Plenary Speakers

October 26—Opening Plenary Session

Scott Barry Kaufman is a Cognitive Scientist and Humanistic Psychologist, Founder, Center for The Science of Human Potential & Host: The Psychology Podcast. Kaufman, explores the depths of human potential by challenging traditional metrics of success. Using his research, knowledge of the science, and enthusiasm, Kaufman helps all kinds of minds live a more creative, fulfilling, and self-actualized life. His early educational experiences made him realize the deep reservoir of untapped potential of students, including bright and creative children who have been diagnosed with a learning disability. Today, Kaufman shares the science of thriving at work and growing from setback as well as how to foster self-actualization and creativity in the workplace and in education.

His latest book Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization, presents a new hierarchy of human needs for the 21st century, one that allows for the fulfillment of individual potential as well as the actualization of transcendent purpose and peak experiences. He is the author of Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties, The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice, The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence, The Philosophy of Creativity: New Essays, and The Psychology of Creative Writing.

Kaufman has received numerous accolades his research and in 2020 was selected as one of “The Top 20 Psychologists 40 & Under” by The Best Schools. He has also been recognized as one of “50 groundbreaking scientists who are changing the way we see the world” by Business Insider. Kaufman is a regular contributor to The Atlantic and Scientific American, sharing insights into intelligence, creativity, personality, and well-being. Kaufman hosts the #1 psychology podcast in the world, “The Psychology Podcast,” which has received over 20 million downloads and was included in Business Insider’s list of “9 podcasts that will change how you think about human behavior.

Kaufman has taught courses on intelligence, creativity, and well-being at Columbia University, NYU, the University of Pennsylvania, among others. During his time at University of Pennsylvania, Kaufman was asked by Angela Duckworth to take over her U Penn course, Introduction to Positive Psychology as she was working on her book Grit. Upon the book’s completion, she asked Kaufman to keep the class as it had become so popular under his lead.

During his tenure as Scientific Director of the Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, he investigated how we measure human potential, perseverance, achievement, and creativity.

Challenging stereotypes, Kaufman determined his own path that led him from special-ed to scientist. He received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University, and an MPhil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Kaufman is a flow and self-actualization coach, in which he personally helps people get more engaged in their work and reach their full potential. He has shared his ideas all over the world, including for major groups at LEGO, Vogue, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Creativity World Forum.

October 28 – Friday Plenary Session

Allyson Knox is senior director of education policy in Microsoft’s US Government Affairs division based in Washington, DC. She advocates for digital equity, computer science education, and cybersecurity education at the state and federal levels. She has testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade about computer science and workforce development and the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education about student privacy as well as before numerous state legislatures.  On behalf of Microsoft, Knox has spearheaded education projects such as InterroBang (an online/real-world game), CareerForward, and co-developed the Scaling-Up Innovation toolkit for educators with Dr. Chris Dede from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has also presented on education issues at conferences internationally.

Prior to Microsoft Knox worked with the employer community on workforce issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, taught entrepreneurship and youth leadership classes at Michigan State University Cooperative Extension, managed service learning grants at the Michigan Community Service Commission, directed a mentoring and training partnership between Michigan State University and the Lansing School District called the Young Spartan Program, and organized community programs at Jocundry’s Books. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. from Michigan State University, and an Ed. M. from Harvard University.

Friday, November 4 – Virtual Track Plenary Session

Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher is Associate Dean of Equity, Justice and Strategic Partnerships for the School of Education and Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Foundations, Organization, and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Zamani-Gallaher is also the Executive Director of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) and prior CSCC president (2013), an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition, she previously was the Director for Research and Scholarship for ACPA–College Student Educators International.

From 2015-2022 Dr. Zamani-Gallaher served as Director of the Office for Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) securing 9 million in grants and contracts during this period which supported over 30 doctoral research assistants and a half dozen master’s and undergraduate assistants. Zamani-Gallaher also was Associate Head of the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership and Associate Dean of the Graduate College during her tenure at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Zamani-Gallaher’s teaching, research, and consulting activities include psychosocial adjustment and transition of marginalized collegians, transfer, access policies, student development and services at community colleges. Her scholarship and leadership have been widely recognized. She is an American Educational Research Association Fellow and was the named the 2022 Diverse Champion of the Year by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Zamani-Gallaher is a former Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership Fellow, also a recipient of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) Senior Scholar Award; an American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Diamond Honoree and Senior Scholar, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Council on Ethnic Participation Mildred B. Garcia Senior Exemplary Scholar Awardee. Additionally, Dr. Zamani-Gallaher was honored with the Community College Research Award by NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and received the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) Transfer Catalyst Award. 

Dr. Zamani-Gallaher’s research has been published in various journals and scholarly texts, including Equity and Excellence in Education, Higher Education Policy, and New Directions for Student Affairs. She is the author/co-author/editor of eight texts including Rethinking LGBTQIA Students and Collegiate Contexts: Identity, Policies, and Campus Climate (Routledge); Working with Students in Community Colleges: Contemporary Strategies for Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice (ACPA/Stylus Publishing); and The Obama Administration and Educational Reform (Emerald Group Publishing). She holds a B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in General Experimental Psychology from Western Illinois University and a PhD in Higher Education Administration with a specialization in Community College Leadership and Educational Evaluation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.