MARIE-CHRISTINE WILLIAMS - Keynote Speaker
Marie-Christine Williams is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Africa. She was just 14 years old when it began. She hid in horror as her family was attacked, then fled her home, alone.
As a speaker, Marie-Christine captivates and inspires audiences with her account of determination adn survival. She explores the nature of forgiveness, and the healing power of compassion and service to others. Her dramatic message of faith and hope is designed for all people who want to bring meaning into their lives.
Marie volunteers with a focus on the needs of children. She serves as a board member of Little Patriots Embraced, a nonprofit organization assisting the children of US Military families.
She lives in St. Louis with her child and late husband's family.
Dr. Davis Jenkins - Plenary Session Speaker
Davis Jenkins is a senior research scholar at Community College Research Center. He works with colleges and states to find ways to improve educational and employment outcomes for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Jenkins’s research and thinking have informed the development and spread of innovative approaches to improving student outcomes, including career pathways, adult technical bridge programs (such as Washington State's I-BEST), and guided pathways to success (GPS).
Together with Thomas Bailey and Shanna Jaggars, he is the author of a new book, Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success (Harvard University Press, 2015), which synthesizes key findings from CCRC’s research on strategies for improving student completion and learning.
He is currently leading research projects aimed at improving the effectiveness of 2- and 4-year institutions in enabling community college transfer students to earn college degrees and on identifying strategies for helping students enter a program of study suited to their interests and aspirations.
Jenkins holds a PhD in public policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University and a BA from Princeton University.
Dr. Jed Richardson - plenary session speaker
Dr. Jed Richardson is an applied microeconomist focused on education policy. He has studied the academic impacts of student risk factors such as placement in out of home care and contact with the juvenile justice system, early warning and response models, and the design of school accountability systems. Jed has led several large-scale research efforts in conjunction with colleges and universities, school districts, and researchers across the country. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Davis.