A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is the Founder and CEO of SHE Wins Inc., a leadership and social action organization serving middle and high school girls from over twenty schools in Newark. SHE Wins! was initially created for girls who lost a parent or sibling to homicide. While that remains our core interest, we have expanded to serve girls seeking leadership development or who have in other ways been affected by violence in Newark, New Jersey. Born and raised in the city of Newark, at 17, A’Dorian designed and taught a free SAT and self-empowerment workshop for Newark high school students for two summers. Realizing the need for support services specifically designed for girls, she founded SHE Wins to create a pipeline of college, career, and community-ready young women leaders. SHE Wins continues to reach hundreds of girls in the greater Newark area through a variety of activities and events. With an emphasis on community building, SHE Wins Scholars’ service projects through our organization and our community partners, touches more than 1,300 members of the Newark community annually.
Alexander Huang and Celeste Huang are brother and sister team of journalists raising awareness of the global refugee crisis. They have documented refugee camps and displaced people in Greece and Mexico and are key members of a major global portrait project called “The Power of Faces” that seeks to humanize the crisis, which the United Nations calls “the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.” Celeste and Alexander have documented refugee boat landings in Greece as well as nighttime ocean patrols with the Greek Coast Guard. They have interviewed displaced individuals in camps in Athens and Chios, Greece and most recently were in Tijuana, Mexico documenting the plight of individuals in the so-called “Migrant Caravan.” Alexander and Celeste’s work has been exhibited at Amnesty International, The Middle East Institute, numerous colleges, and high schools, and other institutions. Their photographs related to the refugee crisis have appeared in several magazines and online media. Alexander is a junior at The Pennington School in Pennington, NJ. Celeste is a sophomore at The George School in Newtown, PA.
Amy Hoover is an Assistant Professor of Informatics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Formerly she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Playable Innovative Technologies Lab (PLAIT) at Northeastern University and a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta. Her research acknowledges that humans and computers excel in different areas of the creative process, and draws on these unique talents to build systems that harness the power of each. Conceptualizing creativity as a search in a structured space of computational artifacts, she researches constructing such search spaces and search methods to solve a given problem or produce a desired experience, with effective search and modes of human-computer collaboration as core concerns. While her doctoral work focused on developing representations and collaborative environments for composing music, during my postdoctoral positions she has been extending these ideas to build and study video games from both AI and human-computer interaction perspectives.
Cesar Bandera is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Martin Tuchman School of Management of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His research interests include entrepreneurship pedagogy and entrepreneurial ecosystems with a focus on healthcare and robotics. Bandera has also launched successful ventures in the m-Health industry and in civilian and defense autonomous mobile platform industries. Bandera received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University at Buffalo, NY, with a specialization in biomimetics and active vision. He is recipient of the NASA Space Act award, Small Business of the Year Nominations from the United States Department of Defense, and four patents. He has also authored book chapters and publications in research journals including the Journal of Small Business Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Electronic Commerce Research, and BMC Public Health. Bandera is Assistant Vice President of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Associate Editor of the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine, Guest Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, and Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Dr. Santasieri possesses over 35 years of practical and applied environmental, infrastructure, land use planning, and community development experience in both the public and private sectors. She has extensive experience and expertise in the planning and design of sustainable and resilient properties, communities, and civil infrastructure systems. She has successfully identified and secured millions of dollars in funding for projects, programs, and research studies. She designs and conducts educational forums for elected officials, government staff, nonprofits, communities, and students on various urban, transportation, environmental, brownfield, and regulatory topics. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of Policy and Planning Innovation for Civil Infrastructure and Environment at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII). One of her major roles is leading the NJII Brownfields Program. She and her team are subject matter experts that provide technical assistance to state, regional, county, local, and tribal governments and nonprofits throughout the US in their efforts to transform contaminated properties into community assets. Dr. Santasieri holds a PhD in Urban Systems, an MS in Civil Engineering, and a BS in Environmental Planning and Design.
Dr. Donald H. Sebastian is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) and Senior Vice President of Technology & Business Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJII is an NJIT 5.01c3 Corporation that is a new model for business innovation serving key industrial clusters that anchor the state and national economy. Since its founding in 2014, NJII has launched new programs that increased the annual base of expenditures to $80M in activities serving biopharmaceutical, civil infrastructure, defense, financial services and healthcare sectors of the State’s industrial base. He served as NJIT’s Sr. Vice President for Research & Development from 1999 and more than doubled the university’s sponsored research to $110M placing the Institute in the top five among US polytechnic universities.
Dr. Sebastian is an Executive Board Member, Treasurer and past Chairman of the R&D Council of New Jersey, Treasurer and Executive Board Member of the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, and serves on the Executive Committee of Innovation New Jersey, the Boards NJ Manufacturing Extension Program, the South Jersey Technology Park, the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation, and was past Research Chair and Executive Board Member of the Henry H. Kessler Foundation. He was a founder of the NJ Healthcare Information Technology Extension Center, the NJ Homeland Security Technology Systems Center, the NJ Nanotechnology Consortium and the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program. For these and other efforts he was inducted in the New Jersey High-Tech Hall of Fame in 2006, named an NJBIZ Healthcare Innovation Hero in 2015, added to the Made In New Jersey Honor Role in 2016, and in 2018 named to NJBIZ Power 100 and ROI’s top New Jersey Influencers for Technology.
Dr. Sebastian received his Bachelor of Engineering at Stevens, graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1974, was a Tau Beta Pi National Fellow, and member of Gear & Triangle activities honor society, Khoda leadership society and the Varsity S club. He received his Masters of Engineering from Stevens in 1975, and the Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1977.
Grace Ibitamuno is a published fiction author and a dual doctoral candidate pursuing an MD at Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a PhD in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Health Systems at Rutgers School of Public Health. She is also a trainee of the HRSA-supported New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program, an interdisciplinary training that enhances leadership and prepares fellows to care for children with developmental needs and other related conditions. Grace was a member of the groundbreaking RV144 vaccine trial team, the landmark study that showed efficacy in reducing HIV infection. She has studied the effect of screening guidelines on prostate cancer incidence and mortality with the support of a competitive NCI-supported fellowship. She has also been involved in global health efforts in Southern Africa and is a recipient of the meritorious Executive Women of New Jersey scholarship. Her present research focus is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and service utilization in underserved populations and social determinants of health, both of which have led her to intern at New Jersey’s Department of Health and in the Social Impact and Community Investment arm of RWJ Barnabas.
Grace has published online as a lifestyle contributor and in a scientific journal on balancing family and her academic pursuits, and on the journey to becoming a physician. Her novel on human trafficking, Not Yet Beautiful, is available where books are sold. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Ejike, and their son, Kendrick.
Jasmine Wahi is a curator, activist, and a founder and co-director of Project for Empty Space in Newark, NJ, a non profit dedicated to cultivating important social discourse by supporting artists and engaging local communities. Ms. Wahi also curates exhibitions globally, and organizes happenings around social activism. Her practice focuses on issues of female empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multipositional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism. She is a published art writer, and is currently working on several writing projects, including one for young women of color interested in art and social impact.
In addition to her other work, Ms. Wahi is also a professor at the School of Visual Arts, and a frequent speaker on art and activism. She is a former board member of the South Asian Women's Creative Collective (SAWCC), the Co-Chair of The Feminist Art Projects 2019 Day of Panels on Rape, Radicality, and Representation, and is currently serving on two advisory committees for art and social engagement. Ms. Wahi’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, VOGUE, VICE News, Hyperallergic, ARTNews, ArtNet, and more.
Ms. Wahi received her Masters from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, where she focused on issues of intersectional narratives and authorship. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog Momo.
Jason Vitug is a financial wellness expert, founder of personal finance website phroogal, and bestselling and NYTimes reviewed author of You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life. Jason's story began when he said "no" to the CEO position and walked away from his executive job to backpack through 20 countries in 12 months rejecting the traditional path to forge his own way in the world. In 2015, he created the Plutus Award-winning project the Road to Financial Wellness and hosted over 90 events in 48 states attended by over 16,000+ people in just 2 years. In 2018, Jason continues to break the social taboo about money and completed the very first 21-hour Facebook Live marathon on financial health. Today, Jason leads a Wellness Warrior community of over 70,000 millennials sharing a philosophy on experiential and purposeful living through sound financial decision-making. Jason has been featured on Forbes, Yahoo Finance, US News and more. Jason is an Elizabeth NJ native and is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelors in Finance and an MBA from Norwich University.
Madison Jaye is an International Media Personality & 10-time award-winning Spiritual Journalist. Specializing in Spirituality and Spiritual Healing, Madison self-titled podcast “The Madison Jaye Show” is now on Iheart Radio podcasting and is in partnership with Pandora. Madison has worked with some of the top celebrities & business professionals in the world such as Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, Oprah, Rihanna, Estelle, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Fatman Scoop and more. Additionally, Jaye has spoken in over 17 different countries and is also a three-time published author including her latest cookbook “Eat like A Chakra Goddess" assisting other build resilience through the spirituality of food.
Tomi Antoljak is an undergraduate student -athlete at NJIT, where he came on a tennis scholarship as 535th junior tennis player in the world. During his studies, he completed several internships, including investment banking for Deloitte, strategic development for an electric vehicle start up and financial technology analysis at Royal Bank of Canada. In his free time, he loves reading books about investing, psychology and evolution. An interesting fact about Tomi is that he never checks his phone one hour before bed and one after waking up.