HBCU-Digital Literacy Summit 2022
06/21/2022 - 06/22/2022
Central State University

About the Summit



This dynamic virtual summit is bringing Historically Black Colleges & Universities/Minority Serving Institutions (HBCUs/MSIs) and the Air Force Science and Technology communities together to establish channels that will strengthen collaborative agreements and research efforts in Digital Engineering, Digital Acquisitions, and Big Data Research to address Air Force challenges.

Broadcasting from Central State University in Wilberforce, OH, this summit is for all HBCU faculty and students, researchers, minority businesses, digital transformation professionals, and other academic enclaves, including Department of Defense personnel, that advocate for connecting the Department of the Air Force and the HBCU community.

To learn more about our Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Digital Literacy Education program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, click here.


Agenda Times are Subject to Change

Agenda Times are Subject to Change

Fact Sheet


New Digital Air Force Video
Upcoming Events




COMING SOON!


Third Annual Air Force HBCU/MI
Outreach Initiative Collider
in ATLANTA, GA




PAST EVENTS


Air Force

Ask-Me-Anything

for HBCUs, Small Business, and the S&T Ecosystem

Register here at Eventbrite

This Ask Me Anything virtual event takes place April 12, 2022 at 11:00 am featuring Dr. Reginald Turner, Associate Dean at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).

Dr. Turner will be discussing AFIT's upcoming event, the
Historically Black Colleges and Universities DIGITAL LITERACY Summit (HBCU-DLS) on June 21-22, 2022 virtually and in-person at Central State University, Wilberforce OH.


The HBCU Digital Literacy Summit will be a dynamic educational event designed for networking and partnership building between DAF, its partners, and the HBCU community. Outreach for engagement includes: HBCU students and faculty, researchers, minority owned small business; digital transformation professionals; Department of Defense (DOD) and academic enclaves. Be a part of this pipeline of digital literate practitioners ready to solve the Department’s enduring challenges.




Tune In to WCSU/FM Jazzy Station 88.9 to hear
Dr. Reginald Turner discuss the 
upcoming HBCU-Digital Literacy Summit 2022 on Saturday, April 16 at 10am (EST)











CSU Site Map
Central State University Student Center-Building #36

National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center-Building #29

CSU Parking Map
Covid-19 Policy

COVID-19 POLICY FOR

VISITORS TO CENTRAL STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

1.    All visitors are asked to do a health self-check the day of their visit.

       You should refrain from coming to campus if you:

        -  are not feeling well

        -  have a fever

        -  are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

        -  have tested positive for Covid within the last 5 days, or may have been exposed to the virus within the last 5 days

-       and are not vaccinated

 

2.    Visitors are required to wear face coverings while indoors and in environments where social distancing is not feasible or practical,   

       even when outdoors.

 

3.    Visitors are encouraged to use proper social distancing of 6 feet whenever possible.

Contact US

For more information on the HBCU-Digital Literacy Summit,
please contact J. Atwater j.atwater@infinitemanagementsolutions.net.





Summit Photos


Summit 360 Videos

Coming Soon!

Summit Agenda
21
Opening Activities
Opening Activities
Opening Activities and Host: Dr. Reginald Turner, AFIT
National Anthem: Ms. Chantel Jones
Welcoming Remarks: Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU 
Opening Remarks: Dr. Walter Jones, AFIT
Start
8:30 AM
End
8:55 AM
Speakers
Dr. Jack Thomas
Dr. Reginald Turner
Dr. Walter Jones
Breakfast Keynote - Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle
Breakfast Keynote - Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle
Topic: The Digital Enterprise and Air Force Science and Technology

How is the S&T community moving toward the Digital Space?  What things are being done now? 
What is yet to be accomplished/imagined?  Where is there room for improvement? 
What tools, techniques and practices need to be developed? 
What opportunities are available now for HBCU students, researchers, and the like, to take advantage of now and in the future? 
Main Stage
Start
9:15 AM
End
9:45 AM
Speakers
Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle
Senior Leaders Panel - Digital Airman-Guardian
Senior Leaders Panel - Digital Airman-Guardian
Panel Topic: Senior Leaders/future of AF panel/The Digital Airman-Guardian  (Acquisition Focused)
What role can HBCUs play in preparing the DAF workforce in improving their digital system management expertise?

Moderator: Ms. Karen Hudson, AFLCMC
Ms. Jacqueline Janning-Lask, AFLCMC EN
Mr. Chris Leak PM, AFLCMC
Start
9:50 AM
End
10:55 AM
Speakers
Mr. Chris Leak
Ms. Jacqueline Janning-Lask
How HBCUs can be the BEST Asset
How HBCUs can be the BEST Asset

“How HBCUs can be the BEST asset for defense communities and help minorities to significantly impact the software labor market”

Ms. Charisse Stokes, TECHMGM
Dr. Joe Besselman, AFLCMC 
Start
11:00 AM
End
11:45 AM
Lunch Keynote - Mr. Alphonso Thomas
Lunch Keynote - Mr. Alphonso Thomas
The Digital Depot
Start
12:30 PM
End
1:15 PM
Speakers
Mr. Alphonso Thomas
Breakout: Junior Workforce Panel
Breakout: Junior Workforce Panel
Moderator: Dr. John Gibson, AFRL/RY
Tenaiya King, IMS
Andrew Mitchell, AFMC
Leah Chance, AFRL
Airman Ariana Banda, NASIC
Airman Nelson Hertilien, NASIC 
Start
1:30 PM
End
2:25 PM
Breakout: Physics Based Model in System Design and Research Panel
Breakout: Physics Based Model in System Design and Research Panel
Moderator: Capt. Jeff King, AFIT/LSS
Lt. Col. Amy Cox, AFIT
Mr. Mark Mueller, LCMC PM
Mr. Paul Salchak, AFRL/EZD
Start
1:30 PM
End
2:25 PM
Digital Demand Signals - Dr. Victoria Coleman
Digital Demand Signals - Dr. Victoria Coleman
Digital Demand Signals

Discuss Portfolio of Science & Technology Programs related to Digital Literacy 
Start
2:30 PM
End
2:50 PM
Speakers
Dr. Victoria Coleman
The AFOSR HBCU Program - Dr. Shery Welsh
The AFOSR HBCU Program - Dr. Shery Welsh
Air Force Office of Scientific Research HBCU Program
Start
2:50 PM
End
3:10 PM
Speakers
Dr. Shery Welsh
Avoid Pitfalls When Est. Long Lasting Collaboration - Dr. Suzanne Seleem
Avoid Pitfalls When Est. Long Lasting Collaboration - Dr. Suzanne Seleem
Dr. Suzanne Seleem, CSU


Professor of Chemistry

Ph.D. Chemistry, University of London, England
Research Interests: Drug inhibition reactions, corrosion prevention, archaeometry

Start
3:10 PM
End
3:50 PM
22
Opening Activities
Opening Activities
Dr. Reginald Turner, AFIT
Ms. Chantel Jones, Soloist
Dr. Morakinyo Kuti, CSU
Ms. Anissa Lumpkin, AFRL
Start
8:30 AM
End
9:00 AM
Speakers
Dr. Reginald Turner
Dr. Morakinyo Kuti
Ms. Anissa Lumpkin
Development and Acquisitions - Gen. Lester Lyles, (Retired)
Development and Acquisitions - Gen. Lester Lyles, (Retired)
Topic: Current Challenges and Opportunities in Research & Development and Acquisitions
Start
9:00 AM
End
9:40 AM
Speakers
Gen. Lester Lyles, (Retired)
Guest Speaker - CDR Royce James
Guest Speaker - CDR Royce James
Start
9:45 AM
End
9:55 AM
Speakers
CDR Royce James
Breakout: Build Software Capacity for the Digital AF Panel
Breakout: Build Software Capacity for the Digital AF Panel
DAF Software Factories (Hanger 18) Panel Topic: Build Software Capacity for the Digital AF
Moderator: Mr. J. Kyle Hurst, DTO
Dr. Mark Reith, AFIT
Mr. Vince Sheffey, AFRL/RV--Space Camp
Start
10:40 AM
End
11:20 AM
Breakout: The DAF Data Scientists Panel
Breakout: The DAF Data Scientists Panel
Topic: The Department of the Air Force Data Science

Moderator: Dr. Brent Langhals, AFIT/EN 
Dr. Brian Lunday, AFIT/ENS 
Dr. Amanda Bullock, AFRL/EZD
Ms. Samantha Adducchio, NASIC
Start
10:40 AM
End
11:20 AM
Quantum Computing - Dr. Michael Hayduk
Quantum Computing - Dr. Michael Hayduk
Quantum Computing

Dr, Michael Hayduk, Deputy Director, AFRL/RI
Start
11:35 AM
End
11:55 AM
Speakers
Dr. Michael Hayduk
Lunch Keynote: Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, (Retired)
Lunch Keynote: Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, (Retired)
TOPIC: Cybersecurity research/education/opportunities at HBCUs?  Getting Internships?
How to help people get good jobs once done with school?
How to establish programs for future to create SEAMLESS COLLABORATION
Start
12:25 PM
End
1:25 PM
Speakers
Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, (Retired)
Innovation, Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneurship Panel
Innovation, Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneurship Panel
Topic: To discuss innovation, MGMWERX, and other ways HBCUs and minority owned businesses can participate in these and other programs while creating the seemlessness between the HBCU community and the Department of Air For
Moderator: Ms. Anissa Lumpkin, AFRL
Ms. Gynelle Steele, NASA
Ms. Denise Lee, AFRL
Ms. Charisse Stokes, TECHMGM
Dr. Joe Besselman, AFLCMC
Start
1:05 PM
End
1:45 PM
Featured Speaker - Ms. Asheley Blackford
Featured Speaker - Ms. Asheley Blackford
Topic: Minority Leaders Research Collaboration Program
Start
1:45 PM
End
2:15 PM
Speakers
Ms. Asheley Blackford
Featured Speaker - Dr. Talitha Washington
Featured Speaker - Dr. Talitha Washington
Topic: Data Science from the HBCU Perspective
Start
2:20 PM
End
3:05 PM
Speakers
Dr. Talitha Washington
The Digital HBCU
The Digital HBCU
Start
3:05 PM
End
3:55 PM
Speakers
Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd
Speakers

Dr. Reginald Turner

Host and Associate Dean of the School of Systems and Logistics, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

Dr. Reginald Turner is the Associate Dean of the School of Systems and Logistics, one of four schools that make up the Air Force Institute of Technology, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Dr. Turner is responsible for the daily operations of the school, which includes executing an annual operating budget of $12.5 M across three Professional Continuing Education departments and one Administrative department. These four departments develop and deliver defense-focused professional continuing education, research and consulting services in order to sustain America’s Air and Space Forces technological supremacy. Dr. Turner also serves as the school’s Chief Academic Officer and assumes the responsibility for the management and professional development of over 120 faculty and staff members, to include military, civilian and contractor personnel. To this end, the school provides more than 120 resident, on-site, virtual and both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning professional continuing education courses in acquisition management, logistics, contracting, systems management, software engineering and financial management. Approximately 18 thousand DoD personnel in 50 worldwide locations attend Systems and Logistics courses each year.

Dr. Turner has a diverse professional background, which spans nearly three decades of dedicated, exemplary military and civil service. After being commissioned into the Air Force from Tuskegee University as a 2d LT, he began a distinguished 22 year military career that included working in the intelligence, research and development, and education career fields, as well as program and technical management. Dr. Turner has been recognized by The Under Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions as an Acquisitions Subject Matter Expert and continues to serve the nation having brought that expertise to the civil service workforce.

Dr. Michael Hayduk

Deputy Director, Information Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Dr. Michael J. Hayduk is the Deputy Director, Information Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York. The directorate’s mission is to lead the development and integration of Air Force warfighting information technologies for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, and Cyber. Dr. Hayduk plays a key role in overseeing an annual budget of over $1.8 billion, leading the activities of over 1,200 scientists, engineers, administrative and support personnel

Dr. Talitha Washington

Director of the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative and Professor of Mathematics at Clark Atlanta University

Dr. Talitha Washington is the Director of the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, a Professor of Mathematics at Clark Atlanta University, and the President-Elect of the Association for Women in Mathematics. As Director, she oversees and provides strategic direction of data science across Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College to increase the number of African Americans with expertise in data science. Most recently, Dr. Washington was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Convergence Accelerator and was instrumental in building and establishing NSF's first HSI Program. She is the recipient of the 2019 BEYA STEM Innovator Award, the 2019 Outstanding Faculty Award from Howard University, and the 2020 NSF Director's Award for Superior Accomplishment. She is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Dr. Victoria Coleman

Chief Scientist, United States Air Force (USAF)

Dr. Victoria Coleman is the Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. She serves as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Chief of Space Operations. She provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the department’s mission. In this role, she identifies and analyzes technical issues, bringing them to the attention of department leaders. She interacts with other principals, operational commanders, combatant commands, acquisition, and science and technology communities to address cross-organizational issues and provide solutions. Dr. Coleman also interacts with other services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense on issues affecting the Department of the Air Force’s technical enterprise. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and is the Principal Science and Technology Representative of the Air Force to the civilian scientific and engineering community and to the public at large.

Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd

An engineer and prominent advocate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education

Rev Dr. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd is an engineer and is described as a dynamic and relevant leader, a prolific motivational speaker, a powerful preacher and a prominent advocate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.  Boyd is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and received a full scholarship to attend Alabama State University where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with a double minor in physics and music. She received a full fellowship to pursue graduate studies at Yale University where she was the first African American female to earn a M. S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from this Ivy League institution. She earned both the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees from Howard University. Additionally, she has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Lincoln University (2004), Bennett College (2004) and Kentucky State University (2019) and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2019).

Gen. Lester Lyles, (Retired)

Retired General and former Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force (USAF)

Former Chairman of the Board, USAA, Retired General and former Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force

General Lester L. Lyles entered the United States Air Force in 1968 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. His first assignments included special assistant and aide-de-camp to the commander of Air Force Systems Command and avionics division chief in the F-16 Systems Program Office. He then served as program director of the Medium-Launch Vehicles Program and Space-Launch Systems offices during the recovery from the Challenger Space Shuttle accident.

Lyles served as commander of Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, then commanded the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base. Lyles then became the director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. He was assigned as vice chief of staff at U.S. Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C. He became the commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He retired in October 2003.

Lyles served as commander of Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, then commanded the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base. Lyles then became the director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. He was assigned as vice chief of staff at U.S. Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C. He became the commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He retired in October 2003.

Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle

Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Maj. Gen. Heather L. Pringle is the Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command, Dayton, Ohio, and the Technology Executive Officer, supporting both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. She leads a $3 billion science, technology and innovation enterprise in accelerating the discovery and development of solutions for Airmen and Guardians. She is responsible for formulating a comprehensive technology portfolio that anticipates future warfighter needs, while promoting risk-taking and problem-solving across her 6,000-member government workforce. She accelerates the delivery of cross-domain solutions through partnerships with industry, academia and international allies, and executes an additional $3 billion in externally funded research and development. Through the laboratory's technology and functional directorates, AFWERX and the 711th Human Performance Wing, her team produces a deep technical and medical bench, pushes the boundaries of modern technology and improves the science for tomorrow.

Prior to her current assignment, Maj. Gen. Pringle served as the Director of Strategic Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virgina.

Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, (Retired)

Executive Director, Student Freedom Initiative

Executive Director
Student Freedom Initiative ("SFI")

Accountable to the Board of Directors for leadership, guidance and direction, business development, and strategic communications for SFI.  Previously responsible for the $1.7 Trillion federal student loan portfolio and engagement with 6,000 colleges and 600,000 students as Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid, Department of Education.  In this role, Brown had statutory authority for all the nation’s Title IV (Pell Grants, Work-study, Student Loans) funding for 600,000 students and a total lending portfolio of $1.7 trillion, and 6,000 partner institutions around the country.  The lending portfolio of Federal Student Aid is equivalent to that of the nation’s 5 largest consumer lending banks.  During his time at FSA, Brown oversaw the total digitization of financial services for students, parents, and borrowers. With over 2O digital improvements, FSA now provides the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on all digital platforms including mobile applications and artificial intelligence for routine student inquiries. In addition, faced with a pandemic, Brown oversaw the transformation of over 25 million borrowers from active to forbearance status which temporarily eliminated payments for most students, parents, and borrowers across the country.


Led organization responsible for the education and training of 200,000 airmen and the funding mechanism within the USAF.  Retired Major General (USAF), with 32+ years’ experience leading organizations responsible for educating, developing, and training their workforce. Graduate of National Defense University (Master of National Security Strategy), Air Command & Staff College (Master of Strategic Studies), Troy State University (Master of Public Administration), Tuskegee University (Accounting).

Dr. Shery Welsh

Director, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)

Dr. Shery Welsh, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Director, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Arlington, Virginia. In this role, she leads the management of the Department of the Air Force’s global basic research investment. AFOSR has a staff of 200 scientists, engineers and administrators in Arlington and foreign technology offices in London, Tokyo, Santiago, Chile and Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Welsh ensures the success of a nearly $500 million a year basic research investment portfolio and the transition of resulting discoveries to other components of the Air Force Research Laboratory, defense industries and other Defense Department components. The AFOSR’s annual investment in basic research is distributed among roughly 300 academic institutions worldwide, 100 industry-based contracts, and more than 250 internal AFRL research efforts.

Dr. Welsh brings over 34 years of experience from the DoD as a federal employee for the Department of the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency. In her previous role, she served as the Director, Science & Technology, for the Missile Defense Agency. She sought out cutting-edge technology from across the world within industry, DoD, and the National Laboratories to advance state-of-the-art technologies to benefit the warfighter. Other assignments in the Missile Defense Agency include Chief Engineer for the Airborne Laser Program, Director of Target and Countermeasure Requirements, Chief Scientist for the Interceptor Knowledge Center and Chief Engineer for the Advanced Technology Program Office. Dr. Welsh’s 20 years working for the Air Force afforded her the opportunity to work many programs such as the C-130U Gunship, C-17, Joint Strike Fighter, F-16, B-2, F-22, Airborne Laser, and the Wide-body Aerial Sensor Platform.

Mr. Alphonso Thomas

Director of Engineering and Technical Management, Air Force Sustainment Center

Mr. Alphonso Thomas, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Director of Engineering and Technical Management at the Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. He is responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of the Center's technical policies, processes, databases and goals/standards as well as the overall scientific and engineering expertise for the AFSC. Mr. Thomas is responsible for leadership and technical direction to a technical workforce of more than 4,500 science and engineering professionals supporting the center's mission at three locations (Robins AFB, Georgia; Hill AFB, Utah; and Tinker AFB) and encompassing depot maintenance, repair and overhaul activities, supply chain management, and software maintenance and development enterprise. Mr. Thomas began his professional career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, managing space and missile warning acquisition programs, including the Defense Support Program and the Cheyenne Mountain Upgrade Program. He began his civil service career at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center leading development and test of software sustainment and upgrades for the B-1 Bomber and Electronic Attack pods. He later served as Chief Engineer, Information Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, N.Y., where he was responsible for development and implementation of tailored systems engineering and program management processes across the directorate’s broad portfolio of Command, Control, Communications, Cyber and Intelligence Science and Technology programs. Mr. Thomas was Director of the 402nd Software Maintenance Group, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Robins AFB, where he directed an organization of 1150 engineers, computer scientists and technical and support staff, conducting development, test and integration of operational flight programs, test program sets and Intelligence,Surveillance & Reconnaissance applications for a wide variety of Air Force weapon systems and networks. Prior to his current position, Mr. Thomas was Technical Director, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Robins AFB. He served as the Technical Engineering Authority for a world class organization of over 7,200 military and civilian personnel. The complex performs maintenance, repair and overhaul of diverse aircraft, avionics and electronic warfare equipment along with development and sustainment of mission critical software and automatic test equipment.

Dr. Walter Jones

Director and Chancellor of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

Dr. Walter F. Jones is the Director and Chancellor of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for a team of approximately 500 military and civilian Airmen and Guardians, who provide professional continuing education to more than 27,000 people annually, and advanced academic education to more than 3,000 students.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Jones served 11 years as the Executive Director of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), planning and managing the entire $3-billion science and technology program for the Navy and the Marine Corps. While serving as the senior civilian manager, he provided executive, technical, and scientific direction in the performance of ONR’s mission. He worked closely with ONR’s Technical Director and Department Heads in the identification, prioritization, and support of specific areas of science and technology development. He also served as Executive Director of the Navy International Programs Office (IPO), where he was responsible for oversight of the development, planning, and implementation of the Department of the Navy’s International Programs, primarily in the areas of Security Cooperation, Cooperative Programs, Research and Development, Technology Transfer, and Strategic Planning. Dr. Jones also held the position of Director, Plans and Programs, at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio where he was responsible for developing and managing the processes that defined AFRL’s $3-billion annual investment in technologies for future Air Force systems. These included space, weapons, aeronautics, materials, propulsion, sensors, information, directed energy, and munitions.

Dr. Jack Thomas

President, Central State University (CSU)

Dr. Thomas

President, Central State University

Dr. Jack Thomas joined Central State University as president on July 1, 2020, bringing a long track record of success in several academic settings.


Dr. Thomas brings visibility and insights from experience in every aspect of academia. Roles he has held have included president, interim president, provost and academic vice president, executive vice president, executive assistant to the president, dean, department chair, and English professor.


Dr. Thomas was a Senior Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Previously, Dr. Thomas served as president of Western Illinois University (WIU), a state-run university where he served for nearly a decade. As president, he successfully managed a budget of nearly $224 million during a period of unprecedented state fiscal challenges.


At WIU, Dr. Thomas was responsible for a number of accomplishments, including increasing diversity, creating new academic programs, managing fiscal and cash flow issues brought on by the state’s financial crisis, investing in STEM and other academic programs, increasing funding for student scholarships, and establishing a presidential institute to foster and improve corporate, community and K-12 relations. Under Dr. Thomas’ leadership, the Institution constructed a new campus in Moline, Illinois, and achieved its multimillion-dollar capital campaign goal. WIU has been rated as a "Best in the Midwest College" by the Princeton Review and as a top tier Midwest Universities Master's institution by U.S. News and World Report.


Prior to WIU, Dr. Thomas spent more than 20 years serving in various capacities in several institutions of higher education. From 2004 until 2008, he served as senior vice provost for Academic Affairs and interim dean at Middle Tennessee State University. There, Dr. Thomas improved diversity, assisted with the design of new academic programs, coordinated the implementation of a new key assessment instrument, enhanced academic reviews, and mentoring.


From 1990 until 2004, Dr. Thomas served in several roles at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, including interim president, executive vice president, and associate vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. During his tenure, he enhanced fundraising, implemented new academic programs, and drove increased enrollment.


Earlier in his career, Dr. Thomas served as an English instructor at South Carolina State University and Johnson C. Smith University.


Dr. Thomas is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in higher education administration.


Dr. Thomas' influence on the academic community extends to his service on several distinguished boards including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors; the Illinois Board of Higher Education; the Stillman College Board of Trustees; the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Board; the American Council on Education Council of Fellows; the NCAA Presidential Forum; the Illinois Campus Compact Board; the Heart of Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross Board; and the Rutherford County YMCA Board.


Nationally, Dr. Thomas graduated from the Harvard Leadership Program, served as an American Council on Education Fellow, was a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow, participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and participated in Leadership Middle Tennessee. He has also served as the chair of the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) Selection Committee. He served as the chairperson of the (AASCU) Christa McAuliffe Award Presidential Selection, and as a committee member of the Middle States Visitation Team.


A native of Lowndes County, Alabama, Dr. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in English (Literature and Criticism) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master of English Education from Virginia State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Alabama A & M University. He is a noted scholar and lecturer, as well as a highly sought-after keynote speaker presenting his research and inspirational messages locally, nationally, and internationally.


Dr. Thomas is a published researcher, and the focus of his research has been on black males in literature. Additionally, Dr. Thomas is the author of numerous publications and professional presentations including his most recent publication titled, Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency.  Dr. Thomas has been a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion. He has been recognized by Minority Access, Inc. and others for his work helping to provide meaningful and transformative opportunities for minorities through mentorship and access at various universities. Dr. Thomas has done further graduate work in theological studies at Liberty University and is an ordained Baptist Minister. Dr. Thomas' current body of work includes research on public institutions that have had to make transformative programmatic and human capital decisions due to decreased federal and state financial support and declining enrollment. The working title of Dr. Thomas’ latest book is "From the Segregated South to the Presidency."

Dr. Morakinyo Kuti

Associate Provost for Research, Central State University (CSU)

Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti serves as the Associate Provost for Research at Central State University (CSU), and Director of the Center for Academic Research and Innovation at Central State University. Dr. Kuti has secured over $12.5 million in public and private funds that have enhanced Central State’s physical infrastructure, enabled faculty research and scholarly activities, and provided students with scholarships and experiential learning opportunities. He has demonstrated a record of success facilitating positive outcomes for underrepresented students, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Over 1,700 students have been positively impacted through Dr. Kuti’s programs with 300 entering the workforce or graduate studies. Dr. Kuti leads the enhancement of CSU’s research administrative infrastructure to meet and enhance the university’s 1890 land grant mission, increase academic capacity, and improve retention and graduation rates. Dr. Kuti has made oral and poster presentations at national and regional conferences in research and research administration. He has administered $180 million in public and private funds since 2005. Dr. Kuti holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Central State University, a Master of Business Administration in Finance from St. Thomas University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University

Ms. Asheley Blackford

The AFRL Minority Leaders - Research Collaboration Program, Program Manager @ AFRL

Ms. Asheley Blackford serves as the Program Manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory Minority Leaders - Research Collaboration Program (MLRCP) working with many universities across the nation. Ms. Blackford has been a part of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX) of the Air Force Research Laboratory since 2009. Prior to working with the ML-RCP, Ms. Blackford was the Deputy Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program Manager for AFRL/RX and has experience in working with small businesses. In addition to working this program, Ms. Blackford also manages other Government contracts for her Directorate and is actively involved in the Junior Workforce Council. She is excited and eager to continue her engagement in working with her scientists and engineers as well as engaging with the universities

Ms. Lisa D. Coker

Principal and CEO of Infinite Management Solutions, LLC

MS. LISA D. COKER

Principal and CEO of Infinite Management Solutions, LLC

Lisa Coker is the principal and CEO of Infinite Management Solutions, LLC, a woman veteran-owned certified small business which primarily partners with middle-market and large organizations in both private and public sectors in the Midwestern region.

Coker is a proud United States Air Force veteran. She has earned a reputation as a trusted partner, dynamic team facilitator, outstanding problem-solver, and accomplished professional. She helps C-Suite executives develop strategic plans, optimize operational processes, and execute their vision with precision. Coker is a certified Lean Six Sigma/Continuous Process Improvement Black Belt practitioner and is often consulted for her innovative business improvement strategies and solutions resulting in reduced operational costs and improved mission effectiveness. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Coker also holds a master’s degree in Organizational Change Management and has completed professional executive programs at University of Tennessee, University of Dayton, and Dartmouth College.

Coker’s passion, professionalism and poise continue to propel her forward as a recognized expert and leader in her field. In 2017, Coker had the distinct honor of leading a comprehensive strategic planning project for the Air Force Materiel Command’s (AFMC) 4-Star General Commander. The commander managed an $80 Billion annual budget and employed over 27,000. Coker’s outstanding team leadership skills enabled the General and her 120-member leadership team to establish a new vision statement and multiple strategic goals and objectives. In 2018, the Dayton Business Journal recognized Coker as one of the region’s brightest young professionals and named her a “Forty Under 40” award winner. She was also recognized as top 100 business professional across the nation, as she was named as an “American Business Journal Rising Star.”

Coker holds memberships to, Forbes Business Council, Women in Defense (WID), Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise), Rotary Club of Dayton, and Women in Business Network (WIBN). Coker also serves as a Board of Trustee for the Dayton Art Institute,  a member of the Miami Valley Alzheimer’s Association board and Downtown Dayton Partnership Recovery Plan Committee. In her spare time, Coker enjoys traveling and engaging in equestrian activities with her family.

Ms. Anissa Lumpkin

Lead Program Manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Air Force Small Business Office

Ms. Anissa Lumpkin, member of the government civilian corps, is the Lead Program Manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Air Force Small Business Office. Ms. Lumpkin directs an over $105M research budget focused on qualified small businesses in the nation’s high-tech arena as a critical source of innovative technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. Through a competitive awards-based program, Ms. Lumpkin leads hundreds of yearly contract efforts sponsored by Air Force organizations from across the nation.

 

Serving the US Air Force for nearly 20 years, her experienced service has included both active duty and reserve time in the United States Air Force along with civilian time in the areas of Science & Technology and Acquisitions. Ms. Lumpkin’s career began in 2001, serving as an active duty Acquisitions Officer in support of warfighter training, common operating systems, and unmanned combat air systems for the Aeronautical Systems Center. In 2009, she transitioned to a federal civil service role as an Operations Research Analyst for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Prior to her current assignment she was a Legislative Liaison serving a two-star General Commander, she assisted with all aspects of hearing preparation for senior-level officials and congressional briefings, as well as analyzing, researching, and formulating official responses to requests from Members of Congress, their staff, and congressional oversight committees on matters of Congressional interest.

 

CDR Royce James

Chief Diversity Officer, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) USCGA

Prior to joining the Coast Guard, CDR Royce W. James served with AmeriCorps*National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) as a Team Leader, he then graduated from USCG Boot Camp class Y-149 in 1996. CDR James attended New Mexico State University under the Coast Guard's College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) program and worked as a Project Engineer at the Command and Control Engineering Center (C2CEN) and from there was selected for the Academy Instructor Masters program. CDR James earned a Master's of Science Degree from Columbia University, and began teaching at the Coast Guard Academy in 2004. CDR James completed a Doctorate in Plasma Physics at Columbia's Plasma Physics Lab through Steven's Institute of Technology in December 2008. Since then he has been the PI of the Coast Guard Academy Plasma Lab (CGAPL), Department Equity Officer, Science Lecture Coordinator, Internship Coordinator, Co-founder/Director for CGA's Science Partnership for Innovation in Learning (Project SPIL), Genesis & Spectrum Council (CGA's Black and Gay Student Unions) and the Science Department Diversity & Inclusion Officer. CDR James recently served as the Head of the Physics Section at the Coast Guard Academy, is a co-founder of the New London Freedom School, a Science Technology and Mathematics Magnet School Board Member, and Member of the Nuclear Energy Advisory Council for the state of CT, National Black Engineer of the Year Awardee, and is currently an AFIT Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Engineering Physics Department. CDR James lives with his three daughters, son, and wife who is a recent graduate from Andover Newton Seminary with a Masters of Divinity.

Mr. Chris Leak

Director, AFLCMC/AQ-AZ @ Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Chris E. Leak is the Director, Acquisition Excellence & Program Execution, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.  In this role, he is responsible for Program Management and Test and Evaluation workforce managements, as well as ensuring the effective function of the Acquisition Centers of Excellence across all center locations.  This follows his detail as Special Assistant for the Commander, AFLCMC, supporting the Air Force Air Superiority 2030 strategic planning effort.  Previously, Mr. Leak was the F-16 Development System Manager responsible for development and production of advanced air combat capabilities on the F-16 aircraft for USAF and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, managing an organization of 178 people and responsible for ~$24B in development and production contracts. 




















































Ms. Jacqueline Janning-Lask

Executive Director, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC)

Ms. Jacqueline S. Janning-Lask, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Director of Engineering and Technical Management and Chief Engineer, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. She provides wide ranging leadership for ensuring technical supremacy and integrity of all Air Force aircraft, engines, munitions, electronic, and business systems. She leads the transformation to digital engineering to unleash the value of technology disruption and provide rapid capability maturation, delivery, and readiness. She leads a 6,000 person national engineering organization and is responsible for talent acquisition, development, and management of the center’s engineering and technical workforce. She is the executive responsible for installation management of the Air Force-owned industrial plants throughout the nation. She also provides direct warfighter support through combat effectiveness, vulnerability, and operational weaponeering analyses; product support engineering; and sustainment technology innovation.

Dr. Victoria Coleman

Chief Scientist, United States Air Force (USAF)

Dr. Victoria Coleman is the Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. She serves as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Chief of Space Operations. She provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the department’s mission. In this role, she identifies and analyzes technical issues, bringing them to the attention of department leaders. She interacts with other principals, operational commanders, combatant commands, acquisition, and science and technology communities to address cross-organizational issues and provide solutions. Dr. Coleman also interacts with other services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense on issues affecting the Department of the Air Force’s technical enterprise. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and is the Principal Science and Technology Representative of the Air Force to the civilian scientific and engineering community and to the public at large.

Dr. Amanda Bullock

Digital Transformation Deputy Chief Data Officer. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Amanda is working on the digital transformation and modernization efforts across AFRL, where she is responsible for managing the activities, tasks and undertaking of a team of Enterprise Architects who are located in the Business Process Reengineering Division of the Engineering and Technical Management directorate at headquarters. 

She holds a BS in Statistics from Eastern Kentucky University and a MS in Applied Statistics from Wright State University (WSU). She obtained her PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in 2013.  Upon graduation, she worked as a post doc studying Non-Destructive Evaluation and Non-GPS navigation.

Following her post doc at AFIT, Amanda taught math and statistics at Central State University (CSU). During her time at CSU, she was selected for a Fellowship where she worked in the Survivability and Lethality Analysis Division at the Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Upon her return to government, she served as a Project Engineer and a Program Manager for the LEGACY program, an Air Force STEM internship program. She left the Education Office for her current position as a team lead for Process and Data Integration in 2019. 

Additionally, she has taught statistics, biostatistics, signal processing and data science at WSU and AFIT.

Her research interests include Enterprise Architecture, STEM education for underrepresented populations, Data Science and Analytics, and Signal Processing.

Her personal interests involve chasing her twin tornados around.

Lt. Col. Amy Cox

Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Engineering and Management, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

Lieutenant Colonel Cox entered the Air Force in August of 1997 as a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and a graduate of AFROTC Detachment 665, Cincinnati, Ohio.  She started her career as a direct accession to the Air Force Institute of Technology, earning her Master’s degree in Space Operations and completing thesis research in space structure mode localization.  Next, she completed Under Graduate Space and Missile Training as well as initial weapon system qualification training at Vandenberg AFB, California.  Afterwards she served as a Missile Warning Operations Center Crew Commander, Chief of Operations Training and Chief of Operations Standardization and Evaluation at the 7th Space Warning Squadron at Beale AFB, California.  Following her operations assignment she served as a Flight Commander in Analysis and Test Support at Detachment 2 of the 17th Test Squadron; she spearheaded simulation upgrades and managed operational test efforts in support of Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and its associated worldwide Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment weapon system.  She then served as an exchange officer in France at L’École du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception, completing studies in rotary wing flight test.  Later, at Hurlburt Field, Florida, she served as the Rotary Wing Flight Commander and Technical Director at the 413th Flight Test Squadron; overseeing developmental test of Air Force Special Operations, Combat Search and Rescue and rotary wing aircraft.  Next, at Eglin AFB, she served as the Director of Operations at the 780th Test Squadron, supporting developmental test and evaluation of non-nuclear munitions.  Afterwards, she served as the Tactical Combat Systems Program Manager and the Director of Technology Transfer at the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Washington, DC.  Prior to her current assignment, she was a PhD student at the George Washington University as part of the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Civilian Institute Program.  She has logged more than 300 hours in the MH-53, CV-22, UH-1, and other military and civilian experimental aircraft.

Dr. Michael Hayduk

Speaker @ USAF AFRL/RI

Dr. Michael J. Hayduk is the . The directorate’s mission is to lead the development and integration of Air Force warfighting information technologies for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, and Cyber. Dr. Hayduk plays a key role in overseeing an annual budget of over $1.8 billion, leading the activities of over 1,200 scientists, engineers, administrative and support personnel. He is also responsible for coordinating AFRL’s Quantum Information Science research portfolio spanning six technical directorates. Dr. Hayduk was instrumental in the formulation and stand-up of the Innovare Advancement Center which is the open innovation technology hub located just outside of the security perimeter of the Information Directorate. Dr. Hayduk continues to lead the development of strategic partnerships at Innovare. Dr. Hayduk was the Chief of the Computing and Communications Division, Air Force Research Laboratory, Information Directorate, Rome, New York from 2011 to 2019. The division’s mission is to lead the discovery, development and integration of affordable computing, networking and communications technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. Dr. Hayduk was responsible for defining, planning, budgeting, advocating, managing and directing the execution of the research program and leads all aspects of personnel management within the division. 

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Central State University
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