Jess Pelaez is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of revolutionary scientific research organization Blueprint Earth. She is a volcanologist, an accomplished extreme adventurer, and a professional field scientist. Her mission is to inspire everyone to tap into their innate curiosity, igniting wonder about our planet and the world we live in. Jess believes science should be accessible to everyone, and that there are no limits to creative possibility. Jess is dedicated to enhancing scientific communication and public engagement with science at all levels, without reservation. Jess is a Fellow in The Explorers Club and she has been featured in Popular Science magazine, NASA’s FameLab, and on National Public Radio.
Kevin Kantor is spoken word poet, actor, teaching artist, & queer agent for social change. He is the founder & former artistic director of Greeley, Colorado’s SOAPbox Productions, a theatre company & poetry venue dedicated to furthering conversations that are politically engaged & culturally conscious through live performance art. His writing, which aims to subvert toxic masculinity, explore survivorship & trauma, & raise queer voices, has been featured on The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Upworthy, & is forthcoming in the anthology "We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out." Most recently, Kevin was featured on an episode of John Ridley’s ABC drama American Crime.
Martin M. Monti has been an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Neurosurgery at UCLA since 2011. Prior to moving to UCLA, he obtained his PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Princeton University and was a Research Scientist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge UK. His research addresses two fundamental questions concerning some of the most characterizing aspects of “being human”: ‘what is consciousness, and why do we lose it (and sometimes recover it) after severe brain injuries?’ and ‘what is the relationship between language and thought?’
Melina Abdullah is Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She was appointed to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission in 2014 and is a recognized expert on race relations. Abdullah is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, with subjects ranging from political coalition building to womanist mothering. What binds her research together is a focus on power allocation and societal transformation. Professor Abdullah is a womanist scholar-activist – recognizing that the role that she plays in the academy is intrinsically linked to broader struggles for the liberation of oppressed people. She was also among the original group of organizers that convened to form #BlackLivesMatter and continues to serve as a Los Angeles chapter lead and a member of the national leadership core. Melina is originally from Oakland, California; she is a single mother of three children and resides in Mid-City Los Angeles.
Roxana is a PhD student of Economics and Political Science at Claremont Graduate University. She holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Economics from Tehran University, Iran. Roxana is one of TEDxClaremontColleges' student speakers and will use her compelling story to illustrate the struggles that come with being our authentic selves, emphasizing the challenges that those from underrepresented groups face. Her talk will present her call to action to resolve such obstacles in order to create a safer and happier future.
Simón Posada Fishman
Simón Posada Fishman is a first year at Pomona College. During his time in high school in Colombia, where he’s originally from, Simón taught himself how to code using online resources. He is passionate about the ways we can bring together seemingly separate worlds and he is specially interested in the mixture of computer science and art. Through his work he explores an intersection of computation, graphical art and literature.
Tim Amukele is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; the Medical Director of the Makerere University-Johns Hopkins University laboratory in Kampala, Uganda; and the Associate Director for Clinical Pathology programs for Pathologists Overseas Inc. He studies diagnostic clinical laboratories in developing countries and is working on drone transportation of biological samples to expand the reach of these diagnostic centers.
Wendy Davis is an author, attorney, former senator, and was Texas’ 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate. She entered the national spotlight during her historic filibuster during which she stood for 13 hours to protest a bill that would sharply restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion. She continues to fight for women’s economic and social justice.