GA 4 Conference Guest Speakers

Vernon Masayesva, Black Mesa Trust

Vernon Masayesva, M.A., is the Executive Director of Black Mesa Trust, a Hopi Leader of the Coyote Clan and a former Chairman of the Hopi Tribal Council from the village of Hotevilla, one of the oldest continuously inhabited human settlements in the Americas in Arizona. Masayesva received his B.A. degree from Arizona State University in Political Science and his M.A. from Central Michigan University in 1970. He returned to Black Mesa of the Hotevilla Bacavi Community School, the first Indian controlled school on Hopi as the lead educator of the school systems. In 1984, he was elected to the Hopi Tribal Council and then served as Chairman from 1989. He immersed himself in the tangled intricacies of the mining on Black Mesa and the Hopi – Navajo land dispute and is widely respected on and off the reservation. In 1998, he founded the Black Mesa Trust and currently serves as its Executive Director. Vernon is an international speaker on the subject of Water and is honored among many scientists, physicists and water researchers including renowned author and water researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto from Japan. Among other things, he is beginning a serious study of Hopi symbols and metaphors to understand who he is and what he can do to help his people lay a vision of a future Hopi society. As a result of his commitment to preserving our water, former President William Clinton honored him as an “Environmental Hero.” Charles Wilkinson, a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Colorado said, “You will gain a strong sense of history, of millennia, from listening to Vernon, but my guess is you will also see something else-the future-for Vernon embodies personal qualities and philosophical attitudes that can serve our whole society well in the challenging years that lie ahead.

Dr. Wendy Smythe, University of Minnesota, Duluth

Dr. Wendy F. Smythe — K’ah Skaahluwaa — (Haida) is a second-year AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow hosted by the National Science Foundation in the Directorates for Education & Human Resources in the Division of Human Research on Learning and the Directorate of Geoscience in the Division of Earth Science Systems. Dr. Smythe works at the interface of science, education, and policy, and is currently attending Georgetown University in Washington, DC where she is attaining a Certificate in Education Policy and Program Evaluation. In her role as a ST&P Fellow she conducts program analysis examining demographic and discipline diversity of funded projects, she is a co-founder of the AAAS – NSF Fellows Forum taking lead on professional development for AAAS Fellows at NSF, and is the co-founder of the AAAS- NSF Fellows Diversity Group. Dr. Smythe completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the NSF-funded STC BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action housed at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan and is a BEACON affiliate. During her tenure at BEACON she co-founded the Native American – Alaska Native Institute focusing on increasing the number of Native students in biology and computer-science programs, developing culturally focused curriculum, and building partnerships with tribal communities. She is a geoscientist/oceanographer whose research focus is on examining microbial diversity, biogeochemistry, and mineralogy of metalliferious groundwater and marine ecosystems from deep-sea hydrothermal volcanoes to hydrothermal springs in Yellowstone National Park. She is Alaska Native Haida from the community of Hydaburg located in Southeast Alaska. She has had the honor of partnering with her tribal community over the last decade as the Director of the Geoscience Education Program working to couple STEM disciplines with Traditional Ecological Knowledge in K-12 education by incorporating language and cultural values. She serves on the board of directors for the Xaadas Kil Kuyaas Foundation, a 501 (C)3 whose mission is to promote, preserve, and perpetuate the Northern Haida language. Through her work, she seeks to increase the number of Native American/Alaska Native students represented in STEM disciplines thereby increasing diversity and innovation in STEM, and to teach the next generation of Native leaders.

Dr. Judi Brown Clarke, BEACON Center

Dr. Judi Brown Clarke (Cherokee and Choctaw) is the Diversity Director for NSF’s BEACON Center at MSU. She is also a member of the following external advisory boards –- International Advisory Committee for the Joint Institute of Nuclear Astrophysics’ Center for the Evolution of the Elements; Society for the Study of Evolution; Nevada’s NSF EPSCoR Grant for the Study of Solar, Wind and Water Power; MSU College of Human Medicine’s Research Education Program to Increase Diversity in Health Research; W.K. Kellogg Biological Research Station; Director’s Research Scholars Program at MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory; and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation & National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. She was voted onto Lansing City Council in an At-Large seat (citywide) as Vice-President for two consecutive years and just completed her tenure as President. She currently chairs the Development & Planning Committee and sits on the city’s Planning Board, Intergovernmental Relations Committee, and the Ad Hoc Committee on Housing. She is also the Chair of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and Chair of the Capital Area Michigan Works Board. Judi holds a B.S. in clinical Audiology & Speech Science, an M.S. in Education, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration. In addition to academic success, Judi has experienced great athletic success. In the 400-Meter Hurdles event, she is a five-time National Champion and silver medalist in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California. She has held numerous national records, and still owns an unbroken World Record as a member of the sprint medley relay team. She is a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, Michigan State University Hall of Fame, and was named as one of the “Athletes of the Year,” specifically “1987 Sportswoman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated magazine. Judi has been honored to carry the Olympic torch on its tour across America. She just completed her term as Vice-President of the U.S. Olympians & Paralympians Association (USOPA), the USOPA: Michigan Chapter, member of U.S. Olympic Committee’s Diversity Workgroup, and member of U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympian Engagement Taskforce.

Dr. Ramon Arrowsmith, Arizona State University

Dr. Ramon Arrowsmith, is a Professor and Deputy Director for
Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. He has been at Arizona State University since 1995 where he teaches field geology, structural geology, geomorphology, and computers in earth and space exploration. He has more than 20 years experience studying the earthquake geology, paleoseismology, and geomorphology of fault zones and publishing about their history of activity and hazards. He is co-founder and co-PI of the OpenTopography effort—a portal to the largest collection of freely available high-resolution topography data (

He has led many short courses, workshops, and visioning activities emphasizing high-resolution topographic data and tectonic geomorphology. He and his students research on active faulting, earthquake geology, tectonic geomorphology, and the geologic framework for human origins. He has held a number of administrative positions in the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) including the associate chair (of Geological Sciences Department), associate directors of graduate studies and of operations, and is currently the deputy director of SESE.

He is the author of more than 90 scholarly documents, including being the author/editor of eight volumes, dozens of articles and book chapters, multiple policy briefs for the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on the role of race and diversity in higher education, and the experiences of Indigenous students, staff, and faculty in institutions of higher education. He has been a visiting and noted scholar in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway. His work has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Ford, Mellon, Kellogg, and Spencer Foundations, and several other private and public foundations and organizations. He and his team have, over the past 17 years, prepared more than 155 Native teachers to work in American Indian communities and more than 15 American Indian PhDs.

He was elected as a fellow of the American Educational Research Association and as a member of the National Academy of Education in 2018.

Dr. Bryan Brayboy, Arizona State University

Dr. Bryan Brayboy (Lumbee) is President’s Professor of Indigenous education and justice in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. At ASU, he is senior advisor to the president, director of the Center for Indian Education, associate director of the School of Social Transformation, and co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education. From 2007 to 2012, he was visiting President’s Professor of Indigenous education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dr. Jacob Moore’s primary role is to develop and sustain collaborative government-to-state entity relations between Arizona State University and tribal nations and Indigenous communities locally and globally. An equally important function is to assist the Special Advisor to the President on American Indian Initiatives with increasing the retention and the graduation rate of American Indian students and building capacity and support for new and existing programs and services.

Mr. Moore is a member of the Arizona State Board of Education, the Arizona Ready Council, the WestEd Board of Directors, and the Advisory Board for the Arizona Minority Education Policy Analysis Center (AMEPAC). Jacob was previously managing partner for Generation Seven Strategic Partners, LLC, and worked as an Economic Development Analyst and Special Assistant on Congressional and Legislative for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Jacob also had a 14-year career in banking. Mr. Moore earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and an Executive MBA from the Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey College of Business and is an enrolled member of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

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