Thursday / April 25
Written by

Paul Hernandez, PhD, earned his doctorate in Sociology specializing in the sociology of education, social inequality, and diversity. Dr. Hernandez is a nationally recognized speaker and leader in college access and success, community outreach, and pedagogy for educators working with underserved/underprepared students and students at risk of dropping out of school. As a former faculty member, non-profit administrator and educational consultant, Dr. Hernandez works with higher education institutions, K-12 schools, and non-profit organizations helping them further develop and evolve their work with students and communities. Prior to earning his degrees, he was engulfed in gang culture and deep poverty, surviving on the streets of Los Angeles. Paul openly shares with others his unique personal story of being a youth at risk and how his path has influenced his work. He has learned ways to empower young people traveling a similar path, and through his inspirational messages hopes to share his lessons and passion with those working to address the multitude of challenges faced by diverse populations of youth at risk. Dr. Hernandez has been nationally recognized for his work and was awarded the National Education Association Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award, the Michigan Education Association Elizabeth Siddall Human Rights Award, the Equity in Education award by the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and an Honors Professor of the Year Award for teaching. Paul is the author of The Pedagogy of Real Talk. Karla Loebick is a fourth year doctoral student in the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE) program through the Michigan State University College of Education. Karla specializes in teaching and learning, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and international education, with research interests focusing on underrepresented populations and learning experiences in the context of diversity, first-generation college students, underprepared learners, intercultural engagement and international learning opportunities. Reinforcing her research interests are Karla’s experiences with international service and teaching, continual involvement in and working with multiple international study abroad and educational programs, professional work history with first-generation college students, diverse student populations, and underprepared learners. Karla has experience as an advisor of service learning students and AmeriCorps members, plus teaching at both K-12 and community college levels, and almost ten years directing a High School Equivalency Program for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.