Panels & Sessions

Panels & Breakout Sessions

Saturday July 21 2018

Descriptions and speaker/facilitator bios will be posted as sessions are confirmed. Sessions are subject to change.

The 4-1-1 on Running for Office

  • Mussab Ali (NJ ’17)
  • Rob Sand (IA ’05)
  • Zoraima Peleaz (TX ’16)
  • Kyle Gracey (PA ’05)

Mastermind Networking

 The best panelists are your fellow Truman Scholars. Join us as we quickly pair you off to do a mastermind working session to talk through the biggest challenges with your goals.

  • Andrew Lee (CO ’06)

Powerful Teaching: How to Unleash the Science of Learning in Today’s Classrooms

Education is in dire need of transformation. For years, parents, students, and educators have asked, “Why is our education system ineffective?” Instead, we urge you to ask a different question: “Why do we still use a system that has been shown to be ineffective?”

Educational curriculum and methods are driven by personal experience and anecdotes passed on from teacher to teacher, not grounded in research and scientifically-based practices. Teaching strategies and fads reinvent the wheel, while student achievement remains stagnant. Meanwhile, based on more than 100 years of research, cognitive scientists have established powerful strategies that dramatically improve learning for diverse students, subject areas, and education rigor, but the use of these strategies remains limited.

In this interactive session, cognitive scientist Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. (MO ’05) will decipher key findings, illustrate evidence-based teaching strategies, and explore how we can effectively empower educators to unleash the science of learning in their classrooms.

Pooja will also facilitate a discussion on the successes and challenges of translating scientific research (visit for more information); building collaborations with education non-profits and foundations; and directing research as a female scientist of color.

  • Pooja Agarwal (MO ’05)

Growing change agents: Collaboratively designing a change agent’s curriculum

The Truman Scholarship identifies college juniors whose passions, background and trajectory demonstrate their potential to be catalytic change agents, and amplifies their ability to make a difference. If we wanted to nurture local communities of Truman Scholar-esque change agents–teaching and building capabilities instead of identifying leading change agents–how might we imagine doing so?

In this facilitated workshop, we’re going to collectively (and literally) sketch out a curriculum for change agents to-be. Whether we’re thinking of community college students, ivy league grads, a high school dropout, or a mid-career MBA, what does the major look like for their “Bachelor’s of Change Agentry”? What types of problems do community change agents need to be able to address? What sorts of skills, knowledge, and perspectives are useful? How should this learning experience be delivered?

We’ll reflect on our experiences, brainstorm, overindulge in sticky notes, and collaborate our hearts out as we craft a modern curriculum for making a difference in the year 2018. Output to be shared to the TSA community.

  • Bruce Haupt (FL ‘06)
  • Kathleen Nganga (WY ‘17)
  • Michelle Tran Maryns (KS ‘06)
  • Graphic Recorder: Erin Nicole Gordon

Getting Published: Traditional, Self-Published and E-Books

  • Lynn Boughey (ND ’77)
  • Andrew Rich (DE ’91)

A Networking Activity Centered Around the Top Challenges Facing Nonprofits

Join us for an interactive networking activity for those engaged in or interested in careers in the non-profit sector. Most of our time together will be in small groups that substantively engage attendees to help solve in each group a top challenge facing nonprofits. With assistance from the table leaders listed below, the groups will focus on such areas as funding, advocacy, competitiveness, strategic governance and innovation. Each group will be charged with developing a prioritized set of actions to best address a problem statement unique to their topical area and report out to the full assembly. Come prepared to share as we tap into some great thinking from among those of us drawn to this vibrant third sector of the global economy.

  • Mark Cannon (OH ’84)
  • Liz Evenson (DE ’98)
  • Maddie Orcutt (WY ’15)
  • Miles Owen (SC ’11)
  • Rebecca Peters (CA ’13)

Dissecting and Reducing Violence (in America)

The recent tragedies in Parkland have once again brought to our nation’s attention the unresolved issue of violence. From violence at the macro level, including wars and school shootings, to the micro level, such as homicides in black and brown communities, it is evident that violence is an ensuing epidemic that has major psychological, biological, social, and economic consequences both on the individual and on society as a whole. The purpose of this panel is to explore the root causes/social determinants of violence and its intersectionality with other social ills such as racism, sexism, poverty, and xenophobia, as well as to highlight how this issue is being addressed through policy, research, and practice. Truman Scholar panelists will aim to discuss the issue from a range of perspectives including public health, academia, housing, and the criminal justice system, across the political spectrum, with examples from their professional work and lived experiences. In addition, the panelists will encourage a lively discussion and challenge fellow Truman Scholars to use both top-down and bottom-up approaches to dissecting violence both domestically and globally.

  • April Joy Damian (CA ’05), Director of Quality Innovation at the National Quality Forum (NQF)
  • Daniel Armanios (GA ’05), assistant professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Monica Bell (SC ’02), associate professor of law at Yale Law School
  • Claudio Simpkins (NY ’05), Attorney-at-Law

Building Community Resilience: Strategies for Making Communities Stronger to Natural Disasters

The 2017 hurricane season was unlike any other. First came Hurricane Harvey, followed a little more than two weeks later by Hurricane Irma. The storms swept through multiple states and caused an estimated $175 billion in damages. Then came Maria, which damaged more than a third of homes on Puerto Rico and crippled the island’s aging power grid. Communities across Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida rapidly mobilized to fill relief gaps, in instances more rapidly and effectively than governments. The 2018 hurricane season is right around the corner, yet our approach to disaster relief has changes. This panel will explore lessons learned from the disaster response to Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, as well as discuss emerging approaches to disaster relief.

  • Olimar Maisonet-Guzman (PR ’09), Program Manager, Environmental Cooperation, U.S. Department of State
  • Omar Perez (PR ’11), Ph.D. Student
  • Ileana Cruz-Marden (PR ’13), Master in Public Affairs student at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs
  • Angelique Sina, Friends of Puerto Rico
  • Kate Brown, Global Island Partnerships
  • Stephanie Monserrate, Guakia (virtual)
  • Pedro Morales, PECES (virtual)

#MeToo: Where Do We Go From Here

  • Randi Frank (CT ’77)
  • Lisa Cloutier (MA ’01)
  • Michelle Tran Maryns (KS ’06)
  • Cristine Pedersen (OR ’17)