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NSPA is thrilled to announce the Keynote and General Session speakers for our 2018 Annual Conference. Scroll down for more details or click on one of the quick links below.
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Keynote Session by Soledad O'Brien: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 8:30am-9:30am
Changing the Conversation about Mental Health: Thursday, Oct. 4, 8:30am-9:30am
Showing Gratitude Through Success: Thursday, Oct. 4, 12:45pm-1:15pm
Generation Z: Preparing Students to Thrive in the Future Workplace: Friday, Oct. 5, 8:30am-9:30am

Keynote Speaker
Wednesday, October 3, 8:30am-9:30am

Soledad O'Brien

Award Winning Journalist, Documentarian, News Anchor, Producer, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Soledad brings a fresh perspective on diverse and contemporary issues to foster change in your own community or organization. Soledad has worked tirelessly to help people understand and appreciate each others’ context and journeys through thoughtful storytelling. By sharing her own empowering story, as well as the stories of others, she will discuss her unique perspective on the role higher education can play in the lives of the disenfranchised. As a founder of PowHERful, a scholarship foundation for women, she will also talk about recognizing educational potential and empowerment through scholarships. You’ll come away with memorable takeaways on the role you can play within your community and organization and on the power of scholarship providers to make a meaningful and lasting change.

About Soledad O'Brien:
As the host and executive producer of the new 13 episode true crime series “Mysteries & Scandals” on OXYGEN, and host of "Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien" a weekly political magazine show syndicated across the country on hundreds of TV stations, Soledad has established herself as one of the most recognized names in broadcasting by telling the stories behind the most important issues, people and events of the day. A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the underserved and disenfranchised through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series, “Black in America” and “Latino in America”, while also the contributing editor, reporting in-depth news magazine pieces for "PBS NewsHour" and correspondent for "HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel". A prominent philanthropist, Soledad is a founder of PowHERful, a foundation that mentors and funds college tuition and expenses for young women. Learn more about Soledad O'Brien here.

NSPA is proud to welcome Soledad O'Brien's foundation, PowHERful, as one of our newest members!

General Session Speakers
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, 8:30am-9:30am

Changing the Conversation about Mental Health
Recent research is pointing to mental health as one of the biggest factors in student success. In fact, depression is directly related to increased dropout rates, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. This panel will tell the stories of students who have faced mental health struggles, give a glimpse into what their college experience has looked like as a result, and open a conversation about what has helped them throughout their journey. It will also introduce you to external resources such as Active Minds, as well as intrinsic strengths, that your students can access to help them thrive. We all have a role to play to help our students not only survive, but thrive – and only through speaking up about mental health issues will we break the stigma that causes too many of us to struggle alone.

A recent study finds that the presence of Active Minds on college campuses could significantly increase the number of students who receive help for mental health issues.

      Tanaya Winder                 Alison Malmon               Tami Tiburtino              Anaclare Sullivan

Tanaya Winder
Motivational Speaker and Founder of As/Us
Tanaya Winder is a poet, vocalist, writer, educator, and motivational speaker from the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations. She received a BA in English from Stanford University and after completing her MFA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico, she co-founded As/Us: A Space for Women of the World, a literary magazine publishing works by Indigenous women and women of color. In 2015, she co-founded the Sing Our Rivers Red traveling earring exhibit to raise awareness about murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Her advocacy also includes working with Native youth and reservation communities as the Director of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Upward Bound program, which serves approximately 103 Native youth from across the country. She is a 2016 National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development “40 Under 40” list of emerging American Indian leaders recipient and a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artists in Business Leadership fellows. Her debut poetry collection Words Like Love was published in 2015 and her chapbook Why Storms are Named After People and Bullets Remain Nameless was released in 2017. She believes in creating the spaces that are needed in this world and so she founded an Indigenous artists management company and collective called Dream Warriors, where they can uplift and empower others. Learn more about her work at www.tanayawinder.com or follow her on social media: @tanayawinder

Alison Malmon
Founder and Executive Director of Active Minds, Inc.

Alison Malmon is the founder and Executive Director of Active Minds, Inc., the leading national organization that uses students as the driving force to change the perception about mental health on college campuses. Alison formed the organization following the suicide of her only sibling, twenty-two year old brother Brian Malmon. Wanting to combat the stigma that had caused her brother to suffer in silence and ultimately take his own life, she created a group on her campus at the University of Pennsylvania that promoted an open, enlightened dialogue around the issues. Just after graduating in 2003, Alison formed the 501(c)3 organization in order to develop and support chapters of the student group on campuses around the country. From that moment forward, she has served as Executive Director of the non-profit, leading the organization as it engages tens of thousands of student leaders nationwide and promotes a unified national voice for young adults in the mental health awareness movement.

For her efforts, Alison has been named one of the "Top 15 Global Emerging Social Innovators" by Ashoka Changemakers and American Express, Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, and a Woman of Distinction by the American Association of University Women. She has also received the Destigmatization Award from the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare, Tipper Gore Remember the Children Award from Mental Health America, inaugural Young Leadership Award from the National Mental Health Research Association (NARSAD), and more. Alison has been profiled as a "Person you Should Know" on CNN, and in stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and Glamour Magazine.

Tami Tiburtino                   
Student, University of Hartford
Tami Tiburtino is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Hartford. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor's in Psychology in May 2018. In undergrad, she was a part of the Active Minds Chapter and also served in the Active Minds California Ambassador role from 2017-2018. Her passion for destigmatizing mental health has lead her on a long and fulfilling journey.

Anaclare Sullivan
Mental Health Advocate/Recent Graduate, University of Rochester
A recent graduate and former President of Active Minds at the University of Rochester, Anaclare is passionate about challenging the stereotypes that surround mental health conditions, especially PTSD and OCD, fighting the stigma of hospitalization, and teaching others about the intersection of mental illness and physical disability. Anaclare has a bachelor of arts degree in epidemiology with concentrations in brain and cognitive sciences and developmental neuropsychology.

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, 12:45pm-1:15pm
Showing Gratitude Through Success
Inspired actions and a national community rallying together can come from great tragedy. The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was established just hours after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to provide scholarships for the children of those killed or permanently disabled as a result of the attacks and rescue activities of 9/11. To date, the Fund has provided over $148 million to 3,337 students. Rhianna Quinn Roddy, Executive Director of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, will tell how President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole lead the nation in creating the Fund, which will continue to provide assistance through 2030.

One of the Fund's beneficiaries is Joe Palombo, a Pace University graduate, now working as an Integration & Project Associate at Verisk Analytics and serving on the Board of Scholarship America. He is one of the ten Palombo children who lost their father, a firefighter, on 9/11 and, soon after, their mother to cancer in 2013. Joe will share his family’s powerful story, his personal experience and how he showed his appreciation to of all those who gave to the fund by earning a degree which helped shape his future.

             Joe Palombo                         Rhianna Quinn Roddy

Joe Palombo
Integration & Project Associate, Verisk Analytics

Joseph Palombo graduated from Pace University in 2013 with a B.A. in Business Administration and an M.B.A. with a focus in Accounting. Palombo received significant financial support through the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which is administered by Scholarship America to provide scholarships for the children of those killed or permanently disabled as a result of the attacks and rescue activities of 9/11. He joined the Scholarship America Board of Trustees in 2017, and serves as secretary.

Additionally, Palombo is one of three co‐chairs of the Junior Board of Tuesday’s Children, a charity founded in the aftermath of September 11th to help families impacted by the terrorist attacks. He has held positions on fundraising committees for various events, including leading the corporate sponsorship committee for the largest fundraising event of the Junior Board.

Currently, Palombo is an Integration & Project Associate at Verisk Analytics in New Jersey. He is responsible for executing and improving the integration process related to mergers and acquisitions. Palombo has a focus in process improvement and project management, ensuring optimization of resources and effective communication.

Rhianna Quinn Roddy

Executive Director, Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund
Rhianna Quinn Roddy joined Scholarship America in 2008 as executive director of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. Previously, she was chief marketing officer for Lighthouse International and vice president, global and domestic tourism for NYC & Company. Her background also includes a variety of executive roles with Delta Air Lines in the U.S., Europe, India and Asia.

She is a current board member of several organizations and has served on the boards of Tuesday’s Children, the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and NYC & Company’s Executive Committee, as well as U.S. Chambers of Commerce boards in Ireland, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Quinn Roddy earned a B.A. from Stony Brook University in New York and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. She spent several years at the Sorbonne and College de France in Paris and also attended Kent University in England.

Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, 8:30am-9:30am
Generation Z: Preparing Students to Thrive in the Future Workplace
The profound technological, social, and cultural changes of the past three decades have fundamentally transformed all dimensions of our lives. As new “generations” have emerged – first, “Millennials” and now, “Generation Z” – we see growing divides between these segments and older generations. Our social media and digitized worlds can connect us to new possibilities, as well as separate us in sometimes dramatic fashions. How we interact, what we value, how we learn, what we pursue, and how we work and play, have all emerged as points of difference between the four and five generations we commonly see in the workplaces of today. Our students now come to higher education with different needs, passions, challenges and priorities than students in years past, and we must adjust in order to fulfill our mission as mentors. What can we do to best prepare these scholars for successful academic lives and fulfilling careers in an ever-changing world? How can scholarship providers, institutions of higher education, and students collaborate to create new and dynamic paths through higher education to meaningful futures? Through intentionally strategic initiatives, we can proactively work with these new generations of scholars to coach them into the skills, qualities, and orientations needed to be successful in both higher education and the multigenerational workplaces of their futures.


Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller
Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller serves as a Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Miller oversees a range of offices and initiatives related to faculty development and student success. A sociologist by training, Dr. Miller's primary expertise is in gender studies and culture. She currently focuses her research on student engagement, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.

Dr. Miller received an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama, a Masters of Arts in Sociology at the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. Dr. Miller’s primary areas of scholarly expertise are in gender studies, diversity, culture, and social change, and she has published in a range of professional journals on topics related to childbirth practices, culture, deviance and social movements. In addition, Dr. Miller conducts research on student success, retention, and student engagement, with a particular focus on the experiences of diverse “millennials” in higher education.
*NSPA Member



Thank you to everyone who made #NSPA2018 a success!

2018 NSPA Conference Sponsors

For more information about becoming a 2018 NSPA Conference Sponsor, contact Jackie Bright at jbright@scholarshipproviders.org.




Scholarship Provider of the Year Award