Meet Our Experts
Optimal Board Advisor
Dr. Richard Vedder
Vedder is an esteemed figure in the higher education sector, writing frequently for numerous notable outlets including Forbes, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Opinion, and Inside Higher Ed. He has also authored several books regarding issues within the higher education sector, including "Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much" and "Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America." Much of his writing challenges the current American higher education system and proposes solutions for economic, societal, and institutional changes.
Sara Austin is an academic researcher and technical writer with an M.Ed in Instructional Technology and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership. Her most recent research focuses on classroom equity and strategies for unlocking the limitless potential of all students through positive representation and culturally relevant instruction.
Dr. Christine Bowen is the Chief Medical Officer at Inside Health Institute and is a naturopathic doctor specializing in the holistic treatment of digestive problems. On top of her years of experience balancing work and school in a high-stress environment while pursuing her doctorate, she has spent 16 years mentoring and supervising student clinicians.
Eileen Bowen is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner with 40 years of experience in mental healthcare and decades of experience working with students. She serves as the Director of Counseling at Inside Health Institute alongside her private therapy practice, where she aims to provide accessible mental health services for anyone who needs them.
Peter deFur has been a professor of environmental studies for 30 years. For the past 20 years, he has been a part-time professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition to his work in academia, Peter has worked for a national environmental organization as a senior scientist, evaluating federal policy and regulation. He holds a PhD in biology from the University of Calgary and has completed two different fellowships.