H.O.P.E. Academy

Faculty

Our professors are recognized for their contributions to their respective fields and put students first.  The H.O.P.E. Academy faculty have dedicated a portion of their summer committed to the mission and goals of the Academy.  They engage students in relevant academic coursework, using a student centered approach while teaching students to work together.

 

Presenters

The dynamic presenters for H.O.P.E. Academy are experts in many different fields and bring excitement and critical thinking to their audiences.  All bring with them a wealth of knowledge in working with students to reach their fullest potential and tools to become successful.  

Daniel Bergstrom
Daniel Bernstrom
Daniel Bergstrom works for Minnesota State College -- Southeast Technical as the Learning Resource Center Coordinator. He oversees the Red Wing campus library, the tutoring services, and the placement testing while employing and training 25 to 30 student tutors each academic year. Together, the LRC team has helped students at the technical college leap out of F and D range, by employing a hands off, inquiry based, mentoring approach. We don't just offer academic help, we offer hope.

Don Salyards
Dr. Don Salyards

Don Salyards was born in 1949 in Casper, Wyoming USA. He was raised in Omaha, Nebraska. His background education has been B.A (Bus. Admin.) Graceland College – 1971, an M.A. (Econ) Kansas State University – 1972 and a Ph.D. (Econ), Kansas State University – 1975. Don’s wife of 40 years, Deb, sadly passed away on June 13, 2012 after a 22-month battle with cancer. Deb established the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast in Winona, MN, which remains in active operation today. Prior to her death, Deb was the 3rd Ward Council Representative in Winona, MN.

Son Tad is a 1998 graduate of the University of Minnesota. Tad and his wife Lisa live and work in Minneapolis. They have a two sons; Marek born in December 2007 and Silas born in June of 2011.

Daughter Tara Venable is a 2004 graduate of the University of Minnesota. She and her husband Bob reside in Winona, MN. Bob works for GEICO and Tara works for Wincraft, Inc.

Don continues to operate the family bed and breakfast with help from employees. The Salyards family Italianate homestead (circa 1870) is in Winona, MN. The family also owns a classic 3-flat Victorian Greystone (circa 1895) just two blocks from Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL.

Jo'Hon Vance
JáHon Vance

Professor Vance is a world renowned educational administrator and facilitator with twenty years of work experience that extends from K-12 to Higher Education. His academic background in African American Literature, Curriculum Redesign, Educational Administration, Humanities, Music, and Teaching and Learning has afforded him the great opportunity to be recognized both nationally and internationally in the field of education. In addition, Professor Vance’s academic background includes work at Cornell University, Harvard University, Jackson State University, Northeastern University, Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Princeton University and Wayne State University.

Today, he is highly praised and respected for his savvy work with academic testing, teacher education training programs, recruitment, educating and graduating African American male students in higher education, retention, as well, redesigning developmental educational writing programs. When Professor Vance is not working with students and conducting instructional training sessions for educators, he can be found presenting workshops for Innovative Educators, National Association for Developmental Education, Noel-Levitz National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention, The National HBCU Faculty Development Symposium Conference, The National Youth At-Risk Conference, Oxford Round Table, and The QUEST: Minority Male Annual Conference.

Recently, Professor Vance used a zero dollar budget to operate a successful structural learning community by the name of QUEST that he designed and developed specifically for African American males to earn an Associate of Arts Degree in one year, while producing more than 12.5 million dollars in FTEs, as well as, secured a 2.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2011. To add to his academic leadership credit, Professor Vance made history and changed the educational teaching and learning platform by producing six consecutive classes of graduates from 2009-2014 at Baltimore City Community College using his “One Year Degree Model Concept—The QUEST.”

In addition, his innovative writing concept—which implores the use of The Vance-Brooks Writing Model—provided successful outcomes over a four year period that helped students matriculate from developmental educational writing courses to credit-level writing courses with the needed skills to advance in higher education.

Lastly, Professor Vance’s philosophy for education is simple: “All persons are capable of learning, but the educator must be creative and skilled to reach, to teach, and to meet the various academic needs, but most importantly, the educator must act as the change agent that constantly works to foster continual awareness in every soul.”

Robert Duerst
Robert (Bob) Duerst

B.S. Biochemistry, B.S. Biology, University of Minnesota, Duluth High School Science Teaching Licensures, Viterbo University M.S. Ed, Physics Emphasis, University of Wisconsin, River Falls M.S. Biology, Clemson University

Robert Duerst has been an instructor as Southeast Tech since 2014. Before coming to Southeast Tech he taught at several colleges and universities, and two rural Wisconsin high schools. He also has worked in an ecology lab studying how invasive zooplankton impact the biomagnification of mercury in Minnesota lakes, and worked in a genetics lab characterizing genes responsible for nectar secretion in the Brassica genus. When not at work he enjoys working out with his wife, hanging out with his children, reading science fiction, gardening, and camping.

Nate Emerson
Nate Emerson

Nate Emerson currently serves as Vice President of Student Affairs at Minnesota State Southeast Technical College. He has over 26 years of experience in higher education to include: admissions counselor, director of financial aid, director of institutional research and interim director of finance. He dedicated to community service with his involvement with the Kiwanis, Special Olympics and the Human Rights Commission of Winona, Minnesota.

Mary Jo Klinker
Dr. Mary Jo Klinker

Dr. Mary Jo Klinker teaches courses in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Winona State. She teaches courses ranging from “Feminist Theories and Politics,” “Introduction to LGBTQ Studies,” “Contemporary Masculinities,” and “Intersections of Power and Privilege.” She received her PhD in American Studies from the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University. When she isn’t teaching, she enjoys spending time with her dog, cooking, and engaging in feminist analysis of popular culture.

Fredrick Lee
Fredrick Lee

Fred Lee is the chairperson and professor in the Political Science department and has been at WSU for 23 years. He is a Vietnam –era veteran and has a son and two grandchildren. Fred enjoys teaching and has lived in France. He’s excited for this year’s H.O.P.E. Academy!

Fariborz Parsi
Fariborz Parsi

Fariborz Parsi was born in 1961 in Tehran, Iran where he attended Alborz High School. He moved to the United States in 1979 to pursue his educational career path. Mr. Parsi completed his undergraduate and graduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC). He has been a professor of Engineering at Winona State University since 1991. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family.

Paul Stern
Paul Stern

Paul Stern currently serves the Associate Director of Enrollment/Guest Services at Winona State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in education from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN.

Paul began his journey with martial arts in 1989. He has studied martial arts consistently from that time forward with an emphasis on Choy li Fut, Baji Quan and Chen Taiji Quan. He has studied extensively in Taiwan, Canada, and Europe. He received instructor certification from the Miao Kong Traditional Chinese Martial arts association of Taiwan in 2000. He continues to instruct locally through Manitou Martial Arts and Wellness Center in Winona offering ongoing martial arts and meditation instruction to the larger Winona community.

Anthony Anderson
Mr. Anthony James
Anderson was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. He received his formal education through the Milwaukee Public School System. After finishing high school, Anthony was accepted into the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and majored in Speech Communication and minored in political science. During his time in college, he was the president of the Black Student Union, Manager of the Men’s Basketball Team, Residential Advisor, Admissions Intern, Kansas City Chiefs Equipment Manager, and Assistant Pre-College Coordinator. Anthony received Chancellor’s Award during his senior year in college for outstanding leadership. After graduating from college Anthony accepted a dual role position as the Trio Upward Bound Academic Advisor and Precollege Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Both of these positions allowed Anthony to work with closely with low-income, underrepresented, and first generation college students. Anthony is a firm believer in building positive relationships that foster and nurture students’ success in the classroom. Anthony currently works as the African American Cultural Liaison at Roseville High School. Some of his responsibilities are: family engagement, African American Leaders Club, Distinguished Gentlemen Group, Equity Coach, and Avid Site Team Member. This is Anthony’s third year with the prestigious Hope Academy Program. Anthony lives in St. Paul, MN. He enjoys coaching basketball and cooking during his leisure time.

Maria McLemore
Maria McLemore
Maria McLemore often says the most challenging and fulfilling role she’s ever held is “raising children in the age of social media.” A major gift officer for the University of Minnesota, McLemore shares stories of growing up in St. Louis and of how life’s experiences—the good and the bad—continue to guide her passions, choices and, most importantly, her decisions as a mother, wife and an African-American woman. McLemore has over 21 years of advancement experience, which includes 17 years in higher education fundraising. She and her husband share in the joy of watching their adult son and two teenage daughters continue the family’s legacy of love, leadership, learning and laughter.

Carl Stange
Carl Stange

Jessie Mancilla
Jessie Mancilla
Jessie Mancilla graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelors of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film. He was a video editor in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. He volunteered with the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese, Pastoral Juvenil Hispana and continued volunteering in pastoral care with the Catholic Worker Houses in Winona, Minnesota. In Winona, Jessie continued his studies at Winona State University, receiving a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Masters in Organizational Leadership. As a servant leader, Jessie is currently an Academic Advisor and Recruitment and Retention Specialist for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity at Winona State University. He serves on various campus committees and creates partnerships with the local Latino community.

Xao Vang
Xao Vang

Adja Gildersleve
Adja Gildersleve
Adja Gildersleve (they/them pronouns) is a Black, Queer agitator, media creator, and educator born in California and raised in Southeast Minnesota. They received a B.A. in Political Science from Winona State University and currently works in digital media and is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. While in college, they experienced the racial inequity and became involved with multicultural student groups on campus that were organizing around racial inclusivity. As a part of a multicultural student group they attended a conference on diversity and leadership that gave the language to talk about white supremacy and racial equity. As a Digital Equity Specialist with the City of Minneapolis, Adja played a major role in shaping and developing equitable strategies internally at the City. Adja is deeply passionate about social justice and empowering youth and adults to access tools and identify power.

Leaving the Margins: Importance of Taking up Space
This workshop will address the importance of what it means for oppressed people to take up space in the primarily white state of Minnesota. In the age of white supremacy, it is the default for historically looted and marginalized people to be excluded from taking up space in many arenas. Now that times are shifting it is important to be aware and intentional about how we claim space.

Dr. Keith Brooks
Dr. Keith Brooks

Sylvette Lopez-Ruth
Sylvette Lopez-Ruth

J Mase III
J Mase III
J Mase III is a Black/Trans/Queer/Rowdy-as-Hell Poet with a capital [P] based in New York City and creator of the national performance event, Cupid Ain’t @#$%!: An Anti-Valentine’s Day Poetry Movement. As a performer and teaching poet, J Mase III has rocked venues internationally from London to San Francisco at colleges and radio stations to group homes and youth centers. An organ donor, J Mase is author of If I Should Die Under the Knife, Tell My Kidney I Was the Fiercest Poet Around. In J Mase’s other life as an educator and activist he has worked with thousands of community members and service providers across the country on the needs of LGBTQ youth and adults in spaces such as faith communities, elementary schools, domestic violence shelters, medical agencies, juvenile justice organizations, foster care programs among others. Formerly affiliated with organizations such as the nationally recognized, Soulforce, Mase recently served as co-director of the 2012 Equality Ride helping to take 18 young adult leaders across the country to stop spiritual and political abuse aimed at LGBTQ people in religiously conservative areas.

On his off time, he can also be found contributing to various academic and literary publications to keep his mind busy; some of these publications include the Vanderbilt African American Lectionary Online to talk about gay teens in the church, the anthology Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work to share insight about gender and genitalia and as regular contributor to T in Philly. As a facilitator, he currently works with organizations like Your Identity Kit to keep the dialogue going about faith and affirmation all over the country.

Dr. John Campbell
Dr. John Campbell

Professor of History
Director of Law and Society Major
PhD University of Minnesota

Professor Campbell received his BA from Wesleyan University and studied at the University of Minnesota for his master’s and doctorate degrees. His teaching areas at Winona State are Early United States (pre-1878), African-American history, Native American history, Southern history, Civil War history, The Civil Rights Movement and historical methods. His research areas primarily focus on topics of slavery, abolition, the South and the Seminole Indian Wars.

Dr. Campbell has numerous scholarly publications including articles in The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Slavery and Abolition and The Journal of Southern History. He also has had scholarly essays published in the following volumes: The Slaves' Economy: Independent Production by Slaves in the Americas, edited by Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan; Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas, edited by Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan; Working Toward Freedom: Slave Society and Domestic Economy in the American South, edited by Larry E. Hudson, Jr.

Jamal Abdur Saalam
Jamal Abdur-Saalam
Muslim Culture

Born and raised in St. Paul's Selby-Dale neighborhood, Abdur-Salaam was educated in the city's public schools during the 1980s when some of the city's streets weren't inviting.

"You had to know what neighborhoods to walk in, what blocks to go down," he recalled. "There was a lot of drugs in the neighborhood, a lot of gang stuff going on around you, you know."

He credits some of his school teachers and community mentors at the Inner City Youth League led by Kofi Bobby Hickman, and the late Kwame McDonald, with giving him the tools to use the discrimination he experienced as a force for good.

In college, he won a scholarship from the Page Family Foundation created by state Supreme Court Justice and former NFL football star Alan Page. After earning a bachelor of arts degree at Metro State University in St. Paul, Abdur-Salaam completed a masters in educational leadership at Saint Mary's University in Minneapolis.

His title as administrator has him on a track to eventually become an assistant principal. Meanwhile, his work as a mentor led him to work in schools, a decision he said pays dividends nearly every day.

Keary Saffold
Keary Saffold
Get Out Yo Feelings: How to Manage Your Anger & Emotions
President/Ceo
Saffold Consulting Inc
February 2006 – Present (10 years 5 months)

Saffold Consulting extends exciting opportunities to non-profit organizations, schools, churches, and individuals to offer short and long term Life Skills Groups and one-on-one Mentoring/Life Skills sessions. An effective small group model has been developed for reaching young people who are and are not attending school and those who have entered either the social service or juvenile justice system. Mr. Saffold has worked extensively with juveniles who have committed high- and low-level offensives and knows how to work strategically with them to get results. Agencies and schools are especially trying to finds ways to address the increasing difficulties caused by challenging behavior, educational withdrawal, substance abuse, highly mobile students, truancy and dropout rates. Youth have shown to benefit from attending the small groups and one-on-one mentoring offered by Saffold Consulting during and/or after school as it is a way to help empower them to become a part of the solution. Saffold Consulting offers services at the schools and agencies it serves, as well as through home/community visits.

Dia Yang
Dia Yang
Dia Yang has her Bachelors in Social Studies Education and her Masters of Higher Education Administration both from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. She has had experience teaching within the Minneapolis School District and have coordinated study abroad programs in Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia. She has been involved in Building More Philanthropy with Purpose Giving Circle, which has given over $15,000 to local community projects toward the Asian American community in Minnesota. She currently serves as a board member of Minnesota College Professionals Association and is a Co-Champion of Education Team within Coalition of Asian American Leaders. She currently serves as an Academic Advisor and Recruitment and Retention Specialist within the Inclusion and Diversity Office at Winona State University and is also an instructor for the Understanding Inclusion and Diversity Certificate co-curricular certificate program at Winona State University.

Tamonna Coombs
Tamonna Coombs

"My passion lies in the ability to help the youth reach their brilliance through education, personal experience, but most of all trusting their inner selves." - Tamonna Coombs

Tamonna Combs was born in St. Louis, MO and raised in Saint Paul, MN. Her interest in facilitating and coaching began with her work with the youth and young women. However, she has expanded to all areas working with multifaceted groups of people. She uses her own understandings, knowledge, and experiences to help people work through their own difficulties and to speak about matters of the heart. She is strong enough to know when to follow and plenty of a leader to know when to serve. She is a motivator, educator, and friend. She wants all to experience healing of self and freedom of mind. Tamonna enjoys being a mother first, an avid reader, and baking for her family and friends.

Batume Gingerey
Batume Gingerey
batume50@yahoo.com

Dating back to the days of his youth, Batume Gingery served and supported the Black Panther Party and their many programs of community outreach. Among the values he learned was the critically important role that adult mentors need to play in the lives of young people - especially African-American youth, who are so often overlooked and marginalized by educational systems and communities.

Helping out and growing in responsibility as he got older, Batume served the Black Panther Party by volunteering all the time he could spare to their well-known programs: free breakfast for school children, health clinic, transportation for families to visit incarcerated family members, selling copies of the weekly newspaper – The Black Panther – to fund the programs and spread the message of the Party.

When he got to Burnsville High School to work as a campus supervisor, Batume recognized the dearth of opportunities for African-American students to connect and engage with adult African-Americans while at school. Among Burnsville’s more than 100 teachers, only one is African-American. So Batume went to the administration to get permission to start a student group, which he called DreamChasers. The idea was not for there to be a club exclusively for African-American students, but to create an opportunity for students of any color, ethnicity or religion to come together to talk about the issues of the day, to learn about what it takes to build a successful career, and to hear speakers from the community speak about their own experiences as people of color.

His work continues. Born on the South side of Chicago, Batume studied drums with Chicago’s Regal Theatre house drummer Girod Walker. Batume began to establish himself with Chicago’s local rhythm and blues artist, Denise LaSalle. Batume also played with the Operation Push Youth Band from 1973 to 1975 in addition to playing with local jazz musicians touring the Midwest college circuit. Prior to moving to New York in 1982 Batume played with Chicago legends George Freeman and Von Freeman. Once arriving in New York, Batume settled into the jazz scene playing with McCoy Tyner, Joco Pastorius, Sonnie Rawlins, Delmar Brown and many others. Since coming to Minnesota in the late 1990s, Batume has played with a host of jazz luminaries in the Twin Cities. He currently plays at Minneapolis jazz venues as well as touring nation wide with his band Kolaberate.

Marcellus Davis
Marcellus Davis

Marcellus Davis is currently the Program Director of Integration American Indian Education. He has over 15 years of experience working toward educational equity in education (K-12 & Higher Education). He has held numerous positions through his educational career ranging from Professor, Cultural Liaison, Transitions Advisor, Summer Program Director, Educational Program Designer, and Diversity and Multiculturalism Director. He is a Critical Race Theorist that specializes in student development, in particular racial identity formations. He is a past President Elect of Minnesota National Association of Multicultural Education (MN-NAME). He is a co-founder of Change Agent Consulting: Each One, Reach One, Teach One LLC. This consulting company is designed to help organizations create equitable learning, working environments within their to provide an equitable learning experience for all students.

Mr. Davis has designed numerous college preparation and transitional programs for higher education (Camp Building My Future Anoka Technical College, Cornerstones Jr. North Hennepin Community College, and Success Stepping into College Anoka-Ramsey Community College).

Mr. Davis has recently co-authored a book chapter in the upcoming book titled Going Deeper: Conversations About Race and Racism, and has co-authored an article to be published in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy titled "African American male teachers and African American students: Working subversively through hip-hop in three urban schools" to be published in early 2013.

Mr. Davis is a social education activist for equitable education for all children. Black/African-American children, Afrocentric education, community and family engagement are of particular interest for him. Mr. Davis is a certified diversity trainer, Lee Mun Wah Art of Effective Facilitation trained, Intercultural Development Inventory Administrator, University of Minnesota Program Evaluation Program certified, and Anoka Technical College Leadership Academy certified. Throughout his time working within Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), he has participated in the planning committee of the Power and Diversity Student Leadership Conference, Harnessing Opportunity for Post Secondary Education (HOPE Academy), MnSCU Male college access research team, and he served three years on the board of the MnSCU System wide Diversity Awards committee. Lastly, he has helped design and implement strategic diversity plans for Anoka Technical and Anoka- Ramsey colleges.

Mr. Davis holds degrees in Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis on youth development, and he is currently is in his final stages of receiving his Educational Doctorate in Higher Education and Administration.

Joe (Too Black) Clemmons
Joe (Too Black) Clemmons

TOO BLACK, a graduate of Ball State University, is a spoken word poet based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The name TOO BLACK developed from wanting to challenge the perceptions of blackness and humanity in general. Influenced by a wide variety of artists and historical figures from Malcolm X to George Carlin to Audre Lorde, TOO BLACK brings a versatile perspective to the stage. TOO BLACK has a working dialogue that draws from personal experiences, historical and current events, and utilizes Hip Hop as a way to relay his point. He has a conversational performance style in which he is talks to the audience not at them.
TOO BLACK teaches a poetry workshop called named "Speech is My Hammer" to empower children and young adults to think critically about issues of social justice. He is also apart of an Indianapolis based group called Axiom Collective. It is a community of dedicated artists and educators committed to transforming communities through creative expression, civic participation and transformative art education.

TOO BLACK has been performing poetry professionally for four years. He successfully launched his own college tour called Education Redefined 101: Tips, Fees, and Degrees. ER 101 has provided an opportunity for TOO BLACK to perform at a wide variety of colleges and universities including UCLA, Boston College, and Penn State University among many more.

Overall, TOO BLACK has featured and headlined venues throughout the country in 16 states including the historical Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, Jus Words in Philadelphia, Soul Speaks in Chicago, and Busboys & Poets in D.C. In 2015 he was featured in AfroPunk online magazine. He has been fortunate enough to open for black panther legends such as Elaine Brown and Erika Huggins as well as starring in a tribute show to honor the late Gil Scott-Heron.

Dr. Ronal Ferguson
Dr. Ronald Ferguson

Dr. Ronald T. Ferguson is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Luther College with a focus on teaching courses in the areas such as education, methods, and global issues. Dr. Ferguson received his Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota. His scholarly interests include the study of multiracial children and families, African American masculinity, and Native American education. Among recent works, Dr. Ferguson has co-authored a paper on the evaluation of the college experience by Native American freshman as well as presented at regional conferences in the area of multiracial identity development. Dr. Ferguson is the co-editor of the book “What’s up with the Brothers African American Males in the 21st Century” from Men’s Studies Press (2012). Notable affiliations include service as president for the Sociologists of Minnesota and faculty consultant for the Minnesota College and Universities “Charting the Future” initiative. Currently, Dr. Ferguson resides in Rochester, MN with his wife, Stephanie and children, Sharaz (15) and Karthie (2).

Alex Hines
Alexander Hines

Alexander Hines is currently the Director of Inclusion and Diversity at Winona State University. He served in the United State Air Force as a non-commissioned officer for 12 years. He earned a B.S. in Management Studies, minor in History and Psychology from the University of Maryland, University College, European Division, Heidelberg, Germany and a Masters of Education Degree in Counseling and Guidance Services from Clemson University with an emphasis in Student Affairs.
He has 21 years of experience in higher education in student and academic affairs working with traditional, non-traditional, first-generation, underserved and underrepresented high school and college students and their parents. Being a first generation college student and a male of color, his commitment and dedication is assisting high school students to gain access to higher education and helping them to become successful in pursuing their dreams of obtaining a postsecondary degree. Alexander’s passion is African/Black identity and conscious and specifically working with Black males and males of color. He is very active in communities where he has worked and considers himself to be a change agent. He currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Multicultural/Multiethnic Education: Theory, Research and Practice Special Interest group for the American Education Research Association, a recently elected board member for the American Men’s Studies Association. a Commissioner for the Winona Human Rights Commission, a board member with Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP), a board member with Home and Community Options of Winona, a board member for African American Registry Minneapolis, board of directors for African American Mutual Assistance Network, Wisconsin, serves on the African American Leadership Forum Education Work Group, Headwaters Foundation, committee member for the African American Males in Education Advisory Committee (AAMEA) affiliate of MMEP, serves on various campus committee’s and served on the Minnesota Reducing Bias Project Strategic Planning Team.

Alexander is the recipient of numerous awards from colleges to include: 1991 Security Specialist and NCO of the Year, Keflavik Iceland; 1992 Tactical Air Command Outstanding Security Police NCO Security Specialty of the Year Award; 1999 & 2000 NAACP Student Chapter Essence Awards – Distinguished Service Faculty/Staff Award; 2000 Invaluable Service Award Pi Sigma Epsilon Georgia Southern University; 2002 The College of William and Mary Jefferson Cup Award; 2003 University of Tennessee NAACP College Chapter Image Award; 2004 Unsung Hero Award Alpha Phi Alpha Mu Iota Chapter University of Tennessee; 2004 Special Friend Award National Association of Black Social Workers University of Tennessee Student Chapter; 2004 Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service The State of Tennessee; 2005 Knoxville Tennessee Urban League Equal Opportunity Awards – Volunteer of the Year Award; 2007 Human Rights Award from the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions; 2009 Human Rights Organization Award from the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions; and the 2012 Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award. During his time at Winona State University, one of the 7 four-year institutions and 24 community colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and University System, the Inclusion and Diversity Office for the past five years has been the recipient of nine awards to include: Best Practices in Diversity Award (2009, 2010 & 2011); Innovative Practices in Diversity Award Recognition (2012); Resources for Relationships Diversity Award (2012 & 2013); Outstanding Student Organization Award (2010 & 20111); and the Academic and Student Affairs Annual Award for Innovative Partnering and Collaboration (2013).

Alexander has recently co-authored a book chapter titled the Miseducation of Nigger in American Public Schools in the book Talking About Race, Alleviating the Fear, and co-authored an article in The QUEST: The Journal of Higher Education Excellence titled “The Light of Knowledge and Reason: What faculty in B-20 Institutions Should Practice and Provide to Facilitate Student Success.”

Alexander has conducted various diversity, cultural competence workshops, trainings and presentations at the state, regional and national level to include two-year and four-year institutions, non-profit and for profit organizations. On the national level he has presented at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity, Overcoming Racism Conference, White Privilege Conference, Black and Brown College Bound Summit, American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention, the American Association of Community Colleges, Courageous Conversations Summit and the American Education Research Association Conference.

Benjamin Mchie
Benjamin Mchie

Benjamin Mchie is the founder and executive director of African American Registry. Mchie has also been a Multi Media Professional for over 35 years.
Mchie has been featured on the BBC, commenting the life of Dorothy Height and TV Asahi for background on the African American response to the 1940’s Japanese American internment. He also has been featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2001, 2005 and 2012 (see above link under websites). He is a sought after speaker for educational assemblies, recently at UNLV, Luther and Cornell College. He is a contributing writer in many books and articles on Race in America. His thoughts are now available in the 2013 book “Talking About Race.” His chapter is “The Pinocchio In Black America!”

As an educational consultant and founder of African American Registry, Mchie visits K-12 school assemblies and college campuses quarterly. His goal is to present African American Registry as a resource of America's stories applied to any subject taught. Mchie senses a shift in young people striving to link scholarship, activism and civic engagement. He has also been a panelist at the National White Privilege Conference. The Registry's research component travels throughout the United States and include Las Vegas, L.A. and Atlanta in 2014. In Multi Media, Mchie directs, produces, operates camera and edits. He's received 4 Emmy's and 2 MTV awards/nominations.

His work formats include feature films, corporate, commercials, music videos, documentaries, game-shows, broadcast sports and more. His passion now is producing media that 'normalizes' the image of the black experience in his work with African American Registry.
Specialties: Mchie teaches African American history and culture, he envisions inclusive instruction and learning in K-16 classrooms. The Registry's personal narratives come from people throughout the country to preserve America's stories for educational and learning purposes.
Bryant Smith
Bryant Smith

He “helps good people become great and great people become memorable!” "Recruiter", "Professor", "Author", and "Coach" are all titles Bryant K. Smith has worn while helping to guide people to their success in the halls of academia, corporate America, and on and off of the basketball court. Bryant K. Smith is a man with a vision. He is an expert in identifying, cultivating, and maximizing human potential. His work "often helps to make good people great and great people become memorable".

For the past two decades Bryant has been at the forefront of assisting business, athletic, and educational institutions train, inspire, and develop their employees, athletes, and students into potentially world altering people.

Bryant makes a living traveling the country as an author and inspirational speaker, but more importantly he makes a difference in the lives of young people every day through his work, volunteerism and philanthropy. Bryant is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, incorporated. He is a board member of the Palmetto Team Youth Association, the founder and creator of "Life Station" male development workshop and "The Remix Hip Hop Leadership Institute". He is a distinguished faculty member for the "Student African-American Brotherhood (SAAB)", and the "Am I My Brothers Keeper?" annual conferences and is recognized across the country as a leader in diversity training, student success and male development and empowerment.

Bryant is also the author of a social commentary on race relations in the United States entitled "Black Not Blind", a book about the power of human potential entitled "Five", "M.A.N.-U.P. Master And Nurture (your) Unlimited Potential: How to Coach a Male into Manhood”, and his newest book “For My Sons & Brothers”.

With a decade of higher education experience, Bryant has the ability to meet his clients and students where they are and guide them to where they need to be. Bryant uses his life motto, "Difficult does not equal impossible" as a reminder that success is only one more attempt away. He is Bryant K. Smith, "The Human Potential Specialist."

Jo'Hon Vance
JáHon Vance

Professor Vance is a world renowned educational administrator and facilitator with twenty years of work experience that extends from K-12 to Higher Education. His academic background in African American Literature, Curriculum Redesign, Educational Administration, Humanities, Music, and Teaching and Learning has afforded him the great opportunity to be recognized both nationally and internationally in the field of education. In addition, Professor Vance’s academic background includes work at Cornell University, Harvard University, Jackson State University, Northeastern University, Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Princeton University and Wayne State University.

Today, he is highly praised and respected for his savvy work with academic testing, teacher education training programs, recruitment, educating and graduating African American male students in higher education, retention, as well, redesigning developmental educational writing programs. When Professor Vance is not working with students and conducting instructional training sessions for educators, he can be found presenting workshops for Innovative Educators, National Association for Developmental Education, Noel-Levitz National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention, The National HBCU Faculty Development Symposium Conference, The National Youth At-Risk Conference, Oxford Round Table, and The QUEST: Minority Male Annual Conference.

Recently, Professor Vance used a zero dollar budget to operate a successful structural learning community by the name of QUEST that he designed and developed specifically for African American males to earn an Associate of Arts Degree in one year, while producing more than 12.5 million dollars in FTEs, as well as, secured a 2.7 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2011. To add to his academic leadership credit, Professor Vance made history and changed the educational teaching and learning platform by producing six consecutive classes of graduates from 2009-2014 at Baltimore City Community College using his “One Year Degree Model Concept—The QUEST.”

In addition, his innovative writing concept—which implores the use of The Vance-Brooks Writing Model—provided successful outcomes over a four year period that helped students matriculate from developmental educational writing courses to credit-level writing courses with the needed skills to advance in higher education.

Lastly, Professor Vance’s philosophy for education is simple: “All persons are capable of learning, but the educator must be creative and skilled to reach, to teach, and to meet the various academic needs, but most importantly, the educator must act as the change agent that constantly works to foster continual awareness in every soul.”