Meet the NCCWSL Steering Committee
NCCWSL would not be possible without our dedicated volunteer steering committee. Coordinating preconference activities in our host location, leveraging professional networks to market the conference, and lending expertise in student life to guide program content are just some of the ways these dedicated individuals help bring our conference to life. Committee members come from campuses and leadership institutions all across the country and are passionate about creating an empowering, inclusive space for our NCCWSL attendees to harness their leadership potential.
Many thanks to our 2018 steering committee for yet another successful year of empowering workshops, panels, speaker, and networking opportunities for college women student leaders! If you’re interested in joining the 2019 NCCWSL steering committee, please submit an interest form.
2018 Steering Committee Chair
Melissa Robertson serves as the manager of leadership programming for the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, focusing primarily on content creation and the execution of programming for corporate boards, government and military groups, and higher education institutions. Robertson has facilitated several presentations and training sessions for college groups and professional staff at both regional and national conferences, particularly centered on women’s leadership development and using technology to develop mentoring and support networks for women students and professionals. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Kentucky and her master’s degree in communications with concentrations in media studies and risk management at George Mason University.
Melissa Smith (QueenEarth)
2019 Steering Committee Chair-Elect
Melissa Smith, also known as QueenEarth, is a singer, songwriter, and creative professional. She has more than 10 years of experience as an educator, host, emcee, performer, and event planner. She has released five albums of original music, solo projects, and collaborations. QueenEarth travels with her educational concert QueerCore: Behind the Music to share her songwriting stories for LGBT audiences and their allies. This evolving showcase has been offered as a workshop, retreat, open mic, and community event for cultural celebrations.
Brittany T. Oliver
Volunteers Chair and Workshops Subcommittee Member
Brittany T. Oliver is a race and gender justice activist with several years of experience in nonprofit management, political advocacy, communications, and grassroots organizing. Oliver is the founding director of Not Without Black Women, a social and political movement of black women that aims to uplift women’s voices through advocacy, grassroots organizing, youth mentoring, and coalition-building; and is the senior organizer for the Baltimore chapter of Progressive Maryland, where she leads the Mass Liberation Campaign, a comprehensive effort to end the criminalization of communities of color and low-income people, especially for women. Oliver received national recognition for challenging white feminism during the beginning stages of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and a year later she was invited to be a speaker at Lincoln Memorial, which drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people. Oliver holds a bachelor’s degree from Towson University.
Angela Clark-Taylor, Ph.D.
Angela Clark-Taylor is an educator, scholar, feminist, and community organizer with more than a decade of experience in addressing women’s issues and working for gender equity. She is currently the Director of the Women’s Center at Bowling Green State University in Northwest Ohio. Clark-Taylor previously served as a 2015–16 Community Innovation Fellow with the International Council for Research on Women; managing editor of the New York Journal of Student Affairs; program manager for the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Rochester; AAUW’s New York state college/university director; and assistant professor of counseling and higher education at the University of Redlands. She holds a doctorate in higher education with a graduate certificate in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies from the University of Rochester as well as a master’s degree in women’s studies from the College at Brockport.
Rebecca Halligan works as the assistant director of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) LEAD living-learning program, building a community of residential leaders through a 10-credit leadership curriculum and cocurricular engagements, and also coordinates the emerging leaders scholarship program for high-achieving first-year students. Previously she served as the coordinator for leadership and volunteer programs at VCU for and the assistant director of student life at Purchase College, State University of New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music and psychology from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in higher education administration from University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Marketing and External Communications Chair
Amy L. Jorgensen, the associate director of marketing and communications at the University of Virginia (UVA) and host of the Higher Ed Live network, specializes in developing digital presences and consumer engagement strategies for brand awareness and customer acquisition. She has developed marketing strategies and directed implementation for UVA, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan (UM), the University of Florida’s (UF) Department of Housing, UF College of Medicine, Disney’s worldwide safety and accessibility, and a Disney ticketing subsidiary company. She presents nationally on marketing and communication trends and has delivered award-winning educational sessions for such institutions as the Michigan Higher Education Web Professionals Conference, UM, and UF. Jorgensen holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from UF and will graduate with her master’s degree in business administration from UF in 2018.
Tiffany Sanchez has more than 20 years of experience in student affairs and residence life, and has spent the last 15 years overseeing student programming, orientation and first-year experience, housing, health and wellness, diversity and inclusion, and student conduct. She joined Johns Hopkins University in 2013 as associate dean of student engagement and provides leadership for student orientation and the first-year experience, student arts programming, fraternity and sorority life, and student leadership and involvement. She also sits on the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Center for Women Board. Previously she served as the director of new student programs at American University and held positions with Youth for Understanding International Exchange and Heidelberg College in Ohio. Sanchez is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and earned a master’s degree from the college student personnel program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Student Support and Advocacy Chair
Beth Steiner currently works as the director of student activities at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland, where she focuses on student engagement and retention, student government advising, late night and weekend programming, and overall student development. Previously she served as the assistant director of student activities at Towson University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Jeannine Heynes, Ph.D.
Volunteers Subcommittee Member
Jeannine Heynes, Ph.D., currently serves as the director of women and gender resources at Johns Hopkins University. Her work focuses on advancing women students’ personal, academic, and professional achievements while supporting all students on matters related to gender equity and inclusion. Heynes places a high priority on the intersectional programming she does with her colleagues in the office of multicultural affairs, campus ministries, and LGBTQ life, helping students consider their own identities while developing an understanding of allyship and social justice. Heynes previously served as director of the center for gender and relationships at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, overseeing sexual health education, LGBTQ life, and feminist initiatives, and led sexual assault prevention education and ensured Title IX compliance as coordinator of gender programming at Carnegie Mellon. Heynes earned her doctorate in women’s and gender studies from the University of Manchester.
Volunteers Subcommittee Member
Emily Ancinec is currently the associate director of alumni relations for the George Washington University Law School, working with alumni across the country through affinity groups, regional programming, and Supreme Court Bar admission. Prior to being at George Washington, she worked at the University of Georgia (UGA) as the coordinator of student organizations. While at UGA, she worked with student organization policy, registration, and leadership development. Ancinec holds a master’s degree in student affairs administration in higher education from Texas A&M University, where she worked with student organization risk management and recognition. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Bowling Green State University.
Lauren Edwards, Ph.D.
Scholarships Subcommittee Member
Lauren Edwards, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, School of Public Policy. She researches the management of public sector organizations, particularly how these organizations strategize for the future, how they include the public, and workforce inclusion. She is the advisor for graduate students focusing on public management. Edwards received her master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Texas and her doctorate in public policy from a joint program at Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Preconference and Marketing and External Communications Subcommittees Member
Emily Miller is the social media officer at the ONE Campaign, a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than nine million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Purdue University, where she has been a member of the alumni association since 2014.
Debra A. Bright, Ed.D.
Preconference Subcommittee Member
Debra Bright, Ed.D., associate dean of student affairs at Montgomery College (MC), provides operational leadership for the student success unit, chairs the campus behavioral intervention team, and advocates for students experiencing academic and personal difficulty. Passionate about empowering students, she helped develop a mentoring program at MC for single mothers, at-risk and first generation college women, and personally mentors several women students and young professionals. She is also a member of NASPA, the Association for Student Conduct Administration, and a charter member of the Montgomery College chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. She holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in education in higher education administration from the George Washington University.
Narges Fekri Ershad
Workshops Subcommittee Member
Narges Fekri Ershad is currently an assistant community director at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where she works with residential life student staff and residents. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s and gender studies from UMBC, and is currently earning her master’s degree in women’s and gender studies at Towson University while navigating her career in student affairs. She hopes to be more involved in the lives of students and future leaders. As a previous NCCWSL attendee and presenter, she is very excited to give back to this community and meet the next generation of leaders.
Student Support and Advocacy Subcommittee Member
Sara currently serves as the coordinator for victim advocacy services at American University, working with students who have been affected by any form of sexual violence and providing them with the emotional and administrative support necessary to continue their education. She also conducts educational programming and outreach for students, faculty, and staff to help promote resources and prevent violence in the campus community. Prior to becoming a social worker, Yzaguirre worked at a small start-up specializing in online curriculum development for middle and high school students. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in American government and sociology. She is also a graduate of the National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America, where she earned her master’s degree in social work.
Student Support and Advocacy Subcommittee Member
Stephanie Baker is a case manager and assistant director for conflict resolution at Towson University. Previously Baker worked in case management at two other institutions, and has additional experience working for the State Higher Education Commission. She is passionate about supporting students out of the classroom when significant life circumstances such as mental and physical health issues, financial difficulties, sexual violence and harassment, or family emergencies affect their wellbeing or academics. She enjoys connecting students to resources and supporting their overall wellness and experience in college. Baker earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from the Ohio State University.
Student Support and Advocacy Subcommittee Member
Lee Savage works at the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D) as a program manager in the Women’s Resource Center, focusing on leadership initiatives that include the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D) AAUW student organization. She has been active with AAUW at the branch and state level, most recently serving as AAUW Michigan College/University Director for two years and the state’s student advisory council coordinator for three. She also serves as the campus ombudsperson for students, providing individual, informal assistance in resolving concerns and addressing issues regarding student rights and responsibilities. Savage holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Albion College, a master’s degree in public administration from Wayne State University, and a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from Madonna University.