André Thomas' passion for game-based learning resonates inside and outside of the classroom. He founded and serves as the director of the LIVE Lab in the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University, where he also teaches game design, game development and interactive graphics techniques. In 2014, he founded Triseum, where he serves as CEO and leads the creation of its award winning academic video games. He is an EdTech Leadership award winner, National Academy of Sciences board member, National Arts Education Association lead instructor, and Chillennium Game Jam chair. André also has been invited to speak at numerous education and technology events both in the U.S. and abroad, including SXSW, TEDx, ASU-GSV, BETT and European Schoolnet. His game-based learning insights and ideas are featured in the Huffington Post, Austin Business Journal, eCampus News and Learning Solutions Magazine, to name a few.
With more than 20 years in CGI production, André has worked around the world on legendary video games, live action feature films and memorable commercials. Previously he was Head of Graphics for EA Sports Football games (including NCAA, Head Coach, NFL Tour and Madden, the longest running and most successful sports franchise in games industry). He also created graphics for such notable films as Men in Black, Con Air, Independence Day, Valiant, Ant Bully and Tomorrow Never Dies. Follow André on twitter at @athomas_tr.
Anthony Hermes is a 1986 graduate of the Texas A&M Mechanical Engineering program. He currently resides in Victoria, Texas with his wife of 30 years, Bonnie and has four children – Sara (TAMU Class of 2016), Ellen (TAMU Class of 2015), Emma (Sophomore at Victoria College), and Marcus (Junior at West High School).
He has 31 years of various leadership and engineering experience in manufacturing industries with United States Gypsum, ALCOA Aluminum, James Hardie Building Products, and The Dow Chemical Company. He has spent the last 16 years ocusing on equipment and people reliability for Dow Chemical’s Operations in Seadrift, Texas.
Anthony has been an active member of Toastmasters International since 2007 and has achieved the level of Advanced Communicator Gold and Advance Leader Bronze. He continues to be active in Toastmasters by serving as the President of Dow’s Seadrifters Toastmasters Club for the past 5 years. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, supporting his church, kayak fishing, creating art from wood, and public
speaking every chance he gets.
Bassel Daher is a Research Associate at Texas A&M University’s Water-Energy-Food Nexus Research Group (since 2014) and Coordinator at the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Initiative (since 2016). Daher’s work focuses on policy-oriented research in natural resource management, environmental sustainability, and resource security. He is particularly interested in developing Water-Energy-Food Nexus solutions that respond to biophysical, socioeconomic, governance, and financing constraints, at multiple scales, and in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. Daher has expertise in water-energy-food nexus analytics and the development of resource allocation assessment tools. His focus lies in developing analytics to catalyze dialogue, and improve cooperation, between cross-sectoral stakeholders.
He was recently selected as one of 8 young water professionals globally to serve on the Young Scientific Committee of the 2016 Stockholm World Water Week. Daher has contributed to multiple chapters of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report, co-authored a report on “Renewable Energy and the Water, Energy, and Food Nexus” for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and has contributed to or authored more than 15 journal articles, book chapters, and policy briefs relating to the interconnected water-energy-food securities and nexus assessment tools, including with Chatham House and Water
International. He was a recipient of the Montgomery Award in 2017, in recognition of major contributions to the academic opportunities and quality of life of his fellow graduate students at Texas A&M University. He currently serves as Vice President of the Texas Chapter of the American Water Works Association.
Daher holds a B.Sc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the American University of Beirut (2010), and an MSE (2012) from Purdue University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering-Multi-Scale Hydrology Group. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Water Management and Hydrologic Sciences at Texas A&M (2018). He was a Research Associate (2012-2014) with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, Doha.
Diana Wandix-White has been an educator for over 20 years. She has taught middle school, high school, junior college, and at Texas A&M University. After her father retired from military service, Diana's family settled in a small town in Kansas. She has three older sisters, and between the four of them, they have nine college degrees, so education is important to her family. In the past, Diana has served on the board of Life Houston to help infants get what they need to grow up strong and have a good start towards healthy cognitive development; and sat on the board of Beauty Mentoring to help young girls gain confidence, self-esteem, and leadership skills. Diana traveled abroad to teach English at a school in Mexico, and spent time teaching reading at an orphanage in South Africa. In 2016, she and her husband were honored to co-chair the Houston 2017 United Negro College Fund Gala, which raised a half million dollars to provide scholarships to deserving students.
Diana loves reading and writing and has a published dramedy book, as well as book reviews and other publications. She earned her B.A. in Communication Studies, and after years in corporate America, began her teaching career in San Jacinto County, Texas. She later earned her M.Ed in Reading Education. Diana is currently enrolled at Texas A&M University where she is earning a PhD in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in urban education.
Diana and her husband have four wonderful children: three who have graduated from college and one currently a college sophomore. Diana comments that she sincerely believes Nelson Mandela’s statement, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
My name is Dustin Kemp. I am from Lake Jackson, Texas. Before returning to College Station to complete my Undergraduate degree, I traveled the country, with the Austin-based band Suite 709 as the front man. I was named one of Austin Chronicle’s Best Male Vocalists two years in a row. Singing is one of my greatest gifts. My music has been featured on hit TV shows such as "Nashville" and "The Fosters". My band has been featured on Google+ and Billboard.com.
I attributes a lot of my success and determination to the tremendous support of faculty and staff within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Leadership and Development after being out of school for almost eight years. My parents and grandparents encouraged me to return and finish. I am also a professional graphic designer and an avid yoga practitioner. I express myself through my art and my practice. Both have been radical healing agents for me. I am the Capstone Program Assistant for LAUNCH at Texas A&M University. I am also a Maroon & White Leadership Coach and an Aggie ALLY.
Eduardo Angel is an Emmy Award-winning Visual Storyteller, independent Technology Consultant and Educator living and working between Brooklyn and Lisbon.
Holding an MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Architecture from Los Andes University, in Bogota, Colombia, Eduardo has
taught at The School of Visual Arts (SVA), the International Center of Photography (ICP) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), all in New York City. He has also mentored the photography programs at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah and Atlanta.
He is a cofounder of the production company The Digital Distillery, and author of popular filmmaking courses on Lynda.com and Kadenze.com. His book “Filmmaking Essentials for Photographers” was recently ranked among Amazon’s top 50 books for photographers and filmmakers.
Eduardo regularly publishes his thoughts on technology, photography, and cinema on his website eduardoangel.com and a variety of trade publications.
Selected clients include: Adobe, Avon, Benro, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Canon, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Doyle, Future Media Concepts, Gulf Photo Plus (Dubai),
Hasselblad, HOW Design Conference, Japan Society, Lynda.com, McCann Erickson, Mamiya/Leaf, New York Magazine, NAB Show, New York Times, Panasonic, Photo District News, PhotoPlus Expo, Photokina, Sigma, Sony, Tenba, Time Inc. Digital, Verse, The World Wide Fund (WWF), Universidade Lusófona, and X-Rite, among many others.
Eric Jing Du
Dr. Eric Jing Du is an assistant professor in the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M University (TAMU). Before joining TAMU in 2015, he was a senior data analyst at Zachry industrial Inc in San Antonio, TX. He has 15 years of research and teaching experience in the areas of civil engineering, data science, and computer simulation. As an active researcher at TAMU, Dr.Du focuses on smart information technologies for the next generation infrastructure systems, and aims to tackle engineering problems of significance to industry and society.
Dr. Du’s research has been funded by a variety of agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Transportation (US DOT) and Fiatech. He is also the receiver of many scholarly awards, such as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) best paper award. Dr.Du received his PhD degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University in 2012.
Life has been a great adventure. From a calling into ministry at age 14, through college, seminary, business training, and working with churches/mission-focused non-profits around the world for almost 30 years, I have enjoyed opportunities to learn and grow professionally. My marriage of 25 years to Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner, who serves as associate professor, and previously academic dean and executive vice-dean for Duke University Divinity School, our six year-old daughter Clare, and living on a ranch with chickens, horses, cows, and bees has added depth and breadth to life.
Life took an unexpected turn when a friend introduced me to a small mission implementing a three-year empowerment model designed by a group of Rwandan social workers. Frustrated by the cycle of relief and dependency, they designed a community and group based approach whereby orphans crushed by poverty, trafficking, hunger and abuse, are able to work together inside their own community to pull one another sustainably out of extreme poverty, with a success rate of approximately 85%. ZOE is more effective in measurable ways than anything I had seen or even imagined. What a privilege to stand behind these amazing orphans as they change themselves and the world.
George Oliver Rogers is a Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and a Senior Faculty Fellow of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University. He has conducted extensive research on human response to risk and hazards and is currently interested in behavioral aspects of sustainability, and the dynamics of risk perception and communication. His work on impact assessment and sustainability focuses on organizational and human behavior in light of threat of hazard and sustainability.
Howard Partridge is an international business coach with coaching members in over 100 industries in 9 countries. He is a best selling author of seven books, the exclusive business coach for the Zig Ziglar Corporation, the first Ziglar Legacy Trainer in the world, and a DISC Certified Human Behavior Expert.
Howard grew up on welfare in Mobile Alabama and left home at 18. He arrived in Houston, Texas on a Greyhound bus with only 25 cents in his pocket. He started his first business out of the trunk of his car over 33 years ago and built it into a multi-million dollar enterprise. He has owned 9 small businesses altogether and owns 4 companies at the time of this printing.
He is president of Phenomenal Products, Inc. which helps leaders and business owners inspire their teams using the Power of Community.
Howard’s upcoming book published by McGraw-Hill The Power of Community – How Phenomenal Leaders Inspire Their Teams, WOW Their Customers and Make Bigger Profits promises to be a game changer for any organization that harnesses the simple concept of building a sense of community in their organizations.
A self-proclaimed “explorer of the microcosmos”, Morgan Riba graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M in 2017 with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. She hopes to begin her path towards a double doctorate as part of an MD/PhD program. She is an International Baccalaureate diploma recipient, Texas A&M University Honors Fellow, and Undergraduate Research Scholar. While at Texas A&M, she earned a first-place poster award and publication for her research on the mechanisms of Salmonella infection. Outside of academics, Morgan is an advocate for mindfulness techniques and enjoys pilates, learning new languages, and music. While at Texas A&M, she completed a 3-year engagement with the Wind Symphony. She is an accomplished percussionist and pianist, receiving the TSSEC Outstanding Soloist Award for Marimba in 2013 and the President’s Cup for Piano Performance from NFMC in 2014. She believes that through personification of our traumatic experiences, we may learn to tame the beasts within us. Morgan is based in Austin.
Peter focused on biology at Brown University and on organizational development at UCLA. He has over 20 years of experience consulting for large, complex corporations in the areas of innovation, organizational development, and talent development. He served on the Advisory Board for Stanford University’s d.Loft STEM education program and as a Catalyst Coach for Stanford University’s Design Thinking Action Lab.
Peter has led workshops internationally for educators, parents, youth and industry leaders on the importance of youth-led social entrepreneurship, Challenge-based learning and creative character. He teaches high school engineering and physics, he launches hack-a-thons, and he, with his wife, mentors youth in Europe, Asia and the US to launch social entrepreneurship ventures that utilize design-thinking principles.
Regina Rowley is an international voice bringing awareness to violence against women and exposing generational skeletons hidden in closets. She is effecting change by enlightening and empowering survivors with support to #HealForward in I Am Priceless: Voices of Victory Over Violence. As an international, best selling author in Share Your Message with the World, Vol. 1 and in Behind Her Brand, Vol. 4 Regina inspires and encourages others to live life on purpose. As founder of www.IAm-Priceless.org. Regina is equipping and empowering women on their #HealingForward journey so they live life enriched.
Regina's credentials include: Smartsafe Instructor, Lev: 1-4; TKD Blackbelt; Toastmasters CC & CL; Registered Yoga Teacher: RYT-200; Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher; Hot Yoga Instructor; PiYo Instructor; AFAA Group Fitness Instructor.
Regina's local honors include: Specialty Classes Employee of the Year, 2015-2016, from Texas A & M Rec Sports for her contributions as a PiYo Instructor and Women Warrior Self Defense Instructor and Speaker; Voices Against Violence Award 2017 from The Brazos County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Fellow Yogis describe Regina's voice as peaceful, yet strong and confident. Her self defense students describe her as strong yet soft, passionate yet compassionate as she prepares them for mental, emotional and physical self defense. Whether she is speaking or teaching Regina is sensitive, fun and enthusiastic as she shows women how to tap into their own personal power and gain the confidence to be their first line of defense. Women must believe between their ears and in their hearts, they are valuable. They are priceless. It is her goal for women to understand and embrace the fact, they are worth protecting; to be prepared to defend themselves mentally, emotionally and physically.
Regina's life purpose is to enlighten, equip and empower women; so together we can change such violent statistics as “1 in 6 American women have been the victim of rape or an attempted rape.” “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.” “Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.”.
Aside from her passion as an instructor and speaker, Regina is a self professing 'crazy cat lady', enjoys traveling, the beach, down time with her family, and being a Gigi.
Regina will inspire and encourage you to overcome limiting beliefs, replace fear with knowledge and increase your belief in yourself. “Confidence is the unconquerable enemy of fear.” ~Regina Rowley
Robert Wunderlich is the Director of the Center for Transportation Safety at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. In that role, he is responsible for leading the Center’s efforts in traffic safety research, policy analysis, education, and outreach. Over the past three years, much of his work has focused on understanding the factors associated with traffic fatalities and injuries at the state and national levels and finding ways to lower them. He was a researcher on NCHRP 17-67, Identification of Factors Contributing to the Decline of Traffic Fatalities in the United States and led an analysis of the lives saved and return-on-investment for safety projects and programs in Texas. He is leading TTI’s work in assisting the Texas Department of Transportation with developing and implementing the Texas Strategic Highway Safety plan.
Robert is a long-time advocate for, and practitioner of, building safety into transportation infrastructure and making operational improvements to save lives, reduce injuries and minimize crashes. He also serves as Associate Director of the ATLAS University Transportation Center to advance transportation leadership and safety, in partnership with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Mr. Wunderlich is a native of Tennessee, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee.
He got “gone to Texas” as soon as he could and his career path has come full circle, as he started his professional work at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, but then detoured through the cities of Austin, Arlington and Garland with an interlude at a national consulting firm, before returning to TTI in 2012. Mr. Wunderlich is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and was International President of the Institute of Transportation Engineers in 2011.
Sanah Jivani is an honors college student double majoring in sociology and communications at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is the founder and CEO of a non-profit organization called The Love Your Natural Self Foundation, which focuses on empowering individuals through events, movements and hands-on sessions. She started this organization after losing all of her hair to Alopecia in the seventh grade and struggling with wigs, bullying and low self-worth. Now, her non-profit organization hosts projects in 100 schools and 28 countries worldwide. The biggest project hosted by her non-profit is the International Day of Self Love. She has reached over 30,000 students through speaking engagements and raised over $30,000 in fundraising.
Outside of her work with her non-profit, she is one of thirty We Are Family Foundation's Global Teen Leaders, an American Association of University Women Student Advisory Council Member, an America’s Promise Alliance Board of Trustee Member, a Pearson student Advisor, a State Farm Youth Advisory Board Member, a DoSomething and College Board Youth Advisory Council Member, a 2016-2017 Character Counts Person of Character. She has interned with national and local organizations such as The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, State Farm, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, Gobie, HelloFlo and others. She hopes that her extensive career and non-profit experience can someday be used to change the world, creating an International Day of Self Love that is present on every calendar, and celebrated globally.
In her free time, Sanah enjoys spending time with her friends and family, traveling, trying new cuisines, writing (particularly poetry and personal columns), and going on adventures!
Shayla Rivera is an Aerospace Engineer and former Rocket Scientist with NASA turned corporate trainer, Keynote Speaker, TV & Radio Host, Emcee, Writer, Facilitator, Moderator, Actor, Comedian and Awareness Expert. As of 2017, Shayla is also a Professor of Practice as well as the Director of the ENGR[x] program for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University.
However, none of these labels tells you much about her. She best describes herself as a spiritually irreverent Mystic and Awareness Expert. What many would call a Renaissance Woman.
Shayla was born and raised in Puerto Rico. After obtaining a degree in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Psychology at Texas A&M University, she spent 5 years working with NASA’s Space Shuttle and Space Station programs. From there she moved on to technical sales where she sold analyzers and water treatment chemicals to the chemical and refining industries. It was in sales where she found her passion for speaking. Shayla then moved into corporate trainings for stress management and motivational speaking. This is where she discovered the comedic talents, which led her into Standup Comedy.
She shares her expertise as a speaker with corporate, non-profit and educational clients around the world. Her performance credits include a great number of TV and Theater appearances and hosting the 13 episode TV series “You’re Not the Man I Married” for the Lifetime Real Women Network. However, Shayla is most proud of her multiple tours to entertain U.S. troops around the world.
A self-proclaimed Awareness Expert, Shayla has come to know one basic truth, “The best way to learn, grow and change - in other words become enlightened - is to lighten up.” Approaching very serious subjects with a very light heart, Shayla helps young and old alike become clear about the personal perspectives that might be getting in the way of their real desires.
With numerous awards and accolades throughout her speaking and comedy careers, Shayla is not easily placed in just one category or class, she defines her own. Shayla has been speaking and performing in both English and Spanish for over 27 years and always uses the power of the humor she has found in her own life story. She wants to help you do the same.
Shayla says, “My number one goal is to inspire through laughter.”