As Executive Director of the Baltimore Collegetown Network, Kristen McGuire oversees initiatives to brand and develop Baltimore as a city that attracts, engages, and retains outstanding students. Over the last nine years she has created award-winning marketing campaigns for area colleges, a regional internship database, and the new Collegetown LeaderShape initiative to get student leaders involved in community service. Kristen also oversees the nationally-recognized Collegetown Shuttle, numerous student programs, and a $1 million budget.
Kristen was named a “Successful by 40 VIP” by the Daily Record in 2011, an “Influential Marylander” by The Daily Record in 2008, and a “Top 40 Business Leader Under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal in 2006, and she is a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Leadership class of 2009.
Jessica Turral is the Executive Director and Founder of Hand in Hand Baltimore, a non-profit that partners with young men who are under 18 and charged as adults, providing them with mentors, counseling, academic enrichment and case management prior to and upon their release from adult facilities. During her earlier years she attend the illustrious Baltimore City College High School. Later she graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2009 with a degree in Psychology and as a part of the inaugural class of Baltimore Scholars. She has spent the last 10 years of her life mentoring, teaching and advocating on behalf of Baltimore’s poverty stricken and voiceless children. Upon graduation from Johns Hopkins in 2009 Ms. Turral founded Hand in Hand Baltimore, working with Baltimore City’s most at risk youth. This population is familiar to Ms. Turral, as she co-lead Middle Grades Partnership After-School program in 2008 and ran the Children Having Incarcerated Parents Mentoring Program at Alternative Directions in 2009. This deepened her commitment to the youth and families affected by the over-reliance on incarceration. She is dedicated to creating lasting and meaningful partnerships for youth charged as adults while insisting that they take the initiative in turning their lives around for the better. Ms Turral was recently chosen as the 2010 Clinton Bambeger Open Society Baltimore Community Fellow.
During her academic and professional career she has been named an Inaugural member of the Baltimore Scholars at Johns Hopkins University, an Exemplary Leadership Award recipient, Barton Cup Winner, Greek Woman of the Year , Christopher B. Elser Scholarship Recipient, Liberty Mutual Responsible Scholar Recipient, and National Honor Society Member.
Michael Owen is a contemporary painter who’s work is found across galleries as well as the streets of the United States.
Visually, Michael’s work uses bold, graphic imagery to pull the viewer into the piece, to divulge softer and intimate messages and metaphors. While Michael’s work could be classified as figurative, it’s subtle compositional details and and deep messages ring true of a more conceptual genre. Typically, less is more in Michael’s work as he employs minimalism to access a wider audience, allowing more room for each viewer to insert their own story.
Michael is the creator and lead artist of the Baltimore Love Project, a self-initiated project of 20 love-themed murals spread evenly throughout the city. Michael is also the artist behind one of the nation’s longest murals, located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Donald A. Thomas joined the Willard Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University as its director in August 2007. A veteran astronaut, he came to Towson following a 19-year career with NASA.
Meet Don Thomas
He joined NASA in 1988 as a materials engineer for the Space Shuttle Program. In 1990 he was selected to be a mission specialist astronaut in NASA’s 13th group of astronauts. He is a veteran of four space shuttle mission and has logged over 1,000 hours in space, completing nearly 700 orbits of the Earth and traveling nearly 20 million miles in the process. He served as a NASA International Space Station program scientist at the Johnson Space Center in Houston where he planned and coordinated numerous science experiments being performed from 2003 to 2006.
He received his bachelor's degree in physics from Case Western Reserve University, and his master's and doctoral degrees in materials science from the School of Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to joining NASA, Thomas was a senior member of the technical staff at the Bell Laboratories Engineering Research Center in Princeton, N.J.
In his new role as director of the Hackerman Academy, Thomas has been visiting numerous schools in the Baltimore area and talking to students of all ages about his experiences in space.
As seen in ForbesWoman and The New York Times, Hilary is the Author of One White Face, Founder of LiveandWorkAbroad.org, and National Speaker. Reviewed as the "GenY version of Eat, Pray, Love", her book is a narrative nonfiction recounting how she left her first love to launch a career abroad and worked for three years as Senior Executive Officer & Kaizen Leader for Toyota in Singapore. Hilary studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan and graduated from Elon University in International Business and Asian/Pacific Studies. She has been featured in Pearson’s 2011 Business Communication textbook, worked in six Asian countries, and traveled to even more. Hilary speaks conversational Japanese and resides in Columbus, Ohio. You can follow her @HilaryCorna or check out www.OneWhiteFace.com
Kathleen Koch is a Washington-based freelance journalist, author, moderator and speaker. Her best-selling book, Rising from Katrina, which traces her Mississippi hometown’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina and her experiences covering it, won the gold medal for best non-fiction in the Southeast region in the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards. It also received an honorary mention for Book of the Year in the regional category from ForeWord Reviews.
For 18 years, Koch was a CNN general assignment correspondent specializing in aviation reporting and serving as correspondent at the Pentagon, the White House and on Capitol Hill. Koch provided moving reports from the Mississippi Gulf Coast during and in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Her two documentaries on the recovery of her hometown – Saving My Town – The Fight for Bay Saint Louis and The Town That Fought Back – received a New York Festivals Gold Medal. Koch also shared in the 2006 Peabody Award CNN received for its coverage of the hurricane.
Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including three silver and one bronze Telly for a 2010 report she anchored for Astrocast.TV on the new Spaceport America under construction in the New Mexico desert. In 2007, Koch won a New York Festivals Gold Medal and a bronze award for investigative reporting from the New York Association of Black Journalists for a CNN report in which she revealed the apparent murder of a young inmate by guards at a Mississippi jail.
Professor Andrew Reiner teaches writing and cultural studies in the Honors College and English department at Towson University. His essays and articles have appeared in the Washington Post magazine, the Baltimore Sun, AARP magazine and on the Atlantic.com, among other publications. Recently Reiner has written about Berger cookies, a trip to Maine to find a dead pig and the perils of personal branding. He is fascinated (and unnerved) by the crossroads where social media and intimacy converge.
A Baltimore City native, Tara Bynum is a writer, scholar, and teacher (though not not necessarily that order). She is an Assistant Professor of English at Towson University where she teaches introductory level courses in African-Americanliterature. Her recent academic research and creative projects explore the history of racial identity in the United States and ideas of pleasure, gender, and sexuality in early African-American literature and religion.
In addition to her work as a professor, she is a writer whose critical essays and social commentary onAfrican-American literature and culture have appeared in academic journals (such as Texas Studies in Literature and Language and Common-Place) and in periodicals, like theroot.com and Urbanite Magazine.
Jean Michel Habineza
Jean Michel Habineza was born and raised in Rwanda. In 2006, as a secondary school student, Jean Michel initiated the “Walk for Survivors”, in remembrance of those who perished in the genocide, with more than 1000 students participating. In 2007, Jean Michel founded the Peace and Love Proclaimers, a youth NGO teaching underprivileged children about forgiveness and reconciliation. Beginning with 7 students, “PLP” is now one of the most promising and growing youth NGOs in Rwanda, and has grown to Kenya and Tanzania. In 2008, Jean Michel helped start Aegis Students, an international student movement against genocide based in the UK and featuring an active chapter in Rwanda. Jean Michel also served as an education officer at the Aegis Trust-sponsored Kigali Memorial Center. There he facilitated a workshop on the importance of recovering positive values lost during the genocide, for people with such values would never kill their countrymen. Jean Michel is majoring in international studies at Towson University and was nominated among the top 20 Rwandan youth achievers in 2010.
Currently with his organization, Jean Michel has been working on a project called “walk to remember” which is a movement to educate young people all over the world about genocide and mass atrocities, using their histories to prevent any other atrocities. The walk which happens every year in April is attended by thousands of people all over the world.
This year alone there were 22 walks in 10 countries and four continents.