Andria Michele has been coaching people towards success in various disciplines for more than two decades. Her transformational style utilizing cutting edge techniques has helped people overcome their doubts, increase self-esteem, and achieve a wide range of goals.
Fishing enthusiast + oral historian
"Fishing" Buddy Seiner has been enjoying the outdoors since he was two years old. After an 11 year career in communications and nonprofit management, he began working to combine his passions of fishing and storytelling, creating the Fort Knox of fishing stories in the Fish Stories Archive. Since that point, he has dedicated his time, money, and energy to promoting cultural and voice preservation within the fishing industry. His mission and purpose is to ensure that all angler voices are recorded and preserved for future generations... because all fish stories deserve to be told. As passionate as he is about fishing, he is even more enthusiastic about learning the stories and backgrounds of fishing enthusiasts from all disciplines and sharing them with people all around the world.
US Navy Installation Program Integrator
Cynthia Lintz, PhD, AICP, is the Installation Program Integrator at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay with the Department of Navy. In this capacity, she works with residents of the military base and coordinates activities between the different operational organizations working on the base. Combining her doctorate in Planning, Governance and Globalization from Virginia Tech, her certification with the American Institute of Certified Planning and her interests in borders, Cynthia examines how individuals live and are governed in borderlands. She received "Outstanding Dissertation for 2015" for her research of borders in Southeastern Europe, and the Texas State American Planning Association Award in 2003 for work along the Texas-Mexican border.
Military historian + political science professor
John is currently Associate Professor of Political Science at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He has been teaching and writing about military history, strategy, and security since 2008. As the co-author of Small States in the International System and author of the The Little Big Horn Staff Ride, John has been able to translate his interest in military matters to his professional career. Currently he is working on two books, one focusing on the history of military advising missions and another on failures in strategy throughout military history. As a foodie and collector of militaria. his interest in rations and military cookery came naturally. A native of Toledo, Ohio, John loves nothing more than watching freighters on the Great Lakes and eating Tony Packo’s chili dogs along the Maumee River.
Human rights advocate
Justice Theis was homeschooled for the majority of her life and feels it important to credit who she is today to all of the people who gave her a taste of their passion. After graduating in 2018, she completed a Discipleship Training School through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Perth and found her life calling as a missionary, human rights advocate, and anti-human trafficking educator.
Next year she will be moving to Hungary to join an established anti-trafficking ministry to work with survivors of human trafficking, provide resources and materials for other ministries both regionally and globally, as well training others to pursue a similar calling.
World traveler + business consultant
A global citizen, Kriti is a passionate and creative troubleshooter who can motivate people to come together and create innovative solutions to the trickiest problems. Professionally, she is a Strategist and a Business Development Consultant. She strives to make new connections and to share information across industries and continents. An advocate of 'Miles without Borders', she firmly believes knowledge and experience sharing should not be limited by geography nor siloed by industry. Her journey has led her to the largest privately held bank in the US where she helps drive growth for the business as well as her colleagues.
Mike has called Rapid City home for the past 20 years. He is a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology graduate who has worked for local startup companies and is involved in business professional network communities within the area. His deepest passion comes from his philanthropic work within the recovery community. Mike created Rocket Talks, a mentorship and life coaching company, in an effort to connect with others who may be struggling and to share his own experience with navigating tough times. He loves spending time with his wife and their four children adventuring around the Black Hills!
Financial literacy author + equal pay advocate
An award winning author, a bilingual podcast host of Financially Savvy in 20 minutes, keynote speaker and educator. Her activities have been featured in the Huffington Post, LA Times, 60 second docs that has over two million views. A first generation college graduate in Finance and International Business with a Masters in public Administration, she focuses helping those dealing with student debt and to keep working towards their financial independence. Born in El Salvador and raised in Inglewood, CA during the LA riots, Natalie quickly learned that the lack of higher education and financial illiteracy limits her community of basic human rights and equality in resources. She starting investing in real estate and began her career advocating for financial empowerment and women empowerment for equal pay.
Russell Brown is a veteran teacher who currently teaches social studies at Poudre High School (Fort Collins, CO). He was also part of the founding team and is a current board member of Compass Community Collaborative School (Fort Collins, CO). His articles have appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, Principal Leadership, American Diplomacy, and The American Historian. Among the awards he has received include: a commendation from State of Colorado House of Representatives (2017), the Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of American History for Colorado (2014), and the Poudre School District Excellence in Education Award (2008). However, the greatest honor he has received has come from those students who have maintained contact with him after graduation, resulting in many deep friendships. In addition, he has the incredible distinction of being the officiant for the weddings of sixteen former students (and counting).
Victims' advocate + attorney
Sarah Klein is a victims' attorney, advocate, and a former competitive gymnast. Sarah is also one of the first known victims of former Olympic Women's Gymnastics Larry Nassar, and in July 2018, at the ESPYs, Sarah accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on behalf of herself and the hundreds of other survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse. Prior recipients of the Ashe award include Nelson Mandela, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Robin Roberts.
Her op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "I lobbied to change the law after I was abused by Larry Nassar," caught the attention of Pennsylvania's Attorney General, and she has worked in multiple states for statute of limitations reform that will bring survivors healing and justice.
Sarah is an alumna of Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Global Entrepreneurship program.
Sean Covel is a Film and Television Producer who grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Covel has produced several movies, including the iconic independent film, Napoleon Dynamite. His films have won multiple awards, generated over one-quarter-billion dollars in revenue internationally.
In 2019 his new children’s book, Porter the Hoarder, was used as the centerpiece of a family engagement initiative in partnership with the United Way.
As part of the program, 2500 area 1st graders received free copies of the book, along with “Parent Homework” to spark reading at home. By 2021 it will include every 1st grader in South Dakota.
Covel holds a degree in Broadcast Management from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he guest lectures each spring.
Covel enjoys lecturing at universities and film festivals internationally, but he hangs his nunchucks in Deadwood, SD.
Dr. Stephen Khachikian is a board-certified ophthalmologist, specializing in cataract, corneal and refractive surgery. Dr. K grew up in Brooklyn, NY and obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Upstate New York, and his medical degree at Albany Medical College. He continued his medical career in New York, completing his Ophthalmology Residency, and Cornea and Refractive Surgery Fellowship. For the last 10 years, he has been practicing Ophthalmology at the Black Hills Regional Eye Institute. He has authored numerous articles and textbook chapters detailing corneal and cataract surgery. He initiated the development of the Corneal and Cataract Research Division of the Eye Institute and is the Principal Investigator of many of the research trials. He lives in Rapid City with his wife, Hillary, and their 5 children.
Tech entrepreneur + chemical engineering student
William lives to change the world with a dream to impact the lives of billions through entrepreneurship and the United States K-12 education system. Originally from the small-town of Valley Springs, South Dakota, he first fell in love with self-education and mentoring through competitive tennis. After entering the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology as a chemical engineering and chemistry student, he was inspired by local entrepreneurs to enter the world of technology startups. Throughout his college experience, he has lived in various areas of the country such as Golden, CO, Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA attending prestigious research opportunities. Now as a Goldwater Scholar, he is founding HomeMetrics, a tech startup, with the hope to change how we monitor the health of our homes. After graduation, he hopes to continue with his startup with the backup plan of attending Stanford University for an MBA.