University of Maryland Extension

2021 Speakers

Axton Betz-Hamilton, PhD, AFC® is an Assistant Professor of Consumer Affairs at South Dakota State University. Her research focuses on financial abuse within families, specifically familial identity theft and elder financial abuse perpetrated by family members. A victim of familial identity theft herself, her personal story is chronicled in the Edgar Award-winning memoir, The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity.



Melinda Croes is the Training Institute manager at Credit Builders Alliance. Prior to joining CBA, Melinda worked at the University of Chicago's Financial Education Initiative writing a financial education textbook for high school students. Additionally, she spent over 15 years developing and managing financial wellness and matched savings programs for low-income audiences at Heartland Human Care Services in Chicago. Melinda is a Licensed Social Worker and holds a Master's in Social Work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois. She received her Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology from Trinity Western University in British Columbia, Canada.


Jen Hemphill, a military spouse & proud bilingual Latina, helps the busy career-oriented woman become the reina (queen) of her money and love her dinero more.  She is a Latina Money Expert, an AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor), author, speaker and hosts the Her Dinero Matters podcast. Her Dinero Matters is an award-winning podcast focused on the advancement of U.S. Latinas to minimize the gender wage gap while creating a healthy, confident conversation around money. She has been featured in publications such as Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Oprah Magazine, Good Company Magazine and Grow (Acorns + CNBC) and Yahoo Finance. 



Eric Jorgensen has been helping families with intellectual and developmental disabilities since his retirement from the Navy in 2012. He was widowed the same year he retired; at the time, his 12 y/o autistic son was completely dependent on his wife for everything. It was his frustration with the difficulty of figuring out what to do and navigating services for his son which led him to found Special Needs Navigator. 

Eric created the category of Special Needs Planning to help families, individuals and caregivers connect the dots when working with attorneys, financial advisors, and other professionals. His specialty is helping them identify what they don’t know and provide clarity. He works with his clients around the country to develop individualized solutions best suited to their circumstances. 

In addition to working with clients one on one; Special Needs Navigator has a blog, YouTube channel and podcast. Eric uses the blog to do a deep dive every week into subjects like ABLE accounts, Special Needs Trusts and other topics families frequently have questions about. The podcast and YouTube channel focus on benefits, resources and services families may not know, or want to learn more, about.

Eric and his son, William, currently reside in Frederick, MD.


Susan Kerbel, Ph.D., is a Psychologist and Behavioral Science Analyst with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Financial Education. Her portfolio at CFPB includes financial education research and program development for adults and youth, with a focus on psychosocial and behavioral aspects of financial decision-making.


Bruce Ross, Ph.D. serves as an Assistant Professor in the Family Sciences Department at the University of Kentucky teaching in the new undergraduate program, Consumer Economics and Family Financial Counseling, as well as at the graduate level in Family Sciences. Dr. Ross completed his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University earning a double major in Psychology with Research and Philosophy. He continued his education path at the University of Maryland where he earned a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. He went on to the University of Georgia to earn a PhD in Human Development and Family Science with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and a specialization in financial counseling and financial therapy practices. Dr. Ross also served as the 2020 President of the Financial Therapy Association and is an Accredited Financial Counselor. Dr. Ross' professional and research interests primarily focus on personal and family financial well-being. He uses the systemic practice of financial therapy to better serve families from a holistic perspective.


Tisa Silver Canady, EdD, MBA, is a financial wellness advocate for today’s scholar. Specializing in student loan debt, she helps new borrowers think strategically about financing higher education while advising existing borrowers on their strategy to tackle, manage, and eventually eradicate their student loan debt. As an author and collegiate financial wellness expert, she has personally advised students and families on the repayment of more than $50 million in student loans. Passionate about how the student loan crisis has perpetuated a wealth gap in the African-American community, in 2020 Tisa launched Melanin, Money, & Matriculation, a book series and consumer education initiative. The book series includes Borrowing While Black and the forthcoming titles Black Women Beyond the Bachelor's and When Borrowing Becomes a Family Affair, and focuses on helping African-American borrowers make strategic decisions about student loans. Tisa is on a mission to increase financial education around student loan borrowing. A double graduate of the University of Delaware, she earned a doctorate in higher education administration/community college leadership from Morgan State University. Tisa is the founder and managing director of Silver Canady & Associates, LLC, an educational research and consulting firm located on the campus of Bowie State University. 


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