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Opening Plenary: Dr. Talithia Williams, Harvey Mudd College

Wednesday, February 15, 2–3:15 p.m.

Dr. Talithia Williams takes sophisticated numerical concepts, including her specialty field big data, and makes them understandable and relatable to everyone. As illustrated in her popular TED Talk, "Own Your Body's Data," she demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways, using statistics as a way of seeing the world in a new light and transforming our future through the bold new possibilities inherent in the STEM (science, technology, mathematics, and engineering) fields. As an associate professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, she has made it her life's work to get people—students, parents, educators, and community members— more excited about the possibilities inherent in a STEM education.

Dr. Williams develops statistical models focusing on spatial and temporal data and has partnered with the World Health Organization to develop a cataract model used to predict the cataract surgical rate for developing countries. Her professional career includes research appointments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the National Security Agency, and NASA.

She holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Rice University and earned two master’s degrees, one in mathematics from Howard University and one in statistics from Rice University.


Plenary Panel: Education Policy with a New Administration and Stronger State Role

Thursday, February 16, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

The November election came at a pivotal time for education policy—just as states were gearing up to implement the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Now, big questions remain, chief among them: How will the new presidential administration put its stamp on ESSA and federal education policy? ESSA had already shifted control of K-12 education back to the states, and now the new administration promises an even smaller role for the federal government. States will really be in the driver’s seat as they work to revamp their assessment and accountability systems to better prepare students for college and career. Hear from state leaders and education experts who are trying to navigate this new normal.

Moderator: Leighann Lenti - Executive Director, State Relations - The College Board - TX


  • Sandra Arteaga - Title I Specialist - Okaloosa County Schools - FL
  • Gene Bottoms - Senior Vice President - Southern Regional Education Board - GA
  • Amanda Ellis - Associate Commissioner - Kentucky Department of Education - KY


The College Admissions Panel

Friday, February 17, 10:45–11:45 a.m.

A panel of college admissions officers and will host an open forum to discuss issues in college admissions and financial aid. Participants will leave this professional development opportunity with a better understanding of the key issues in college admissions and enrollment process.


  • Tim Amyx - Director of Admissions & Registrar - Volunteer State Community College - TN
  • Barbara Polk - Deputy Director of Undergraduate Admissions - University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill - NC
  • Ingrid Hayes - Vice President for Enrollment Management - Spelman College - GA
  • John Latting - Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment and Dean of Admission - Emory University - GA