Jinahie (“my wings” in Arabic) is an Egyptian-American performance artist and social justice activist. Now in the fifth year of her national tour, Jinahie performs at colleges and universities across the country. In the process, she has collected hundreds of Potluck Poems, a collaboration among strangers in which a poem is completed during live performances by the contribution of a line from each audience member. Jinahie has performed at Sundance Film Festival, the U.S. Department of Education, United Nations, Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and was a featured performer during a showing of the Pulitzer-Prize winning drama, Ruined, during which she had the honor of performing for Michelle Obama. Her latest endeavor, The Virgin Obsession, is an ongoing project that collects anonymous interviews to explore global traditions, value-systems, and myths surrounding female virginity.
Bre Seals articulates her feeling of service to the community through choreographed dancing, colorful depictions of artistry, and her spirit of joy through movement. A native of Atlanta, GA, she studied the arts of ballet, modern, and jazz dance, with a heavy background in lindy hop & swing dance. She graduated from Tri Cities Visual Performing Arts Magnet High School, received her academic dance training at the California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA) and is currently a senior Dance Major, Technical Theatre Minor at Howard University (Washington D.C.). Motivated to tell stories from her own lens and dance style, in 2013, The SEALS Dance Project was founded as a pre-professional dance company. As an Artistic Director, Bre Seals finds true hope and purpose in producing her work, as it serves as a testimony and lesson to others.
Dr. Carol O’Donnell is the Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center, which is dedicated to transforming the teaching and learning of science. O’Donnell is responsible for all operational activities, including building awareness for K through 12th-grade science-education reform and overseeing curriculum, professional, and leadership development at the center. Before joining the Smithsonian, O’Donnell worked at the U.S. Department of Education where she oversaw federal investments focused on teaching and learning. O’Donnell began her science-teaching career in Virginia public schools and she currently serves on the part-time faculty of George Washington University’s Physics Department. O’Donnell earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh, her master’s degree in geosciences from Mississippi State University, and doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from the George Washington University.
Dean Carnegie is a graduate of the Chavez College of Magic, a school that teaches the art of stage manipulation magic. He is also an accomplished sleight of hand artist and award winning performer. Dean has been a full time entertainer for 20 years, logging in nearly 8000 performances. His diverse magical abilities allow him to work in many different venues including the corporate market, fairs, festivals, and television.
Besides performing 300+ shows a year, Carnegie is also a leading magic historian. He writes the most popular blog on magic history called The Magic Detective, and has given talks and lectures on the history of conjuring to fellow magicians and historical societies.
Carnegie is also author of the upcoming book, The Houdini Way, which explores the marketing methods used by the great Harry Houdini.
Emma Yang is passionate about innovation. As an enthusiastic coder, she founded ConcussionChecker, an app to help the early detection of concussions and Timeless, an app to help Alzheimer’s patients lead better daily lives. Emma’s achievements include winning the Technovation Challenge, becoming the first ever middle school mentee of the Wolfram Mentorship Program and participating in the White House’s Opportunity Project. She was also awarded the Michael Perelstein Memorial Discover Your Passion Scholarship and named one of New York’s 10 Under 20 Young Innovators to Watch. In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, biking, and going to movies with her dad. She is also an introvert and enjoys being one! Emma is a strong advocate for STEM and wants to encourage all girls to explore their interests in science and technology.
Dr. Gregory H. Stanton is the founding chairman of Genocide Watch, the founder of the Cambodian Genocide Project, and Founder of the Alliance Against Genocide. Dr. Stanton is Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University. He was the President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Dr. Stanton served in the State Department, where he drafted the United Nations Security Council resolutions that created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He wrote the State Department plan on ways to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice, and drafted the rules of procedure for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a J.D. in Law from Yale Law School, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. in Government from Oberlin College.
Guillaume is the co-founder of the Art Porters gallery in Singapore and the MaGMA Collection. A former investment banker, then regional CEO of a major advertising agency, with more than 30 years experience in Asia, Guillaume is also the founder of Tyna, a consultancy with a mission of inspiring and guiding re-inventions. An active member of YPO, Guillaume is a graduate of HEC Paris (M.Sc. Management 1982), and participated in programs at NYU’s Stern graduate business school, ESADE in Barcelona and Stanford University. He received the Philips Scientific Prize for the Young (1979), Campaign Asia Pacific’s accolade for best advertising network head (2004), and the award of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (2009).
Jessica Hawkins has been serving the Metropolitan Police Department, in Washington D.C, (MPDC) since May of 2000. Prior to that, she served as a police officer for six years in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She is currently assigned to the Executive Office of the Chief of Police, Strategic Change Division, Special Liaison Branch where she supervises the LGBT Liaison and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit. In February of 2014, Jessica announced to MPD and the world, that she is transgender and began living her life full-time as her authentic self. Since then, she has strived to strengthen the MPD’s relationship with the LGBT community. Jessica was born in Miami, Florida and attended Lord Fairfax Community College and Northern Virginia Community College throughout her young adult years.
Jessica Kidd is the founder of Gracie’s Gowns, a nonprofit organization that makes and donates hospital gowns to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The organization is operated from within the living room of her home, where her fiancé and their four children live. One of her four children has special needs. In the five years since Gracie’s Gowns was founded, over 3,000 gowns have been made for children across the globe. Jessica has received four national community service awards for her work to include the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award, and was selected as a L’Oréal Paris 2016 Woman of Worth. She holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and will be pursuing her Masters of Art in Executive Leadership degree at Liberty University.
Jon Staff is the Founder and CEO of Getaway, a company that provides people with the opportunity to disconnect from the stresses and routines of work, technology and city life. Allowing people to escape from cities, Getaway allows guests to retreat to tiny houses in nature. Jon grew up in northern Minnesota and is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
Marcus Bullock is a justice reform advocate, public speaker and entrepreneur. Following his 2004 release from prison, he launched a painting business and is now CEO of Perspectives Premier Contractors, which employs other returning citizens. Bullock is also the founder of Flikshop, an app that enables incarcerated people the ability to receive mail and postcards. This service became a leader in the industry, and led Bullock to co-found The Flikshop School of Business, a program that teaches incarcerated men and women life skills and entrepreneurship. Bullock has won the 2015 Innovator of the Year (The Daily Record) and 2016 Booz Allen Hamilton Aspen Ideas Award (The Aspen Institute).
Dr. Mario W. Cardullo is the noted inventor of the modern RFID, the conceiver of Mobile Communication Satellites and was chosen as one of the 100 technology leaders in Virginia. Cardullo was also the first Planning Officer of the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) and served in the Apollo Program as the Senior Propulsion System Engineer. Currently, Dr. Cardullo is the Chairman of the CIG, Ltd. company building prototypes and promoting his new patents. He is a member of the Associate Fellow of the AIAA, Senior Life Member of the IEEE, Fellow of Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange. He is also the Chairman and Founder of nR LLC, a company dedicated to developing his nano RFID/computer patents and other technologies.
Martha Weiss grew up in San Francisco, studied Geological Sciences at Harvard University, and earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Botany department. Her dissertation research, which addressed the phenomenon of floral color change, drew her into the study of entomology and insect behavior. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Insect Science in Tucson, she joined the Biology Department at Georgetown University. There she carries out a research program in which she investigates behavioral interactions among plants, pollinators, herbivores, and predators over ecological and evolutionary timescales. Her projects have included investigations of color, pattern and shape learning in butterflies, prey recognition by predatory wasps, the ecology of defecation behaviors in insects, and the persistence of memory across metamorphosis in Lepidoptera.
Public Health Revisionist
Dr. Monica Ruiz is an Associate Professor at the Milken School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Dr. Ruiz’ current research focuses on examining the epidemic impact of policy change on HIV infection and linkage to care outcomes among injection drug using populations in Washington, DC. In addition to expertise in clinical research, Dr. Ruiz also has experience in public policy, and actively worked with other advocates for the removal of the language in the Federal legislation that prohibited the District of Columbia from using city-generated revenue for syringe exchange programs. She continues to be actively involved in efforts to expand harm reduction services for drug users in the District of Columbia.
Nick van der Kolk
Nick van der Kolk is a radio producer, sound designer, artist, events organizer, and the host and creator of the critically acclaimed Love + Radio podcast. His work has appeared on This American Life, Radiolab, The New York Times, Snap Judgment, and numerous radio outlets worldwide. He is also the co-founder of Megapolis — an audio art and leftfield radio festival. His media career began in 2001 as a DJ and later station manager of his college’s 5-watt, student-run station (slogan: “Stations with listeners have sold out”). He has won multiple awards from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, and is a 2012 USA Artists Collins Fellow.
Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s Sustainability desk, where his coverage focuses on energy, environment and the global economy. During twelve years on the staff, he has contributed in-depth reporting on Venezuela’s economic crisis, the long-term U.S. job market, energy-rich locations and the “resource curse,” the 2011 tsunami in Japan and 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa. He has reported from more than a dozen countries. From 2006-2010, Tong served as Marketplace bureau chief in Shanghai, where he reported a special series on the economics of one child. He covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the global financial crisis from Asia, China’s exploding consumer market, product safety and slave labor scandals, and controversial case of baby-selling in China’s international adoption program. Prior to joining Marketplace, Tong worked as a producer and reporter for the PBS NewsHour, where he reported from Iraq in 2003.
Stacie Whisonant is the Founder and CEO of a FinTech startup called Pay Your Tuition Funds in Washington, D.C. A native to Virginia, she has more than 13 years of experience in the finance and banking industries with a background in mortgages, structured settlements and annuities where she worked for the speciality finance company Stone Street Capital, and also for HSBC. Stacie received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Management from Longwood University and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, where she continues her service to mankind through community service projects. Stacie also a military veteran and she served eight years as a United States Army Reservist. Lastly, Stacie likes to spend her free time with family, traveling, keeping up with the latest technologies and playing UNO.
Dr. Virginia E. Wotring is the Assistant Professor at the Center for Space Medicine and the Department of Pharmacology, the Chief Scientist and Deputy Director, Translational Research Institute at Bayer College of Medicine, and Science and Integration Manager for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Her research involves examining the changes in physiology and pharmacology that occur in the confined, closed, microgravity, elevated radiation environment of a space mission. Two of her projects are being conducted onboard the International Space Station: the design and implementation of a new iOS-based app for iPad collection of medication use data directly from crew members during space flight missions and an examination of potential alterations in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the spaceflight environment.
Wajahat Ali is the Creative Director of Affinis Labs, where he works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalized communities. Previously, Ali helped launch the Al Jazeera America network as co-host of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. Ali is also the author of The Domestic Crusaders, the lead researcher of "Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America," and the writer on a television show about a Muslim American cop in the Bay Area. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Washington Post, the Guardian, and Salon.
In 2012, Ali worked with the U.S. Department of State to design and implement the “Generation Change” leadership program to empower young social entrepreneurs. He was honored as a “Generation Change Leader” by Sec. of State Clinton and as an “Emerging Muslim American Artist” by the Muslim Public Affairs Council.