Martha J. Kanter was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 29, 2009 to be the under secretary of education and was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009. Kanter reports to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, adult and career-technical education, federal student aid, and five White House Initiatives on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. To spur education, economic growth and social prosperity, Kanter is charged with planning and policy responsibilities to implement President Obama's goal for the U.S. to have "the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world by 2020" as measured by the proportion of college graduates over the next decade. Under Secretary Kanter and her team are keenly focused on improving college access, affordability, quality, and completion to implement President Obama's American Graduation Initiative. (Read the full bio)
Erica Williams is the Senior Strategist at the Citizen Engagement Laboratory. In her day to day work, Erica uses digital media, popular culture, and advocacy to design innovative projects that test new ways to engage young voters and diverse constituencies. Erica is also the founder and CEO of Society by Design, a platform for creative next generation changemakers. Through Society by Design, Erica blogs and produces multimedia content for and about the most inspiring, innovative young leaders in the fields of politics, business, tech, and the arts.
Fundamentally, Erica is an expert in all things Gen Y – how this generation, the most diverse in American history, thinks, votes, works, creates, and most importantly, changes the world. She has a particular interest in the unconventional: how innovation and creativity shape the ways in which people exercise their power – at school, at work, online, in the government and in their lives. (Click here to view her full bio).
Nicholas V. Longo
Nicholas V. Longo is director of Global Studies and associate professor of Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College. From 2006-2008, he served as the director of the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute, an endowed civic leadership center at Miami University in Ohio. He also served as a program officer at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation in the area of civic education and from 2002-2004 he directed Campus Compact's national youth civic engagement initiative, Raise Your Voice. Nick is author of Why Community Matters: Connecting Education with Civic Life (SUNY Press, 2007) and co-editor of From Command to Community: A New Approach to Leadership Education in Colleges and Universities (Tufts University Press, 2011). He holds a Masters in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Minnesota.