Astrophysicist, astrobiologist and science educator
Dr. Brendan Mullan is an astrophysicist, astrobiologist and science educator. As a scientist with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Brendan works on novel approaches to searching for intelligent life in the universe. He is also an assistant professor of Physics at Point Park University and the director of science for The Wrinkled Brain Project, a local nonprofit initiative for improving science education. Brendan is the winner of the nation-wide NASA Astrobiology Famelab science communication competition and in 2013 was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in making science accessible to people of all ages.
Joseph Gonzales is a convicted felon who served 15 years in prison. He speaks truth and inspires others to see with a deeper, more meaningful perspective the importance of relationship building and vulnerability. His vision and purpose are the direct result of the hardship and endurance he has experienced. Refusing to be held hostage by a restricting narrative, he was determined to break free of the stigma associated with being incarcerated. Now in a position to give back, he offers key insight to help others overcome adversity, develop a foundation for growth, and maximize their potential for success. He is currently authoring a book detailing his core practices and principles.
Aspiring poet, screenwriter, playwright and novelist
Kristopher Chandler is a senior Screenwriting major at Point Park University. An aspiring poet, screenwriter, playwright and novelist, Kristopher has hopes of connecting with diverse communities around the globe, advocating for equality and peace in what he describes as a “hostile, yet beautiful world.” Upon graduating in April, Kristopher anticipates attending law school with a concentration in international law and legislative & policy advocacy. He hopes to one day work within the political arena, using his writing and creative works to inspire others.
Mental health advocate
Lorenzo P. Lewis is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. Born in jail to an incarcerated mother, Lorenzo struggled with depression, anxiety and anger throughout his youth. At age 17, he almost re-entered the system of mass incarceration he had come from. It was then he began his journey to wellness. After a decade of working in behavioral health, Lorenzo started The Confess Project, an initiative that confronts the stigma around mental health for men of color. Lorenzo helps individuals confess to their issues to begin to build a better process of living.
Mark Houser writes “MultiStories,” a monthly Pittsburgh Magazine column about the city’s historic skyscrapers. He is the director of news and information at Robert Morris University and a former investigative reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He also has appeared on NPR, CNN and FOX. Houser created a downtown audio walking tour at Robert Morris University that has been translated into 10 languages and each year he coordinates leadership development trips in Pittsburgh for Europeans through the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
Digital marketing entrepreneur
Nicole Martin is a digital marketing professional and owner of SEOcial Consulting. She started consulting in 2015 and has worked with many industries including banking, retail, performance contracting, hospitality and others. Nicole has a strong background in content development, starting as a writer and evolving into a focus on digital strategy. She currently holds the position of Digital Personalization Manager at UPMC where she concentrates on data-driven analytics, strategy and customer experience.