Press Releases

June 8, 2011

White House Official Roberto J. Rodríguez to Serve as Keynote Speaker at the 2011 APIASF Higher Education Summit

Leading Higher Education Experts, College Presidents, and Policymakers Present at Annual Event Focusing on the Unique Needs of APIA Students

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tia T. Gordon

Washington, D.C., June 8, 2011—Special Assistant to President Obama for Education Roberto J. Rodríguez will address a large multicultural group of stakeholders from across the country who represent a diverse cross-sector of communities—including students; policymakers; national and local government officials; and leaders from the higher education, community-based, and corporate sectors—at the 2011 Asian & Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund (APIASF) College Completion Forum: Strengthening Institutions that Serve Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA), June 27–28, 2011, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Rodríguez will be on hand to give the keynote address at the nation's largest gathering focused on increasing APIA college completion and student success.

Rodríguez serves at the White House Domestic Policy Council. Previously, he was chief education counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), former chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. In this capacity, Rodríguez managed the Democratic education agenda for the committee and led policy development and strategy for legislation addressing early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and adult education. Rodríguez began his tenure on Capitol Hill working for the Senate HELP Committee on the development of the No Child Left Behind Act.

He has worked on various reauthorizations of federal legislation, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Head Start, Child Care, Higher Education, and the America COMPETES Act. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Rodríguez worked as senior education specialist at the National Council of La Raza, where he conducted research and analysis of federal and state education reform issues, as well as the development and evaluation of community-based education programs.

"We are happy to welcome Roberto as our keynote speaker at APIASF's 2011 higher education summit. His participation—as a representative of the White House and President Obama—confirms that we must consider the unique educational experiences of APIA students and their needs in all policy dialogues related to the national college completion agenda and workforce development goals," said APIASF President and Executive Director Neil Horikoshi. "Together, including policy and higher education leaders, we must engage in purposeful action to align policy with the reality of these students' lives."

In addition to Rodríguez, other higher education leaders and business experts will be presenting to include Ted Childs, principal, Ted Childs, LLC; Gabriel Esteban, president, Seton Hall University; Antonio R. Flores, president and CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Marybeth Gasman, professor of education, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; Mae Lee, associate director, Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute, De Anza College and project director, IMPACT APIA-Serving Institutions, U.S. Department of Education; May Toy Lukens, project director, AANAPISI and Title III Programs, South Seattle Community College; Mark Mitsui, president, North Seattle Community College; Mary Okada, president, Guam Community College; Robert Underwood, president, University of Guam; Minh-Hoa Ta, interim dean of instruction and scheduling, City College of San Francisco; and Robert Teranishi, associate professor, New York University and principal investigator, National Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Research in Education (CARE).

Held for the second consecutive year, the 2011 APIASF College Completion Forum aims to address recent projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and findings from the 2010 CARE report, Federal Higher Education Policy Priorities and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Community, showing the fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs will require some level of postsecondary education or training. Attendees will be given access to several sessions focusing four critical areas: (1) research and assessment, (2) policy and advocacy, (3) institutional capacity, and (4) sustainable partnerships.

The 2011 forum is part of APIASF's higher education summit series, which was created as a way to begin an engaging conversation about issues impacting APIA students to improve access and success for all underserved students. Last year's event welcomed more than 300 attendees to address the obstacles of access and success for underserved APIA students while building a case for needed federal policies, increased investments, and improved research and data collection.

For more information about the 2011 APIASF College Completion Forum: Strengthening Institutions that Serve Asian and Pacific Islander Americans or to register for free, visit APIASF's Web site at Also, follow APIASF on Facebook ( and Twitter ( to receive daily updates about the event.

Editor's Note: All members of the media interested in attending the 2011 APIASF College Completion Forum: Strengthening Institutions that Serve Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, please RSVP or contact Tia T. Gordon at (202) 906-0149 or

About APIASF Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted solely to providing scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). Since 2003, APIASF has provided a critical bridge to higher education for APIA students across the country by awarding more than $3 million in scholarships to students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF's general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. APIASF's 2011 higher education summit is made possible through the generous support of our presenting sponsors: Walmart, the Kresge Foundation, and USA Funds.