Morning Sessions Information & Zoom Links
Below you will find more information about the morning sessions, including the Zoom links and presentation abstracts. Click on the session you would like to explore. Most sessions have three to four options to choose from. Remember, you will need the passcode that was emailed to you to access these links.
Morning Networking, Conference Welcome, Keynote Speaker
Option 1: The How of Character Strengths – Applying Strengths to Yourself and Students
SPEAKER: Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec, Education Director, VIA Institute on Character
Option 2: Understanding Youth Mental Health in a Pandemic
SPEAKER: Dr. Natalie Moser, Director, MSU Psychological Clinic and Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University
Option 3: InPACT at Home: Move Together, Be Together, Think Together
SPEAKERS: Rebecca Hasson, Associate Professor, University of Michigan; Lisa Jo Gagliardi, Consultant, LG Gagliardi, LLC: Building a Whole Child Toolbox; Heather Lewis, Kindergarten Teacher, Discovery Elementary
- Dr. Rebecca Hasson is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Director of the Childhood Disparities Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan. For the past 8 years, her research has focused on the development and implementation of physical activity interventions in school and home environments to improve the health and well-being of Michigan children and their families. As Principal Investigator of the Interrupting Prolonged sitting with ACTivity (InPACT) program and adapted InPACT for dissemination in the home environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her programming is currently being broadcast on public television across the state of Michigan.
- Lisa Jo Gagliardi, BA, MPA, is the founder of LJ Gagliardi, LLC: Building a Whole Child Toolbox. She is a consultant, facilitator, and coach for whole child health, with a focus on adult and student social-emotional health. She is past President of the Michigan School Health Coordinators’ Association and served on many local and State-level committees and boards, most recently the Michigan Department of Education’s SEL and Mental Health Network. Lisa Jo is also a certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner and Emotional Intelligence Assessor and Coach through the international Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network.
- Heather Lewis holds an MA in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as an MA in Child Development from Michigan State University. She is the K-12 Social Emotional and Mindfulness Coordinator for Williamston Community Schools and also teaches Kindergarten at Discovery Elementary in Williamston, Michigan. She specializes in SEL, Mindfulness, and Student-Athlete Mental Health.
Option 1: University of Michigan’s ArcPrep: Engaging Students Through Project-Based Learning Online
SPEAKER: Anya Sirota, Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Michigan’s ArcPrep
Option 2: Fostering Engagement and Belonging Online: A Case Study of Three Innovative Programs
SPEAKERS: Laurie Rivetto, Christine Heverly, Jackie Martin, Janelle Stewart, Extension Educators, Michigan State University
- Laurie Rivetto is a 14-year Extension educator with Michigan State University Extension based in Wayne County (Detroit, Michigan). Laurie specializes in 4-H youth development in the areas of career exploration, workforce preparation, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. Her work focuses on volunteer and curriculum development around these topic areas as well as direct programming with youth in a creative, engaging, and fun manner. Laurie holds a Masters in Youth Development and serves on a team providing leadership on the pre-college program, 4-H Exploration Days.
- Christine Heverly is a 12-year Extension educator with Michigan State University Extension based in Clinton County. Christine specializes in volunteer management and youth development. She works on creating safe environments for youth through building youth professionals’ knowledge and skills around best practices and policies. In addition, Christine has a focus on training volunteers in the areas of youth development, social media, building safe programming environments, and communication skills. Christine has a Master of Science in Youth Development and serves on a team providing leadership on the pre-college program, 4-H Exploration Days.
- Jackie Martin is an MSU Extension Educator with 4-H leadership and civic engagement responsibilities housed in Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), Michigan. Jackie focuses on providing opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills and helps youth find their voice in democratic and community processes through understanding civic engagement. Jackie works with adults to recognize the value of youth voices in decision-making. Jackie teaches group decision-making including parliamentary procedure, consensus-building tools, and facilitation techniques. Jackie holds a Master of Public Administration with nonprofit leadership emphasis. Jackie provides leadership to the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council and 4-H Capitol Experience.
- Janelle Stewart is a 4-H Extension Educator with 35 years of experience in positive youth development work. Janelle focuses on providing opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills and helps youth find their voice in democratic and community processes through an understanding of civic engagement. Janelle also works with adults to help them recognize the value of youth voices in decision-making. Janelle teaches a variety of tools for group decision-making including parliamentary procedure, consensus building, and facilitation techniques. Janelle is certified by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in Youth Mental Health First Aid and Teen Mental Health First Aid.
Option 3: Gen Zoomers and the State of Mind of Post-Pandemic Youth
SPEAKER: Cassy Tefft de Munoz, Director, Educational Outreach, Michigan Tech
Option 4: Sculptures and Sentences: Creating an Interactive Virtual Writing + Art Field Trip
SPEAKERS: Grace VanderVliet, Curator for Museum Teaching and Learning, Museum of Art, University of Michigan; Megan Gilson, Interim Program and Education Director, 826michigan
- Grace VanderVliet connects teachers, students, and art. A former high school English teacher and university art history instructor, she enjoys thinking about how learning happens outside traditional classrooms. She works with volunteer docents to create engaging art museum tours that center students’ ideas and voices.
- Megan Gilson is an experienced Program Manager at 826michigan, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting school-aged students to write with skill and confidence in collaboration with adult volunteers in their communities. Megan holds a BA in Education from the University of Michigan, with secondary teacher certification in English and Psychology, and is currently working on a Master’s in Language and Literacy Education at Harvard University. Prior to these roles, she taught high school English in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, supervised an after-school enrichment program, and taught Care of Magical Creatures at a Harry Potter-themed camp.
Option 1: Are You Aiming for Meaningful Learning? Student Engagement is Your Key Ingredient!
SPEAKER: Angela Marocco, Instructional Learning Specialist, University of Michigan
Option 2: (1) Campus Connections & (2) Financial Aid Programming (2 Presentation Topics)
CAMPUS CONNECTIONS – SPEAKERS: Laura Saavedra, GEAR UP Program Director; Sheri Samaha, Sr. Program Manager, Center for Educational Outreach, University of Michigan
FINANCIAL AID PROGRAMMING – SPEAKERS: Charlotte Pierce, College Advisor, Michigan College Advisor Corps, University of Michigan; Matthew Bozzo, Career Navigator, Grand Valley State University Battle Creek Regional Outreach Center
- Laura Saavedra has served as a higher education professional for over twelve years working at multiple post-secondary institutions in several functional areas across Ohio and Michigan. Currently, she serves as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, GEAR UP Program Director for the Center for Educational Outreach (CEO), housed within the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In this role and alongside her talented team, she is excited to lead an evidence-based, data-informed organizational framework and program design that will support CEO’s strategic plan to significantly increase college access and success outcomes across the State of Michigan. Throughout her career, she has been committed to ensuring equitable pathways of opportunity through advocating for and empowering underrepresented, first-generation, and historically marginalized student groups. Laura is a proud second-generation Mexican-American, first-generation college graduate, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, and she has made this work her life’s mission because she wholeheartedly believes in the transformative power of higher education.
- Sheri Samaha is a Senior Program Manager who implements and manages the U-M Center for Educational Outreach initiatives that include guiding and collaborating with U-M students and faculty interested in advancing their educational outreach activities. Previously, Sheri served as the assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at U-M. She utilizes her admissions background to support students in under-resourced high schools pursuing higher education and works to demystify the college experience. With over 20 years of experience, Sheri leads CEO’s Wolverine Express program that coordinates large groups of diverse U-M faculty and staff to travel to high schools across the state of Michigan promoting college access, readiness and success. Sheri is deeply invested in U-M DEI initiatives and serves on CEO’s Outreach Consulting Team. She has developed expertise in providing resources that support faculty-led efforts with K-12 students and educators to broaden their impact and inspire them to make educational outreach a core component of their role as U-M Faculty. Sheri holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Michigan University and a Master of Guidance and Counseling with a focus on Higher Education from Eastern Michigan University.
- Charlotte Pierce is a second-year college adviser serving at Battle Creek Central High School. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy, focusing on youth and education policy, and a minor in Gender, Race, and Nation. While at Michigan, she worked with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), a program that pairs first and second-year undergraduates with research projects. In this role, she discovered her passion for mentorship and helping students carve out their educational paths. Her ultimate goal is to create policy change that increases accessibility to higher education, especially for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. In her free time, she enjoys kickboxing, reading, and taking trips to northern Michigan.
- Matthew Bozzo is responsible for empowering students to see opportunities for their futures. As a Career Navigator for Grand Valley State University at Battle Creek Central High School, Matthew supports students in preparing for their post-secondary education. He is passionate about developing and sustaining systems to promote the college-going culture among school faculty and community partnerships to effectively collaborate and support students in succeeding in their future goals. As a coach and adviser, Matthew promotes positive connections among every student and colleague he works with to encourage supportive relationships.
Option 3: (1) High-Potential in High-Risk Area to Doctor & (2) Advocacy Training (2 Presentation Topics)
HIGH-POTENTIAL IN HIGH-RISK TO DOCTOR – SPEAKER: Vy Tran Plata, 4th-year Medical Student, University of Michigan
ADVOCACY TRAINING – SPEAKERS: Othelia Pryor, Project Senior Manager, University of Michigan; Robert Holt, Medical Student Mentor, University of Michigan
- Othelia W. Pryor received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Measurement and Quantitative Methods and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the Project Senior Manager for the University of Michigan, Michigan Medicine Office for Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI). Dr. Pryor’s current responsibilities include developing and delivering the Advancing Medicine through Equity and Social Justice curriculum (AMES) for faculty, staff, residents, medical students, and undergraduate and high school participants in the Michigan Health Sciences Summer Institute. Her role contributes to OHEI’s mission of diversifying the next generation of physicians, nurses, health professionals, and scientists.
- Robert Alexander Holt was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He graduated with a BS in biomolecular science from University of Michigan in 2020, and will start a master’s in molecular & integrative physiology at the University of Michigan this fall. He plans to become an MD-PhD. He is part of the OHEI staff and helps lead and coordinate various programs and research projects. His passions and interests include health equity, mentorship, research, making music, biking, wrestling, and more.