Conference Programming

Conference Programming

Meet the Speakers


Amanda Shaw

Louisiana singer, songwriter and musician

Music has been ingrained into Shaw’s world for as long as she can remember. That exposure greatly paid off as the Louisiana-raised musician has carved out her place in Cajun culture, and has become one of the most recognizable brands in Louisiana music. From national appearances on the Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, the Today Show's Roker-thon and the Rosie O’Donnell Show, to a once in lifetime performances with Cyndi Lauper, Shaw's magnetic presence helped her to build an extraordinary following of fans and supporters. Younger fans look up to Shaw for her pristine fiddling skills and sassy sense of style, while older fans respect her strong work ethic and sincere sensibility, but audiences of all ages agree that Shaw’s musical talent and appealing personality give her a special flair and make her an incredible representative of Louisiana’s melting pot of music.

Shaw, along with her band The Cute Guys, have been a part of the Wetland Watchers since Amanda was 12 years old! To this day, she pledges much time and effort to raising money and speaking out about Louisiana wetlands conservation, and started a foundation for youth to attend arts training during the summer.


Dr. Dale Blyth

Professor Emeritus, College of Education & Human Development, UMN

Dr. Dale Blythe is a senior research consultant and advisor who is Professor Emeritus in the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Minnesota where he served as the Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Development Leadership and Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. For 15 years he served as Associate Dean directing the Center for Youth Development. The Center was home to the Minnesota 4-H Program (with over 100 staff and 10,000 volunteers touching 130,000 youth); the Youth Work Institute (focused on professional development for 4,000 youth workers), the statewide Mott network, and conducting applied research and evaluation. He has led an initiative to advance social & emotional learning in Minnesota, is a consultant to CASEL, and serves on several community, state and national groups related to social emotional learning, out of school time, assessment, data systems, and youth development.


Amy Meuers

CEO, National Youth Leadership Council

Meuers is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Leadership Council, an international nonprofit organization that is committed to ensuring all young people become civically informed and engaged global citizens. Meuers joined NYLC in 2004 after working for ten years in marketing and communications with Travelers Insurance. She became CEO in 2015 after serving in various positions at NYLC including Chief Operations Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. Meuers has spoken at national and international conferences, led sessions on service-learning and youth engagement, and written numerous articles and blogs on the importance of youth voice and civic action. She believes when young people are engaged in real-world experiences as part of their education, they become passionate advocates for making the world a better place.

In addition, Meuers holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Regis University, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Globe University, as well as an Executive Leadership Certificate from Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation in partnership with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the National Human Services Assembly. Learn more about Meuers and NYLC.


Eric Rowles

President & CEO, Leading to Change

One-part motivational speaker, one-part DJ, and two parts community organizer and parent of two daughters, Rowles runs a customized consulting and facilitation practice that, through a network of over 20 dynamic and diversely talented trainers, works with for profit and non-profit organizations to achieve progressive and dynamic change.

Additionally, Rowles through his double bachelors and Master of Science degrees in Ethnic Studies and Educational Leadership, has served as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte as well as Rutgers University (NJ) and has over a decade of innovative and cutting-edge classroom instruction and facilitation experience. He has also been a volunteer trainer and partner for a wide range of social change agencies and organizations including the National Conference on Community and Justice, College Leadership Diversity Conference, and Teaching Tolerance Curriculum Instruction. Learn more about Rowles and Leading to Change.


Ekansh Tambe

High School Sophomore, St. Mark's School of Texas

Tambe resides in Dallas with his parents, younger sister, and dog (Ricky). He loves reading, traveling, meeting new people, playing ping pong with his sister, and competing in local tennis tournaments. Science is his favorite subject and he is intrigued by dominance and recessiveness in genetics. He loves photography and has a collection of over ten thousand photos shot along the various borders he has visited, thanks to the mentoring and assistance from his parents. He is actively engaged in public speaking, educating citizens on borders and photography.

Tambe’s photography project chronicles the fence, the culture, and the people as he encountered them while on an eleven-day journey with his family along most of the 1,900 miles of the US-Mexican land border. Agents shared their views on border security and the everyday challenges they face. Residents of both countries provided insight into their daily routines and their perspective on the border. As they shared inspiring and heartbreaking stories, Tambe got a sense of the drug situation firsthand, hearing it from the people whose lives have been affected the most. As he listened, the impact the border has on citizens, residents, immigrants, and federal agents began to unfold. Learn more about Tambe and his photo exhibit.

IARSLCE Research Agenda-Setting Forum

You are invited to participate in an opportunity to contribute to the agenda for advancing the study and practice of service-learning and community engagement!

The International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement will be hosting a research agenda-setting forum during the 31st Annual National Service-Learning Conference, with the purpose of articulating key issues, research questions, methodological approaches, and research challenges that will shape the service-learning and community engagement field in the next five to ten years.

Our goal is to ensure that the future research in the field reflects the diverse and evolving interests and perspectives of scholars, practitioners, collaborators, and supporters of service-learning and community engagement from across the globe.

The feedback gathered during this discussion will be added to the perspectives and ideas that have been collected from around the globe to develop a new Global Research Agenda, which will be unveiled at the IARSLCE 20th annual research conference in 2020 in Minneapolis, MN.

Onsite Service Opportunities

Little Free Libraries, Led by Nikki Leali, Crescent City Reading Buddies

The Little Free Library movement has been building communities, sparking creativity, and inspiring readers for over a decade. Crescent City Reading Buddies founder Nikki Leali, a New Orleans 8th grader, will lead us in building four new Little Free Libraries that will be awarded to new young stewards. Attendees will be able to read entry essays and help select the winners of the new Little Free Libraries. Sign up by 1:30 p.m. on Friday for a drawing, as one lucky attendee will receive their own Little Free Library that will be mailed anywhere in the continental U.S.! Little Free Libraries donated by LASprout.

If you think your neighborhood in the Greater New Orleans area could use a Little Free Library, consider applying to the 2020 NOLA Little Free Library Essay Contest!

Love Letters, Led by Nikki Leali, Crescent City Reading Buddies

Stop by to participate in a Love Letters service craft to bring encouragement to local school children. Crescent City Reading Buddies, a New Orleans book club that partners middle school readers with younger children to encourage a love of reading, will distribute the letters.

Mardi Gras Bead Recycling, Led by NetWork Volunteers

Unfortunately, most Mardi Gras beads are petroleum based and tons are important annually. Most get thrown away and end up in sewer drains and landfills. Now there is a city-wide initiative to recycle and reuse them. You can help sort the recycled beads by size, shape and color. Local nonprofits sell the beads back to the Mardi Gras Krewes for next year.

Day of Service

Join the Wetland Watchers for a Day of Service! Participants will engage in planting native species, painting benches, picking up trash, along with a few local activities like net casting. This unique service-learning program was developed by The LaBranche Wetland Watchers many years ago as a way to utilize the beautiful Louisiana wetlands as an outdoor classroom where students could be fully immersed in science while learning about the many values of our wetlands and the many challenges that they face. Participants will receive a Day of Service t-shirt, breakfast, lunch, and a snack. There might even be a visit with some of the local inhabitants. Do you know the difference between a gator and a croc?