1:45 p.m.

Session Block 4

Equity Principle 8: Acknowledge the Pervasiveness of Racism and Discrimination in the United States of America

Lasting Impact: Navigating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from a Student and Staff Perspective

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important aspects of a student’s experience. During this session, community college students and staff will discuss how lived experiences, cultural wealth, and the embracement necessary to ensure diversity thrives.


Kaye Trent-Pierce, West Texas A&M student, transfer student from Austin Community College

Patricio Tinoco, 2024 DREAM Scholar (Gateway to College), Madison College

Kendra Carnes, Student Trustee, Compton College

Dr. Samuel Echevarria-Cruz, Professor of Sociology and President-Elect, ACC Faculty Senate, Austin Community College

Dr. Eva Martinez Powless, Interim VP of Enrollment & Retention, Milwaukee Area Technical College

Dr. Monica Parrish Trent, Chief Network and Program Officer, Achieving the Dream

Equity Principle 7: Engage With the Local Community to Develop Partnerships That Lead to Economic Vitality

Building Lasting Community Partnerships to Optimize Student Success

Through collaborative efforts with community organizations, educational institutions can provide a holistic support system that addresses the unique needs of justice-impacted students, ultimately leading to improved outcomes and personal growth. Participants will explore best practices for establishing and maintaining these partnerships, as well as strategies for leveraging community resources to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for justice-impacted students.


Tom Prendergast, Executive Director, Strategic and Institutional Transformation, North Central State College

Dr. Wendi Dew, Executive Director, Coaching Practice, Achieving the Dream


Plenary Session: It’s Never Too Late To Do Good 

Dr. Stanley Andrisse, executive director and president of the board of Prison to Professionals, will present content focused on how attendees can effectively support justice-impacted students by sharing his story and providing evidence-based strategies.


Dr. Stanley Andrisse, Executive Director and President of Board, Prison to Professionals

2:45–3:00 p.m.

Closing Session


Francesca I. Carpenter, Director of Equity Initiatives, Achieving the Dream

Jairo McMican, Associate Director, Achieving the Dream