2022 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Meeting: Speakers

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

Gina Abercrombie-WinstanleyAmbassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Department of State and was the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the Commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Coordinating the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WWII, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media.

She began her formal work in teaching and leadership development as Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute where U.S. diplomats are trained. Earlier in her career, she served in Baghdad, Jakarta, and Cairo before taking on the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for the Middle East and Africa. Her Middle East assignments include election monitoring in the Gaza Strip and an extraordinary assignment where she actively supported gender equality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission there. In addition to the State Department, she has held senior positions at the Defense Department and at the National Security Council of the White House.

Virginia Arthur

Virginia (Ginny) ArthurVirginia (Ginny) Arthur became the seventh president of Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, on July 1, 2016. She joined Metropolitan State in 2012 as provost and executive vice president. During her tenure the university has completed a strategic plan focused on educational equity, forged baccalaureate completion partnerships with the ten two-year colleges located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, opened the Jason R. Carter Science Education Center and a student center, expanded programs in the Natural Sciences and Cybersecurity, strengthened faculty development, and expanded online learning. Metropolitan State is #35 on CollegeNet’s 2019 Ranking of Social Mobility. 

President Arthur serves on the Board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Executive Committee of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), the Boards of MN-IA Campus Compact, the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership and Black Men Teach. She is the Chair of the Board for Communidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES).

Jane Coaston

Jane Coaston 2022Jane Coaston is the host of "The Argument." Previously, she was the senior politics reporter at Vox, with a focus on conservatism and the G.O.P. Her work has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR and in National Review, The Washington Post, The Ringer and ESPN Magazine, among others. In addition, she is a former resident fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. She attended the University of Michigan and lives in Washington, D.C.

Steve Drummond

Steve Drummond

Steve Drummond heads up two teams of journalists at NPR. NPR Ed is a nine-member team that launched in March 2014, providing deeper coverage of learning and education and extending it to audiences across digital platforms. Code Switch is an eight-person team that covers race and identity across the network, and in an award-winning weekly podcast.

Drummond brings to these initiatives more than 20 years’ experience covering education issues, and nearly two decades at NPR in a variety of roles. Prior to this assignment, he was the network’s Senior National Editor. In that role, from 2007 through 2013, he oversaw domestic news coverage and a team of more than 60 reporters, producers and editors in Washington, DC, and 18 bureaus around the country. In 2012, he also served as acting Senior Editor for Investigations, managing a team of six reporters and producers on investigative projects.


  • Jill Dunlap (Registration Inquiries)Director for Research and Practice, NASPAjdunlap@naspa.org202-719-1196
  • Cathy Copeland (All other Queries)Director, American Democracy ProjectCopelandC@aascu.org202-478-7833


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