Matt Newlin, Ed.D.

Senior Education Designer, Rural Initiatives

Matt brings 16 years of experience in university leadership and consulting to Education Design Lab as the Senior Education Designer of Rural Initiatives working on the Rural College Practitioner Design + Data Academy.

Prior to joining the Lab, Matt served as Director of Rural Initiatives with College Advising Corps (CAC) where he launched a statewide project focused on increasing college access for rural students. He also developed a national network of rural-serving college advisers across CAC partners. Matt is also the creator and host of the Rural College Student Experience podcast which features interviews with currently enrolled rural students. 

Matt has also worked at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Additionally, he is the founder and principal at Matt Newlin Consulting and an adjunct professor in the Counselor Education program at East Carolina University.

Matt is excited to join the Lab to contribute to the Lab’s equity-centered design, which he has been a fan of for many years!

HOMETOWN: St. Louis, Missouri

BACHELOR’S: B.A. in Communication / B.A. in English, University of Missouri – Columbia

MASTER’S: M.Ed. in Higher Education, University of Missouri – St. Louis

DOCTORATE: Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Maryville University

FAVORITE QUOTE: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing”. – Plato

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… reading, watching a TON of movies, volunteering with animal rescue, or snuggling with my wife and our dogs (Taggart and Sammy Jankis). 

Rachel Wimberly

Rural College Data Lead

Rachel brings diverse higher ed experience to the Education Design Lab as the Rural College Data Lead for the Rural Practitioner Data and Design Academy cohort. In this role, Rachel will work closely with institutions to help implement or expand their data collection methods and provide guidance on how to use that data to advocate for learners in their communities.

Prior to starting at the Lab, Rachel most recently worked at Ocelot as an AI conversational designer. She has also held positions in housing at a small, private liberal arts college, financial aid at a large state university, and taught Social Problems at a rural community college. In graduate school, Rachel was a graduate assistant for Sociology of Communities and Intro to Sociology, and advised sociology and anthropology students. She went to college and graduate school in rural Illinois and now lives in a rural portion of Maryland near where her partner grew up. 

She is excited to join the Lab and work with like-minded people who love to problem solve and strategize. She is glad to be continuing her work with colleges and helping to use data to impact change in rural communities.

HOMETOWN: Detroit, Michigan

BACHELOR’S: Sociology & Philosophy, Illinois Wesleyan University

MASTER’S: Sociology & Gender Studies, Illinois State University

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Fear is only a verb if you let it be”. – Andrea Gibson

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… probably wrangling a litter of foster kittens, crocheting too many blankets, or driving way too far for food with her partner.

Jean Ooi

Manager, Business Systems Analyst

Jean brings her operational, technical, and project management background to Education Design Lab as a Business Systems Analyst.  She helps the Lab analyze and streamline systems, improve operational efficiency, and integrate innovative technology solutions into the organization’s initiatives.  

Jean has 15+ years of experience working at start-ups, professional services firms, K-12 schools, non-profits, and public universities.  Prior to joining the Lab, she served in leadership roles at global engagement organizations.  While at The University of Texas at Austin, she helped her unit navigate challenges to the international education industry brought on by the pandemic.  This included the complex re-design of programs, strategies, policies, workflows, and university-wide collaboration.

She is excited to join the Lab and be part of an innovative organization that puts human and equity-centered design processes at the core of all we do.

HOMETOWN: Beaumont, TX

BACHELOR’S: B.B.A in Management Information Systems, The University of Texas at Austin

MASTER’S: M.S. in School Counseling, Johns Hopkins University

FAVORITE QUOTE“Life is a series of pulls back and forth…  A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band.  And most of us live somewhere in the middle…  Which side wins?  Love wins.  Love always wins.” – Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… spending time with family and wanderlusting. You can find me with a breakfast taco in one hand, and a bubble tea in the other.

Travis White, PhD

Tulsa Community College

Dr. Travis White was named Tulsa Community College’s Dean of the School of Business and Information Technology in 2019. He provides vision and leadership for the school and oversees its university transfer and workforce certificate and degree programs.

White joined TCC in November 2013 as Assistant Professor and Technology Learning Center Coordinator, Business and IT. In 2016, he was named department chair of Business Administration. With over 10 years of teaching experience, White has taught a diverse population of students in a variety of settings across the globe, including Mexico, Peru, South Korea, and the United States. In addition, he has management and leadership experience in organizations ranging in size from small nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies on four different continents, including Antarctica.

A native of Missouri, White earned his business administration degree with a major in both Management and Spanish from the University of Central Missouri, his Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University, and his Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum Studies from Oklahoma State University. His research interests are socioeconomic contexts in higher education and the intersection of culture and commerce.

What do you hope to learn from the CCGE Fellows program? How to enable micro-pathways as a mechanism to broaden participation and promote more equitable outcomes in my community.

Shelton Charles, PhD

Forsyth Technical Community College

Dr. Shelton Charles brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his role as the Associate Dean of Science and Engineering at Forsyth Technical Community College (Forsyth Tech). Dr. Charles oversees the life sciences, physical sciences, and math departments at Forsyth Tech, a position earned after four years of dedicated service as chair of the life sciences department. His dedication to advancing knowledge in physiology led him to complete a research postdoctoral fellowship at Loma Linda University and Wake Forest Baptist Health. This academic journey reflects Dr. Charles’ commitment to foundational learning and specialized research, preparing him for his influential role at Forsyth Tech.

His journey at Forsyth Tech began as an instructor in the life sciences department, where he taught courses ranging from general biology for majors and non-majors to anatomy and physiology I and II and pathophysiology.

In 2019, Dr. Charles was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award at Forsyth Tech for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to academic excellence and student success. Building on this recognition, in 2023, Dr. Charles further solidified his commitment to excellence by receiving the NISOD Excellence Award, marking another milestone in his distinguished career in education.

Outside the confines of Forsyth Tech, Dr. Charles has significantly enriched academia through his diverse contributions. He extends his expertise by instructing doctoral students in the physical therapy program at Winston-Salem State University, specializing in respiratory physiology and pharmacology. Driven by an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement, he actively pursues professional development through attending seminars and conferences such as NISOD and the League of Innovation and acquiring certifications. Dr. Charles holds Quality Matters and ACUE certifications, indicating his dedication to maintaining high educational standards. Notably, he has successfully completed the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP) and the Executive Director Leader Lab (EDLL), further underscoring his commitment to leadership excellence in the academic realm.

In addition to his role as an educator, Dr. Charles is a committed researcher with a notable body of work. His contributions to academia include publishing several scientific papers, demonstrating his commitment to advancing knowledge in his field. Dr. Charles has disseminated his research through written publications and presented his findings in oral science presentations at various scientific meetings and academic institutions. Furthermore, his expertise is acknowledged in the academic community, where he is a valuable reviewer of scientific books and proposals. Notably, he has contributed to evaluating works such as Principles of Life by DM Hillis et al. and A Lab Manual for Anatomy and Physiology by Blue Door.

Dr. Charles’ passion extends beyond academia. He actively seeks opportunities to mentor and empower minorities in math, science, and technology. Before his tenure in North Carolina, he volunteered as a panelist for programs encouraging minority males to pursue careers in mathematics and science. He has tutored, mentored, and volunteered in his local community with organizations focused on uplifting minority individuals.

A dedicated health advocate, Dr. Charles has presented on preventable health issues at Winston-Salem State University and his church, aiming to increase awareness and promote positive lifestyle changes. His commitment to community service spans Brooklyn, New York; Loma Linda, California, where he worked with people experiencing homelessness; and Winston-Salem, N.C., his current home, where he continues volunteering.

Bachelor’s: Biology, Medgar Evers College

Doctorate: PhD in Physiology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine

What do you hope to learn from the CCGE Fellows program? How to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for effectively collaborating with industry partners to develop micro-credentials, providing our community college students with the tools to earn stackable credentials and secure livable wages.

Bradley P. Williamson

Education Designer, Community College Growth Engine

Bradley Williamson (he/him) brings an extensive higher education background and expertise working across multiple institution types and functional areas to Education Design Lab as an Education Designer working on the Community College Growth Engine design team. Through this project, he will play a critical support role in the development of micro-pathways to drive sustainable transformation to facilitate learner success and create talent pipelines to address labor shortages through the development of strong employer relationships.

Prior to joining the Lab, Bradley served as the program manager for Future Business Leaders of America’s (FBLA) Collegiate division, where he helped to develop and implement career and technical education experiences and related programs at colleges and universities across the United States. Before that, he served as the assistant director of career and professional development in the Office of Career Engagement at American University in Washington, D.C. He is excited to join the Lab because of the focus on human-centered design to help colleges build transformational experiences for learners. 

HOMETOWN: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

BACHELOR’S: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Human Relations, University of Oklahoma

MASTER’S: Master of Education (M.Ed.), Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs, University of Southern California

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light”. — Brene Brown

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… reading books, watching movies, or listening to music.

Nancy Miller

Forsyth Technical Community College

Nancy has over 25 years of experience teaching and managing aspects of production networks, including routing and switching, virtualization, security, cloud and hybrid operating systems and servers, and end-user support. Having started her career in the information technology field as a Network Deployment Tech and moving up as Lead Network Engineer, and IT Manager, she has designed, built, and managed complex networks all over the United States.

Additionally, Nancy has taught thousands of students network management as a Cisco Teacher of Excellence and Microsoft Certified Trainer. She has a great deal of well-rounded expertise and solid experience, which is evident in all that she does as she strives to give her students a purpose and a reason on their educational journey.

When not in the classroom, Nancy loves being a firefighter’s wife, mother to two beautiful girls, MIL to two handsome firefighters, and the best Gigi ever to her handsome grandson and beautiful granddaughter.

What do you hope to learn from the CCGE Fellows program? How to effectively integrate emerging technologies in network design, implementation, support, and modern workplace soft skills into our curriculum.

Renee Harrison

Forsyth Technical Community College

A native of Winston Salem, N.C., Renee Harrison currently serves as the Dean of Health Sciences at Forsyth Technical Community College, where she oversees 18 health sciences programs, and several short-term, continuing education, and certification options.

Renee has been a nurse for 18 years and has been at Forsyth Tech since 2011. Her academic research interests are interdisciplinary team communication and collaboration to improve student learning and future healthcare workforce outcomes; and reducing disparities related to student access, curriculum and learning modalities, student experiences, and quality educational outcomes.

Renee has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and nursing, a master’s in advanced nursing education, and is currently writing her dissertation to complete a doctorate in nursing education.

What do you hope to learn from the CCGE Fellows program? How to acquire the skills to design and develop micro-pathways capable of adapting to changing needs and challenges.

Tracy Harrell

Arkansas Division of Higher Education

Tracy Harrell is the Chief Program Development Officer for the Arkansas Division of Higher Education, where she evaluates and certifies programmatic change for all 33 of Arkansas’ public colleges and universities. She brings more than 17 years of experience in higher education to the division.

Beginning her career in 2006 at Southeast Arkansas College, Tracy served in various roles during her 15 years with the college, including Lead Mathematics Instructor, Compliance Officer, and Dean. Nothing brought her more joy than educating students with little to no mathematical confidence and watching them overcome those difficulties under her instruction.

Tracy joined the Arkansas Division of Higher Education in February 2022. Aside from her primary responsibilities, she is also involved in many projects such as Arkansas Math Pathways for Success, Multiple Measures Assessment research with the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, and the Southern Regional Data Collaborative Credentials of Value Work Group.

Tracy holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She attributes her keen eye for detail and inquisitive nature to her education in mathematics.

When Tracy and her husband aren’t chasing their four children, she enjoys reading, listening to true crime podcasts, home improvement projects, and relaxing by the pool.

What do you hope to learn from the CCGE Fellows program? Many Arkansas public institutions have created stackable credentials over the past few years. I hope to obtain the skills and knowledge required to advise our institutions on how to integrate 21st century skills, multiple entry/exit points, and credit for work-based learning into existing and future pathways.

Cyndi Johnson

Forsyth Technical Community College

Cyndi Johnson is the Department Chair for Advanced Manufacturing at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, N.C. Cyndi started her career in manufacturing in 1981, when she graduated from Wake Technical Community College with a machining diploma.

Cyndi’s career in manufacturing spans 35 years. Her desire for knowledge led her to join a Fortune 100 company that makes heavy equipment. From operations and Quality Management to hydraulics design and a new plant startup, she has developed a deep understanding of all the major facets of manufacturing.

While in industry, Cyndi enjoyed the aspect of training people on procedures and processes for continuous and process improvement. In 2016, Cyndi decided to take her passion for teaching and knowledge of manufacturing into higher education when she joined Rockingham Community College (N.C.) as a machining instructor. In 2018, she moved to Forsyth Tech as a Mechanical Engineering Technology instructor, along with teaching machining students. Cyndi was selected as the Department Chair for Advanced Manufacturing in 2023.

As a manufacturing and education professional, she enjoys working in a collaborative environment, as it allows her to build a department with real-world knowledgeable faculty, facilitate department engagement with industry partners and help students succeed and enter the workforce prepared for their careers.

In her free time, Cyndi enjoys camping, hiking with her dog, Rosie, and reading.

Cyndi holds a B.S. in Business Administration from North Carolina Wesleyan College.

What do you hope to learn from the CCGE Fellows program? I hope to learn about the possibilities of short-term, stackable credentials. My mindset has been 16-week semesters, AAS and/or diplomas. It was a big leap for me to shorten some of my classes to 8 weeks. Now that I am comfortable with those classes, I am very excited to take that to the next level.