Transgender Rights Activist
Dr. Chloe Schwenke is a Quaker human rights and peacebuilding activist, development practitioner, and academic with over three decades of international experience – nearly half of it while living in Africa. She recently served as vice president for global programs at Freedom House in Washington, D.C. and earlier still as an openly transgender senior political appointee for the Obama Administration at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – the first transgender political appointee ever assigned to the federal foreign affairs agencies. Chloe currently teaches on the adjunct faculty at both the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and works as an independent consultant in international development.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Fulbright specialist in investigative reporting
Deborah Nelson joined the Merrill faculty in 2006 after five years as the Washington investigations editor for The Los Angeles Times. She also reported for the Washington Post, Seattle Times and Chicago Sun-Times. She currently is a freelance reporter for Reuters.
Nelson shared in the Pulitzer for a Seattle Times series that exposed widespread problems in the federal government’s Indian Housing Program. She co-edited Pulitzer Prize-winning series at The Washington Post on the deaths of 229 children in the District of Columbia’s care, and at The Los Angeles Times on the deadly accident record of the Marines Harrier jump jet. Her science and environmental reporting also has received national honors. She wrote a critically acclaimed book, The War Behind Me (Basic Books 2008), on the soldiers who spoke out about U.S. war crimes in Vietnam.
Associate Dean for the Office of Executive Programs and a Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
Gary Cohen is Associate Dean for the Office of Executive Programs and a Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Cohen teaches in the areas of International Business and Global Trade in the Undergraduate, M.S., MBA and Executive Education programs. Cohen was a 2009 and 2013 recipient of the Allen J. Krowe Award for Teaching Excellence and was named as a Top 15% instructor for 5 consecutive years before assuming his administrative role. Cohen is a Certified Executive and Leadership Coach and is the founder and principal of Forward Action Coaching, LLC, a firm specializing in helping executives, businesses and organizations in the private and public sectors realize their full potential in successfully executing sound business strategies and achieving overall objectives. Cohen has also served as an adjunct executive & leadership coach for Right Management.
Greg Van Kirk
Co-Founder and President of Social Entrepreneur Corps
Greg Van Kirk has been practicing and teaching social entrepreneurship for 15 years. He as well is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of sister organization Community Enterprise Solutions. Greg is an Ashoka Lemelson Fellow, Ashoka Globalizer and was recently recognized as Schwab Foundation “Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012 (Latin America)” at the World Economic Forum. Greg is the innovator who designed the MicroConsignment Model. He has served as a consultant for organizations such as USAID, Chemonics, VisionSpring, Soros Foundation, Church World Service, Inter-American Development Bank, IFC, Water For People and Fundacion Paraguaya in the US, Latin America and Africa. Greg also contributes time as “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” and has recently worked with Columbia University, NYU, Marquette University, Indiana University, University of San Diego and Arizona State University. He is a senior advisor for AshokaU.
Founder of Social Rise
Kushaan is currently a consultant at IBM and Founder of Social Rise, a DC-based organization focused on teaching social media and online community building tools to primarily underserved community members. A University of Maryland graduate, he is an advocate for digital equity, education reform, and increasing opportunities through connecting people. Kushaan remains fascinated by how technology can enable potential and is a big fan of social entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital space. He is a Starting Bloc Fellow, published blogger, and guest speaker. Aside from being a huge TED Talk enthusiast, Kushaan enjoys rooting for his hometown Boston-based sports teams, all types of Mexican food, and solid power naps.
International Student at the University of Maryland
Luanjiao Aggie Hu is an international student from China. She came to University of Maryland at College Park in August, 2013 for her graduate studies. Currently she is enrolled as a first-year PhD student in the International Education Policy Program at UMD. At age 2, Luanjiao Aggie had a car accident and then a partial left foot amputation when physicians recommended a below-knee amputation. She walked without a prosthesis for 13 years after the injury. Luanjiao Aggie attended mainstream schools in China, got her B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language in Xi’an, China and her M.A. in International Education Policy at UMD.