Tuesday, July 27

The following are education sessions and other activities planned for the Guiding the Way to Inclusion (GWI) 2021 conference for Tuesday, July 27. For the full conference schedule, see the Schedule at a Glance.


Welcome and Day One Overview

11 - 11:15 a.m. ET


Keynote Address

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. ET

Zaniya Lewis and Michele Waxman Johnson

Zaniya Lewis is an entrepreneur and student activist who founded a non-profit organization, YesSheCanCampaign, four years ago to help other young women overcome adversity and transition into college successfully. Zaniya experienced scholarship award displacement as an undergraduate student and her advocacy is breaking barriers, already resulting in a bill to prevent scholarship award displacement at all New Jersey public universities.

Michele Waxman Johnson, higher education affordability and access advocate, served as lead advocate and coalition builder for a successful “first in the nation” bill in Maryland restricting scholarship award displacement, which was introduced to help low-income and underserved students attending 4-year public universities in Maryland keep their private scholarships. This bill became state law in 2017 and is now a national model. 

Presenters: Zaniya Lewis, YesSheCanCampaign, and Michele Waxman Johnson, advocate and consultant.


Plenary 1

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET



Did We Flatten the Curve?
Inequity in Admissions in 2020 & Beyond 

Depending on the corner of higher education you inhabited, 2020 was the year when college admissions either became more equitable or when inequality was exacerbated. From test-optional policies on the one-hand to a lack of internet access and resources on the other, there were significant victories and setbacks apparent throughout the year.

As the world reopens, it will be tempting for universities to go back to “the way things have always been.” However, now is the time to advance significant disruption to admissions. From the inequities in our applications to the biases in our recruitment strategies, how can we rethink our work and center equity in everything we do? And most importantly, how can we truly operationalize equity? Join us for a conversation about the year’s successes and challenges and the hope we have for the future.

Presenters: Ashley Pallie, Pomona College; Calvin Wise, Johns Hopkins University; and Olufemi Ogundele, University of California, Berkeley.


Breakout Sessions 1

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET



Reading is FUNdamental

Whether you read an article a week or a book a month, take the reading challenge to continue your professional and personal development. As adults we continue to tell students to read, but we don’t always practice what we preach. In this session, we will discuss the challenges that we each accepted, how it has benefitted us professionally and personally, how reading has helped us create a little mental balance during our peak seasons, and what lessons we have implemented into our professional practices.

Presenters: Edward Pickett III, Polytechnic School; Pamela Toscano, Harvard Law School; and DJ Menifee, Susquehanna University.



The Road to College During COVID: Students with Learning Differences 

Over the course of the pandemic, the transition team at Beacon College worked with 275 students with learning differences and their families as the prepared to enter over 50 different colleges in Fall 2020 or 2021. This presentation will highlight the data collected over the span of two different programs, focusing on issues related to college readiness, enrollment predictions, secondary school preparation, and common pitfalls both attributed and perhaps unrelated to the COVID pandemic. Practical tools will be provided that was used in these transition programs to enhance college readiness skills for students with learning disabilities.

Presenter: Alexander Morris-Wood, Beacon College.



Recruiting FGLI Students Through Successful Peer-to-Peer Engagement

Imposter syndrome, inaccessible information, and uncertainty around financing further complicate the admissions process for first-generation and low income (FGLI) students. Research shows peer-to-peer relationships between FGLI college students and FGLI high schoolers promotes college-going, well-being, and successful outcomes among high schoolers. In this session, we will explore this research and highlight four diverse institutions as case studies. Each institution will share their experiences creating effective programming that leverages FGLI peer engagement in both virtual and in-person recruitment settings. Session participants will develop skills to advocate for and implement FGLI-specific recruitment at their institution and understand how to maximize student engagement.

Presenters: Kate Featherston, Dartmouth College; Jamiere Abney, Colgate University; Saisha Delevoe, Florida State University; and Michael Smith, University of Georgia.


Small Group Discussions

3:10 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. ET



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