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Machado-Williams, Maritza

Machado-Williams, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Maritza Machado-Williams
  • Director of Academic Programs for Excellence (APEX) at KU
  • Taught students with disabilities in Panama for twelve years
  • Awarded 9 federal grants totaling more than 10 million dollars
  • 2001, 2005: Co-recipient of the National Award of Merit, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
  • 2007-08: President of the Missouri Kansas Nebraska Chapter of the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Programs Personnel
  • 2008: named a KU Woman of Distinction

Maritza Machado-Williams was born and raised in Panama with dreams of pursuing her education from a young age. Her humble beginnings set the stage for her commitment to underrepresented and underserved populations. Graduating with a B.A. in Education from the University of Panama, Dr. Machado-Williams went on to teach students with disabilities in Panama for twelve years.

When selected as a Fulbright scholar, she came to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in education from Western Kentucky University. Dr. Machado-Williams’s education continued when she moved to Lawrence in 1992, where she pursued a Ph.D. and began a remarkable career of service to Kansas students. She serves as the Director of Academic Programs for Excellence (APEX), assisting underrepresented students and received her doctorate this last May, 2007.

Dr. Machado-Williams’s close colleagues have stated that, “It is indicative of Maritza’s personality to overcome that which is most difficult.” Her determination is evident in her national leadership and recognition for educational directives and her life-long commitment to the success of America’s most invisible students. Dr. Machado-Williams’s goal of serving the underserved led her to write many successful grants. As a result, she has been awarded nine federal grants totaling more than 10 million dollars for direct services to the population of students she works with. Her colleague Ngondi Kamatuka,  Director of Educational Opportunity Programs at KU, states, “Maritza is the epitome of the commitment of access to higher education by low-income, first generation college students, and disabled students.”

She is known by many for her compassionate leadership and mentorship with those she serves. As her colleague Brenda Maigaard, Director Office of Student Financial Aid states, “Dr. Machado-Williams’ approach to life and work is extremely positive, goal-oriented, and open-minded. She is a wonderful resource to colleagues, as well as to our students and families, making significant contributions as a researcher, practitioner, and role-model.” Machado-Williams’s vision for making education more accessible and inspiring others to pursue their dreams are what make her a remarkable leader and asset to the University of Kansas.

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