Ruthe Farmer, Chief Evangelist for the CSforAll Consortium
Ruthe Farmer has focused her efforts on diversity and inclusion in tech and engineering since 2001 and is currently Chief Evangelist for the CSforAll Consortium. She served as Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy focusing on President Obama’s call to action for Computer Science for All, and previously served as Chief Strategy & Growth Officer and K-12 Alliance Director at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) . Over the course of her career, Ms. Farmer has launched and scaled up multiple national programs including Aspirations in Computing the TECHNOLOchicas campaign for Latinas, AspireIT outreach program, Intel Design & Discovery, Lego Robotics for Girl Scouts and more. She served as the 2012 Chair of Computer Science Education Week, was named a White House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion in 2013, received the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact in 2014, and the Education UK Alumni Award for Social Impact in 2015. She is a guest contributor for Techcrunch, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, the Shriver Report, and the Huffington Post, and has been featured in Forbes and TechRepublic for her work. Ruthe holds a BA from Lewis & Clark College and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Oxford Said Business School and is passionate about integrating innovative business strategies into social change efforts.
Debra J. Richardson is founding Ted and Janice Smith Dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California—Irvine. She joined the UCI faculty in 1987, and became chair of the ICS department in July 2000. Under her leadership, the department was promoted to the first computing-focused school in UC system in December 2002, and she was appointed the founding dean. She was instrumental in securing a transformational six-figure endowment for the school, resulting in naming the school after philanthropist Donald Bren. She served as dean through June 2010.
Richardson is a Professor of Informatics. She pioneered research in “specification-based testing” but recently shifted her attention to adapting software engineering techniques to socially relevant domains, specifically focusing on sustainability. Her research has been recognized by designation as a Fellow of Automated Software Engineering and also with two retrospective impact awards from ACM SIGSoft.
A long-time advocate of increasing the participation of women and other underrepresented minorities in computing, she has served on the leadership team of the National Center for Women and Information Technology since its inception and leads UCI’s NCWIT PaceSetter team. She chairs the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools, focusing on equitable access to K-16 computing education. She chairs the Advisory Council for ACM’s Computer Science Teachers Association, chaired CSEdWeek during its second and third years, serves on the ACM Education Board as well as on CRA’s Computing Community Consortium Council.
Richardson received her B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California—San Diego, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science at the University of Massachusetts—Amherst.
Dianne O’Brien, Chief of Staff, Microsoft Corporation
Dianne O’Brien is Microsoft Corporation’s Chief of Staff for Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development. In this role, Dianne is responsible for managing the office of the EVP, including setting and managing the long term organization strategy, developing and executing our communications strategy, and setting policies and processes for managing the organization. Prior to this role, Dianne was Senior Director of Business Development for Cloud & Enterprise. In this role Dianne is responsible for developing the Cloud & Enterprise business development strategy for commercial deals that fill key technology or business gaps that will help accelerate the C&E business growth, with a particular focus on realizing our Cloud OS vision and the success of Microsoft Azure and Dynamics. Prior to moving into Business Development for C&E, Dianne was a part of the Microsoft Azure business team, joining as its third member in 2008 as the Senior Director for Business Planning and Operations, responsible for all long term business planning, offer and channel strategy, business desk, and performance management. During her eighteen year Microsoft tenure she has held senior leadership positions in the corporate planning and finance functions including leading the Global R&D finance team and serving as IT Controller. Prior to joining Microsoft, Dianne owned a private CPA practice, and was the Assistant General Manager of a public utility service in San Diego County where she was responsible for the implementation of several major technology initiatives. Dianne holds a BBA in Accounting from the University of San Diego. She lives with her husband on Whidbey Island near Seattle, and enjoys fishing and watching baseball.
Teresa W. Aldredge, Board President, Umoja Community Education Foundation
Teresa W. Aldredge is a founding member and current Board president of the Umoja Community Education Foundation, a nonprofit designed to support African American student success programs, with 57 affiliated California community colleges and universities that serve over 4,000 students annually. Dr. Aldredge also serves as the Program Coordinator/Counselor for the Umoja Diop Scholars Program at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, CA.
She has served in many leadership roles including Academic Senate President at Cosumnes River College, president of the California Counseling Association and president of the California Community College Counselors Association. She currently serves as Governor At-Large for the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges (FACCC) and was awarded the Full-Time Faculty of the Year award by FACCC. She has also received the Exceptional Commitment Award from Cosumnes River College.
Dr. Aldredge earned an A.A. degree from Palomar College and a B.A degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She completed a M.A. degree in Counselor Education from San Diego State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the joint doctoral program between University of California, Davis and California State University, Fresno. She has worked in the field of education for over thirty years.
Lupita Cortez Alcalá, Executive Director, California Student Aid Commission
Lupita Cortez Alcalá is the Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission, administering over $2 billion in financial aid, the largest investment nationally.
Ms. Cortez Alcalá came to the California Student Aid Commission with comprehensive experience in education policy; program development and evaluation; government and legislative affairs; and advocacy and community relations. As a chief advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Lupita spent more than 12 years with the California Department of Education (CDE) and worked closely with the State Board of Education. Lupita also served as Deputy Legislative Secretary, for Governor Gray Davis. Her career began as an Early Academic Outreach Counselor for the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Lupita is a member of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. She is a PUENTE Advisory Board Member and a Mariemont Elementary school site council member.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in planning administration and social policy from the Harvard University, School of Education. Lupita is passionate about helping students and parents navigate their personal pathway to higher education.
Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Solano County Superintendent of Schools
Lisette Estrella-Henderson, has served as an Educator in Solano County for over 32 years. In January of 2017, she became the first Hispanic County Superintendent in Solano’s history and only the second female to hold the position. Lisette hopes to serve as a role model and inspire other young women to be courageous, believe in themselves, and confidently reach for and achieve their goals, no matter how big their dreams may seem.
An innovative thinker and longtime supporter of C-STEM, Lisette motivates her team as well as business and community partners to explore and find solutions to close the achievement gap and provide high quality equitable education to all students.
Lisette’s broad knowledge, experience, and leadership abilities have earned her local, statewide, and national accolades and recognition including: Woman of Distinction Award, Soroptomist International of Dixon; Distinguished Educator Award, Dixon Unified School District; Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year, Association of California School Administrators (ACSA); Outstanding Woman Leader Award, ACSA Region 4; Women in Educational Leadership Award, American Association of School Administrators (AASA); Community Recognition Award, La Raza Lawyers Association of Solano.
Lisette attended Solano Community College and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s degree in Bilingual/Cross-Cultural Education from the California State University, Sacramento. In addition to her California Teaching Credential, she holds a Bilingual Specialist and Administrative Services Credentials and is a certified leadership coach.
Lisette lives in Vacaville with her husband of 31 years and has a daughter who recently graduated from college.
Dr. Barbara Nemko, Napa County Superintendent of Schools
Selected by the Center for Digital Education as one of the “Top 40 Innovators in Education”, Dr. Nemko describes herself as passionate about ed tech, even though she bravely admits to sometimes struggling with her own technology devices. She is a strong advocate of curriculum materials with embedded media that engages and motivates learners and content that can be instantly updated. Two “ed tech” programs of which Dr. Nemko is particularly proud are the “Footsteps2Brilliance” early learning for preschoolers (especially helpful for ESL learners and their parents) and tech tutoring where Court and Community School students teach residents of the Senior Center how to use their mobile devices.
Working in education her entire life, Dr. Nemko started as a teacher in New York City, then took a position at U.C. Davis evaluating California Department of Education programs. Later, when Dr. Nemko was Curriculum Director at Napa County Office of Education, she was appointed Interim Superintendent when the Superintendent retired. Now in her fifth elected term, Dr. Nemko continues to use her ed tech enthusiasm to promote positive programs for over 21,000 students at five districts within Napa County. Her favorite role, however, may be the one she has with her two granddaughters, ages 7 and 9.