Skyline of San Francisco

Change Can't Wait San Francisco

Thank You, San Francisco

On March 11, 2022, American University hosted a morning of connection and conversation with President Sylvia M. Burwell for our community of changemakers in San Francisco to experience Change Can't Wait: The Campaign for American University.

Note: This event was held in accordance with AU COVID-related protocols for university gatherings. Visit our Event Protocols page for more information.

About the Speakers

Learn more about our distinguished guests below.

President, AU Student Government

Chyna Brodie is a junior at American University. From New Jersey, she is majoring in political science with a minor in African American studies. Since May 2021, she has served as the AU undergraduate student body president. Prior to her term, she started the Black Student Success Series, weekly meetings for Black students to discuss their experiences at AU. In her first year, she ran and won the most contested seat in the undergraduate senate (senator at large) while simultaneously serving as a first-year fellow for the AU Student Government’s Women’s Initiative. Within her first three months on campus, she became the first-ever undergraduate representative in the School of Public Affair’s Women and Politics Institute. During her virtual sophomore year, she started the AU Advocacy Commission, which raised $2,000 for the incredible dining workers at AU. Brodie believes that her experience thus far has been wonderful, and she looks forward to continuing to give back and making an impact.

Vice Provost for Research 

Dr. Diana L. Burley is an award-winning global cybersecurity expert with more than 25 years of experience building cybersecurity workforce programs and driving human-centered digital transformation. Named one of SC Magazine’s Eight Women in IT Security to Watch, Burley is a sought-after thought leader who advises Congress, federal agencies, national laboratories, and global CISOs on cybersecurity strategy. As Vice Provost for Research at American University, she leads the university-wide research enterprise and advances faculty-led scholarship across all disciplines. She also serves as a professor in the School of Public Affairs and in the Kogod School of Business. In addition, Burley holds cleared research appointments with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Idaho National Laboratory. Prior to AU, she led the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P), a 26-member cybersecurity research consortium at George Washington University, and managed a multi-million-dollar computer science education and research portfolio at the National Science Foundation. She has written more than 100 publications on the cybersecurity workforce, enterprise risk, and digital transformation. She is a member of the U.S. National Academies Board on Human Systems Integration and the Cyber Future Foundation. Honors include: 2016 Woman of Influence by the Executive Women’s Forum in Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy; 2017 SC Magazine ReBoot awardee for educational leadership in IT security; 2014 Cybersecurity Educator of the Year; and a 2014 Top Ten Influencer in information security careers. She is the sole recipient of both educator of the year and government leader of the year awards from the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education and has been honored by the US Federal CIO Council. Burley holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in Organization Science and Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University where she studied as a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow.  

Director, Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center 
Professor, Kogod School of Business 

Dr. Heng Xu is a professor of information technology and analytics in the Kogod School of Business at American University, where she also serves as the director of the Kogod Cyber Governance Center. Before joining Kogod in 2018, she served as a faculty member at the Pennsylvania State University for 12 years, as well as a program director at the National Science Foundation for 3 years. She has also served on a broad spectrum of national leadership committees including co-chairing the Federal Privacy R&D Inter-agency Working Group in 2016 and serving on the National Academies Committee on Open Science in 2017-2018. 

Dr. Xu’s recent research focuses on AI governance, privacy protection, data ethics, and fairness in machine learning. Her scholarly work has been published in premier outlets across various fields such as psychology, business, computer science, and law, including Psychological Methods, Management Science, Management Information Systems Quarterly (MISQ), Information Systems Research, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, and many others. Her interdisciplinary research has been sponsored by many competitive grants from multiple funding agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Institute of Health, and National Science Foundation, as well as companies such as Amazon and Facebook. Her work has received many awards, including the MISQ Impact Award (2021), Woman of Achievement Award in IEEE Big Data Security (2021), IEEE ITSS Leadership Award in Intelligence and Security Informatics (2020), the Operational Research Society's Stafford Beer Medal (2018), National Science Foundation's CAREER award (2010), and many best paper awards and nominations at various conferences. 

Provost, American University

Peter Starr is provost and chief academic officer at American University and professor of literature. His top priorities as provost include advancing inclusive excellence, creating opportunities for dynamic and flexible teaching and learning, enhancing AU’s research infrastructure, building an ever-stronger portfolio of lifelong learning options, and supporting the university’s academic leadership. Since becoming provost in July of 2020, he has worked with campus leaders to strengthen the AU’s Covid response, launched an Office of Global and Immersive Studies to consolidate AU’s efforts in study abroad and international recruitment, and led significant new efforts in the online and professional learning spaces.

Before becoming AU’s provost, Dr. Starr served as dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences for 11 years. As the College’s dean, Dr. Starr co-led the development of the AU Core curriculum, made significant contributions to the path-breaking Reinventing the Student Experience (RiSE) project, and raised nearly $100M to further the College’s goals. In his time at AU, Dr. Starr has helped to increase external funding of faculty scholarship and overseen the establishment of several highly productive research entities, including the Antiracist Research and Policy Center and the Center for Neuroscience and Behavior.

Prior to joining the Eagle family, Dr. Starr was a professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Southern California. He served as interim dean of USC’s College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences from 2006 to 2007. He is the author of two traditional books—Logics of Failed Revolt: French Theory After May ’68 (Stanford UP) and Commemorating Trauma: The Paris Commune and its Cultural Aftermath (Fordham UP); of a multimedia project entitled We the Paranoid; and of WisCult, an occasional blog on wisdom and culture. Dr. Starr holds a BA with distinction from Stanford University and an MA in French and PhD in comparative literature from The Johns Hopkins University.

President, American University 

Sylvia M. Burwell is American University’s 15th president and the first woman to serve as president. A visionary leader with experience in the public and private sectors, President Burwell brings to American University a commitment to education and research, the ability to manage large and complex organizations, and experience helping to advance solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. 

Burwell has held two cabinet positions in the United States government—serving as the 22nd secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services and as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Her additional government experience is extensive and includes roles at the Treasury and the National Economic Council. Burwell has also held leadership positions at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. Her private sector experience includes service on the Board of Directors of MetLife. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard University and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. 

Read her full biography here.  

Member, American University Alumni Board 

Miguel Bustos has a unique blend of public and private sector experience that has transformed challenges into opportunities. For over twenty years, Bustos has partnered with diverse local, national, and international stakeholders. On this unique journey, he has employed the power of inspiration, networking, and convening to spur equitable engagement, empathy, solutions, and deeper connections with others. Partnerships included community leaders, business executives, faith groups, academia, philanthropic institutions, and government officials. The relationships Bustos has cultivated among local and international networks allowed him to influence these connections for the common good.

In 1995, Bustos was appointed to serve as one of four advisors to President Clinton on Youth and HIV/AIDS. Together, they wrote a policy report entitled “Youth and HIV/AIDS: An American Agenda,” investigating physical and mental health of adolescents at-risk or affected by HIV/AIDS. The report furnished recommendations on AIDS policy to the President, members of Congress, local officials, and leaders who influence the lives of young people.  

In 1997, Bustos was promoted to the Office of the Vice President and became policy advisor to Mrs. Gore, advising her on issues related to health (SIDS, AIDS, cancer and physical fitness), education (higher education and technology) and community development. In addition, he served as one of the Vice President's key advisors and liaisons to the Latino, Native American, and LGBT communities.  

Other career highlights include his work as executive director of the California Latino Civil Rights Network (Latino Network), the only statewide organization that focused on the threats to civil rights aimed at the Latino community in California. In addition to his experience working as program officer for the Marguerite Casey Foundation, where he researched and evaluated grantees, working with Latino, Native American, Asian, African American, and LGBT communities and organizations, and analyzing and educating grantees on public policy. His regions included California, the Southwest, US-Mexico Border, and Native American reservations and communities.  

In 2004, Bustos became deputy director and grants manager for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, managing her District Office and federal grants process. In 2007, he was appointed director of boards and commissions for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. From 2008 to 2010 he served as the director of intergovernmental affairs for Oakland Mayor Ronald V. Dellums. In this capacity, he directed all policy and initiatives through the government-to-government process, requiring coordination of local, state, federal and international governments to support the city’s priorities.  

Bustos also held the title of senior program manager for the Americas at the Levi Strauss Foundation, managing grant making for the Foundation’s global giving areas of HIV/AIDS, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, financial education, workers’ rights, and human rights throughout the US, Latin America, and Canada. 

Currently, Bustos is senior director of Glide’s Center for Social Justice at the Glide Foundation. He oversees expansion of the Center’s work, including growing Glide’s advocacy and policy-related efforts, increasing community engagement, legal clinic, service learning, and enhancing Glide’s famous volunteer program with more than 14,000 volunteers annually.  

His past community service includes volunteering for several organization, local and national organizations, which include: the Mexican Museum, Human Rights Campaign, the Horizons LGBT Foundation, Latino/Raza Educational Advisory Group for SFUSD, Mercy High School for Women, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Hispanics in Philanthropy, National Catholic AIDS Network, the Names Project- AIDS Memorial Quilt, Political Research Associates, Gender (Equality) Public Advocacy Coalition, and the Victory Fund. Currently, Bustos is chair of San Francisco’s commission on community investment and infrastructure. In this role, he oversees $536 million in projects including 50 fulltime employees; the commission has added 16,000 new housing units including affordable housing, for former SF redevelopment areas of Mission Bay, Transbay, Yerba Buena Cultural Arts Center, Chase Center, Bay View/Hunters Point Shipyard.  

Bustos holds a bachelor of arts in international relations from Holy Names University, a master of arts in international peace and conflict resolution from the School of International Service at American University, and a master of business administration (MBA), with a concentration in global corporate social responsibility, from St. Mary’s College of California. In 2015, he was awarded and honored with a doctorate of humane letters from Holy Names University.