Christine Renc-Carter has spent a lifetime deeply rooted in the pursuit of art. Born in Safety Harbor, FL, her childhood was spent travelling the country with her artist parents. Graduating with honours from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, MD. Christine has spent 20 years cultivating a unique artistic career as an artist and museum professional. She has worked with world-class art collections at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., oversaw the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s studio expansion and established a public art collection for St. Petersburg College. An accomplished artist, she is represented by her family's gallery, the Painted Fish, in downtown Dunedin and shows her work in the U.S. and Japan. Currently, Christine is the Curator for the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs.
Cole Eicher has experienced more in his young 18 years than most people have in their lifetime. At the age of 12, he suffered symptoms of unexplained morning nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. On February 1st, 2014 an MRI determined that Cole had a golf ball-sized tumour in his brain. His type of brain cancer, called medullablastoma was treated with surgery and nine months of powerful, sometimes painful treatment. In October 2014, his treatment was complete and he officially shows “no evidence of disease”. Cole has taken what he has learned about childhood cancer and made it his mission to go beyond his circumstances and think about helping others. He wants more people to support childhood cancer believing that “Everyone can do something to help kids fighting cancer.”
Divya is a student at Palm Harbor University High School and she is very passionate about engaging herself in both learning and the community. Divya enjoys collaborating with others and learning from individuals with different perspectives on a variety of topics. Divya started a nonprofit organization called Touch The Words and the team raises money and sends books to children in underdeveloped countries. Locally, Divya started a middle school public speaking program called Fight The Fright in order to encourage students to develop their own confident voice.
Dr Karyna Rosario is a research associate at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg, FL. Dr Rosario uses genetic approaches to identify viruses in animals, plants, and environmental samples and she is always excited about discovering new or unsuspected viruses in her samples. Her work has expanded the known viral diversity in invertebrates, provided the first comprehensive survey of viruses circulating in indoor air, and contributed to virus surveillance efforts for clinical, agricultural, and water quality control applications. When she is not hunting for viruses, Dr Rosario enjoys running, spending time with her family and keeping up with her two boys, Nathan and Lucas.
Michael Chen is a senior at Ridgeview High School in the IB program. He is a passionate inventor, researcher, and communicator who has done several scientific research projects that have had great success at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Michael is also currently serving as the Florida State president of Future Business Leaders of America. Michael Chen is working to bridge the gap between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and communication and is dedicated to making the world a better place through innovative ideas.
Robyn Mussler is the author and chair of the award-winning Next Generation Tech (NGT) program. She is an innovative IT leader, her career spans 30 years in building software solutions and streamlining business operations on a global scale. She is the CEO of Resolution Management an IT and Business Consulting firm. Her clientele varies from corporate 500's to start-ups. Recently, Robyn started a non-profit to expand her NGT program to communities across the country to foster our future creators and leaders.
Robyn holds a BS in Management Information Systems, an MBA and is certified in ITIL and Six Sigma. She has lived and studied in South America and Europe. Robyn resides in Clearwater, FL with her husband and two children; Renee 20 & Mitchell 17. When she is not inspiring the Next Generation, Robyn enjoys traveling and exploring the outdoors with her family.
Sandra Grudic has been a teacher for the last 16 years. Currently, she is teaching IB History and Holocaust History at Palm Harbor University High School. Mrs Grudic is originally from Bosnia, and she immigrated to the United States as a refugee back in 1998. Mrs Grudic is a passionate reader and world traveller. She worked as an educator in Kuwait for two years and is fluent in three languages - Bosnian, German, and English. She currently serves as the academic advisor for the International Baccalaureate thesis of four students, each studying a unique topic across various periods of history. Mrs Grudic is, in brief, a globally-minded teacher and mentor, with a broad yet deep perspective on culture, history, and the state of the world in which we live.
Will Cotter, 19 years old, is currently studying neuroscience at Florida State University. He plans to attend medical school in hopes of one day aiding spinal cord injury research. He endured an injury to his cervical vertebrae 6 and 7 shortly after graduating from high school and has been recovering ever since. His goal is to recover completely to demonstrate that even the implications of chronic injuries can be overcome. He owes a great deal of appreciation to the community that supported him throughout the entire process and his family, who never saw anything but the best in him.