Akiba Abaka is a director, dramatist, producer, actor, educator and artist-entrepreneur. Her directing credits include: Dreams of My Ancestors, The Drinking Gourd, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Patience of Nantucket, 409 Edgecombe Avenue: The House on Sugar Hill and In the Continuum and a staged reading of The Emperor Jones at Boston’s Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. As an arts educator she has developed the Heritage Specific Theatre Arts Course, a theatre curriculum on Ancient Greek and African Mythology for Boston Public School students; and Aspects of Theatre: Visioning a Life in the Arts, a week long seminar for high school and college students at the Citi Performing Arts Center/Shubert Theatre. Ms. Abaka is blessed to count August Wilson, Ellen Stewart, and Ed Bullins among her many mentors. She has trained with Lou Roberts, Diane Almeida, and Ron Nash as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and continued her training at the La Mama International Director’s Symposium in Spoleto, Italy. Ms. Abaka is the recipient of the 2008 Independent Reviewers of New England Award for Best Director for her production of In the Continuum by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter; two Elliot Norton Award nominations for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Production for In the Continuum; and The John Andrew Ross Award for Distinguished Direction from Oscar Micheaux Repertory Company. She is also a proud recipient of the 2012 Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship from the Theatre Communications Group.
Andy Andres is a Senior Lecturer of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Boston University’s College of General Studies where he teaches biology, physics, and ecology to first and second year students. He also teaches what is likely one of the first ever college courses in Baseball Analysis and Sabermetrics at Tufts University where he is a Visiting Lecturer in Sabermetrics. During the summer he teaches science and mathematics and coaches baseball in the MIT Science of Baseball Program. As a Datacaster/Stringer for MLBAM, he is responsible for keeping score of games at Fenway Park for various Internet application like mlb.com‘s Gameday and ESPN’s Gamecast. Andy lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, the fabulous Kate Andres, and their three children, Maddie (Colorado College), Aubree (Princeton), and Griffin (Cambridge Rindge and Latin School). He has worked for BaseballHQ.com as a writer/data analyst since 2003 and has been schooled at St. Josephs HS (Metuchen, NJ), Brown, Harvard, and Tufts.
Ashley Stanley is a born and bred Bostonian. A former athlete, she later followed in her legendary grandfather’s footsteps and went on to work in luxury retail, holding positions across the board. It wasn’t until 2010 that Ashley found her true passion while dining out at a Greater Boston area restaurant. Astounded by the amount of leftover food at the table, she started to wonder how much food was going uneaten. At that moment the idea for Lovin’ Spoonfuls was born. Since founding Lovin’, Ashley & the team have distributed over 150,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food to those in need, and she has created unparalleled awareness for food rescue through community events, awareness, and dedication to her mission of eradicating hunger in Massachusetts. In 2011 the Boston Business Journal named founderStanley an “Emerging Leader,” and in 2012 Lovin’ Spoonfuls was named a finalist in the 2012 MassChallenge, the largest-ever startup accelerator and competition to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs. Stanley has also been honored by Oxfam International for her commitment to social justice through hunger relief, and most recently was named one of Oxfam International’s Sister on the Planet Ambassadors which gives Ashley a highly visible platform to advocate for global food justice.
Carmichael Roberts started his career as a technologist. He moved into business “developing applications for his research interests” and subsequently to entrepreneurship and venture capitalism, exploring ways to finance those businesses. Carmichael invests predominantly in companies that make products using chemistry, materials science and/or materials engineering, with a primary focus on early stage ventures. As co-founder and chairman of the nonprofit Diagnostics For All, one of a series of collaborations with Harvard professor George Whitesides, he is developing paper-based diagnostics to provide inexpensive options to marginalized patients globally. Previously, Carmichael co-founded and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arsenal Medical, a company that develops implantable medical materials. He has co-founded several other ventures, including Nano-Terra, an electronics and industrial materials company and Ancora, a carbohydrate materials company making vaccines. In 1999 he was named one of the world’s top 100 young entrepreneurs by MIT’s Technology Review. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Carmichael worked in business development at GelTex Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Genzyme for $1.3 billion, and in new product and business development at Dow Chemical (formerly Union Carbide Corporation). Carmichael received his BS and PhD in organic chemistry from Duke University and completed his postdoctoral National Science Foundation fellowship at Harvard University. Carmichael also has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He serves as an advisor for MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, Harvard’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, and schools of Science and Engineering at Duke University.
David Polansky’s music is frequently humorous, sometimes serious, and always clever and engaging. Loved by everyone from preschoolers to grandparents, his songs have been compared to those of Stephen Sondheim and Tom Lehrer and have won numerous awards including the coveted Artists’ Foundation Fellowship, Music City Song Festival, Sheet Music Magazine Grand Prize, and others. His Animal Alphabet Songs were spotlighted on Morning Edition on National Public Radio. His instrumental and choral pieces have been performed by the Springfield (MA) Symphony, The Zamir Chorale, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and many others. David has composed many scores accompanying CD-ROM games, as well as background music for educational book and cassette packages. David’s sensitive and often comical lyrics deal with diverse aspects of human (and sometimes animal) nature to which people of all ages easily relate.
Five years ago when Deysi Melgar landed a spot on the cast of Design Squad, she was an aspiring actress and dancer–she wanted to be a Broadway star. Last year she graduated from college with a degree in physics and wants to pursue a graduate degree in aerospace engineering. Now, Deysi wants to build planes. Deysi never considered a career in STEM until her work on Design Squad. Deysi came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was seven years old. She liked learning about how things work and developed a love for math in elementary school. She also loved acting, singing and dancing, and chose to attend a high school for performing arts. Deysi enjoyed the spotlight, but she was also drawn to the technical side of theater where she could build things–like set design and lighting. When she learned about Design Squad, she realized that her passions for math and theater could be channeled into engineering. Deysi got the part. While on the show, she experienced engineering first-hand and found out how dynamic and multifaceted it can be–collaborating with interesting and talented people, being creative, solving problems, and making a difference in people’s lives.
When you listen to 15-year-old folk singer Hayley Reardon, it’s hard to identify what’s more impressive: the fact that she’s already considered a seasoned folk artist or that she’s a national spokesperson for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. In any event, both are laudable facts that dovetail nicely on her debut album Where The Artists Go. Growing up in the fertile and storied folk scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it’s obvious that she’s been picking up and applying all of the best tips her elders have to offer. While she has a voice and playing ability that suggest someone much older, she writes about issues that are important to younger people, and recognizes her opportunity to make a difference with her music. The title track offers a nice summary of Reardon’s mature philosophy. “The song is about breaking rules and being passionate, bold, and original,” said Reardon “It’s about being proud of all of those things and letting them shine through.” Where The Artists Go is out October 23 on Kingswood Records.
Jeanne Birdsall writes for children. Her New York Times bestselling novels about the Penderwick family have collected many honors—including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature—and have been translated into twenty-two languages. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with her husband, two phobic cats, and an ill-trained Boston Terrier who muscled his way into the Penderwick saga.
Jonatan Lopez Aka “JFLO” is a human beatboxer and live electronic musician. Jflo started playing piano at a young age with out any sort of musical lessons or training, this way of learning lead to a musical ear where he is now able to recognize rhythms and melody patterns by listening. Jflo began to put his ideas together and started to produce/create instrumentals on computer software like many electronic musicians, this obsessive repetition of creating music lead to the discovery of beatbox with out knowing much about it. Beatbox is the creation of sounds/instrumental beats or replication of everyday sounds by using the human capabilities of the mouth or other physical aspects as an instrument(example: mouth, nose, tongue, vocal chords, throat, lungs etc.). Jflo discovered the world of beatbox and realized how complex it could be musically and rhythmically, this gave the idea that Jflo could express the musical thoughts of his mind in a direct manner, using beatbox as a language the same way we use language to express thoughts. After many years of practice and experience Jflo won the 2011 American beatbox championships and was recognized as a top international beatboxer. He was featured in a Volkswagen commercial in the summer of 2012 and he is now recognized as a beatboxing judge for the American beatbox community. Jflo continues to master his craft, perform and spread the idea of beatbox a muscial language that should be recognized.
John MoleMan Anthony is the owner of J.A.’s Cove ProShop in Great Barrington, MA, and is a major presence at the bowling alley there, which was the inspiration for the bowling alley in the Cohen Brothers’s movie The Big Lebowski. Anthony is an expert in the sport of bowling, having taught bowling at various levels for many years. Having obtained an acute understanding of the scientific ideas governing the interaction between human beings and bowling balls. Mr. Anthony undertakes the concrete action of matching bowlers of all body types and skill levels to the correct bowling balls for them. Additionally, he is an expert in the sport of boomerang, having won the World Boomerang Championship twice. In 1995, he set the World Record in an event called the Australian Round (a combination of distance, accuracy, and catching), and held that record alone for 10 years. In 2005, he was Harvey Keitel’s boomerang trainer for the movie A Crime, and was responsible for making all the boomerangs for the movie and all boomerang flight footage throws. He is also a successful carpenter and punk rocker.
Jon Friedman is the Co-Founder of Freight Farms, a modular farming company that enables high yield food production in any environment. With a focus on local food economics the system has the potential to redefine food supply across the globe. Besides running a start-up business Friedman is also a multifaceted designer who has been creating sustainable consumer products for some of the top consumer brands like Unilever, P&G, and Merck. A tenacity to achieve a more sustainable future is evident in the Freight Farms . No one said that up-cycling discarded shipping containers and transforming them into a source for commercial scale food access was an task but the potential was too great to keep the idea sitting on the back burner. In 2011 a kickstarter campaign launched to help raise funds for the first prototype, today the company is well on it’s way to bring Freight Farms around the world to the people who need it the most. Friedman has a BFA in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art & Design.
Justine Siegal’s mission is to show that baseball is a game for all. Her historical efforts have made her the first in several baseball accomplishments, including being the first woman to throw batting practice to a MLB team. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Baseball For All, a nonprofit that provides meaningful opportunities for girls in baseball. Justine is a true pioneer. In 2009, she became the first woman to coach 1B in men’s professional baseball. Between 2008-2010, she was the only female coaching in college baseball (Springfield College). In 2011, Justine graduated from MLB Scout school; she was sponsored by the Cleveland Indians. Later that Fall, the Women’s Sport Foundation honored her at their 32nd Annual Women in Sports Awards Gala. USA Baseball nominated Justine for the IOC Women in Sport Award. She is the co-chair for the Women’s Comittee for the Society of American Baseball Research. In 2011, she served as the first female head coach for the World Children’s Baseball Fair. Justine is the Chair of the Women’s Commission for the International Baseball Federation. She also serves as an IBAF coach and member of their Athlete Commission. Justine is the Director of Sport Partnerships at the Center of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. Sport in Society uses the power of sport to help change the world. Her main role is to help professional athletes earn a college degree. When not on the field, Justine spends time with her 14-year old daughter Jasmine. Justine is currently a PhD Candidate in Sport Psychology at Springfield College (MA).
Karen Smyers achievements include World Championships titles in 1990, 1995, and 1996, the Professional National Champion title for six consecutive years, a gold medal at the 1995 Pan Am Games, the Triathlon Pro Tour in 1993 and 1994, the World Cup Series in 1991, and a dramatic come-from-behind victory over 7-time champion Paula Newby-Fraser in the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships in 1995. Her victory at the short course World Championship just 5 weeks later earned her the distinction of being the only woman ever to win triathlon’s two most prestigious races in the same year. But her tenacity and courage in overcoming dramatic obstacles has captured the attention of the general public as well.
Kerah Cottrell is regarded as a leader of elegant web design, being innately skilled at empathizing with the user and cutting out the cruft to help the user attain their goals. Kerah was one of the very first design leads at Google. Spanning a period of 6 years she designed many of Google’s top products including the original multiple award-winning Google News. She was also the go-to designer for the home and search page (the most visited page on the internet at 1 billion unique users). In addition, she designed the first iGoogle and was one of only three standing attendee of Google’s weekly UI Reviews where all consumer-facing UIs came to be reviewed, advised, and finally approved pre-launch. Kerah’s passion for all things design stemmed early from her parents (her mother being an artist/interior designer, and her father being an artist/designer/builder). The road to Kerah’s success at Google had tons of twists and turns including graduating with a BA in Theater to becoming United Airlines “Philadelphia Flight Attendant of the Year.” The latest twist includes focusing on her kids and resuming one of her original loves… dance. She attends many classes per week, while teaching her children to be creative, think outside of the box, and to follow their passions. Kerah firmly believes that when you do what you love, you make yourself (and those around you) happy and better equipped to make the world a better place.
Besides numerous television appearances on HBO, COMEDY CENTRAL, MTV and NBC as a stand-up comic, Kevin has appeared as in a number of movies as well. He can be seen along side Ben Stiller in “The Heartbreak Kid,” with Jim Carrey in, “Me, Myself and Irene,” and along side Bill Murray in “Osmosis Jones.” You may also recognize him as one of Charlotte’s boyfriends in HBO’s “Sex in the City.” Kevin got his start as an athlete, lettering in four sports in high school. He then attended the University of Massachusetts where he was a two time team captain and went on to win a variety of honors including “New England College Player of the Year” and a position on the 1984 Olympic Development Soccer Team. He then went on to play three years of professional soccer in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). Following his soccer career, Kevin transitioned from pro-athlete to professional sportscaster, host, and entertainer. He covered World Cup Soccer for Fox Sports, ESPN, and ABC. Kevin’s Sport Figures television show on ESPN received the POLK Award for excellence in children’s programming. In 1996, Kevin became one of the first television hosts to travel the world in search of extreme outdoor adventures. As star of the Discovery Channel’s Go for It, Kevin navigated life-threatening challenges routinely as he swam with the sharks, jumped out of airplanes, scaled dangerous peaks, and sped around racetracks. The show aired throughout the United States and 24 countries around the globe and can still be seen today. Kevin’s one-man show based on that experience, “The Go For It Guy” won the “Best of Fest” at the Boston Comedy Festival and HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. He is currently producing a children’s cartoon for Disney, as well as producing a World Cup Soccer Movie for IMAX entitled, “One World, One Game.” This summer Kevin launches the “Nantucket Comedy Festival,” the first festival in the country dedicated to presenting quality comedic entertainment for all ages. Most weeks Kevin can be seen on the New York Times, Humor Blog, as well as “warming up” the audience for Steven Colbert and the Colbert Report and as a “Political Humorist,” on Fox Networks “The Strategy Room.”
A Managing Principal at Continuum, Kevin Young is passionate about design. He understands that design is a powerful tool in tapping into the sensorial and subconscious triggers that make people fall in love with the products they use. Since joining Continuum in 1997, Kevin has been the manager for many successful and award-winning projects, including the Hundred Dollar Laptop for the MIT Media Lab. In addition, Kevin has focused on building strong relationships with Continuum’s Fortune 100 clients, such as Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble and American Express. Kevin graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design. He later acted as an adjunct professor at Syracuse, teaching courses in product development and computer-aided design. During his professional career, Kevin’s product design successes have resulted in 6 IDEA awards, 2 ID awards, and 1 Red Dot award. Additionally, Kevin has the honor of being named on 18 US patents.
Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Wangchuk
Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Wangchuk (Trichen) is the only living descendent of Songtsen Gampo, the first Dharma King of Tibet (617-698 AD). Trichen represents his long lineage after being coronated by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in exile since 2004. He is part of a generation of young Tibetans struggling to retain their traditional culture in the face of persecution. Trichen was born on December 15, 1992 and has lived his whole life in exile with his family in Dharamsala, India. His mother and two sisters live in India and another sister lives in Oregon. He attended the Tibetan Children’s Village boarding school until he was 17 and has been at boarding school in the United States since then. He is graduating this year and is planning to go to college in the United States. Trichen enjoys his studies, especially Chinese language, math and science and has recently completed the Middlebury-Monterey Summer Intensive English Program. He is an avid rower and a solid student. Trichen also happens to be a talented filmmaker. He made his first film in collaboration with BYkids, an organization that pairs youth from around the world with master filmmakers such as Albert Maysles and Ric Burns to create short documentary films about their lives and distributes the films for American audiences. Trichen took this as an opportunity to educate the world of his family’s trials. His movie, MY COUNTRY IS TIBET personally illuminates the plight of the Tibetan people (see the trailer of his film at www.bykids.org/tibet-trailer.php) and premiered at several prestigious film festivals. The film is being distributed by Discovery Education to schools in America. Trichen has personally screened the film for over 3,000 American students, speaking at each screening. It has been featured in The New York Times.
Michael Gropman is a 1981 graduate of Brookline High School. He joined the Brookline police department in 1989 and was promoted to the rank of captain in 2004. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College, and a Doctorate in Education from Boston University in Developmental Studies. He has received advance leadership and Management Training from the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, D.C, Babson College in Wellesley, MA and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, MA. Still active with Brookline Hockey, he founded the Brookline High Alumni Hockey Association some 9 years ago. Brookline high hockey alum work together with the local high school and youth hockey programs to raise money for various causes. An alumni hockey tournament is held at the Dexter School each February, and an alumni golf tournament is held at Putterham Meadows each September. Michael Gropman is a member of the Town’s Transportation Board and Parking Committee, and is on the executive board of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce. He is an Adjunct Professor at Mt. Ida College in Newton, has done research in many areas of youth advocacy. This includes research with DYS Commissioner Jane Tewksbury, Esq. on the Massachusetts Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI); Harvard Law Schools School to Prison Pipeline project (STPP) w/ Tamara Wilson, and Mass Medical Schools Failure to Appear project (FTA) w/ Gina Vincent Ph.D. He is currently researching a police risk assessment instrument to be implemented by officers in pre-arrest situations with juveniles. Michael is an avid boatman, and spends time each summer on Nantucket as the assistant director of the Nantucket Comedy Festival. He also an education coordinator for Massachusetts Hockey, and runs local coaching clinics for USA Hockey. He is a father of two remarkable girls & celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary this year.
Scott Williams is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel that served over 20 years as an Army leader and pilot of the world’s most advanced attack helicopter: the Boeing AH-64 Apache. Today, Scott serves as the marketing director for the turboshaft and turboprop division of GE Aviation. In his current role, Scott works closely with global customers to develop market strategies and gain insight in regards to the development of new turboshaft engines. The new engines are designed to meet a burgeoning demand for more advanced and efficient helicopters in support of the expanding offshore oil and gas exploration, para-military applications, medical evacuations, and local and national security purposes. Scott works closely with helicopter designers and GE engineers to manage customers’ needs and match GE technology and innovation to incorporate the art of the possible and reduce operating costs, fuel burn, and NOx emissions while at the same time improving reliability and operational safety. Scott is an accomplished Master Army Aviation with over 2,000 hours of experience flying Apache’s in some of the world’s harshest environments. Following an engineering degree from West Point, Scott’s time in the Army included positions as the chairman and professor of Military Science at Boston University, deputy commander for a 3,000 member task force, and numerous other leadership, operations, and logistics positions supporting aviation operations. Scott and his family reside in Brookline where he also serves the community in various roles within Brookline Youth Hockey.
Snap Boogie was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently a student attending Mount Pleasant High School in Providence. During his time off from school, he is busy street performing and entertaining crowds all over Boston. He spends many hours practicing and coming up with his own choreography, using his skills and natural ability to “freestyle.” Coming from one of the toughest neighborhoods in town, Snap Boogie tries to stay out of trouble by practicing his dancing. He strives to be a good example to kids, showing them that they too can stay off the streets if they cultivate a passion for dance.
As a Flight Controller for the International Space Station Thomas Horn handles life support for the space station and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 100+ billion dollar orbiting research center, which includes keeping 6 scientists living and breathing in space. His fascination with space began in his childhood in Hawaii, with frequent trips to the Mt. Haleakala observatory, run by his father, Leslie Horn. Horn turned the passion of his youth into a career that exists only in dreams for most, devoting himself to the parallel goals of expanding the reach of human space flight and educating children (the next generation of astronauts, Flight Controllers and scientists) about the achievements and benefits of spaceflight. As a specialist in Life Support, Thermal and Environmental Control Systems Horn provided real time support in guiding the International Space Station through the worst US systems failure in its history. Pushing the boundaries of science, educating the engineers of the future and conducting life saving operations in space; all in a day’s work for Tom Horn.
Tyler DeWitt is willing to bet that you weren’t exactly crazy about your high school science classes, and he is passionate about changing how we think about teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and math fields. A research scientist, high school teacher, and digital content creator, Tyler draws on these backgrounds to develop engaging curricula and pedagogies that foster critical thinking, problem solving, and authentic understanding. Tyler has taught high school Biology, Chemistry, and English at independent schools in the United States and South Korea, and he worked as a project manager to develop new K12 science curricula for the state of Florida. Tyler is currently a Ph.D. student in Microbiology at MIT, where he studies how bacteria transfer pieces of DNA to their neighbors. At MIT, he teaches science to high school students from underserved backgrounds through the MITES summer program, and he is a student coordinator for the new MIT+K12 video outreach project. Tyler is also the author of an ever-expanding online video textbook for high school Chemistry. Tyler has served as a fellow with the Educational Foundation of America’s Teaching for Experience program, and at MIT he is a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Graduate Resident Tutor.