The Road to Academic Success: Best Practices to Support Pregnant and Parenting Students
Wednesday, April 21, 2022 | 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PST
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Taking steps to improve college success for pregnant and parenting students has important implications for racial, ethnic, and economic equity in higher education. Among students of color, one in three black students, one in three Native American students, and one in five Latinx students are parents. Single mothers in California who hold an A.A. degree are 39% less likely to live in poverty than a mother with a high school diploma, while single mothers in California with a B.A. degree are 61% less likely to live in poverty than a high school graduate. Schools throughout the state are pivoting to support this often unseen student population by improving data collection, offering family friendly study spaces, and providing diaper banks.

Join the Michelson 20MM Foundation on April 21st as we uplift the promising practices that have emerged throughout California in support of pregnant and parenting students. 

Opening Remarks by ALYA MICHELSON
Co-chair, Michelson Philanthropies

Alya MichelsonAlya Michelson is an artist, philanthropist, and journalist who is passionate about uplifting women’s and immigrant stories. An immigrant herself from Russia, Alya led an awarded career in journalism before moving to the United States and launching a career as an artist working in multiple genres. Today, she serves as co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies and is developing a new project that celebrates global citizenship by highlighting how the immigrant experience strengthens the American story.

Speakers include:

Director, Parents and Families Program, Sacramento State

HALEY MYERS DILLON, MPPAHaley Myers Dillon is the Director of Sacramento State’s Parents and Families Program, which serves pregnant and parenting students as well as families of enrolled students. Haley wrote and administers Sacramento State’s CCAMPIS grant, which is a flexible, voucher-based program that has changed multiple times in four years. She founded the California State University Parent and Family Program Consortium, Sacramento State’s Student-Parent Supports Program, the Pregnant Student Services Program, and will convene the first CSU Student-Parent Summit in March 2022. Haley is also a student-parent, working toward an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a research focus on student-parents. She earned a master’s degree from Sacramento State in Public Policy and Administration and a bachelor’s degree in English from California Polytechnic State University.

Director, Higher Education Access for Parenting Students Research Initiative, Wellesley Center for Women

DR. AUTUMN GREENAutumn Rose Green, M.Ed., Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women, where she directs the Higher Education Access for Parenting Students Research Initiative. In fall 2021, she also became a Non-Resident Fellow at the Urban Institute, where she works with the Income and Benefits Policy Center and the Building America’s Workforce Initiative. Dr. Green’s research, advocacy, campus program development, and other change-making work has made transformational contributions to the fields of higher education and two-generation postsecondary and occupational mobility pathways from poverty for low-income families. Her forthcoming book, Surviving, Striving and Thriving: Low-Income Mothers in Higher Education documents the experiences of low-income mothers pursuing higher education in ten states, situating their experiences within the systems and policy contexts that they must navigate to succeed in college.

SADE JOHNSON (Moderator)
Graduate Assistant, Project Hope, California State University, Fresno

SADE JOHNSONSade was born and raised by her parents in Madera, California. She has 10 siblings and countless nieces and nephews. Sade is a wife and mother of two children, who received her B.A. in African American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant for Project HOPE, which is a case management service that addresses the basic needs of Fresno State’s student population. Currently in the first year of her graduate program, Higher Education Administration and Leadership, at California State University, Fresno, Sade aspires to continue working in higher education with student-parents, Black students, students of color, first-generation students, system-impacted students, and low-income students. Sade has a strong belief that everyone is entitled to an education—it should not matter if they are raising kids at the same time, their needs should still be met.

Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, California State University, Fresno

DR. LARISSA MERCADO-LOPEZDr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez is a Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at California State University, Fresno, where she leads efforts in support of both student and faculty success, particularly for student parents, faculty parents, and women of color faculty. An interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Mercado-Lopez theorizes Chicana motherhood across literary studies, Chicana feminism, and higher education to explore the disruptive potential of women of color epistemologies. In the classroom, she teaches courses on women of color feminisms and Latinx Health. Currently, she serves as Conference Director for the annual California State University Student Success Network Conference. Dr. Mercado-Lopez’s work is informed by her experience as a student parent and as an academic mother of four children.

Associate Professor of Child Development and Family Studies, California State University, Long Beach

DR. ROUDI ROYDr. Roudi Nazarinia Roy is an Associate Professor of Child Development and Family Studies in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at California State University, Long Beach. She has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Family Sciences from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Roy received her Ph.D. in Family Studies from Kansas State University. Her research interests revolve around cultural influences on parental roles across the transition to parenthood and during early childhood, fatherhood engagement, student-parents, and Multiracial families. In addition to her publications in peer-reviewed journals, she has co-authored a book on the transition to parenthood, and most recently co-edited a book on biracial families. She serves on several editorial boards for journals focused on family scholarship and is a member of the National Council on Family Relations Board of Directors. Dr. Roy is a certified family life educator through the National Council on Family Relations and serves as a consultant and evaluator for community agencies serving diverse populations of families.

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Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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