Here are your 2018 PLS featured speakers! The following experts have shown their commitment to creating resources and programs that support students’ success in higher education.


Frank Brogan

Frank Brogan serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Delegated the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, and is Delegated the Duties of Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Frank brings rich experience to these roles, from his time as a classroom teacher, to principal, to superintendent of schools, to Florida Commissioner of Education, and then on to serving as the Lieutenant Governor of Florida. 


Malia Sieve

Malia Sieve is a Director at HCM Strategists on the higher education team. Malia works with state level leaders across the country, including elected officials, K12 and higher education system heads, business leaders, and philanthropy, who are interested in developing policies to improve postsecondary attainment while addressing equity gaps. Malia currently works on projects with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). 


Wil De Pilar

Wil Del Pilar, Ph.D., serves as Ed Trust’s vice president of higher education policy and practice. In this role, Wil spearheads Ed Trust’s mission to highlight inequities and outline solutions in order to improve access, success, affordability, and completion in higher education for low-income students and students of color. Wil holds a doctorate in higher education/higher education administration from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree from California State University-Dominguez Hills, and a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University.

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Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State
Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014 he was the Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor in the state of South Carolina. He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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Dr. Michael Cohen

Dr. Michael Cohen the Director of Political Management for the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at The George Washington University.  He serves as Chief Data Scientist for GSPM’s PEORIA Project, and is the Founding Editor of The ECHO, a weekly look at U.S. politics on Twitter. Outside of GSPM, Dr. Cohen is the Founder and CEO of Cohen Research Group, a research and technology firm that publishes Congress in Your Pocket, the leading app for Capitol Hill, and the first public affairs app on Apple’s App Store