Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
2007 Students and Alumni of Color Symposium

Speaker Bios

Saturday Nov. 10, 3:00 p.m. (Robertson Hall, Dodds Auditorium)

Dr. Karen Jackson-Weaver

Dr. Karen Jackson-Weaver is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Diversity in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School at Princeton University. Before accepting her current position at Princeton, Dr. Jackson-Weaver was the executive director of the New Jersey Amistad Commission. She received her bachelor of arts degree, and certificates in African-American studies and the teacher preparation program from Princeton University. While pursuing her undergraduate studies, she served as a fellow and summer intern for the Hon. Carol Moseley-Braun, and as a law clerk in the legal department of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP].

Upon graduation from Princeton, Jackson-Weaver attended Harvard University, where she received a specialized master’s degree in education and graduated magna cum laude. She holds a master of arts degree and a master of philosophy degree in American history from Columbia University. She has studied with leading educators, historians and scholars, including Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, professor of education at Harvard University; Dr. Nell Painter, the Edwards Professor of History at Princeton University; and Dr. Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

Jackson-Weaver has worked in education for more than a decade with the New York City, Boston and Princeton, N.J., public-school systems. She served as a research fellow at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, and as a visiting scholar at the King Center Library and Archives in Atlanta, Ga., where she completed research for her dissertation on black women’s leadership during the Civil Rights Movement.

She has been featured in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times, New Jersey Star Ledger and Virginian Pilot. She has been spotlighted on NBC’s Today: Weekend Edition for her contributions to the community and for her commitment to educational excellence for all children. Jackson-Weaver defended her dissertation in the fall of 2005 at Columbia University.

Jose Huizar (MPA-URP '94)

José Huizar, who is also a Trustee of Princeton University, was elected to represent the Fourteenth District of the Los Angeles City Council in November, 2005, following his service as both President and Board Member of the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Huizar served as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education from 2001 to 2005, serving two terms as Board President. During his tenure he oversaw plans to build over 160 new schools within eight years, constituting the largest school construction program in the nation's history. Huizar also successfully led curriculum changes to ensure that all school district students have access to college preparatory courses.

Prior to his service on the School Board, he was an attorney in several private law firms, a Deputy City Attorney in the Real Estate and Environmental Division of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, and an appointed member of the East Los Angeles Planning Commission.

Huizar has received numerous distinctions, including profiles by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the 25 figures in the Los Angeles Area that "stand out for their potential to shape lives," and by Hispanic Business magazine, as one of the "100 most influential Hispanics" in the United States.

Huizar earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from U.C. Berkeley, a Master's in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School, and his law degree from UCLA School of Law.


Saturday Nov. 10, 4:45-6:00 p.m. (Roberston Hall, Bowl 016)
"Elections '08: Leadership, Electoral Politics, and Communities of Color"

Eduardo Gutierrez (MPA-URP '03)

Eduardo Gutierrez is currently the Communications Director for California State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, the highest ranking Latina and women elected to the California Legislature, representing the San Gabriel Valley, including East Los Angeles.

Mr. Gutierrez also worked as Communications Director for Equality California, the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organization in the country dedicated to improving lives of LGBT people in California. He was also the Regional Director for many years for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) working to promote fair, accurate, and inclusive media representation for LGBT people in the United States.

Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School. She is also a student at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

She is author Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, (Princeton 2004). This text demonstrates how African Americans develop political ideas through ordinary conversations in places like barbershops, churches, and popular culture. The work was awarded the 2005 W.E.B. DuBois book award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. It is also the winner of the 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Her academic research has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes and her interests include the study of African American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology. She is at work on a new book: For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn't Enough. It is an examination of the connections between shame, sadness, and strength in African American women's politics.


Saturday Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m. (Robertson Hall, Schultz Dining Room)

Dr. Emmett Carson (MPA '83, PhD '85)

Dr. Emmett D. Carson is internationally recognized as a catalyst for progressive social change. A renowned speaker, he has published more than 75 works on philanthropy and social justice.

Emmett serves as the first CEO and president of the new Silicon Valley Community Foundation which resulted from the historic merger of Community Foundation Silicon Valley and Peninsula Community Foundation. With $1.9 billion in total assets, the community foundation is the largest on the West Coast and one of the largest in the nation and is dedicated to advancing civic engagement to address the most challenging problems facing San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Prior to his appointment, Emmett served for 12 years as president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation, where he pioneered several community initiatives and increased assets from $186 million to over $600 million. Previously, Emmett served as the first manager of the Ford Foundation's worldwide grantmaking program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. He also has worked for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Congressional Research Service.

Emmett serves on several nonprofit boards including the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Northern California Grantmakers and Southern Education Foundation. He is the recipient of numerous nonprofit leadership awards including recognition by The Nonprofit Times as one of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in the United States.

Emmett received his Ph.D. and a master’s in public administration in public and international affairs from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree in economics, Phi Beta Kappa, from Morehouse College. He is married to Jacqueline Copeland-Carson, Ph.D., and together they have the privilege, pleasure and occasional challenge of raising a teenage daughter.


Sunday, Nov. 11, 10:15 - 11:30 a.m. (Roberston Hall, Bowl 001)
"Giving Back: Responsibility and Accountability for Leaders of Color"

Col. Robert L. Gordon III (MPA '89)

Robert L. Gordon III (Colonel, ret.) is a Senior Vice President for Civic Leadership at City Year, a member of AmeriCorps, which was a policy initiative he helped found when he was a White House Fellow and Director of Special Operations for the Office of National Service in 1993.

Prior to joining City Year, Mr. Gordon served as the Academy Professor of Social Science and Director of American Politics at West Point Military Academy. His past assignments include serving in the White House as Director of Special Operations in the Office of National Service (Americorps). He has also served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, a distinguished judge for the 1998 President of the United States Service Awards and was a Center for Public Management Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a White House Fellow. As an artillery officer, his field assignments included command and staff assignments in Germany and the United States. He also served as aide-de-camp to General Colin Powell.

A graduate of the National War College and the Army Command and General Staff College, Mr. Gordon received his BS from the United States Military Academy and an MA in public affairs from Princeton University. Mr. Gordon is also the co-founder and executive director of Service America.

Earl Kim (MPA '93)

Earl Kim was born and raised in Hawaii.  After graduating from Cornell University in 1984, he was commissioned as a Marine officer and served in various posts for four years.  In 1988, he began teaching and coaching in the city of Trenton as a Dodge Fellow through New Jersey’s Alternate Route Program but left to resume graduate work in 1991.  He graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School with an MPA in 1993, and, thanks again to the Alternate Route, held various administrative posts—assistant principal, principal and superintendent. 

Since 2003, Mr. Kim has served as the Superintendent of Schools in Verona, New Jersey where he leads district of 2,100 students and 250 staff and manages six buildings and a $34-million facilities project. Mr. Kim’s interests include the federal role in education, school finance and taxation, housing policy, and social welfare policies as they affect educational outcomes.

Carlos Palacios (MPA '87)

Carlos J. Palacios has served for the past eleven years as the City Manager for the City of Watsonville, California. During his tenure as City Manager Mr. Palacios has focused on collaborative long-term land use planning, economic development and civic engagement.

Mr. Palacios served as one of the founders and co-chairs of Action Pajaro Valley, which developed a long-term Growth Management Plan for the Pajaro Valley. Three years in development and with broad community participation, the Plan provides for both the preservation of agricultural and environmentally sensitive land with new affordable housing and economic opportunity. The Plan was ultimately approved by more than 60% of the voters.

In 2007 the City of Watsonville received first place in the Northern California City Solar Awards for most number of solar installations. The City is also currently developing Green building standards. The City has had a number of significant achievements in economic development in recent years including partnering with Cabrillo Community College, the Watsonville Adult School for the development of new downtown educational facilities, and the expansion of City-run computer centers and tutoring programs throughout the City. A new industrial park is currently being planned which will provide 2,000 new jobs and a major multi-use Civic Plaza Building is nearing completion which will bring new Santa Cruz County Superior Courts, a new Library and private lease space to downtown.

Prior to coming to the City of Watsonville, Mr. Palacios worked for the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and as a fiscal and policy analyst for the Office of the Legislative Analyst with the California Legislature. Mr. Palacios also worked as a Program Evaluator for Catholic Relief Services in Latin America and Ethiopia. Mr. Palacios has a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Albuquerque, New Mexico. 


Sunday Nov. 11, 11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (Roberston Hall, Bowl 002)
"Making the Most of Leadership: Overcoming Challenges and Availing Opportunities"

Rekha Reddy (MPA '04)

Rekha Reddy is Senior Director for ACCION International's Research and Policy Division. Ms. Reddy is responsible for the measurement of poverty and social performance of ACCION affiliates and the writing and editing of ACCION publications on microfinance. 

Prior to joining ACCION in 2004, Ms. Reddy worked internationally at the microfinance organization Pro Mujer Mexico and UNICEF Guatemala. She also served as a senior project manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as an assistant economist in the International Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ms. Reddy received her Masters in Public Affairs (MPA) from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a B.A. in economics from Columbia University.


Richard Roper (MPA '71)

Richard Roper, Director of the Planning Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has held senior level positions in local, state, regional, and federal government agencies and has experience in nonprofit organizations and academic research, teaching, and administration.

A former public policy consultant and former director of the Office of Economic and Policy Analysis at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Roper also served as assistant dean for Graduate Career Services and Governmental Relations at the Woodrow Wilson School. At Princeton, Mr. Roper directed the Program for New Jersey Affairs and lectured on Public and International Affairs.

Prior to teaching at the Woodrow Wilson School, Roper served as director of the Office of State and Local Government Assistance and as special assistant for Intergovernmental Relations in the Office of the Secretary, U. S. Department of Commerce; director of the Office of Newark Metropolitan Studies in Newark, NJ; and legislative aide to the Mayor of the City of Newark.

Roper is the author of several articles and reports on social, economic, political, and government operations issues. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Rutgers, and an MPA from Princeton University.


Sunday Nov. 11, 1:00 p.m. (Robertson Hall, Schultz Dining Hall)

Joaquin Tamayo (MPA '04)

Joaquin Tamayo is the founding principal of The Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law, a new small high school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Children First education agenda.  A native of Los Angeles, Joaquin began his career in 1997 as a student teacher in the South Bronx.  After graduating from Columbia with a B.A. in political science, he returned to Southern California to teach social studies at Huntington Park High School. 

In 2002, Joaquin began the domestic policy program at the Wilson School with an eye on a career in education policy.  Instead of policy work, he gained admission in 2004 to a national principal preparation program, New Leaders for New Schools, and worked to open his own “mini-Woody Woo”—a small school devoted to preparing under-resourced students for college and careers in government and law.  Today, The Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law is a three-year-old school with a student body of 250 students and a staff of 26 education professionals.  AGL, as the school is known, offers its students a highly structured college-prep, government and law-themed curriculum in all core subjects, preparing students for success on the New York Regents exams and the SAT.  With a focus on building the next generation of American leaders, AGL provides young people with a nurturing, professional, and disciplined environment that promotes the values of self-reliance, hard work, and scholastic achievement.  It is the overarching philosophy of Principal Tamayo and the AGL community that in order to prepare our children for college and the professional world, students must: 1) be held to the highest academic and social standards; 2) cannot be allowed to make excuses for failure; and 3) contribute positively to family, community, and the broader world.