Please note that this page shows the keynote speakers for the prior  NAWI conference, and that this page will be updated for the 2019 NAWI conference in Chicago, Illinois.



Celeste Carter, Ph.D.
Lead Program Director, Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Dr. Celeste Carter received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine. She completed postdoctoral studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She joined the Division of Biological and Health Sciences at Foothill College in 1994 to develop and head a Biotechnology Program. She was the recipient of an NSF DUE award, which produced a set of case studies and associated laboratories with biotechnology industry partners.

From 2001-2003 and 2007-2008, she served as a Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She returned to Foothill College following each of these rotations to resume her position as Director for both the Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Programs. Dr. Carter accepted a permanent program director position in DUE in 2009; she is the Lead Program Director for the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program in DUE. Dr. Carter also works on other programs in DUE and serves on several federal interagency working groups.

Dr. Carter will be speaking on Wednesday.  Please join her during our day of focusing on NSF DUE programs.



David Nickolich, Ed.D.
President, Sensei Alliance Educators

David Nickolich, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, MBA received his Ed.D. in Adult, Higher, and Community Education from Indiana’s Ball State University, as well as five other degrees from Ball State University, Indiana University, and Purdue University. After completing a career at AT&T in information systems, human resources, and workplace learning, Dr. Nickolich worked as an Engineering Technology Education high school teacher, and at several Indiana community and research colleges. He became a full-time professor in 2008 at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the School of Engineering and Technology. He has many IT, education, leadership, and project management skills and interests; but, his heart is in helping others to learn and by mentoring, facilitating, inspiring, and learning about his learners, while providing love, safety, and the best amount of structure.

Dr. Nickolich stresses that we should plan to provide an experiential curriculum, with project-based hands-on learning, as well as an emergent curriculum having inquiry-based learning, and an integrated curriculum with well-balanced thematic learning to add relevancy to each subject area, as compared to teaching those subjects solely in silos.  He is a strong advocate and spokesperson for Career and Technical Education, or CTE.

Dr. Nickolich believes that cooperation, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, competency, courage do the right things, and compassion are “seven Cs” of skills and behaviors that we should aim to develop and extend in our learners.  Then they will be well prepared for futher learning, good citizenship, careers, and other demands and responsibilities of adult and work life.

Dr. Nickolich will give the conference opening keynote presentation on the importance of good learner-focused practices and emphasis areas of education. We need to best prepare K-12 through post-college learners for the innovation-centric and collaborative workplace.