The Adult Ed Advocast is adult education’s first podcast devoted to helping you become a stronger advocate for our field. In each episode, experts and experienced advocates will tackle a specific topic. You’ll hear about advocacy in various forms: social media outreach, forging partnerships, meeting with legislators, and much more! Develop your advocacy skills and become a champion for adult education.Watch S1 E3
Sara Haghighi – Pima Community College, AZ
Sara Haghighi is a passionate educator who believes in empowering students and raising their critical consciousness about social conditions—both their own and those of others. She scaffolds and encourages her students to read and judge whether the content is substantiated. Her experience as a former refugee and her passion for education have influenced her thinking and interest in social justice for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Sara holds a master’s in TESOL from California State University, Fullerton. She has taught English in a variety of educational levels and settings. She is currently serving as the coordinator of the Refugee Education Program at Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ.
Erin Vobornik– Elgin Community College, IL
Erin Vobornik is an adult educator at Elgin Community College in northern Illinois. She earned her master’s degree in linguistics from Northern Illinois University. She has worked in administrative and faculty positions in various adult education programs. In 2015, Erin encouraged students to participate in letter-writing campaigns to state officials to release funding for Title II WIOA programs. In 2019, she assisted ESL students in proposing a college-wide Census 2020 information campaign which was accepted and supported by Elgin Community College’s executive leadership. Currently, she is working to infuse advocacy skills at all levels of her ESL classes. In addition to working with students, Erin regularly reaches out to local and state stakeholders to advocate for increased funding and visibility for adult education programs.
Jeffrey Abramowitz, Executive Producer
Jeffrey Abramowitz, JD is the Executive Director of Justice Partnerships for JEVS Human Services. Jeff was a 2018 Fellow for Justleadership USA and served as the Director of Student Services & Workforce Development for Community Learning Center. Jeff serves as the Secretary of the Board for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education, COABE. Jeff was appointed to the Pennsylvania Reentry Council and serves as Chairman of the Employment Committee, Co-chairs the Reentry Committee for the PA Workforce Development Board, and is Vice-chair of the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition. Jeff is a subject matter expert for the US Department of Education and is the Moderator for the LINCS Correctional & Reentry Education Community of Practice. Jeff can also be found hosting the Looking Forward Show on radio and cable television. Jeffrey is a writer, keynote speaker, and lecturer around the country on issues of adult education, workforce development, and criminal justice.
Ana Chavarin is an Immigrant single mother and former GED student. She is an ambassador of education for Adult Ed and has obtained an Associate’s degree in 2018 and a bachelor’s degree in 2021. During her time as a Pima student, she was part of the Inter-campus Council, and was also an SLC facilitator at El Pueblo Adult Learning Center. As a Pima College student, Ana was a part of the Student Senate and worked alongside her colleagues to improve the students’ life. In 2018 she was nominated as student of the year by COABE. Currently, Ana works as a full-time community organizer with Pima County Interfaith Council, and her focus is to develop community leaders to address issues affecting their communities. In 2019, she was recognized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for her organizing work in the Latino community.
Laurie Kierstead-Joseph is motivated to serve on the COABE Board to support Region 5 students and teachers through high-quality professional learning and highlighting the impact and importance of adult education. Laurie has served in adult education for nearly 20 years. She began her career as a volunteer in the ESL classroom and quickly discovered that adult education was where she was meant to be. After seven years of teaching ESL, Laurie stepped into professional development, training, and program leadership roles. She has 11 years of experience leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of educational programming. Laurie has a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Leadership in Higher Education. She has completed the Leadership Excellence Academy and the Professional Development Leadership Academy, multi-year programs that helped develop her strengths in program improvement through data-driven decision-making, sustained job-embedded professional development, and change management. She has been a member of COABE and her state association, AALL, for years – including having served on the AALL Board as Board President. As a COABE member, she has presented workshops and webinars about developing Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs. As AALL Board President, she led the Board in broadening the focus beyond professional development to include advocacy and networking to strengthen the field of adult education.