Biographies of our Presenters:
Keynote Speaker- Dr. Marc A. Grimmett
Marc A. Grimmett, Ph.D., was born and had his proud identity cultivated in historic Tuskegee, Alabama. He credits the Tuskegee community with preparing him to be an engaged and socially responsible world citizen. Dr. Grimmett now lives in Raleigh, NC with his partner Juliette and their two sons Harper Sting Obama (7) and Sky Biko Hardy (4). He earned his doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia and is a Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Grimmett completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Carolina Counseling and Human Development Center, where his training focused on culturally competent counseling, marriage and family therapy, substance abuse counseling, and counseling survivors of sexual violence. He has over 15 years of professional mental health experience working in different settings including university counseling, community mental health, and substance abuse treatment centers, as well as inhome counseling services and private practice.
Dr. Grimmett is an Associate Professor and coordinator for clinical mental health counseling in the counselor education program at North Carolina State University. His courses include Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Multicultural Counseling, Gender Issues in Counseling, and Advanced Multicultural Counseling, Advocacy, and Activism. Dr. Grimmett also provides supervision for Internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and supervision of supervision for doctoral students. He has presented nationally and internationally, published in peer-reviewed professional journals,written several book chapters, and facilitated numerous educational and corporate trainings on cultural competence, the intersections of oppression, equality, transformative power of connectedness, and engaging males in sexual violence prevention.
The conceptual framework for Dr. Grimmett’s research is titled R.A.D.I.C.A.L. scholarship, which means Research Action to Deconstruct Institutionalized Cultures and Advocate for Liberation. This framework currently includes four areas of concentration and corresponding goals, which are: preventing gender-based violence through education, activism, male engagement, and community partnerships (e.g., executive producer, codirector, and co-writer of MY MASCULINITY HELPS, an educational documentary that explores the role of African American men and boys in the prevention of sexual violence, supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women); facilitating access to preventive community mental health counseling services (e.g., developed proposal for a Community Counseling, Education, and Research Clinic); transforming contextual and systemic factors to promote the healthy development of African American people (e.g., Conducted a study on the contextual factors, diagnostic processes, and counseling outcomes associated with the diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder in African American boys); and developing social justice counselor education teaching and research methods (e.g., developed Documentaries Relating Experience About Multiculturalism Project for Advanced Multicultural Counseling course and leads the RADICAL Scholarship Group, RSG, that conducts anti-oppression, pro-liberation research.
Education and Licensure
Special Guest- Dr. David W. Parrott
Executive Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief of Staff
Dr. David W. Parrott serves as the Executive Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief of Staff in addition to teaching in the Department of Educational Administration at Texas A & M University. Dr. Parrott earned his doctorate at the University of Louisville in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Student Affairs Administration. His dissertation research focus was racial identity development. Additionally, he holds an M.A. in College Student Personnel and a B.S. in Business Management from Western Kentucky University.
Prior to his arrival at Texas A&M University, Dr. Parrott was the Associate Dean of Students and later the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Western Michigan University. Before arriving at Western Michigan University, he served in a number of capacities at Western Kentucky University including assistant hall director, hall director, assistant director of housing, director of residence life, assistant to the vice president, and assistant dean of student life.
Dr. Parrott has taught higher education law at Western Kentucky University, Western Michigan University, and Bowling Green State University. Currently he teaches Higher Education Law at Texas A&M University to both Student Affairs Master’s and Higher Education Administration Doctoral students. Dr. Parrott has also consulted extensively in the areas of race relations, conflict management, legal issues, and student conduct policies and processes. He has served on the faculty for the Gehring Academy, the national training academy for student conduct officials, and for the Student Organization Institute, the national training institute for those who supervise or train advisors of student organizations.
Dr. Parrott has served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA) (formerly ASJA) in the following capacities: Director at large, President-elect, President, and immediate past President. Currently, he also serves as Chairperson for the ASCA Foundation. Additionally, he is active in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and has presented numerous times at both NASPA and ASCA. Dr. Parrott is a charter member of ASCA, an honorary member of the Golden Key Honor Society, and was awarded Life Membership in Delta Sigma Pi - the International Business Fraternity. He is the 2013 recipient of ASCA’s highest honor, the Donald D. Gehring Award that is given in recognition of sustained exceptional individual contributions to the field of student conduct administration. Also, Dr. Parrott was recognized by the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) with the 2013 President’s Award. In addition to being selected as a namesake for Fish Camp and Howdy Camp, he is past-president of the Homeowner’s Association for Pebble Creek and he is a member of the College Station Noon Lions Club.
Dr. Parrott is married to Dr. Kelli Peck Parrott, and they have two sons, Jackson (11) and Jason (9). Dr. Parrott enjoys coaching, being a sports spectator, speaking to groups, fishing, shooting target pistols, tinkering with old Jeeps, and doing small projects in his garage.
Breakout Session Presenters:
Andrew Carruth is a Student Development Specialist III in the Department of Student Activities at Texas A&M University. Andrew currently works with Extended Orientation, advising Fish Camp and coordinating Venture Camp. Previously Andrew worked with the Student Organization Development and Administration office where he advised CARPOOL, and provided risk management, organization development, and training resources for student leaders and advisors of recognized student organizations. He has been at Texas A&M University since 2011. Andrew is currently pursuing his PhD in Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. He received his Master’s degree in College Student Development from Appalachian State University, and has a Bachelors degree in Human Resourced Development from Texas A&M University.
Varselles (Var) Cummings hails from Fresno, California. He earned his B.A. in Mass Media Communication from Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest privately founded historically black college located in Wilberforce, Ohio. In 2012 Var received his Master’s degree in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a specialization in Student Affairs from San Diego State University (SDSU). Most recently he came from Texas Christian University where he served as a Hall Director from 2012-2015. Mr. Cummings currently serves as a Program Advisor in the Department of Multicultural Services where he advises Aggie Black Male Connection (ABMC), Black Student Alliance Council (BSAC), and Southwest Black Student Leadership Conference (SBSLC).
Lt. Col. Chris Emmerson
Born and raised in Hawaii, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Emmerson ‘90 was commissioned into the Marine Corps after graduation from Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets Company G-2. Selected as an Assault Amphibian Officer in the 1ST Marine Division, he served as a Platoon Commander with the 13th MEU SOC and with Combat Assault Battalion Okinawa, Japan. While deployed, he led his Platoon during combat operations in Mogadishu, Somalia. He has served in several S-3/G-3 operations staff billets at the Battalion, Division, and Combatant Command level deploying to Thailand, Korea, Australia, and Europe. He has also served in MARCORSYSCOM as the Plans Officer for the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle test and evaluation. During Operation Enduring Freedom, he served as a Firepower Control Team Leader and FAC with 3RD ANGLICO during combat operations in Iraq. After moving back to Texas, he joined the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion and served as Company Commander of the Galveston detachment prior to command assignments at the Battalion in Tampa, Florida. He currently serves as the Assistant Commandant for Discipline for Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets. His decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation medal with Combat Valor device, gold star for 3rd award, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor device, the Combat Action Ribbon with gold star for 2nd award, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Greg Fink works as a Student Development Specialist in the Department of Student Activities at Texas A&M University. Greg advises the student organization, Class Councils, which programs and promotes the majority of the historical Texas A&M University campus traditions. He partnered through the past six years with companies and institutions working with their social justice education and programming from the University of Vermont, LeaderShape, and the United Nations (UNESCO). Greg received his Masters’ in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of Connecticut while also overseeing fraternity and sorority life. Greg additionally worked at Quinnipiac University overseeing fraternity and sorority life, specifically providing oversight to the Panhellenic Council and their sorority community.
Danny Foster uses he/him/his pronouns and is a second year Masters student in the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education program here at Texas A&M and also serves as a Graduate Assistant in the GLBT Resource Center. Danny is passionate about college student experiences and Social Justice issues and hopes to work professionally in these capacities after his graduation in May of 2016. Some of Danny’s research interests include Queer inclusive spaces, Gay/Bisexual male masculinities, Trans* inclusion and experiences, Masculinity representations in Young Adult Literature, and gender equity. Danny believes in the celebration of difference and his ultimate goal is to help the world to see the importance and benefits of diversity and inclusion in all facets of life.
Dustin K. Grabsch serves as the Program Coordinator for Academic Support Initiatives within the Department of Residence Life at Texas A&M University. Dustin holds a master’s degree from Seattle University in student development administration and his Bachelor’s of science in university studies -leadership studies from Texas A&M University. Dustin is back in Aggieland pursuing his Ph.D. in organizational and community leadership from Texas A&M University.
His passions are social justice, leadership, mental health, and motivation. In his free time he enjoys fishing, boating, volunteering with affinity groups, consulting, window farming, and discovering new things around town.
Eric R. Johnson is a transparent, gifted storyteller and contemporary thought leader offering keen insight into balancing the demands of personal life and family, through vision concepts, with the pursuit of professional success. Eric's touching story of rising from being a bare-back, horse-back riding, country boy to a successful author, mentor, transformational speaker and business owner will touch your audience’s hearts while challenging them to greater achievement and to birth their vision for prosperity. He has committed to enlighten millions of people to improve their personal and professional lives through his books, seminars, trainings, upcoming radio show and church fellowship, Optimum Life Fellowship which he is Senior Pastor in Houston, Texas. Mr. Johnson is the Executive Director of Optimum Lifestyle CDC and serves on the Board of the Greater Houston Healthy Marriage Coalition. Mr. Johnson also serves as Chair of the New South Union Civic Association and member of the South East Houston Transformation Alliance steering committee in Houston. Mr. Johnson proclaims his greatest and most cherished position in life is husband, of one wife for twenty-one years, and father of six amazing daughters!
Justin Lopez was raised in Katy, Tx and graduated from Mayde Creek High School in 2004. After graduation he joined the Army in October of 2004 and married his high school sweet heart in December of 2004. During his time in service he was deployed to Iraq three times for yearlong tours. Some of his awards and accolades include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s badge, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, NCO of the Year 2009 and 2010 for his Battalion and Brigade. Justin was promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class at the age of 25 and was stationed here at TAMU Army ROTC for his last two years of service. He began victim advocacy for sexual assault survivors with the Army and continues that work here in our community.