LaSTEM Advisory Council Member Biographies
LaSTEM Advisory Council Members
As per Act 392: “The Council shall be chaired by the Commissioner of Higher Education (or his designee), The secretary of the Department of Economic Development (or his designee) shall serve as initial vice chairman of the council. Thereafter, the vice chairmanship shall alternate on a triennial basis between the state Superintendent of Education (or his designee), the secretary of Economic Development (or his designee) and the Executive Director of the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council (or his designee).
Dr. Kim Hunter Reed
Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D., was unanimously selected as the ninth Commissioner of Higher Education by the Louisiana Board of Regents in April 2018.
Prior to being named Commissioner, Reed served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Working with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Reed led efforts to drive increased educational attainment and erase equity gaps as identified in the statewide strategic plan for higher education, Colorado Rises.
Reed has extensive higher education and government experience. She served in President Barack Obama’s administration as deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, leading postsecondary diversity and inclusion work, supporting strong student and outcomes-focused policies and aggressive national outreach efforts. She also led the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Before serving in the administration, Reed was a principal at HCM Strategists LLC, a public policy and advocacy consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
A Lake Charles native, Reed chaired Louisiana’s higher education transition team in 2015 and served as the State’s policy director. Reed also served as chief of staff and deputy commissioner for public affairs for the Louisiana Board of Regents and executive vice president of the University of Louisiana System.
She has received numerous honors, including LSU Alumna of the Year, Public Administration Institute; and Mom of the Year, Jack and Jill of America, Baton Rouge Chapter. She has been featured in Daughters of Men, a national publication highlighting outstanding African American women and their fathers.
Reed received a doctorate in public policy from Southern University, a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Louisiana State University.
Reed is a wife, proud volleyball mom and relentless student advocate.
Senator Sharon Hewitt
District 1 Senator Sharon Hewitt, author of Act 392 of 2017 that created the LaSTEM Advisory Council, came to the Louisiana State Senate as a recognized civic and community leader with decades of volunteer service to area children and families. The Lake Charles native and long-time resident of Slidell is a graduate of Barbe High School and holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from LSU. As an engineering executive, Senator Hewitt managed major deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico for Shell and earned a reputation as a passionate, committed problem solver. As the demands of a young family grew, the Slidell Republican focused her energies on her children, husband, and community. Over the years, she worked to improve education policies and to grow STEM programs in local schools, earning the National PTA Life Achievement Award for her leadership. The Senator continues to support families and children through her volunteer work with East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity and Junior Auxiliary of Slidell. As a state senator, Hewitt has focused her efforts on stabilizing the state budget, improving education, creating jobs, investing in infrastructure, advocating for families, and restoring Louisiana’s coast. She currently serves as vice-chair of the Senate Transportation, Highways & Public Works Committee, and is a member of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, and the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the state budgeting process.
Dr. David Lafargue
The LaSTEM Advisory Council charged Dr. David Lafargue to manage day-to-day operations of LaSTEM Council activities and oversee the coordination of STEM Programs and the alignment of STEM pipeline education in Louisiana. As full-time staff for the Council, Dr. Lafargue oversees strategic partnership building and development, fundraising, and marketing.
Dr. Mahyar Amouzegar
Dr. Amouzegar is a STEM Faculty appointee of the Commmissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Rallo. As Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, he is the Chief Academic Officer for the University of New Orleans. He earned a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from San Francisco State University, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering, D. Engineering and Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Amouzegar was also a Senior Policy Analyst at RAND Corporation, which is internationally recognized as a premier policy think tank. He began his career as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Massey University in New Zealand. Dr. Amouzegar then spent several years at California State University, Long Beach, serving as the Associate Dean for Research and Development. He previously held the position of Dean of the College of Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona where he oversaw more than 300 faculty and staff, 12 accredited programs and more than 5,000 students. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Applied Mathematics and Decision Sciences, a contributing editor of the International Abstract in Operations Research and on the editorial boards of Advances in Operations Research and International Journal of Strategic Decision Sciences. Amouzegar is also a fellow at IMA (UK) and ICA (Canada), and a Senior Member of IEEE. Mahyar belongs to Tau Alpha Pi (engineering honor society), Alpha Iota Delta (business honor society) and honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. He is also the past president of the Western Decision Sciences Institute and an active member of the board of Military Application Society, as well as serving on several industry advisory boards. Mahyar has numerous refereed journal publications, monograph and edited books in the fields of logistics, engineering and operations research. He has also published two novels and a short story.
Larry Carter has been president of the United Teachers of New Orleans since May 2008 and also serves as interim president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. Previously, he was a member of the UTNO executive council as well as a union grievance specialist. Carter began teaching in 1993 at Murray Henderson Elementary School on the West Bank of New Orleans, where many of the children come from households without fathers or other male adults. The position gave Carter the chance to be a strong African-American male role model for students. Carter also has been an active member of UTNO since entering teaching. After seven years in the classroom, he was offered the opportunity to serve both children and his fellow educators as a staff representative for the union. His work with UTNO has allowed him to extend union solidarity across all New Orleans school systems—New Orleans Public Schools, the Recovery School District and charter schools.
Jeff Holcomb is currently on the board of the Louisiana Science Teachers Association and is the past President of the Louisiana Science Leaders Association. He has taught Dual Enrollment Physics, AP Physics, NASA Threads Physics, Engineering Design, Principals of Engineering, Digital Electronics, as well as served as a Science Curriculum Coordinator for 4 years Bossier Parish. He is currently serving as an Instructional Technologist in Caddo Parish, During the most recent science transition, Jeff was appointed to serve on the Louisiana Student Standards Science Committee as well as the Standards High School Work Group. Some of his awards include being named “Teacher of the Year” at Parkway High School as well as for the BossierParish Optimist Club. Additionally, he represented The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) as the “Louisiana State Teacher of the Year” and was recognized as a State Finalist for the “Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching” (PAMEST). Over the past 17 years, Jeff has been committed to promoting the sciences in a myriad of capacities. His love for science has prompted many of his former students to pursue careers in engineering fields.
Kelly Taylor-White is the designee of the Executive Director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Kellie has spent nearly 30 years in the fields of Education and Government. She began her career in state government at the then Department of Social Services after completing her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in English Literature. She left the state to pursue a federal government career in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate working as a constituent service representative for Louisiana’s Congressional delegation.
Upon returning to state service, Kellie worked with the Louisiana Department of Elections while furthering her education in Special Education. Kellie began teaching and continued until hurricane Katrina moved her to San Antonio, Texas. Forced to change schools as well as jobs, she restarted her Master’s program in Curriculum and Education and began working in educational assessment.
Through the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Kellie worked to create and improve educational assessments at the K-12, higher education, and professional levels while also pursuing a doctoral degree. She focused on managing a team of mathematics and special education assessment specialist to create the framework for the assessment consortia that would become Race to the Top, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers. While working with Dynamic Learning Maps and American Institutes for Research, Kellie and her team worked to improve alternative assessments for all students regardless of their levels of ability.
Returning to state service after so many years, Kellie is now helping to facilitate the seamless interaction of education and workers to provide the skills and training needed to support the growth and development of the workforce of Louisiana.
Dr. Randy Duran
Dr. Randy Duran, the Louisiana State University System designee, serves as the Gordon A. Cain Chair for STEM Literacy and Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at LSU. He also serves as Executive Director of the Gordon A. Cain Center for STEM Literacy. Dr. Duran came to LSU in 2009 following 20 years at the University of Florida, where in addition to winning an NSF Young Investigator Award as a professor of chemistry, he initiated a variety of teaching and international research programs. Having earned a doctoral degree from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, Dr. Duran’s international programs have subsequently produced great successes for participants, including a Rhodes Scholar in 2001, a Marshal Awardee in 2009, and students who are now professors in several countries. While at Florida, he was a member and subsequent PI of the NSF funded nationwide Chemistry REU Leadership Group and in 2005 was a co-organizer of the “Pan-REU Workshop” involving all seven directorates of NSF for the first time. In 2009, Dr. Duran was awarded with “Chevalier (knight) dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques” for lifetime contribution to French Education. In 2010 he led the sixth renewal of the LSU Undergraduate Howard Hughes Medical Institute award, after having started the program at Florida four years earlier. Dr. Duran has also maintained a strong research effort in materials/polymer research that has included more than $20M in support from more than 100 funded proposals and agencies ranging from NSF to ONR, AFOSR, and DARPA. He has also been active in curricular development, serving as a consultant to McGraw Hill and Addison Wesley publishers.
Michael Gaudet is the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) designee. Mr. Guadet, a native of Raceland, LA, received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration from Louisiana State University. He completed a 40-year career with Albemarle Corporation (formally part of Ethyl Corporation) and retired in 2014 as a Division Vice President. He began his career in Research and Development and later moved into various management positions. He led Albemarle’s project to implement a single global ERP system (SAP) in multiple languages, which was one of the first in the chemical industry. He served as the business lead for several global businesses for Albemarle and was also CFO for the billion-dollar Polymer Additives Global Business Unit. Later in his career, he focused on acquisitions and divestitures in Albemarle’s Strategic Development department and continues to work in this arena as a consultant to Albemarle.
Mr. Gaudet has been married for 42 years to Margie John Gaudet and is the father of three children and the proud grandfather of four grandchildren.
Dr. Patty Glaser
Dr. Patty Glaser serves as the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools representative. Her career includes more than 20 years of school leadership experience and 18 years as a speech-language pathologist. Patty, a proud native of New Orleans, earned a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of New Orleans. Patty is The Founding Head of School and CEO of Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy; an open enrollment, high demand “A” rated charter school established in 2013. In five years, Patty has grown the charter school from 420 students to a bustling student body of 1,215 students serving PreK-10th grade. Prior to serving Kenner Discovery, Patty held leadership roles at Lusher Charter School and founded Holy Rosary Academy & High School & the Freeman Learning Center. Patty is the recipient of the Christopher Columbus Award for finding new solutions to community problems and also a member of the University of New Orleans College of Education & Human Performance Hall of Fame. In her downtime, Patty enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, water sports and reading.
Crystal Williams Gordon
Crystal Williams Gordon, representing the Louisiana Association of Educators, is a lifelong learner and biology teacher in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools. She holds a B. S. degree in Biological Sciences from Southern University, M.Ed. degree in Secondary Science Education from Louisiana State University, and has done further studies in Educational Leadership at Southeastern Louisiana University. During her 23-year career, Crystal has taught seventh through twelfth grades in integrated science, physical science, and biology, including advanced placement and dual enrollment courses. She has also taught adults by serving as a curriculum content trainer for elementary science teachers. Crystal has received various awards. She was one of five teachers nationwide to be awarded the prestigious Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence given by the NEA Foundation. She has also been honored with the California Casualty teaching award, Teacher of the Year for her school twice, and Cox Teacher of the Week. She has been featured in a number of publications including the NEA Today and the LAE Voice. Currently, Crystal serves as science department chairperson, member of the instructional leadership team, science curriculum writing team, coordinator of STEM night, blood drives, and the Student Government Association. Crystal is passionate about fostering her students’ love of learning and preparing them for college and career by utilizing 21st Century skills.
Dr. James Henderson
Dr. James Henderson became the University of Louisiana System President Jan. 1, 2017. Prior to this role, he served as president of Northwestern State University from 2015 to 2016. Henderson was chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College from 2009 – 2014. In that time, BPCC grew its enrollment by more than 84 percent and increased annual certificate and degree completions by 90 percent. From 2011-2013, BPCC was among the five fastest growing community colleges in the nation with enrollments of between 5,000 and 9,999. Henderson was senior vice president, workforce and economic development/career & technical education for the Louisiana Community & Technical College System from 2005 to 2009. He served as appointing authority and chief executive officer of the LCTCS comprised of eight regional technical colleges serving more than 26,000 students. Under his leadership, the statewide technical college system with 42 individually accredited campuses was transitioned into eight regionally accredited technical colleges.
Carrick B. Inabnett
Carrick B. Inabnett, a business appointee of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, has worked for over 25 years in the legal and government relations fields. He has spent 20 of those years in various legal/government relations positions with CenturyLink, a Fortune 150 telecommunications company based in Monroe. Louisiana. He currently serves as Vice President – Economic Development for CenturyLink, and in that position, he has brought the Cyber Innovation Center’s STEM curriculum to the Monroe City and Ouachita Parish School Districts, most notably establishing high school STEM Academies in all three of Monroe City School District’s high schools.
Jada Lewis currently serves as Assistant Dean for Diversity at LSU in the College of Engineering and is also an elected member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). Prior to joining LSU College of Engineering, she held positions as a Regional Technical Advisor for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and as an Operations Planning Engineer for Motiva Convent Refinery. Miss Lewis received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from LSU and also has a Master’s Degree in Government with dual concentrations in Law and Public Policy and Public Administration from Regent University. She is passionate about inspiring and mentoring students and young professionals and continues to devote her time and resources to developing the next generation of leaders. Jada Lewis is a graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Leadership Program and was selected as one Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Forty Under 40.”
Dr. Calvin Mackie
Dr. Calvin Mackie was appointed to the LaSTEM Advisory Council by Governor John Bel Edwards. A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Dr. Calvin Mackie graduated from high school with low SAT scores requiring him to undertake special remedial classes before he was admitted to Morehouse College. He completed his degree in Mathematics, graduating Magna Cum Laude and a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He was simultaneously awarded a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, where he subsequently earned his Master and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. While pursuing his doctorate degree, he served as an instructor of mathematics at Morehouse College. Following graduation, he joined the faculty at Tulane University, where he researched heat transfer, fluid dynamics, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. In 2002, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Mackie’s eleven-year academic career ended in June 2007, when Tulane University disbanded the engineering school in response to financial hardship induced by Hurricane Katrina. During 2004 and 2005, Mackie was a visiting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he performed research on fuel processors for PEM fuel cells. He enjoyed a respected academic career, before refocusing on consulting and professional speaking. Mackie has won numerous awards including, in a White House ceremony, the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, in 2002 the Black Engineer of the Year Award for College Level Educator, the 2002 New Orleans Data News Weekly Trailblazer Award, and the Pi Tau Sigma/ASME Excellence in Teaching Award in Mechanical Engineering for 2000 and 2002. Following the catastrophic Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco appointed Dr. Mackie to the thirty-three member board of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), the guiding agency to lead the state’s rebuilding efforts. In 2009, Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu appointed Dr. Mackie to the Louisiana Council on the Social Status of Black Boys and Black Men. The board elected Mackie to the chair position and he is leading the state’s effort to create policy and programs to positively impact the quality of life for black males and families in the state of Louisiana. Committed to community service, Mackie is also an active member of the National Speaker Association and the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.
Todd McDonald, an appointee of the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council, started with Liberty Bank in May 2003 as a Mortgage Processor and has since grown into Vice President of Strategic Management. Within his role Todd is responsible for uncovering, evaluating, and developing business plans for growth and performance improvement opportunities; leading high impact initiatives; and, providing overall management for special projects initiated by the CEO and Board. Before joining Liberty, Todd graduated with honors from Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in Business Management and recently graduated from the Executive MBA Program at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago. Outside of the bank, Todd is the owner of several businesses involving real estate, technology, and fast food.
Stanton F. McNeely III
After a wide-ranging national search, the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (LAICU) selected Stanton F. McNeely III, Ed. D., as its next president and CEO. McNeely began his duties on Sept. 1, 2017 and succeeded MaryAnn Coleman who is retiring from LAICU after 32 years with the organization. Dr. McNeely brings more than 21 years of experience in Louisiana higher education administration at both private and public institutions. Since 2013 McNeely has served as vice-chancellor for institutional advancement at Delgado Community College and in January 2017 he also became its interim vice chancellor of workforce development and technical education. McNeely began his higher education administration career as director of admissions and student enrollment at Our Lady of Holy Cross College (now the University of Holy Cross).
Trisha Fos is the current president-elect of the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LATM). She holds a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and M.A. degree in Curriculum and Instruction with additional certifications in gifted education and reading/literacy, both from LSU. She is entering her 13th year of teaching at University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, currently serving as the K-2 Math and Science Coach. She previously taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. Over the years, she has mentored many preservice teachers through the LSU College of Education. She also teaches and writes curriculum for Tiger Challenge through LSU Pre-College Programs. Trisha has been a member of the LATM Executive Council for six years and has served on the board for the Baton Rouge Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics for 9 years.
Dr. Janet Pope
Dr. Janet Pope was selected by the Louisiana School Boards Association as its Executive Director in August 2015 after being their Board Development/Legislative Specialist the last five years. Prior to joining LSBA, she served nineteen years in a traditional public school system in south Louisiana whereby she held various teaching and administrative positions in both the elementary and secondary school settings. Dr. Pope possesses National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, undergraduate degrees and completed her dissertation at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette titled “How do GEAR UP Program Experiences Support College Readiness: A Qualitative Narrative Multiple Case Study Exploring College Readiness.” During Dr. Pope’s tenure as a GEAR UP Cohort Manager, STEM initiatives were a major component of regular programming for Louisiana students.
Kristen Reeves was appointed to the LaSTEM Advisory Council by Governor John Bel Edwards. She is the Executive Director and co-founder of Louisiana Women in Technology (LaWIT). A non-profit organization dedicated to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), providing career development opportunities for women in these fields, and most importantly supporting young girls to pursue education and future professions in STEM. Kristen graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA in Management Information Systems. She started her career as a Data Warehousing consultant where she worked in both Boston and Atlanta. After five years of traveling, she decided to put roots down and return home to Louisiana. Kristen is currently a Senior Systems Administrator for Geocent, LLC where she is responsible for Oracle database development and data management. In addition to her career, Kristen is passionate about encouraging other women to also follow their dreams and pursue careers in STEM. She shares her knowledge through discussion panels and lectures in both technical and professional development topics. With LaWIT she organizes multiple outreach events that expose middle and high school students to technology. Through her leadership, from 2016-2017 Baton Rouge joined the international community in hosting two RAILS Girls programming events; from 2014-2017 helped co-host four IT Girls workshop where middle school female students attended a coding camp, and from 2015-2017 LaWIT hosted three Environmental Engineering workshops called Engineer IT.
Susana Schowen, Vice-Chair of the LaSTEM Advisory Council, joined LED FastStart, a division of Louisiana Department of Economic Development, in June of 2011. As the Director of Workforce Initiatives, she is tasked with implementing high-level strategies focused on systemic workforce reform. Based on analyses of workforce supply and demand, she is collaborating with educational stakeholders to align offerings to the needs of Louisiana employers. Prior to joining LED, Susie managed a private technical college in Baton Rouge after creating a nationwide basic skills program focused on underperforming high schools for Thomson Peterson’s. Before that, she held a number of positions with Kaplan, Inc. managing test preparation courses, financial services training, and online college programs. She received degrees in chemistry from Wellesley College and Columbia University.
Mr. Scott Stevens is the Louisiana Association of Principals’ representative. Since July 2014, Mr. Stevens has served as Principal of Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge. During his tenure, Woodlawn has added multiple Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes, along with a Magnet program to complement its Gifted and Talented program. He continues to support STEM programs, clubs, and activities at Woodlawn. Mr. Stevens and the Woodlawn Robotics team, Panthrobotics, has been invited to the FIRST World Championships, two of the last three years, hosts the DOW Red Stick Rumble. It is a FIRST robotics exhibition which for the last five years, has brought in teams from various states to compete and showcase their robots. He has served the East Baton Rouge Parish School System for thirteen years as teacher and administrator. Mr. Stevens earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University and a Masters of Education from Southeastern Louisiana University. He currently resides in Prairieville with his wife and two children
Ken Tucker is Director, State and Local Government Operations, Southeast Region, for The Boeing Company and Louisiana Department of Economic Development appointee. His responsibilities include representing the company at the local and state levels of government in all legislative, administrative and public agency matters in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.Ken is a native of Alabama. He earned a BA degree in American Studies and History from the University of Alabama in 1982 and received a Master of Administrative Science degree in Business/Public Administration from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1984. After graduate school, Ken was employed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville as their Director of Governmental Relations, representing the University and its interests before local, state and federal elected officials.He joined Boeing in 1988 as a Public Affairs Specialist, with responsibility for community relations and local government relations. Since then, he’s held positions of increasing responsibility including Community and Education Relations Specialist, Government and Community Affairs Manager, and State and Local Government Relations Manager for Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.Ken is active in several professional and civic organizations at the local and state level. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Business Council of Alabama, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and the Alabama Aerospace Industries Association. He also is a member of the Huntsville Rotary Club and the Committee of 100. Ken resides in Huntsville with his wife Leigh and they have two adult sons.
Dr. Rachel Vincent-Finley
Dr. Rachel Vincent-Finley, Southern University System designee, is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Sciences and Engineering at Southern University and A & M College. She earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Bryn Mawr College and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Rice University. She worked at the Rice School in the Houston Independent School District for 7 years in various educational enhancement roles.
Dr. Vincent-Finley joined the faculty at Southern University in 2009 as a Louisiana Optical Network Initiative fellow and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Soon thereafter, she became and continues to serve as the XSEDE Campus Champion for Southern University. Dr. Vincent-Finley is now a member of the faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Physics.
Dr. Vincent-Finley serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI) management council. Her general research interests include numerical methods and mathematical modeling with research applications to molecular biophysics, materials science and the use of technology to enhance scientific discovery.
Dr. Vincent-Finley’s education and outreach efforts include broadening participation in STEM for underrepresented groups and enhancing the connections between higher education and industry through workforce development partnerships.
Dr. William Wainwright
Dr. William Wainwright ,a native of Broussard, LA and a graduate of Northwestern State University Class of 1999 was appointed Chancellor of Northshore Technical Community College August 10, 2011. Dr. Wainwright began his career as a School-to-Work and Tech Prep Regional Coordinator. He later served as Campus Dean and Dean of Workforce Development within the Louisiana Technical College and Vice President of Business Services for the Safety Council. Career Highlights include Harvard Institute for Educational Management Fellow, Salzburg Global Leadership Institute Fellow, and Accreditation Consultant for Jeddah Community College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In addition, Dr. Wainwright has served on the Education Transition Team for Governor Kathleen Blanco, is a graduate of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Leadership Development Institute, and is published in The Community College Journal of Research and Practice. Dr. Wainwright currently serves his community as President of the Board of Family Promise of St. Tammany. Recent highlights include being recognized as the 2014 St. Tammany Economic Development Innovator of the Year, 2015 St. Tammany Economic Development Partner of the Year, and 2017 St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award Recipient. His college was recently distinguished as the Louisiana ACT Exemplar for College and Career Readiness for 2015, recognized nationally in the December 2015 Community College Week publication for growth, and ranked top in the nation by the Brookings Institute for greatest economic value of graduates. He currently serves as President of The Council of Louisiana Colleges & Universities and President of COMBASE; a national community based education organization. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of New Orleans in December of 2011 in Higher Education Administration.
John White was named Louisiana State Superintendent of Education in January of 2012. That year he launched Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to ensure every child is on track to college or a professional career. In the time since, White has worked to unify the state’s fragmented early childhood system, to modernize expectations and curriculum for all students, to professionalize the preparation of educators, to provide pathways to prosperity for all high school graduates, and to provide families with expensive school options irrespective of their financial means. Prior to being named State Superintendent, White served as Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District, overseeing the nation’s first system of publicly-funded charter and non-public schools in New Orleans and launching the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone. Prior to moving to Louisiana, White worked in New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein. While in New York he served as Deputy Chancellor, launching the Innovation Zone, a network of 100 21st Century schools that use technology to personalize student learning, and leading the city’s efforts to turn around more than 100 failing schools and start 500 new charter and district schools. White previously served as Executive Director of Teach For America – Chicago and Teach For America – New Jersey. He began his career as an English teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. White received a B.A. in English with distinction from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University. He serves as chairman of the independent non-profit advocacy organization Chiefs for Change and is an Academic Visitor to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Jaimee McCullen Williams
Jaimee McCullen Williams was appointed to the LaSTEM Advisory Council by Governor John Bel Edwards. Originally from Los Angeles, CA by way of Natchez, MS, Ms. Williams is currently an Instructional Supervisor of Middle Schools employed by the Ascension Parish School Board. Ms. Williams earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Southern University A & M in Baton Rouge, LA and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. In her 13th year with serving the school system, Ms. Williams has been the principal of Gonzales Primary School where she was a finalist for Louisiana State Principal of the year. She also has served as an assistant principal, instructional coach, reading coach, and teacher. Before her pursuit in education, Ms. Williams worked for the New Orleans Saints in sales and marketing upon graduating from college. Mrs. Williams lives in Gonzales LA with her two daughters.
Laura Younger serves as Interim Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC). Formerly, she served as Associate Professor of Biology and Department Chairperson of Science at BRCC from 2009 to 2017. As such, she was directly involved with the development of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technician program. She also served as principle investigator for two Louisiana Board of Regents’ Enhancement grants focused on the development and support of environmental and engineering technician programs for Louisiana’s workforce. Ms. Younger has a Master’s degree in Zoology and Physiology from Louisiana State University. Her current projects at BRCC include work as a co-investigator of a NASA-LSU initiative, Launching Louisiana Community College Students into STEM and a National Institute of Health Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant with LSU that assists BRCC biological sciences and biological engineering students in their transition to LSU and provides undergraduate research experiences. She is also involved in a National Science Foundation STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant with the goal of increasing the number of STEM majors successfully transferring to LSU over five years. The grant supports Supplemental Instruction (SI), a non-remedial peer-tutoring program that provides regular review sessions outside of class in which students’ work collaboratively with each other and an SI leader to improve their understanding of historically difficult math and science course material and to develop strategies for course success.
A native of Austin, TX., Tom Yura has a bachelor’s degree of science in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon completion of his studies, he joined BASF’s Freeport, Texas manufacturing site. Tom has responsibility for BASF’s Geismar, Louisiana site, the largest of the corporation’s North American manufacturing locations. In this role, he oversees the daily operation of 25 plants that manufacture many different products, including urethanes used in foam insulation, shoes, and furniture; chemical intermediates used in adhesives, coatings, plastics, water and gas treatment; and surfactants used in detergents. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Tom’s civic and charitable work includes serving on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, Louisiana Chemical Association (Chair of Safety and Health committee) Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance (Vice-Chair), as well the Boy Scouts of America Istrouma Area Council and Ascension Parish Chamber of Commerce. He is also serving on the Energy Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, part of the central bank of the U.S.