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Every year, VMS invites prominent educational experts from around the country to speak to our VMS and the greater Eagle County community. We are thrilled to announce the 2022 - 2023 Parent Speaker Series.

David Yeager
Student Persistence A Social-Psychological Perspective
November 3, 2022

Why do so many qualified college students in America fail to achieve their professional goals? In this talk, David Yeager goes beyond typical “student success” programs, and instead takes a social-psychological perspective, asking: what does it look and feel like to worry about whether you belong and have what it takes? He shows how beliefs about their belonging and potential can increase their college persistence and reduce institutional achievement gaps. And he outlines the moments of “psychological friction” students encounter—from navigating bureaucratic hassles, to critical feedback in first-year classes, to trouble making friends—and explains practical methods for improving them. Ultimately, Yeager leaves audiences with a framework and an initial set of starting ideas for engaging in continuous improvement of the psychological environment that supports student persistence. 

David Yeager's Bio:

David Yeager is an experimental development psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. In his academic research, he examines the causes of and solutions to adolescent health problems, such as bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, or healthy eating. He often focuses on adolescent transitions—the transition to middle school, the transition to high school, or the transition to college—as a place where there is great opportunity (and risk) for young people’s trajectories. Formerly, Yeager was a middle school English teacher and a K-8 PE coach for a school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he also ran the after-school book club and coached basketball. Yeager was the subject of a major New York Times Magazine article (“Who Gets to Graduate?”) by education speaker Paul Tough, in which he was named “one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of education.” He has co-authored work on grit and grit-testing with Angela Duckworth, and on growth mindset with Carol Dweck. He chaired and co-hosted a national summit on mindset interventions at the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, which led to the launch and co-chairing of the “Mindset Scholars Network,” an interdisciplinary research network housed at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), where he was a fellow. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe AtlanticScientific AmericanThe Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and more. Yeager holds a PhD and MA from Stanford University, and a BA and MEd from the University of Notre Dame. He is a William T. Grant Foundation scholar, a Faculty Research Associate at the UT Population Research Center, and was formerly a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching . His research has earned awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Research on Child Development, the American Educational Research Association, the APA Science Directorate, and the International Society for Research on Aggression. He is a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group and the New Paths to Purpose network at the University of Chicago.

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Carlotta Walls LaNier
A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
March 9, 2023, 5 PM

A key protagonist in one of the most gripping watershed moments of the Civil Rights Movement, Carlotta Walls LaNier will share her journey of the “Little Rock Nine” who led the nation on a turbulent path that challenged prevailing attitudes, broke down barriers, and forever changed the landscape of America. She is the author of A Mighty Way Home: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. Her talk will reflect on the history and current state of civil rights, race, and diversity. Ms. LaNier will speak with students and faculty during the day and with parents in the evening.

Carlotta Walls Bio:

In 1957, fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School. She and eight other Black students faced angry mobs, racist elected officials, and federal intervention by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was forced to send in the 101st Airborne to escort the Nine safely into the building. Little did she realize that day that this was the beginning of a journey that would challenge prevailing attitudes, break down barriers, and forever change the social landscape of America. Overcoming her initial need to forget her turbulent past, Carlotta Walls LaNier has told her dramatic story for the first time in A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. As the youngest of the Little Rock Nine and piece of living legacy, Ms. LaNier connects and encourages her audience, whether in-person or virtually, to pay attention to the lessons of history and to stay vigilant in fighting for equality. A sought-after lecturer, LaNier has spoken all over the country at colleges and universities, women’s and African American organizations, libraries and civic groups.

After graduating from Little Rock Central High School in 1960, Carlotta Walls attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State College—now the University of Northern Colorado, which has awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and on whose board of trustees she sits. In addition to receiving the Congressional Gold Medal and the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, awarded to her as a member of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls LaNier is an inductee in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, Girl Scouts Women of Distinction and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, created to promote equality of opportunity for all, particularly in the field of education. Carlotta Walls LaNier is the author if A Mighty Long Way, My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. She is the Youngest of the Little Rock Nine, civil rights advocate, and National Women's Hall of Fame inductee.

Speaker Series