Advisory Board

Laura Dresser

Laura Dresser (MSW, PhD, University of Michigan; BA, Rice University) is Associate Director of COWS. A labor economist and expert on low-wage work and workforce development systems, she has both written about ways to build stronger labor market systems and worked extensively with labor, business, and community leaders in building them. Laura has written low-wage jobs, care work, inequality, and labor market reform. A co-editor of The Gloves-Off Economy: Workplace Standards at the Bottom of America’s Labor Market, she is currently working issues on the connections between quality care, quality jobs, and minimum wages.

In 2017, Laura Dresser joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work as an Assistant Clinical Professor.

Jonathon Ferguson

Jonathon joined the Career Exploration Center at UW–Madison in 2014 after working in various advising and student services positions in higher education for the previous 10 years. Jonathon’s advice is for college students to actively engage in the career development process as early as their first semester on campus. Students can engage in the process by enrolling in classes of their interest, gaining work experience, and exploring their educational, professional, and life goals by using resources at their college or university.

Dr. Charles Henderson

Charles Henderson is a Professor at Western Michigan University (WMU), with a joint appointment between the Physics Department and the WMU Mallinson Institute for Science Education. He is the co-founder and co-director of the WMU Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education (CRICPE). His research program focuses on understanding and promoting instructional change in higher education, with an emphasis on improving undergraduate STEM instruction. Dr. Henderson is the senior editor for the journal Physical Review Physics Education Research and has served on two National Academy of Sciences Committees: Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation and Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education. Website

Dr. Nancy Kendall

Nancy Kendall is associate professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research examines the consequences of national and international policies and funding streams directed at improving marginalized children’s, communities’ and states’ wellbeing. She is affiliated with the African Studies Program, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Development Studies Program, and Global Health Institute at UW-Madison. Kendall conducts comparative ethnographic research on U.S. and global development education policies and their intersections with children’s and families’ daily lives. Research projects have examined Education for All, political democratization and educational governance, structural adjustment and education, US higher education, sexuality and HIV/AIDS education, and gender and schooling. Website

Ed Smith-Lewis

Ed Smith-Lewis is the Director of the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative, where he partners with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions to implement a three-pronged approach to improve student success and career outcomes. Prior to joining UNCF, Ed had a myriad of professional experiences, ranging from nonprofit management to strategic consulting, working at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard University, and McKinsey & Company.

Formerly known as Eddie Spaghetti, Ed is currently on the board of the Prescott Circus Theatre, the same organization he participated in when he was in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, and he currently sits on the board of the organization. Ed has a passion for education and has focused his career on ensuring those that have the furthest to travel on their own educational journey receive the support, encouragement and engagement needed to achieve their dreams.