2019 TYFY Conference

Please join us September 17- 20 in Seattle, Washington at Hyatt Regency Seattle

Meet this year's Keynote Speakers

Dr. Todd Parks

Professor and Director of Academic Support Services and First-Year Programs, Piedmont Virginia Community College

Todd Parks serves as a professor and director of academic support services and first-year programs at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC). Prior to joining PVCC, he directed diversity initiatives at the University of Iowa where he founded The Iowa Edge, an award-winning orientation program for first-generation college students and students of color; served as assistant dean of students at the University of Florida; and managed first-year residence halls at the University of San Francisco.

Todd earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia; and doctorate from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. At South Carolina, he studied with John Gardner: furthering his commitment to helping first-year students transition to college life and succeed on campus. At Virginia, Todd received the Jay L. Chronister Student Award in Higher Education and the Johnnie E. Merritt Graduate Fellowship in Higher Education. He is a frequent presenter at ACCA, VCCA, and VCCS meetings and served on the planning committees for regional and national conferences.

In addition to his professional activities, Todd served on non-profit boards in Iowa and Virginia and currently volunteers as a financial coach and scout leader. He enjoys driving fast (on a track, not the highway), scuba diving, participating in barbecue competitions, and exploring the outdoors. He lives in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife, Melynda, who is employed at a non-profit in Charlottesville. He and Melynda have one son, Taylor, who is a sophomore at Christopher Newport University. Yes, they, student and parents, survived and thrived during Taylor’s first year of college.

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, PhD

President of Amarillo College

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, President for Amarillo College, and received the 2019 Leah Meyer Austin Award as one of the top student success institutions in the Achieving the Dream Network. Russell’s leadership is focused on improving student success through systemic and cultural change by empowering the student voice in redesigning higher education. Amarillo College’s work on poverty was featured in The Atlantic (June 2018). He was named the National Academic Leader of the Year for 2014 and was an Inaugural Aspen Presidential Fellow for 2016. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio University; MA in from Texas Tech; and BS from West Texas A&M University.

While his calling is education reform, his passion is family.  His wife, Tara, sons Christopher and Campbell, daughter, Cadence, and dog, Sadie, fill his life with beauty and joy.

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