Medical malpractice reform activist
Evelyn McKnight is one of 99 Nebraskans infected with hepatitis C in 2000 while receiving treatment for cancer. She is one of the founders of the advocacy organization Hepatitis Outbreaks’ National Organization for Reform (HONOReform). McKnight helped the Center for Disease Control (CDC) develop the One and Only Campaign (“One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time”). She serves as patient spokesperson for this campaign.
McKnight is co-author of A Never Event: Exposing the Largest Outbreak of Hepatitis C in American Healthcare History.
Orenda Fink is a professional musician, songwriter, performer and writer. Fink started with the pop rock group, Little Red Rocket, and signed with Geffen Records in 1996. In 2000, she formed the duo Azure Ray with Maria Taylor in Athens, GA. Azure Ray released and toured on six records, co-wrote songs with Moby, and had their music featured in film and TV.
Fink relocated to Omaha in 2003 and has written and recorded collaborative albums as Art in Manila, O+S, Harouki Zombi, as well as three solo records. She recently finished a US and European tour in support of her critically-acclaimed solo effort, Blue Dream.
Director of International Studies
Patrick McNamara is Director of International Studies at University of Nebraska Omaha. He teaches conflict resolution, sustainable development, and social entrepreneurship. McNamara is also Vice Chairman of the Board for Initiatives of Change–USA, part of an international interfaith nongovernmental network which is “building trust across the world’s divides.” He has trained and consulted in the U.S., South Africa, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Rita Paskowitz brings people together with story. As a rostered artist for the Nebraska Arts Council and Doane College’s Arts Are Basic, Paskowitz has edified and entertained audiences around the state. She teaches in the College of Education and the Certified Public Managers™ Program at University of Nebraska Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute. She is the Storyteller-in-Residence at Ted E. Bear Hollow, a center for grieving children and teens, and Co-Founder of Creative Healing, a program for processing grief through the arts.
Paskowitz is Co-Director of the national project Public Service Stories: Ask Me Why I Care and Director/Facilitator for Creative Healing, a weekly arts program at the Siena/Francis House/Miracles Treatment Center.
And yes, her hair is real.
Author and activist
Ruth Marimo started writing her memoir, OUTsider, while in jail awaiting deportation. Born in Zimbabwe, she never boarded her return flight from a visit to the US. After the expiration of her visa, she started living in the shadows as an undocumented immigrant until her ex-husband reported her to immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Marimo is a business owner who continues to stay in this country legally. She advocates for immigration reform and speaks out against the mistreatment of LGBTQ people in Africa.
Chair, Department of Neurology
Sanjay P. Singh, MD is the Chairman & Professor of the Department of Neurology at Creighton University School of Medicine. He is also the Medical Director of Neurological Services at Creighton University Medical Center.
He completed a neurology residency at George Washington University Medical Center; he was the Chief Resident of Neurology in his PGY-4 year. He then did a two year fellowship as the Gilbert Glaser fellow, at Yale University School of Medicine. He is Board certified in Neurology and is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society.
He is the author of the ‘Locatelli & Singh’s Handbook of Neurology’. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the A.B. Baker Teacher recognition award by the American Academy of Neurology, The UNMC Chancellor’s Gold U Award & Kudos award.
Modern pianist and composer
Dr. Stacey Barelos is a pianist and composer specializing in modern classical music. Her composed works have been performed across the US, Europe, and Australia, including the recent work Rambunction, which was featured on tour with the New Muse Duo.
Barelos has extensively researched the avant-garde piano music of Henry Cowell and released the album, Henry Cowell: Piano Music, in 2012. Dr. Barelos is the Education Chair for the Omaha Under the Radar Festival and teaches at the Omaha Conservatory and Iowa Western Community College.
Senior Director of Executive Leadership
Tom Matson, Senior Director of Executive Leadership for Gallup’s Education Practice, is an executive coach and leadership expert. He speaks to thousands of people each year about Gallup’s research on leadership, well-being, and behavioral economics. Matson challenges his listeners to become authentic leaders committed to living their strengths each day, aligned to their values and creating a thriving, hopeful life.
Matson coached high school tennis for more than 20 years, has served on the board of directors of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Tennis Foundation and the national advisory board of Tennis and Life Camps. He is the author of Unfrozen: A Father’s Reflections on a Brain Tumor Journey. He lives in Edina, Minnesota.
Nurse and international aid volunteer
Unita Kham was born in a remote village in Nepal. She is an RN at Methodist Hospital on Acute Care for Elders unit. She She received her BSN from Bethel College, KS and MSN from The Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, NY.
After the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, Kham went on a medical relief trip with a team of Nepalese nurses.She is an active organizer and volunteer at Nurturing Hopes, a group committed to fostering learning environment for children in Nepal. Kham’s long-term goal is to provide educational resources to children in a remote Himalayan village in Rukum, Nepal, so that they also have an equal chance at being another Bill Gates or Albert Einstein.