Plenary Speakers

mariana_smMariana Pacheco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, ESL/Bilingual Certification Program
Department of Curriculum & Instruction

Keynote presentation:

“Explorando Juntos: Exploring the Organic Intellectualism of Immigrant Students and Communities”

Dr. Mariana Pacheco’s research focuses on how emergent bi(multi)lingual students use their language and literacy abilities across contexts in and out of school. She examines the ways in which different contexts provide bi(multi)lingual and English Learner students meaningful opportunities to use their full cultural, linguistic, and intellectual resources. She is currently developing a project to collaborate and support bilingual teachers interested in ways to leverage students’ resources in the classroom, particularly the translanguaging practices that could enhance learning opportunities for bi(multi)lingual students. In more current work, she explores the extent to which language ideologies affect the privileging of English in bilingual classrooms and how this could limit learning opportunities and create harmful schooling contexts for non-dominant bilingual students in particular.

Learn more about the conference Education track on page 7 of the Call for Presentations.

purnell_smDr. Jason Purnell

Assistant Professor
George Warren Brown School of Social Work
Washington University
“For the Sake of All” Project Leader

Keynote presentation:

“For the Sake of All: Improving Health and Well-being in St. Louis Post-Ferguson”

Jason Purnell is an assistant professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. He is trained in both applied psychology and public health. Dr. Purnell leads the For the Sake of All project, a multidisciplinary civic education and mobilization initiative highlighting the regional significance of disparities in health and life outcomes for African Americans in St.Louis, MO. The project and a report by the same name released in May 2014 have been a critical resource in the wake of the unrest that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in the suburban St.
Louis city of Ferguson in August of that year. Purnell and his team and partners have been instrumental in convening cross-sector stakeholders for strategic response to disparities in health, education, and economic status.

Dr. Purnell’s research focuses on health equity and the social determinants of health, with a special emphasis on the social, cultural, and economic factors that influence health behaviors and health outcomes. He is also interested in how communities can be mobilized to respond to health inequity.

Jaime Torres
Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Hispanic Leaders Group
of Greater St. Louis
ERIBEC & Associates
As Director of the Office of International Education at St. Louis Community College, Jaime Torres established innovative academic programs; supervised and trained scholars from Haiti, Central America, Azerbaijan,Ukraine, Sweden, Macedonia, and England in special professional educational programs funded by theU.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. State Department and the Department ofEducation. Managed Study Abroad Programs for Greece, France, China, Thailand, England, Turkey,Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Macedonia and Central America. In 2006, he was one of four selected by theWhite House as a US-Korean Commission Fulbright Scholar the first community college to receive such recognition. 
Col. Torres is active in the community and has led or served on many board of directors. Among the boards, he had served or is serving are the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Leaders Group of Greater St. Louis, the Chair of the Hispanic Scholarship Alliance, the World Affairs Council, SisterCities San Luis Potosi-St. Louis Friendship Committee, Association of the US Army, National KidneyFoundation and the Puerto Rican Society. On January 2015, he was elected as the Chair for the HispanicLeaders Group of Greater St. Louis. Awards he has received from his civic endeavors are the prestigiousHispanic Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013, Anthony B. Ramirez Premio Esperanza from the Hispanic Leaders Group, the Civic Person of the Year from the Hispanic Chamber ofCommerce in 2010 and the National Hispanic of the Year 2011 from the National Football League (Rams
His military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Achievement Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal. Unit citations include the AF Medal of Excellence with one Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC) and the AF Outstanding Unit Award. His foreign campaigns include Republic of Vietnam Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Award with one Silver OLC, AF Overseas Long Tour Ribbon with one OLC, AF Overseas Short Tour Ribbon,AF Training Ribbon, and Vietnam Service Medal.


Other keynote speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.