This year we are remixing the Summit! We are inviting all students and colleagues to join us for an engaging experience ahead of the new academic year. We have a line-up of speakers that will focus on motivating and get our students talking about their summer and the year ahead for them. We will be streaming via Zoom and our Project MALES Facebook Page.
Thursday, August 13 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM (CDT) | Register for the Zoom Link or Join us Live on Facebook
One of our featured speakers, Ernesto Mejia, is the proud son of Mexican immigrants, he is a true example of the American dream. Diagnosed with the rare disease of Guillain-Barre Syndrome at the age of 16 that left him temporarily paralyzed, he was not supposed to be a successful student, much less a college dean of students. Through his hardships, Ernesto learned to never give up on life. A founding member of the Student Leadership Inspired by Consuelo Kickbusch (SLiCK) program, he now speaks to students, parents, and teachers about overcoming obstacles and never give up on the American dream: education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Eastern Michigan University, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Lewis University.
Another featured speaker, SaulPaul is a Musician with a Message. Engaging youth audiences through interactive music in a way that produces positive results, SaulPaul encourages “education not incarceration” to at-risk youth. Performing live for over 100,000 students at schools, through advocacy organizations, and in correctional programs annually, SaulPaul brings hope and direction to young people using his own story and creative talents as inspiration. From transitioning middle and high school students in metro Atlanta to a district in the backwoods of Little Rock, AR, SaulPaul’s music is influential. Touching the hearts and minds of students through live performances at home and abroad, there is social good in SaulPaul’s message. In classrooms, at professional conferences, or as a youth mentor, SaulPaul encourages positive decisions for positive results; using his story as evidence.
Our Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Patrick Valdez is an accomplished higher education executive with 20 years of experience in developing and executing academic and student success programs. He previously served as the dean of the Undergraduate College and associate professor of the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York City. Valdez is currently chief executive officer of the University of New Mexico’s branch campus in Taos, New Mexico.
Nationally, Valdez has conducted research on challenges and obstacles facing first-generation college students and has given presentations on executive leadership, African American faculty experience at a tier-one university, increasing the number of underrepresented students in STEM, and bridging the gap between higher education and the community. His current research focuses on the policy formation of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) legislation and the role that HSIs will play in educating the nation’s fastest growing student population.