SENDAS Conference 2024

MCC’s Title V Project, Students & Employees Nurtured & Developed for Academic Success (SENDAS), is a comprehensive development plan that reinforces key institutional commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Guided Pathways to Success (GPS). The project features an annual conference for students and employees to elevate culture and mindfulness at MCC.

Nurturing Minds, Bridging Cultures, and Igniting STEM Success

The conference theme for 2024 encompassed four key pillars: Student Support Services, Mindfulness, Cultural Responsiveness, and STEM Experiences and Programs. Together, we nurtured minds, bridged cultures, and fueled STEM success!

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Conference Summary

For the combined pre-conference workshop and full-day conference, 83 students and employees attended in person and 24 attended virtually. The program featured a keynote speaker, nationally recognized pre-conference workshop facilitator, twenty-four concurrent sessions, four interactive sessions, and a poster session that featured an array of student and employee research projects.

Participants indicated that the primary purpose in attending was personal enrichment and relevance to work. Most attendees learned about the conference via Intranet posts and colleagues. Significantly, 100% of conference attendees that completed the survey agreed or strongly agreed that the content of the conference was useful.

Featured Speakers

Gina Rollo White

Pre-conference Speaker

Gina Rollo White is the founder and CEO of Mindful Junkie, a not-for-profit focused on First Responder Stress and Trauma. Gina has over 17 years of experience as a mind-body teacher, educator, and author. She has a Masters degree in Mindfulness Studies from Lesley University. Her graduate thesis was Mindfulness and Law Enforcement, An Effective Approach to Implementing Mindfulness for First Responders.  

Gina has spent the last eight years developing trauma-aware mindfulness programs tailored for law enforcement, fire services, medical professionals, military, and other trauma sensitive communities. She has delivered training across the country to 100’s of departments.

Gina authored a Justice Department approved Criminal Justice Mindfulness Training Curriculum, which forms the backbone of her program – Tactical Brain Training®: Mindfulness for First Responders. She has spoken about First Responder Mindfulness at over a dozen conferences across the US. She authored and delivered the First Responder Mindfulness Journey on the AmDTx mindfulness app. She authored and delivered Learn To De Stress, a 15 day mindfulness course with Mindful magazine. Her book, Tactical Brain Training, A Guide to Stress and Trauma Management for First Responders, will be available in mid-2024.

Dr. Becky Wai-Ling Packard

Keynote Speaker

Becky Wai-Ling Packard is Mary E. Woolley Professor of Psychology and Education at Mount Holyoke College where she has been on the faculty for nearly 25 years.

Packard is an expert in the area of strategic mentoring and the persistence of minoritized students in higher education, to include first-generation college students, community college transfer students, low-income students, people of color, and women in STEM fields. A translator of research into practice, Packard has visited more than 75 campuses to lead sessions on the power of mentoring, student success, and inclusive practice.

Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Google, and Microsoft. In 2005, she was recognized by the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the nation’s highest honor for early career scientists and engineers.

An educational psychologist by training, she teaches on motivation and organizational behavior. As a campus leader, she served as associate dean of faculty, founding director of teaching and learning, director of leadership, and senior advisor for STEM initiatives. In Spring 2018, Packard served as a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to contribute to campus equity initiatives. During the 18-19 academic year, she served as a faculty fellow at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor sponsored by the National Center for Institution Diversity where she advanced inclusive climate strategies in STEM departments across the sciences and engineering.Packard is the author of “Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students: A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators” published by Stylus (now Routledge) and well as numerous articles in journals. A multi-racial, first-generation college graduate, Packard earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University. 

Conference Committee

  • Bernice Belmonte, Center for Community and Civic Engagement Faculty
  • Christine Besaw-McGovren, Counseling Faculty
  • E Tanchez, Student Life and Leadership
  • Jennifer Strickland, CTL Faculty Director
  • Karen Coleman, Education Studies Advisor
  • Lavinia Sebastian, STEM and Computer Science Boot Camp Coordinator, Physical Science Faculty
  • Megan Garvy, CTL Faculty
  • Melissa Meadows, SENDAS Grant Director
  • Nicole Collins, Executive Director of DEI
  • Patricia Herrera, CTL Instructional Technologist
  • Tanya Little, SENDAS Grant Administrative Assistant
  • Tara Baker, Financial Literacy Coordinator
  • Teryl Sands, English Faculty
  • Yarely Vizcaino, STEM Advisor