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 studied the arts of ballet, modern, and jazz dance, with a heavy background in lindy hop & swing dance. Receiving her academic dance training at the California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA) in 2012, and currently a senior Dance Major, Technical Theatre Minor with a concentration in lighting design at Howard University (Washington D.C.), she’s been granted unique opportunities to work and train with various international and renowned choreographers. 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. As she embraces the ability to associate sound with color, Bre Seals is giving the opportunity to share her unique ability of experiencing the sensation of colors in a way that only her choreography brings justice to describe.
Carol O’Donnell is the director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center, which is dedicated to transforming the learning and teaching of science throughout the nation. She is responsible for all operational activities and planning for the unit, including building awareness for preschool through 12th-grade science-education reform, conducting programs that support the professional growth of P–12 teachers and school leaders, and overseeing all research and curricular-resource development, philanthropic development and administration.
Before joining the Smithsonian, O’Donnell worked at the U.S. Department of Education where she oversaw nearly $17 billion in annual federal investments under the ESEA. While earning her doctorate at the GWU, O’Donnell managed a five-year, National Science Foundation-funded trial aimed at identifying the conditions under which effective middle school science curricular interventions improve student learning and reduce achievement gaps when scaled-up.
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.
Desirée Venn Frederic is a Sierra Leonean born writer and installation artist of Geeche and Maroon ancestry. Her work pulls heavily from her transnational experiences and understandings. An artist and thought leader, she explores identity, ownership and contemporary ideas in aesthetics. She uses her work to negotiate multiple strata of marginalization being both undocumented and an aboriginal indigenous woman. She is an interior designer creating experiential spaces and interiors. She is a community organizer and founding member of Artist Union DC, with a keen interest in cultural studies and artistic expression. She is particularly interested in the ways in which fashion, visual culture and critical theory inform, shape and encourage discourses surrounding the socio-economic, political and cultural.
An 8th grader, 13 year old Emma is passionate about science, computer science, and technology innovation. In 2015, Emma won first place in the US and second place globally in Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship competition for girls, out of 400 teams from more than 60 countries. Emma is a strong advocate for STEM and would like to encourage all girls to explore their interests in science and technology.
An enthusiastic coder, Emma founded ConcussionChecker – an app to help detect concussion early and Timeless – an app to help Alzheimer’s patients lead better daily lives. Emma plans to publish these apps on the App Store to benefit the community and beyond. As part of the efforts to advocate for STEM, Emma also founded the first ever Middle School coding club in school, teaching her fellow middle school students how to code.
In 2015, Emma was awarded the Michael Perelstein Memorial Discover Your Passion Scholarship for her outstanding achievement in STEM.
Gregory H. Stanton is Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Stanton is the founder and chairman of Genocide Watch, the founder and director of the Cambodian Genocide Project, and the founder and chairman of the Alliance Against Genocide. 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. Stanton won the W. Averell Harriman award for "extraordinary contributions to the practice of diplomacy exemplifying intellectual courage," based on his dissent from U.S. policy on the Rwandan genocide. He wrote the State Department paper 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; J.D. in Law; and M.T.S..
A serendipitous encounter with a painting in Los Angeles led Guillaume Levy-Lambert on a quest to understand and on a mission to spread art’s uniquely powerful transformative power – as a collector, as a gallerist, and as an artist. Guillaume is a co-founder of Art Porters gallery in Singapore, whose mission is "sharing happiness with art”. 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 Merite (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.
She served as a patrol officer from August of 2000 to October of 2006 in the Sixth District (Anacostia NE/SE). As a patrol officer, she responded to calls for service, conducted preliminary criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, impaired driver enforcement, and other patrol functions as needed. October of 2006 she was selected as a Master Patrol Officer (MPO) and served in that position until January of 2014. In the nine years she served as an MPO, she field trained close to 100 officers.
Jessica Kidd is the founder of Gracie’s Gowns; which is 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 as well, one of which has special needs as well. 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. Currently, she is also completing her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and will be pursuing her Masters of Art in Executive Leadership degree this fall both through Liberty University.
Jon Staff is the Founder and CEO of Getaway which allows people to disconnect from the stresses and routines of work, technology and city life by allowing them to easily escape to nature and stay in tiny houses the company rents by the night. 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 founder and CEO of mobile app Flikshop, a free app that enables incarcerated people the ability to receive mail and postcards. Flikshop ships postcards to over 2,000 correctional facilities around the country, connecting thousands of families to their incarcerated loved ones. Flikshop has become a leader in their industry, and let Bullock to co-found The Flikshop School of Business, a program that teaches incarcerated men and women life skills and entrepreneurship.
He is a member of the Justice Policy Institute’s board of directors, Washington, DC’s Commissioner on Reentry and Returning Citizens, and Re-Entry Coordinator for Free Minds Book Club and Writer’s Workshop.
Dr. Mario W. Cardullo is the noted inventor of the modern RFID, conceiver of Mobile Communication Satellites and was chosen as one of the 100 technology leaders in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was the first Planning Officer of the Communications Satellite Corporation, and also served in the Apollo Program as the Senior Propulsion System Engineer for all aspects of liquid rocket propulsion from R&D to program management. His work on the Apollo Program he drew experience from the development of the variable thrust concept which was used by the Lunar Lander and the variable thrust plug engine for the Lance missile system. Currently, Dr. Cardullo is the Chairman of the CIG, Ltd. company building prototypes and promoting his new patents. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA, Senior Life Member of the IEEE, Fellow of Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange. He is also one of the founders of nR LLC, a company dedicated to developing his nano RFID/computer patents.
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 time scales. 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. Currently, she is investigating top-down and bottom-up determinants of host range in Lepidoptera.
Public Health Revisionist
Monica S. Ruiz, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GWU. Her career has focused on research pertaining to substance using populations that are at greatest risk for negative health outcomes associated with substance use and addiction. In addition, Dr. Ruiz also has experience in public policy, particularly in the provision of legislative education to Congressional staff on the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs on reducing new HIV and HCV infections, and in advocacy activities for the removal of the language in the Federal legislation that prohibited the DC for using city-generated revenue for syringe exchange. Dr. Ruiz’s current research focuses on examining the epidemic impact of policy change on HIV infection and linkage to care outcomes in DC.
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. PYT Funds focuses on providing students with the opportunity to utilize crowd-giving and alternative data to reduce the burden of student loan debt. By using a financial technology platform to help families meet the growing funding gap to pay for higher education, PYT Funds is considered a disruptor to the finance industry and an innovative solution to the country's student loan crisis. Stacie is a chosen fellow of the prestigious Halcyon Incubator program in D.C with PYT Funds a notable winner at the Partnership Fund of New York City FinTech Innovation Lab in 2015.
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.