Speaker Bios


Dr. Michael J. Anderson

Dr. MiMichael Andersonchael J. Anderson has over 20 years experience in higher education. He has been an award winning professor for his teaching and has served as a department chair as well as division chair in the social sciences. His consulting on outcomes assessment includes serving as an evaluator for education grants and /or grant proposals for NSF and NIH sponsored programs and serving as a test item reviewer for the Foreign Service Officer Test (Published by ACT for the U.S. Department of State). He was the founding chair of the City University’s Assessment Council and currently serves as its Secretary.  He has given numerous presentations and workshops around NYC and nationally on learning outcomes assessment, program evaluation/assessment and logic models.

MS. Colleen Sommo

sommo2Colleen Sommo is a Senior Research Associate at MDRC. She serves as the lead data manager for the Young Adults and Postsecondary Education policy area. In this role, she contributes to the strategic planning of all tasks that involve quantitative data, investigates new data sources, trains technical staff, and develops and implements cross-project standards and procedures to ensure data quality and compliance with data security procedures. She is currently serving as the project director and data manager for the Opening Doors Long-Term Effects and Cost Study and as the data manager for both the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) evaluation and the Completion by Design evaluation. Sommo has extensive experience with higher education school records and survey data and has managed data collection and analysis activities for nearly a decade. She has coauthored several MDRC reports, focusing on the impact of higher education studies, and holds an M.S. in education.

Dr. Regina Rochford


Regina A. Rochford, Ed.D. is an associate professor of developmental reading and writing at Queensborough Community College and the chairperson of the Department of Basic Skills. She earned a Doctorate in Education from St. John’s University, a Master’s of Science in TESOL from Queens College and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. She has authored thirteen research articles and five developmental reading and writing textbooks. Her most recent articles discuss Service Learning among remedial students.




Dr. Nikki Edgecombe

Nikki_ENikki Edgecombe conducts research on developmental education reform (including acceleration), teaching and learning, instructional technology, student support services, and college readiness. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Urban Studies–Economics from Columbia University. Dr. Edgecombe is a project lead for Scaling  Innovation in the Community College,Analysis of Statewide Developmental Education Reform, Accelerated Developmental Education Models, Student Success Courses, and Online Courses in Community Colleges.  Dr. Edgecombe joined CCRC from private industry, where she was a research analyst responsible for assessing the financial and organizational performance of publicly-traded companies and evaluating the effects of federal and state policy on strategy and execution. Prior to her work in the private sector, Dr. Edgecombe studied teacher learning and school-based professional development at the Urban Education Institute and Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

MS. Farida Lada

Farida Farida Lada is the University Director for Research Compliance. In this new role, Ms. Lada directs and manages all University programs related to the responsible conduct of research, including overseeing the newly restructured CUNY integrated Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). Farida comes to CUNY with extensive experience in research compliance having held the position of Director of Research Compliance at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, and prior to that was Assistant Director of Human Subjects Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas, Arlington, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Louisville. Farida is working toward a PhD from the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. She is also a Certified Institutional Review Board Professional.


Dr. Amy Traver

Amy Traver Dr. Amy Traver is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is a graduate of Colgate University (B.A., 1997), Harvard University (Ed.M., 1999), and SUNY Stony Brook (Ph.D., 2008). Dr. Traver is interested in intersections of race/ethnicity and gender in contemporary American families and educational institutions. She has published articles on these topics in Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Focus, International Journal of Sociology of the Family, The Journal of Education Policy, and The Irish Journal of Sociology. Dr. Traver is also interested in community college pedagogies. She recently published an article in Internet and Higher Education (with Edward Volchok, Temi Bidjerano, and Peter Shea) on community college students’ success in partially-online courses, and she is currently editing a book for Palgrave Macmillan (with Zivah Perel Katz) on service-learning at the American community college.

Dr. Rachel Torres

Rachel Torres Dr. Rachel Torres is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Health Education at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Dr. Torres received her master’s degree in Public Health (interdisciplinary program with a focus on sociomedical sciences) from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her Ed.D. in Health Education (emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention) is from Teachers College from Columbia University.  Her overall research goal is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes across diverse population through a dual focus on the healthcare system and patients through the use of mixed methods. Prior to her academic appointment at BMCC, Dr. Torres worked in the field of medical education; specifically continuing medical education where she developed skills in needs assessments, literature reviews, program evaluation and outcomes measurement research methods.