of community college students fail to graduate or transfer to a 4 year institution
plus dollars in national student debt
Increase in lifetime earnings with bachelor's degree compared to high school diploma

Chasing the Dream:

Inequity in Higher Education


Chasing the Dream:
Inequity in Higher Education

Thursday, February 27, 2020

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Cubberley Community Center Theatre
4120 Middlefield Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94306


Program will include: 

  • Keynote speech by Dr. John N. Friedman, Professor of Economics at Brown University and Co-Founder of Opportunity Insights 
  • AchieveAble program highlight
  • Panel discussion
  • Q + A with attendees 

Able:Forum Panelists

Chancellor Michael Claire


Mr. Claire holds an MBA and a B.S. in Business Administration, both from California State University, East Bay. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Claire has worked at College of San Mateo for the majority of his 31 year career and has served as president of the college for the last 13 years. He currently serves as the Interim Chancellor for the San Mateo County Community College District. Mr. Claire has also served as Vice President of Instruction and as Dean of the Technology Division at College of San Mateo. Mr. Claire started his career as a faculty member, teaching accounting, business, and computer application courses. Mr. Claire has experience in strategic planning, fiscal management, educational master planning and facilities planning. He has served on several boards and currently serves as a board member for the San Mateo Credit Union. He is also a commissioner for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Jasmine Colón


Jasmine Colón is the Digital Services Faculty Librarian at West Valley College. As the Digital Services Librarian, she creates instructional research tools and materials to create low-cost options for students to continue their studies. She is currently working on a program to invite faculty to write OER course textbooks and use more ZTC resources in an effort to create a more affordable college experience.

Jasmine currently serves on the Academic Senate, Distance Education Taskforce, Accreditation team, the President’s Commission of Diversity, and will be the 2020/2021 Faculty Fellow for Latinx students at her college.

She is a first-generation college grad and holds a B.A. in Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from San José State University.

Dr.John N. Friedman

Keynote Speaker and Panelist

Dr. John N. Friedman is a Professor of Economics and International Affairs and Public Policy at Brown University. He is also a founding Co-Director of Opportunity Insights at Harvard University, a research and policy institute using big data to understand the forces influencing upward mobility and develop scalable policy solution to increase it. Friedman's research has yielded policy-relevant insights on a wide range of topics, including education access and quality, taxation, healthcare, and data privacy. His work has appeared in top academic journals as well as in major media outlets. His most well-known papers estimate the effects of childhood influences (including neighborhoods, teacher and education quality, and access to higher education) on long-term outcomes such as earnings and incarceration. Friedman served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the National Economic Council in the White House from 2013-2014. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Public Economics

Dr.Terri E. Givens


Terri E. Givens is a Public Speaker, Political Scientist and a consultant to educational technology companies and educational institutions. In February of 2019 she founded The Center for Higher Education Leadership, a portal for professional development for higher education administrators. She was the Provost of Menlo College from July 2015 to June 2018.

From the Fall of 2003 until the Spring of 2015 she was a Professor in the Government Department at the University of Texas at Austin where she also served as Vice Provost for International Activities and Undergraduate Curriculum from 2006 to 2009, Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center’s European Union Center of Excellence, and Co-Director of the Longhorn Scholars Program. She founded and directed the Center for European Studies and the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies from 2004-2006. She was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington from 1999 to 2003. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her B.A. from Stanford University.

She is the author/editor of several books on immigration policy, European politics and security, including Voting Radical Right in Western Europe, Immigration Policy and Security and Immigrant Politics: Race and Representation in Western Europe. Her most recent book is Legislating Equality: The Politics of Antidiscrimination Policy in Europe (Oxford University Press, May 2014). A textbook on comparative immigration politics is forthcoming in the spring of 2020.

A popular speaker, blogger and social media enthusiast, Givens can be found online at http://www.terrigivens.com, her column at Inside Higher Ed, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scholargivens/ and on Twitter @TerriGivens. She is very active in the community, having been a member of several nonprofit boards and is a fitness enthusiast.

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

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Bronze Sponsors

About The Able:Forum

Able:FORUM began in 2012 as the premiere Silicon Valley event focused on topics of economic inequality and solution-based conversations on how to disrupt the causes of generational and systemic poverty. Each year, Able Works invites industry-leading speakers to weigh in on topics facing our region. Over the past five years, attendees have grappled with the humanity of the foreclosure crisis, how innovation impacts under-resourced communities, how power and privilege must be taken into account when helping others, strategies for building economic capacity in the next generation and the effect of mass incarceration on the family. 

Able:FORUM attendees come expecting to be challenged to engage in complex issues and speakers come ready to offer intellectual fodder and innovative solutions. The goal is to convert discussions centered on macroeconomic forces into solutions that will impact local under-resourced communities. Each year the momentum of the event has grown, and in 2020, we expect record-breaking attendance, event sponsorship, and event partnership.

Sponsorships available! Please contact jane@able.is for information