2022 Summit Speaker Bios

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Laurie Schreiner is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University in southern California. An award-winning teacher and researcher, her most recent work on college student thriving has studied over 150,000 students from 210 universities across the U.S., Canada, and Australia and has led to numerous publications as well as the edited book titled Thriving in Transitions: A Research-Based Approach to Student Success.

Schreiner is author of the Thriving Quotient, an instrument designed to assess the malleable intellectual, interpersonal, and psychological qualities associated with student success in college. In addition to her research on thriving college students, Dr. Schreiner has co-authored numerous instruments and publications, including the Faculty Thriving Quotient and The Student Satisfaction Inventory, as well as books on sophomore success.

She has consulted with over 150 colleges and universities on issues of student success and thriving, the sophomore-year experience, strengths-based education, retention, academic advising, student satisfaction, and effective teaching strategies.  

Plenary Session Speaker

Dr. Rachel Kallem Whitman is an educator, advocate, and writer who has been shacking up with bipolar disorder since 2000. Whitman graduated from Duquesne University with her doctorate in Educational Leadership with a focus in disability studies. She earned her MSEd in Community Mental Health/Special Education Support from Duquesne University and a BA in psychology from the University of Virginia.

Rachel has worked in public school systems, higher education, and hospital settings empowering young adults with disabilities to become leaders of their own lives through the power of storytelling. Currently, Whitman is an adjunct professor at Duquesne University where she teaches courses in disability studies.

She is the author of Instability in Six Colors, a memoir that paints a vivid picture of what it is like living with chronic mental illness, trauma, and a complicated relationship with sanity, suicide, and self-love. Whitman's work has garnered acclaim locally in Pittsburgh, across the country, and internationally. She credits her success to the support of her loving partner, her everlasting passion for social justice, a house full of pets, smoked Gouda, and her unshakeable sense of humor.