President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States District Courts

 Today, President Obama nominated Mary Barzee Flores and Julien Xavier Neals to serve on the United States District Courts.

“I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench,” President Obama said.  “They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court.”

Mary Barzee Flores: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Mary Barzee Flores has been a shareholder at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. since 2011, where her practice consists of complex commercial and employment litigation.  From 2003 to 2011, she served as a circuit judge on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami, where she presided over both criminal and civil matters.  Prior to joining the bench, she worked in the Federal Public Defender’s Office of the Southern District of Florida from 1990 to 2003, serving first as an Assistant Federal Public Defender and then as a Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender.  She began her career as an associate at Sonnett, Sale and Kuehne, P.A.  She received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami Law School in 1988 and her B. Mus. from the University of Miami School of Music in 1985.

Julien Xavier Neals: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Julien Xavier Neals currently serves as County Counsel for Bergen County, New Jersey, a position he has held since January 2015.  Previously, in 2014 and from 1992 to 2006, he worked at Chasan Leyner & Lamparello, P.C., where he practiced general litigation in state and federal courts.  From 2006 to 2014, he worked for the City of Newark, serving as Business Administrator from 2010 to 2014, Corporation Counsel from 2008 to 2010, and Chief Judge of the Newark Municipal Court from 2006 to 2008.  Neals began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Seymour Margulies on the New Jersey Superior Court in Hudson County from 1991 to 1992.  He received his J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1991 and his B.A. from Morehouse College in 1982.




State Dining Room

7:17 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  It’s wonderful to see you all here tonight. Harry Truman once called the presidency an “enlarged governorship.”  (Laughter.)  Of course, a few of you are hoping that he was right.  (Laughter.)  But Michelle and I are thrilled to host our nation’s governors and your loved ones here tonight. If it’s your first visit, then welcome to the White House.  We promise a good time.  The only thing we can’t conjure up from the past is Governor Schwarzenegger on the dance floor.  (Laughter.) And he was something.

We are grateful that the weather held up afteryesterday's storm.  And we've been thinking about you governors from New England, and everything that your citizens have been through this winter.  I want to make sure we're working with each other to get what you need.  It is a good thing that you are not coming on a snowstorm like there was during the dinner of 1987.  Hours into the dinner, the food was gone.  Everybody was standing around. The snow seemed to keep falling harder and harder.  And President Reagan looked out the window and turned to the First Lady and said, “Honey, do we have enough cots?”  (Laughter.)  To which Nancy replied, “We have a few spare bedrooms.” 

But it looks like the weather has cleared up enough that there will not be a pajama party here in the Blue Room tonight.  (Laughter.)  We are looking forward, though, to spending time with one another in fellowship and good food and good entertainment, and, undoubtedly, we'll find that we have more in common than sometimes is assumed.  And hopefully, that will inform the business that we do together tomorrow.

Our economy keeps improving.  And I hope that we can seize on that momentum to keep improving the circumstances for every one of our citizens -- keep building a country where every citizen can look around and see cause for optimism about the future, not only for themselves but also for their children and their grandchildren; feel good about their own prospects and the country’s prospects.

Within this room, we're not going to agree on everything, but I am committed to working with each and every one of you over the next two years to keep making progress.  And we’ll talk more about that tomorrow.  Tonight, I just want to express my appreciation to all of you, all of the hard work that you bring to bear.  And I want to say thank you to the spouses as well, because I know that's a particularly difficult job, trying to keep us in line.

So let me propose a toast -- to our citizens, to our spouses, to our families, and to what Thomas Jefferson once described as our country’s precious blessings, “its soil, its climate, its equality, liberty, laws, people and manners…which no other people on Earth enjoy.”


AUDIENCE:  Cheers. 


Questions For Bill O'Riley

Now that it's clear that Bill O'Reilly's war zone reporting has been only the front lines of his fictional War on Christmas, he's got an awful lot of questions to answer. David Corn at Mother Jonesgave him ample opportunity to answer some of those questions before publishing his piece that exposed O'Reilly for the fraud that he is, to no avail. O'Reilly refused to respond to Corn, but granted interviews to other reporters.
  • Will O'Reilly comment "In a way, it's impossible to win a debate with O'Reilly because he is not bound by reality." —David Cornon why he is the only reporter who was present during a protest in Buenos Aires when the Falklands surrendered to say that a "major riot ensued and many were killed," as reported in his book, The No Spin Zone? No other journalists reported deaths.
  • When and where were the "firefights in South and Central America" O'Reilly said he had been caught in on his radio show on January 13, 2005?
  • How does he explain the discrepancy from his No Spin Zone account about reporting from Meanguera, El Salvador, in 1982 with what was actually recorded on film and broadcast on CBS News at the time? In the book, he said the village was "leveled to the ground and fires were still smoldering. But even though the carnage was obviously recent, we saw no one live or dead." On the news footage, there are people walking around and only a couple of burned structures.
  • Did he ever do any other reporting trips to El Salvador or Argentina or elsewhere in Central and South America than the two he included in No Spin Zone?
  • When he said on his television show in 2008 that he had been "in the war zones of [the] Falkland conflict in Argentina, the Middle East, and Northern Ireland," where specifically was he talking about, particularly with the Middle East and Northern Ireland? What wars, where, and when?
  • In another book, Keep It Pithy, he wrote  "I've seen soldiers gun down unarmed civilians in Latin America." Corn asks, "Where did this occur?"
That's an awful lot of valid questions about some very specific memories O'Reilly claims to have. Questions that really should be answered, if O'Reilly or Fox News gives half a damn about integrity. But if you expect the higher ups at Fox News to be looking for answers to these questions from their star, don't hold your breath.




White House Internship Program Announces Spring 2015 Participants

The White House Internship Program announced today the participants for the Spring 2015 session. The mission of the program is to make the White House accessible to future leaders around the nation and to prepare those devoted to public service for future leadership opportunities.

A White House Internship provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. Interns work in one of several White House departments, including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the Office of Communications, the Office of Digital Strategy, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, the Office of Presidential Correspondence, the Presidential Personnel Office, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the Office of White House Fellows.

Additional information about the White House Internship Program is available here:

Spring 2015 White House Interns

The list below includes the Spring 2015 White House Interns, their hometowns, and the higher education institution they most recently attended.

Aguilar, Catherine 
Hometown: Cerritos, CA; Smith College, MA
Akhtar, Fahad Hometown: North Brunswick, NJ; Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ
Akselrad, Jackson Hometown: New York, NY; The University of Chicago, IL
Allen, Angelica Hometown: Encinitas, CA; The University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Andrews, Sarah Hometown: Woodstock, VT; University of Colorado Boulder, CO
Antony, Angela Hometown: Cary, NC; Harvard Law School, MA
Arneja, Ravinder Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD; University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD
Avellan, Norah Hometown: Houston, TX; Washburn University School of Law, KS
Ballengee, Brooke Hometown: Cedar Hill, TX; Baylor University, TX
Baptiste, Alexander Hometown: Blue Bell, PA; American University Washington College of Law, D.C.
Barton, Kaitlyn Hometown: Flowood, MS; The University of Mississippi, MS
Barwari, Silave Hometown: San Diego, CA; The George Washington University, D.C.
Beavers, Olivia Hometown: Charlottesville, VA; University of Virginia, VA
Bennett, Nika Hometown: Herndon, VA; New York University, NY
Botfeld, Susanne Hometown: Boca Raton, FL; New York University, NY
Bowman, Jarred Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD; St. John's University, NY
Branch, Rahje Hometown: Los Angeles, CA; Pepperdine University, CA
Brashear, Connor Hometown: Washington, IN; Indiana University Bloomington, IN
Brokaw, James Hometown: Indianapolis, IN; University of Notre Dame, IN
Brown, Robert Hometown: Orange, CT; Marymount University, VA
Burns, Marlee Hometown: Baytown, TX; The University of Texas at Austin, TX
Buxton, Amanda Hometown: Huntsville, AL; Emory University School of Law, GA
Bykerk, Ashley Hometown: Grand Island, NE; Nebraska Wesleyan University, NE
Capati, Jeremy Hometown: Kenilworth, NJ; Ramapo College of New Jersey, NJ
Carrera, Kelly Hometown: Laurel, MD; University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Cesolini, Bryan Hometown: Poway, CA; The George Washington University, D.C.
Chaidez, Brandon Hometown: San Jose, CA; University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
Chapnick, Max Hometown: White Plains, NY; Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Coflan, Andrew Hometown: North Andover, MA; The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, MD
Collat, Elyse Hometown: Honolulu, HI; American University, D.C.
Crutchfield, Charmaine Hometown: Ruther Glen, VA; Howard University, D.C.
Dandridge, Kimbrely Hometown: Como, MS; The Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, TX
de Crescenzo, Laura Hometown: Lafayette, CA; New York University, NY
Del Castillo, Jasmin Hometown: Cathedral City, CA; University of California, Irvine, CA
DelGiudice, Amanda Hometown: Staten Island, NY; American University, D.C.
Demers, Kaitlyn Hometown: Glens Falls, NY; The George Washington University Law School, D.C.
Denney, Bryan Hometown: Tampa, FL; The University of Tampa, FL
Dickason, Christine Hometown: Collierville, TN; The University of Mississippi, MS
Dingman, Kali Hometown: Champlin, MN; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN
Dyer, Heather Hometown: Austin, TX; The University of Texas at Austin, TX
Edwards, Brittany Hometown: Gloucester, MA; The George Washington University, D.C.
English, Robert Hometown: Mansfield Center, CT; George Mason University, VA
Epstein, Troy Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL; University of Florida, FL
Evans, Christopher Hometown: Seattle, WA; The George Washington University, D.C.
Farmer, Alexis Hometown: Detriot, MI; University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Feroze, Abdullah Hometown: Roswell, NM; Stanford University School of Medicine, CA
Fitchett, Olivia Hometown: Sellersburg, IN; Indiana University Southeast, IN
Fraling, Michelle Hometown: Baltimore, MD; Cornell University, NY
Freeman, Sydney Hometown: West Orange, NJ; University of Richmond, VA
Garcha, Rupinder Hometown: Fresh Meadows, NY; Haverford College, PA
Garcia, Juan Hometown: Dallas, TX; Carnegie Mellon University, PA
Gelfond, Jaclyn Hometown: Deerfield, IL; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL
Gorman, Lindsay Hometown: Raleigh, NC; The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC
Grill, Matthew Hometown: Norristown, PA; American University, D.C.
Gumb, Derek Hometown: Bayside, NY; Binghamton University, State University of New York, NY
Gutierrez, Jose Hometown: Lilburn, GA; Georgia Gwinnett College, GA
Guydan, Jane Hometown: Naperville, IL; The George Washington University, D.C.
Harned, Charles Hometown: St. Louis, MO; Knox College, IL
Harriman, Jordan Hometown: Laurel, MD; University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Harvey, Michael Hometown: Mokena, IL; Northwestern University, IL
Hashmie, Soshana Hometown: Fountain Valley, CA; The Johns Hopkins University, MD
Hessing, Annelys Hometown: Miramar, FL; University of Florida, FL
Ho, Melanie Hometown: Simsbury, CT; Bernard M. Baruch College, City University of New York, NY
Holbrook, Trent Hometown: Odessa, TX; Georgetown University Law Center, D.C.
Houchins, Miranda Hometown: Effort, PA; The George Washington University, D.C.
Hurwitz, Stacey Hometown: Seattle, WA; University of Washington, WA
Jackson, Maurice Hometown: Miami, FL; Florida A&M University, FL
Johnson, Melinda Hometown: Dacula, GA; The University of Georgia, GA
Kebrab, Tatios Hometown: Rockville, MD; University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Kim, Danyoung Hometown: Henderson, NV; Cornell University, NY
Kim, Sophie Hometown: Houston, TX; Harvard Law School and John F. Kennedy School of Government, MA
Klinghoffer, Isabelle Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; New York University, NY
Ladzinski, Caroline Hometown: Columbia, MD; American University, D.C.
Larsen, Jean Hometown: Seattle, WA; Scripps College, CA
Lewis, Tyler Hometown: Largo, FL; University of South Florida St. Petersburg, FL
Link, Benjamin Hometown: Eureka, NV; American University, D.C.
Lipka, Matthew Hometown: West Windsor, NJ; Harvard Law School, MA
Lobo, Kavitha Hometown: San Diego, CA; Cornell University, NY
Longhi, Andrew Hometown: Atlanta, GA; Dartmouth College, NH
Martin, Juliane Hometown: Middleburg, VA; Northeastern University, MA
McDonough, Erin Hometown: Fremont, CA; California State University, East Bay, CA
Menz, Sheila Hometown: Webster, NY; University of California, Berkeley School of Law, CA
Michel, Anika Hometown: Queens, NY; Binghamton University, State University of New York, NY
Monahan, Nicholas Hometown: Shepherdstown, WV; University of Virginia, VA
Moss, Caitlin Hometown: Concord, MA; The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, MD
Murphy, Alexander Hometown: Binghamton, NY; Rice University, TX
Myers, Amnoni Hometown: Boston, MA; Gordon College, MA
Nanda, Pranav Hometown: Durham, NH; The George Washington University, D.C.
Nasser, Donya Hometown: Orlando, FL; St. John's University, NY
Nazir, Arij Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI; University of Virginia, VA
Nejabat, Samuel Hometown: San Diego, CA; Dartmouth College, NH
Nelson, Joseph Hometown: Solon, OH; Cornell University, NY
Niewiarowski, Emily Hometown: Plano, TX; The University of Texas at Dallas, TX
Noll, Alexandra Hometown: Austin, TX; The University of Texas at Dallas, TX
Noor, Mashal Hometown: Dallas, TX; The University of Texas at Dallas, TX
Oh, Suzie Hometown: Richmond, VA; The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, D.C.
Osborne, Alexis Hometown: Watervliet, NY; Albany Law School, NY
Parkmond, Xavier Hometown: Waterbury, CT; The George Washington University, D.C.
Patino Mazmanian, Karina Hometown: Maynard, MA; Brandeis University, MA
Pawelczyk, Hannah Hometown: Frankfort, IL; University of Notre Dame, IN
Penansky, Michael Hometown: Bethesda, MD; University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Phan, Christina Hometown: Tustin, CA; University of California, Irvine, CA
Phillips, Gregory Hometown: Washington, D.C.; Carleton College, MN
Pollard, Cory Hometown: Concord, CA; King's College London, United Kingdom
Ratner, Travis Hometown: Montrose, NY; The George Washington University, D.C.
Reddy, Pooja Hometown: Glasgow, KY; University of Kentucky, KY
Reznikov, Paige Hometown: Marietta, GA; Samford University, AL
Robertson, Jason Hometown: Havre de Grace, MD; University of Baltimore, MD
Robinson, John Hometown: Greensboro, NC; Furman University, SC
Rodriguez, Yaneli Hometown: Falls Church, VA; George Mason University, D.C.
Rollert, Kate Hometown: Battle Creek, MI; Michigan State University, MI
Roman, Daniel Hometown: Wanaque, NJ; Monmouth University, NJ
Sai, Rebecca Hometown: Rialto, CA; University of Southern California, CA
Samuelson, Kate Hometown: Katy, TX; The University of Pennsylvania, PA
Saunders, Bethan Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; Georgetown University, D.C.
Sellars, James Hometown: Boiling Springs, SC; American University Washington College of Law, D.C.
Sileo, Alexander Hometown: Dacula, GA; American University, D.C.
Smith, Dominique Hometown: Bronx, NY; Wesleyan College, GA
Stefanski, Matthew Hometown: Valparaiso, IN; Indiana University Bloomington, IN
Stern, George Hometown: Denver, CO; Harvard Law School, MA
Swanson, Katherine Hometown: Fort Worth, TX; University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Taranto, Jennifer Hometown: Marblehead, MA; Stonehill College, MA
Tate, Jade Hometown: San Antonio, TX; University of Central Florida, FL
Taylor, Courtney Hometown: Rialto, CA; American University, D.C.
Taylor Jr., Ian Hometown: Woodbury, MN; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN
Thomas, Andre` Hometown: Stone Mountain, GA; American University, D.C.
Thomas, Ryan Hometown: Andover, MN; New York University, NY
Thompson, Joseph Hometown: Alamo, TN; Middle Tennessee State University, TN
Tilmont, Lauren Hometown: Wilmette, IL; College of the Holy Cross, MA
Travers, Georgia Hometown: Princeton, NJ; Dartmouth College, NH
Vaquero, Isamar Hometown: Washington, D.C.; Pepperdine University, CA
Vargas, Andres Hometown: Haverhill, MA; Boston University, MA
Veit, Meredith Hometown: Warrington, PA; The George Washington University, D.C.
Walsh, Peter Hometown: Newtown, CT; College of the Holy Cross, MA
Weigel, Teddi Hometown: Evanston, IL; The George Washington University, D.C.
Werking, Cassandra Hometown: East Greenbush, NY; University at Albany, State University of New York, NY
Williams, Taylor Hometown: Rochester, MN; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN
Wilson, Frances Hometown: Fresno, CA; Ashworth College, GA
Woo-Ermacoff, Lauren Hometown: Mountain View, CA; Foothill College, CA
Wu, Kevin Hometown: Flushing, NY; Amherst College, MA
Young, Asia Hometown: Oxon Hill, MD; Wellesley College, MA
Zamora, Alicia Hometown: San Diego, CA; Harvard College, MA

Obama's Accomplishments Updated

And folks this is fact checked by the Right Wing Biased

• The "economy kept growing." Official data on gross domestic product from the Commerce Department shows that the economy has been growing robustly in recent months. (Here’s a summary chart.) In fact, it’s been growing so robustly that Republicans have been trying to claim credit for it, a view we have been skeptical of.
 The "stock market has more than doubled." On Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 7,949.09. On Feb. 19, 2015, it stood at 17,985.77. That’s more than twice as much.
• "Deficits are down by two-thirds." We recently checked Obama’s claim that we've seen "our deficits cut by two-thirds" and found it Mostly True.
• "America is creating jobs faster than at any time since the last time a Democrat was president." We recently checked Obama’s claim that the economy is "creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999," which is when Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was president. We rated Obama’s claim True.
• "Our manufacturers are creating jobs for the first time since the last time a Democrat was president." We didn’t check this claim before, but a quick look at Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that, except some small and brief upward blips in 2004, Obama is right. Manufacturing employment has been rising, slowly but surely, since 2010. (We have also checked Obama’s claim that "factories are opening their doors at the fastest pace in almost two decades." We rated thatMostly True.
• "Health care inflation is running at the lowest rate in almost 50 years."We have reported that data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that shows health care inflation, as of the end of 2013, was about 1 percent per year — the lowest since the early 1960s.
• "Our deficits are falling faster than they have in 60 years." When Obama claimed that "our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years," we rated it True.(And for readers seeking a refresher course on the "deficit" and the "debt," here’s a rundown.)

White House Honors Historically Black Colleges and Universities “Champions of Change”


On February 24, the White House will recognize faculty and staff members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUsas “Champions of Change” who are finding success promoting college completion and success. These leaders have worked with students, families, and policymakers to build pathways to graduation at their respective institutions. The event will feature a panel discussion moderated by actor and E! News Co-Host, Terrence Jenkins, remarks from Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit on February 24, at 10:00AM.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, Follow the conversation at #HBCUchamps.

A. Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., Auburn Alabama
A. Deloris Alexander, Ph.D., serves as Director of the Integrative Biosciences PhD Program at Tuskegee University.  This program facilitates the progression of talented, motivated students from the collegiate through doctorate level to careers in the professorate and other areas.  A second-generation college graduate and the second person in her family to receive a PhD degree, Dr. Alexander is also a collaborator on several federally-funded projects involving graduate and undergraduate education, especially initiatives meant to increase access to education for socioeconomically-deprived students. She also leads programs designed to increase both diversity and America’s competitiveness in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. 

Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, Ph.D., PE, Wilberforce, Ohio
Dr. Abayomi Ajayi-Majebi, serves as a Professor of Manufacturing Engineering and Past Chairman of the Manufacturing Engineering Department undergraduate program at Central State University (CSU). Over the past 30 years, he has supported hundreds of CSU Manufacturing Engineers, CSU STEM students, and CSU graduates, leading to their gainful employment in the U.S. and around the world.

Frank A. James, Little Rock, Arkansas
Frank James is a Professor of Mathematics at Philander Smith College a small Methodist institution located in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He was the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Philander Smith College from 2006-2013. He also serves as the Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Implementation Grant [2012-2017]. He mentors students interested in becoming Engineers through a 3/2 joint MOU with the University of Arkansas and Philander Smith College.

Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., Bowie, Maryland
Freddie T. Vaughns, Ph.D., currently serves as Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for Bowie State University, one of the oldest historically black universities in the nation and the oldest in the state of Maryland. In his capacity he works with and advises the Provost on student concerns ranging from academic difficulties to retention and graduation efforts. Also, he is tenured faculty in the Child and Adolescent Studies program, preparing graduates to make significant contributions in the global community.

Gregory Goins, Ph.D., Greensboro, North Carolina
Dr. Goinsis an Associate Professor of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University where he organized the Integrative Biomathematical Learning and Empowerment Network for Diversity (iBLEND). The iBLEND initiative represents a partnership between faculty mentors from various science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines working together to retain undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In addition, iBLEND mentors help students prepare for future post-graduate opportunities and careers primarily at the interface between biology and mathematics. Since 2010, over 100 undergraduates from North Carolina A&T State University have completed research internships collaborating with iBLEND.

Herbert W. Thompson, Ph.D., Daytona Beach, Florida
Dr. Herbert W. Thompson is a tenured professor of Biology and Dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CSEM) at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Under Dr. Thompson’s leadership, the CSEM, which is organized into five departments offering curricula for Baccalaureate Degrees, recently assessed each program to insure that graduates have the knowledge to solve real world problems.  A strong student advocate, Dr. Thompson continues to mentor students and faculty.  Over the years he has guided many to careers in medicine, STEM research and STEM education.  Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as Chair of the Department of Biology and Project Director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program at Bethune-Cookman.

J.K. Haynes, Atlanta, Georgia
J.K. Haynes is the David Packard Professor of Science and Dean of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia.  For over 36 years, he has served as a research scientist, professor and administrator at the College.  During this time, he has led numerous efforts to enrich the curriculum and to provide engaging extra-curricula experiences for STEM students as well as to increase the number of STEM graduates of the College.

R. Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., Huntsville, Alabama
R. Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., currently serves as the Chairperson and an Associate Professor of the Communication Department at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.   In addition to classroom teaching and academic advising, Dr. Elliott serves as coach of Oakwood’s Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) team, a post she’s held for over 17 years.  Influenced by her mentoring and advising, the team has won two championships and placed in the top four on five occasions. In 2014, HCASC named her Coach of the Year.  Dr. Elliott’s committee posts include the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Rank and Continuous Appointment, and the Dean’s Council.

Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D, Princess Anne, Maryland
Robert A. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. serves as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princess Anne, Maryland. UMES is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and 1890 Land Grant Institution dedicated to providing educational programs for aspiring students. Dr. Johnson has centered his professional efforts on identifying, securing, and establishing resources that create awareness and stimulate interests in the vast opportunities that exist in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. He and a team of faculty members have secured over $3,000,000 in federal, state, and industry funds to aid students in completing financial obligations related to collegiate study, gateway course completion, completing intense research projects, and matriculation to graduation. In addition, Dr. Johnson served, from 1999-2009, as the Director of the UMES Summer Transportation Institute, supported through funds provided from the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration. The program assisted over 200 high school students in honing essential academic and social skills necessary for successful entry into collegiate environments and matriculation through STEM disciplines.

Tanya V. Rush, Baltimore, MarylandTanya V. Rush, serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Representing the Vice President in various capacities and special projects, her primary responsibilities include oversight for the Division’s fiscal affairs and providing direct oversight to the directors of the University Health Center, Student Center/Student Activities, and the University Chapel.  Always willing to serve, Tanya volunteers her time with numerous university committees and worthwhile community activities. But her greatest joy is her service to students, undergraduate and graduate.  She is student-centered, dedicated to student development and success - academically, personally and professionally.

Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, Ph.D., Montgomery, Alabama
Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi and is a child of the civil rights movement. She is a professional actress; motivational speaker, theatre director, national museum exhibit director, tenured professor, and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University.  Dean Stewart is a graduate of Jackson State University (B.S.), the University of California at Santa Barbara (M.A.), and Florida State University with a Ph.D. in Theatre.  Stewart was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU school of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. She is a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award winner for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.”  She holds four honorary doctorates degrees and is a life member of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.