Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He was also recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, Hrabowski co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988, which encourages all high-achieving students to pursue advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering and to advance underrepresented minorities in these fields. Based on the program’s outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books—Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds—which focus on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science.
A child leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary Four Little Girls on the racially motivated bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963. He and UMBC were recently featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes, attracting national attention for the campus’s achievements in innovation and inclusive excellence.
In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university the past five years (2009-13). During this period, U.S. News also consistently ranked UMBC among the nation’s leading institutions for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” – in 2013, other universities on the list included Duke, Cal-Berkeley, Princeton, and Brown. Time magazine named Hrabowski one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009 and one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.
Meta Van Sickle, Ph.D is a Full Professor at the College of Charleston. A teacher with over 22 years experience in higher education, Meta earned her Ph.D. in Science Education at the University of South Florida. Not only does she teach in the secondary education program, she is a past program director for the M.Ed. in Science and Math for Teachers program. She is currently the department chair for teacher education.
Her interests in education include the study of race, class and gender especially as it relates to policy and practice in current schooling. She has spent twenty years working in underperforming schools in the region. She assists in these schools through curriculum and pedagogical practice improvements. She effectively works with colleagues from both the sciences and education to learn about effective teaching practices within the areas of biology and physics. Her colleges from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston County School Districts, many teachers and science faculty at the College of Charleston were instrumental in these studies. She has several publications about these activities.
Margaret Olmos is the Chief of Staff in the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. Prior to her time with the Department, Margaret was Deputy Research Director at the White House, the sole researcher for now-First Lady Michelle Obama, and a researcher and community service activist in a number of capacities between 2003 and 2008. Margaret earned her BA at Haverford, with a special education minor that included four years of student teaching, and her MA in Politics at Queens University in Northern Ireland.