Eduardo J. Padrón
Senior VP, College and Career Access, College Board
Steve leads work to ensure students access and maximize college and career opportunities. As head of the College and Career Access division, Steve oversees enrollment and financial aid programs including CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®, Student Search Service®, the Access to Opportunity™ initiative, and scholarship programs. Additionally, he oversees the partnership with Khan Academy to provide free, high quality SAT preparation for students, as well as the partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. These efforts are designed to increase college readiness and college completion for all students, with a special focus on lower-income students, first-generation college students, and students of color.
President, Miami Dade College
An American by choice, Eduardo Padrón arrived in the United States as a teenage refugee in 1961. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 165,000 students. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.”
Director, Worldwide Education Programs and Global Lead, AWS Educate Amazon Web Services
Ken is an education technology leader with 20+ years-experience spearheading initiatives that improve educational outcomes and disrupt traditional delivery models. Ken founded AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to dramatically accelerate cloud learning and prepare students for a cloud-enabled workforce. Program demand has far outstripped projections, with membership composed of hundreds of thousands of students and over 2,400 institutions including all of the top ten leading global computer science higher education institutions. Subsequent AWS Educate innovations include: 2016’s launch of “Cloud Career Pathways,” an education-to-employment environment with learning pathways, micro-credentials, and a job board; 2017’s opening up of the program to students 14 to 17 years-old and creation of Cloud Literacy content; and 2018’s launch of full degree offerings, beginning with vocational institutions and community colleges.
Ken's roles prior to AWS included: Senior Vice President, Business Development and Marketing for One Economy, where he helped guide some of the largest public private partnerships in digital education; Vice President of Marketing for e-commerce textbook provider VarsityBooks, where he contributed to its IPO and launched its marketing services division; and strategic advisor to Sprint Nextel. In 2014, Ken was appointed to the D.C. Mayor’s Technology and Innovation Inclusion Council, where he currently chairs the Workforce Development committee. He also sits on the edX customer advisory board and advises various educational institutions. Ken holds an MBA from Georgetown University, an MPP from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, and a BA from Cornell University.
Undergraduate Student, University of Texas at Arlington
Abigail Derton is a senior at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) studying pure mathematics. Abigail is a Cherokee Indian and was homeschooled in Corinth, Texas. She joined UTA as a transfer student after studying civil engineering for two years at North Central Texas College (NCTC). Through working as a math tutor at both NCTC and UTA, Abigail grew her passion for mathematics. This passion persuaded her to change majors from civil engineering to pure mathematics in the Fall of 2017.
Abigail has participated in the S-STEM program at UTA (called SURGE) since the Fall of 2018 and is an active member of MAA. She attended the Field of Dreams Conference in 2018 where she developed an interest in mathematical biology. She is now a researcher in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is currently working on a project in computational neuroscience.
Recently, Abigail was accepted into the Biostatistics and Computational Biology Summer Research Program at Harvard, to take place in the Summer of 2019. Through this program, she hopes to learn how her quantitative skills can be applied to rising problems in biology. Her goal is to utilize her mathematical skills to progress medical understanding and thereby save and improve countless lives.
Graduate Student, Michigan State University
Nicholas is a junior studying Chemical Engineering and Economics at Michigan State University (MSU). He has been a researcher for Beaumont Hospital, the Michigan State University chemistry department, and the University of Pittsburgh in conjunction with the Veterans Administration. Nicholas has worked as a NSF REU researcher and is a member of a scholarship cohort sponsored by the NSF. Nicholas is also a member of the Michigan State Honors College. Through his role in the Honors College Nicholas has volunteered in both the Lansing and East Lansing community, providing tutoring and mentorship to at-risk high school students.
Nicholas’ research experiences are quite broad, having performed in a variety of benchtop and analytical roles. His experiences have not been limited to research as he is also a Co-Op at LyondellBasell, working as a process engineering Co-Op. Nicholas also represents the MSU College of Engineering as a Peer Leader. A role in which students help their freshman peers adjust to college life and become engaged with professional resources. Nicholas is always looking for ways to get involved on campus. Having seen firsthand the impact of quality mentoring, he aims to utilize himself as a resource for younger students.
In his free time, Nicholas is an avid reader and advocate for a variety of causes. Having been born with a rare genetic disorder, he works with a national society of patient advocates for others with the disorder. He has advocated to both members of the Senate and House of Representatives on various legislative policies ranging from research funding to newborn screening.
Graduate Student, University of Pennsylvania
Rachel is a Master of Environmental Studies candidate with a concentration in Environmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to her graduate studies, she attended Gwynedd Mercy University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. At Gwynedd Mercy University, Rachel participated in ecological research focusing on macroinvertebrate diversity and stream health as well as studying the metabolic pathways utilized by microbes for plastic degradation. Throughout her time at Gwynedd Mercy University and University of Pennsylvania, Rachel worked or interned for the Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the United States Department of Agriculture, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and Delaware State Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Currently, her main focus is aquatic biology research. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, community service, and traveling. Her most recent trip was to Puerto Rico to study the effects of natural disasters on ecology around the entire island. Her next trip is to India to study water sanitation in schools.
Undergraduate Student, Colorado School of Mines
Ivan Santos is a sophomore at the Colorado School of Mines, majoring in computer science. He was born in the small, rural parts of Mexico, and then moved to the United States to pursue a better life. Ivan has a passion for numbers and looks forward to pursuing a career in math and science.
Undergraduate Student, IUPUI
Bianca Chavis is from Indianapolis, IN and is a current S-STEM recipient in the Leading Informatics for Tomorrow (LiFT) Scholars Program at Ivy Tech Community College (Ivy Tech) and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Bianca began her higher education journey in 2014 with interests in public health and psychology. However, after taking time off to work full-time, Bianca found her way to Ivy Tech in 2017 and discovered her aspirations to pursue an associate’s degree in informatics with the long-term goal of completing a bachelor’s degree in informatics from IUPUI. Since then, Bianca has engaged in multiple internships including: serving as a Business Analyst Intern at Sondhi Solutions, a Database Analysis Intern at the Indiana Office of Technology, an IT Application Support Intern at Ivy Tech, and most recently a Software Development Intern at Launch Indy. Bianca was interested in technology in high school but did not explore this initial interest. By supporting underrepresented/underserved students in informatics, LiFT allowed her to “see” herself in the information technology field through industry speaker presentations and industry visits to tech companies around the greater Indianapolis area. Bianca is especially committed to supporting underrepresented minorities and women in technology as well as current LiFT scholars. Beginning in fall 2019 Bianca will serve as a peer mentor for LiFT as she transfers to IUPUI through this S-STEM project. As a returning college student, Bianca looks forward to offering advice on the importance of connecting with industry professionals and never giving up on your dreams!