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.
PresentersThe 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.
Professor Rill Reuter is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Winona State University. She holds a master’s degree in biochemistry from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Connecticut College. Her research interests have focused on nucleic acids and photosynthesis. She has co-authored several scientific articles and had served as an accuracy reviewer for chemistry texts. She has been active both in the university and in the community. In addition to teaching, she enjoys music and history.
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.
Dr. Joyati Debnath is currently a Full Professor of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Winona State University (WSU), Minnesota. Professor Debnath received M. S. degree in Pure Mathematics and Ph. D. degree in Applied Mathematics from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. She received numerous Honors and Awards including the Best Teaching Award from Iowa State University, the Outstanding Woman of Education Award, and Whose Who Among American Teachers. Prior to joining WSU, Dr. Debnath was a faculty member of Mathematics and Computer Systems at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, Wisconsin
Dr. Debnath has research interest in the areas of Topological Graph Theory, Integral Transform Theory, Partial Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problem, Associations of Variables, Discrete Mathematics, and Software Engineering Metrics and Tools. Dr. Debnath is an author or co-author of over 50 publications in numerous refereed journals and conference proceedings in Mathematics and Computer Science.
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.
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 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 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.
Dr. Narayan C. Debnath has been a Full Professor of Computer Science since 1989 at Winona State University, Minnesota, USA. Dr. Debnath is a recipient of a Doctorate degree in Computer Science and a Doctorate degree in Applied Physics (Electrical Engineering). He served as the President, Vice President, and Conference Coordinator of the International Society for Computers and Their Applications (ISCA). He served as the Acting Chairman of the Department of Computer Science at Winona State University, and received numerous Honors and Awards.
Dr. Debnath has been teaching a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in computer science including An Overview of Computer science, Social Implications in Computing, Data Structures, Software Engineering, Software Testing, Principles of Programming Languages, Theory of Computation, and Compiler Design. He has made original research contributions on Software Engineering Models, Metrics and Tools, Software Testing, Software Management, and Information Science, Technology and Management. Dr. Debnath is an author or co-author of over 250 publications in numerous refereed journals and conference proceedings in Computer Science, Information Science, Information Technology, System Sciences, Mathematics, and Electrical Engineering. Professor Debnath has made numerous teaching and research presentations in various national and international conferences as well as teaching and research institutions in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Professor Terrence Wilcox currently works at Lake Superior College in the Biology department. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degree in Biology at Bemidji State University. Mr. Wilcox has been at Lake Superior College since 2010 where he also coordinates the Bridges Program, which aids students in the field of science, technology, engineering and math at the two-year college level and help them go on to a four-year university with the end goal of becoming scientists and engineers.
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 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.
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."
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.
David Stovall is an Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His scholarship investigates four areas 1) Critical Race Theory, 2) concepts of social justice in education, 3) the relationship between housing and education, and 4) the relationship between schools and community stakeholders. In the attempt to bring theory to action, he has spent the last ten years working with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of social justice. His current work has led him to become a member of the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School design team, which opened in the Fall of 2005 where he also serves as a volunteer social studies teacher.
Furthering his work with communities, students, and teachers, Dr. Stovall works with a collective of college professors in California, Arizona, and New York who teach high school courses in addition to their duties and responsibilities as university faculty. “I’ve been working with this group for eight years. The idea is to provide historically underserved schools with college access through their interactions with us. We've been enrolling the students that take classes with us in our respective universities to get early college credit.”
Dr. Stovall, a native of Chicago graduated from Luther HS South in 1990. He received his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His motivation for going into the field was the combination of family members, neighbors, and members of community organizations that supported him in doing educational justice work without fear of persecution.
Dr. Stovall is a very powerful speaker and champion of social justice. You can hear him on You Tube through the following links:
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.”
Dr. Jonathoan Luke Wood
J. Luke Wood, PhD, is Associate Professor of Community College Leadership and the Director of the Doctoral Program in Community College Leadership at San Diego State University (SDSU). Dr. Wood is also Co-Director of the Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3), a national research and practice center that partners with community colleges to support their capacity in advancing outcomes for men of color. M2C3 houses the National Consortium on College Men of Color (NCCMC) which host trainings, information sharing sessions, and provides resources to colleges with initiatives and programs supporting college men of color. He is also Chair-Elect for the Council on Ethnic Participation (CEP) for the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Director of the Center for African American Research and Policy (CAARP), and Co-Editor of the Journal of Applied Research in the Community College.
Wood’s research focuses on factors affecting the success of men of color in the community college. In particular, his research examines contributors (e.g., social, psychological, academic, environmental, institutional) to positive outcomes (e.g., persistence, achievement, attainment, transfer, labor market outcomes) for these men. In particular, his research examines contributors to student persistence, achievement, attainment, and transfer for these men. Dr. Wood has authored over 80 publications, including six co-authored books, five edited books, and more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Dr. Wood is a former recipient of the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from which he served as research fellow at the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research (SIHER), Stanford University. He has also served as a Young Academic Fellow for the Institute for Higher Education Policy and Lumina Foundation. His scholarship and professional practice have been lauded through awards and honors, including: the Council for the Study of the Community College Barbara K. Townsend Emerging Scholar Award; the National Association for Student Personnel Administrator’s Newly Published Research Award from the Knowledge Community on Men and Masculinities; the ASHE Council on Ethnic Participation Mildred Garcia Award for Exemplary Scholarship; the ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award, the ASU Fulton College Dean’s Excellence Award for Graduate Research, the Sacramento Observer’s the Top 30 under 30 Award, the ASU Fulton College Robert H. Fenske Fellowship for Higher & Postsecondary Education (ASU Fulton College); and the International Society for the Exploration of Teaching and Learning Distinguished Fellows Presentation Co-Award.
Wood received his PhD (2010) in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies with an emphasis in Higher Education from Arizona State University (ASU). He also holds a master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership with a concentration in Student Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in Black History and Politics from California State University, Sacramento. Luke is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, Esq. is an award-winning professor of law, civil rights attorney, and a nationally recognized expert on a range of civil rights and social justice issues at the intersections of race, public policy, economic justice, public education, juvenile justice, and the criminal justice system. She has a heart for the people and works towards achieving justice on behalf of those whose voices are often unheard within society. A great deal of her legal work, scholarly writing, and advocacy focuses on identifying and implementing solutions for improving the quality of life for African Americans in general, and young African American men, in particular. To that end, she is co-founder and board chair of Brotherhood, Inc., a nonprofit organization geared towards young African American men ages 16-24, who have been involved in the criminal justice system or gangs or who are at risk of such involvement.
Professor Levy-Pounds also serves as a consultant to various civil rights groups, business entities, public policy organizations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She is an orator, lecturer, moderator of political debates, motivational speaker, and keynote presenter in local, national, and international forums. She has also trained law enforcement agencies, corrections departments, and K-12 educators on understanding the impacts of historical trauma, discrimination and the impacts of the uneven application of laws and policies upon the African American community.
In her role at the University of St. Thomas Law School, she serves as the founding director of the Community Justice Project, an award-winning civil rights legal clinic, which focuses on issues of race, poverty, and social justice through direct advocacy, research, and writing at the University of St. Thomas.
Professor Levy-Pounds serves as the chair of the Minnesota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is the co-chair of Everybody In, a regional collaboration of over 40 stakeholders across different sectors working to close the racial unemployment gaps in the region by 2020.
Professor Levy-Pounds is active in the local community, serving on the boards of the Minneapolis Foundation, Catholic Charities, the African American Museum, and Growth & Justice. She is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and essays on structural and systemic issues that impact poor communities of color. Her work has been featured in The Star Tribune, MinnPost, Minnesota Public Radio, The Pioneer Press, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, Finance & Commerce, Insight News, Politics in Minnesota, and The Daily Planet.
Professor Levy-Pounds received her BA Degree from the University of Southern California in African American Studies. She received her JD Degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana She also received a Mini-Masters in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.