2022 Conference Speakers 

Director of National Science Foundation
Opening Plenary Speaker 

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State
Association Breakfast Speaker 

Afghan Social Activist and Founder of Code to Inspire 
Plenary Speaker

Journalist and 
Founding Editor of the Louisiana Illuminator
Plenary Session Speaker

American activist, Civil Rights Pioneer
Community Connections Speaker (Offsite event at TEP Center

Director of National Science Foundation 
Opening Plenary Speaker

Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Panchanathan was nominated to this position by the President of the United States in 2019 and subsequently unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 18, 2020. NSF is an $8.5B independent federal agency and the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education.

Panchanathan is a leader in science, engineering and education with more than three decades of experience. He has a distinguished career in both higher education and government, where he has designed and built knowledge enterprises, which advance research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development and economic growth.He previously served as the executive vice president of the Arizona State University (ASU) Knowledge Enterprise, where he was also chief research and innovation officer. He was also the founder and director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU.

Panchanathan’s scientific contributions have advanced the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces, person-centered tools and ubiquitous computing technologies for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with different abilities; machine learning for multimedia applications; medical image processing; and media processor designs. He has published close to 500 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and has mentored more than 150 graduate students, postdocs, research engineers and research scientists, many now occupy leading positions in academia and industry.For his scientific contributions, Panchanathan has received numerous awards, such as Distinguished Alumnus Awards and the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia Award for his development of information technology centric assistive and rehabilitative environments to assist individuals with visual impairments.

2022 Conference SpeakerETHAN ROSENZWEIG
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) 
Association Breakfast Speaker

Ethan Rosenzweig joins the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) from Atlanta, GA, where he worked at Emory University’s School of Law as Associate Dean overseeing enrollment management and student services including international recruiting and engagement activities. A graduate of Emory Law, Ethan clerked for the Honorable G. Ernest Tidwell of the U.S. District Court of Northern Georgia and then practiced law in Charleston, South Carolina.  

Before Emory, he completed a Presidential Management Fellowship at the U.S. Department of Education, and received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in public policy from American University. Originally from Louisiana where his family still resides, he says he doesn’t return often enough and misses the crawfish and jambalaya. 


Afghan Social Activist and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Non-Profit, Code to Inspire 

Fereshteh Forough is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Code to Inspire, a non-profit organization committed to educating female students in Afghanistan and improving their technical literacy. Fereshteh is from Herat, Afghanistan and was born in Iran as a refugee during the USSR invasion in Afghanistan. She finished her high school education in Iran.

After the fall of the Taliban, Fereshteh moved to Herat with her family where she received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Herat University and then a Master’s degree from Technical University of Berlin in Germany. She taught as a professor in the Computer Science Faculty of Herat University for three years. Fereshteh was a 2013 TED speaker on digital literacy and communication without borders and a 2015 Clinton Global Initiative speaker. Her goal with Code To Inspire is to spread the message of peace and to empower women everywhere. She is an advocate of using digital currency like Bitcoin, and was the first to formally promote its use in Afghanistan.

Founding Editor of the Louisiana Illuminator
Plenary Session: Exploring JEDI In Context

Veteran journalist Jarvis DeBerry is an opinion editor at MSNBC.com.  His previous roles include founding editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, columnist and editorial board member for cleveland.com and deputy opinions editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com. He was on the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. His columns have won awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. “I Feel to Believe,” a collection of DeBerry’s Times-Picayune columns, was published in 2020 by the University of New Orleans Press and has been selected as One Book One New Orleans’ 2022 book of the year. 



Leona Tate

American activist, Civil Rights Pioneer
Community Connections Speaker (offsite event at TEP Center) 

Leona Tate was only six years old when she became a civil rights activist and leader. On November 14, 1960, Ms. Tate, alongside Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost desegregated the previously all-white McDonogh #19 public school. These girls, escorted by federal marshals, were the first black students to attend an integrated public school in Louisiana.
Nearly 50 years later, the 2009 historic election of America's first black president birthed a renewed sense of activism in Ms. Tate. Only a few months later, she founded the Leona Tate Foundation for Change. This foundation is dedicated to the principle that in order to achieve harmony among humankind, every person should be afforded comparable opportunities and exposures. A component essential to implementing this principle is providing access to equal educational opportunities for greater New Orleans area youth.