ACD Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores named an Aspen Institute 2021 Ascend Fellow

October 7, 2021

DSO Communications


Alamo Colleges District Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores has been selected as one of 19 individuals named as an Aspen Institute 2021 Ascend Fellow.

The Aspen Institute fellowship program supports social impact leaders who are working to create a world where every family passes a legacy of economic and educational success and well-being from one generation to the next. 

“I am honored and humbled to be named an Aspen Institute 2021 Ascend Fellow,” said Flores. “I am looking forward to working alongside my fellow colleagues toward the same altruistic goal of using the full power of community to change learning, care and economic systems. My hope is that we can all change our communities for the better.”

During the 18-month program, fellows will inspire, challenge, and support each other as they work across sectors that all impact the prosperity and wellness of families, from reinventing systems of care and learning and unlocking capital that opens doors for economic inclusion and justice, to breaking ground with research that changes the course for policies and practices directly affecting communities.

“Our future as a country is inextricably tied to how well we do by our families. This new class of fellows is dedicated to creating a nation where every child is set up to prosper and where every family has access to the education and opportunity to do better than the previous generation. At the Aspen Institute, we cultivate and celebrate leaders who help society live up to its ideals. The new class of Ascend Fellows joins an extensive global network of such individuals who are doing just that,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute.

The 2021 class joins more than 80 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows selected for their visionary leadership and readiness to make a quantum leap forward toward breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty for families in America. 

Below is a list of all 19 Ascend Fellows:

  • Gayatri Agnew - Senior Director, Opportunity, Walmart (AK)
  • Christine Norbut Beyer - Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJ)
  • Melanie Bridgeforth - President and CEO, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham (AL)
  • Jay Chaudhary - Director for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (IN)
  • Janeen Comenote - Executive Director, National Urban Indian Family Coalition (WA)
  • Michael Flores, PhD - Chancellor, Alamo Colleges District (TX)
  • Craig Garfield, MD - Professor of Pediatrics and of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern
    University’s Feinberg School of Medicine (IL)
  • Jesús Gerena - CEO, UpTogether (CA)
  • Ron-Li Liaw, PhD - Cannon Y. & Lyndia Harvey Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    Chair of the Pediatric Mental Health Institute and Professor, Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Division Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado School of Medicine (CO)
  • Alicia Mousseau, PhD - Vice President, Oglala Sioux Tribe (SD)
  • Aysha Schomburg - Associate Commissioner of the United States Children’s Bureau in the
    Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human
    Services (DC)
  • Rinku Sen - Executive Director, Narrative Initiative (TX)
  • Keesa Smith - Deputy Director for Youth and Families, Arkansas Department of Human
    Services (AK)
  • Greg Taylor - Executive Director, NBA Foundation (NY)
  • Ebony Underwood - Founder & CEO, WE GOT US NOW (NY)
  • Joe Waters - Co-Founder and CEO, Capita (SC)
  • Atiya Weiss - Executive Director, Burke Foundation (NJ)
  • Daniel Williams, EdD - President and CEO, Steelcase Foundation (MI)
  • Daria Willis, PhD - President, Everett Community College (WA)

At the Alamo Colleges District, high quality education and affordable costs provide exceptional value to students and alumni who are major contributors to the economy and culture of the community.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a catalyst and convener for systems, policy, and social impact leaders who are working to create a world where every family passes a legacy of economic and educational success and well-being from one generation to the next. We serve as the hub for two-generation (2Gen) solutions and an amplifier of innovations that create pathways to economic mobility. ascend.aspen

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit