The Gardner Institute will recognize CTN at a national convening recognizing innovation in Undergraduate Education. The 2021 Edgerton Salute: A National Convening for Recognition of Undergraduate Innovators will be held on Friday, October 22 at 1 pm ET.

“Dr. Maria Martha Chavez Brummel, CEO of Catch the Next (CTN) Ascender Program for Student and Institutional Advancement is being recognized for the unique equity-based model that aims to cultivate the academic success of underserved students in Texas Community Colleges. CTN is a full-service, not for profit, college readiness organization focused on helping Latinos and other students of color accelerate through developmental education coursework using a range of pedagogical and institutional reforms. Brummel is one of the nation’s strongest champions for first-generation, low-income students.  She has worked tirelessly with faculty, staff, corporations, funding agencies, policymakers, and community-based organizations to reduce equity gaps, reform developmental education, and ensure that underserved students attain academic success.  The culturally responsive program she developed, Ascender (Rise), is an outstanding, evidence-based model that is helping hundreds of Texas community college students realize their hopes and dreams.   Because of Dr. Chavez Brummel’s efforts, the Ascender Program is truly at the leading edge of equity-based innovation in American higher education.” (

Participants will learn about three innovative programs and have the opportunity to celebrate current efforts and movements to improve higher education and to catalyze and discuss innovation in higher education.

Dr. Maria Chavez and CTN Board Chair, Dr. Rogelio Saenz will speak about the program’s successful innovative approaches to improving student outcomes. Two Ascender alumni will also share the benefits and highlights of being in the program.

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