Wildlife Trade Expert
Annecoos Wiersema is a Professor of Law & the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Her research focuses on international environmental law, with an emphasis on international wildlife law and illegal wildlife trade. She is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law of the IUCN, the Board of Editors of the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, and the Accountability Panel for the Wildlife Justice Commission. Originally from England, Annecoos enjoys traveling with her husband & son.
Robot Communication Expert
Bradley Hayes directs the Collaborative AI and Robotics Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he is an Assistant Professor. As CTO of Circadence Corporation, he develops revolutionary educational programming to expand the cybersecurity workforce. He completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Yale University's Social Robotics Lab and was a postdoctoral associate in MIT's Interactive Robotics Group. Currently, he’s developing novel explainable AI techniques for safe human-robot collaboration. He will never say no to sushi.
Dr. Chris Fisher is an archaeologist, National Geographic Explorer, and Professor of Anthropology at Colorado State University. In 2007, he and his team first documented the ancient city of Angamuco, a sprawling metropolis that once had as many structures as modern-day Manhattan. His recent work uses remote sensing technologies, including LiDAR, to better understand urbanism & environmental change in Mexico and Honduras. As a child growing up in Duluth, Minnesota, he developed a love for wilderness canoeing, a passion that persists today.
Chuck Plunkett, a professional journalist for more than 22 years, is the director of CU News Corps, a capstone program at the University of Colorado Boulder. He joined The Denver Post as a reporter in 2003, led coverage of the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and later served as the editorial page editor. Plunkett made international headlines for leading a team of writers who called out The Post’s owners, Alden Global Capital, for their business practices. He’s passionate about plant-based foods, distance running, and playing the piano.
Colorado Bhangra Team
The Colorado Bhangra Team is Colorado’s official state & only competitive team, consisting of three collegiate chapters from CU Denver, CU Boulder, and CU Colorado Springs. Bhangra is a folk dance that originated in Punjab, India. Traditionally, men wear turbans and women wear churi daar or salwaar kaameej. Colorado Bhangra has performed at the U.S. Capitol and for His Holiness Dalai Lama Fellows. They taught at the Global Changemakers Summit in Switzerland. Their Annual Summer Institute teaches Bhangra to students age 5-55 from around the country.
Dick M. Carpenter II
Judicial Thought Leader
Dick Carpenter is a professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Director of Strategic Research at the Institute for Justice, where he has published on a variety of topics ranging from educational policy to the dynamics of presidential elections. His articles, reports, and book chapters have been cited in White House reports and by the United States Supreme Court. Previously, he worked as a school teacher and principal. As a classically trained percussionist, he performs regularly in Colorado. He has flown private planes for 20+ years.
Dr. Ethan Mann is the Vice President of Sharklet Technologies, Inc., an innovative surface technology company based in Aurora, Colorado. Ethan has a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. He trained as a post-doctoral fellow in infectious disease at the Ohio State University. He serves on NIH review panels to evaluate small business innovation research grants. Ethan played Division II College Football at Chadron State College, runs marathons, and is more athletic than he looks! He has four children with his beautiful wife of 14 years, Tracy.
As a middle school teacher in Aurora, Colorado, Connie Hong used to write songs during her lunch breaks and play them for her students. She founded Ivory Circle with producer & multi-instrumentalist Chris Beeble. They are joined by Rob Spradling on drums & percussion. They released the acoustic EP, “Entropy” in 2013 to positive reviews and a featured song on a promotional spot for Showtime’s The Affair. The EPs in their Triangle series, “Equilateral,” “Isosceles,” and “Scalene” are available on iTunes and Bandcamp.
Jamie Newton founded “That’s What She Said,” a storytelling event in Denver where women submit stories & men are invited to read them aloud, for the first time, on stage in front of a live audience. TWSS highlights the nuances of gender-based discrimination and what it means to be an ally in women’s rights movements. Jamie is the Women & Gender Center Coordinator at the University of Colorado, Denver. She has two dogs, Stevie Lix and Grimké, named after the first American women's rights advocates. In 2019, she will receive her Masters in Social Science.
Disaster Relief Technologist
For over a decade, Sarah Tuneberg worked in public health & emergency management in places like South Sudan and post-Katrina New Orleans. She founded Geospiza on the belief that data can save lives. Her interdisciplinary team develops data-driven, evidence-based solutions that reduce risk and enhance resilience, especially for the most vulnerable populations who suffer disproportionately in disaster. When she’s not protecting us from hurricanes, fires, floods, and tornadoes, she’s catching up on the latest celebrity gossip, her guilty pleasure.
Restorative Justice Advocate
Dr. Shannon Sliva, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver, researches the impacts of criminal justice policy. Partnered with Colorado practitioners, policymakers, and advocates, she is currently documenting the impacts of leading-edge restorative justice laws and developing recommendations for policy transfer. When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilderness with her husband, practicing ashtanga yoga, or petting a cat (any cat). Her love language is handmade pasta.
Transracial Adoption Expert
Susan Devan Harness is an American Indian transracial adoptee & a member of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes. Her extensive writing about American Indian assimilation policies & child placement includes Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, a 2019 Colorado Book Award finalist. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology & an M.A. in Creative Nonfiction Writing, both from Colorado State University. She loves to travel and has visited all but four U.S. States. She was a seasonal interpretive park ranger with the National Park Service.
Theo E.J. Wilson (aka Lucifury) is a founding member of the Denver Slam Nuba team, which won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. He began his speaking career in the N.A.A.C.P. at the age of 15, and has always had a passion for social justice. Wilson is Executive Director of Shop Talk Live, Inc., an organization that uses the barbershop as a staging ground for community dialogue and healing. In 2017, he published his first book, The Law of Action. His TEDxMileHigh talk, “A black man goes undercover in the alt-right,” has over 10 million views online.
Veronica Crespin-Palmer is the Co-Founder & CEO of RISE Colorado, a non-profit in Aurora that educates, engages, and empowers low-income families and families of color to fight for educational equity in our public-school system. Born & raised in Denver, Veronica is a 7th generation Colorado native. She began her career in Los Angeles as a Teach For America (TFA) corps member and has 10+ years of experience as a teacher, organizer, and social entrepreneur. She was recently chosen as an Inaugural Obama Foundation Fellow and is a proud wife and mother of two.