Singer + Artist + Entertainer
Branjae is the birth child of classic soul, funk and R&B, with a culmination of lyrical depths, energetic theatrical performances, and genre fluidity. Her storytelling is as unique as the personas she embodies. Branjae encourages elevated consciousness by connecting with her audiences for the soul purpose of creating unity and harmony.
Director of Education & Research, Oklahoma Aquarium
Growing up on the Chesapeake Bay, marine habitats and issues affecting these habitats have been Ann Money’s passion since childhood. Ann has dedicated her career to education and research, from the Bering and Red Seas to the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. The past 19 years have been spent inland at the Oklahoma Aquarium as the Director of Education and Research. Ann earned her Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, and after a 25 year career in aquatic sciences, she began a PhD program at Oklahoma State University. Ann studies the functionality of bio-fluorescence in coral animals. This National Science Foundation backed research is not only answering questions regarding bio-fluorescence, but is aiding in identifying its potential importance for failing reef systems. Ann utilizes the knowledge she has gained to illustrate the importance of our planet’s beautiful reef systems and ocean habitats.
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, San Diego State University
Dr. Christal Sohl first fell in love with scientific research as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma, where she helped synthesize chemical models of pollution-damaged heme. She then obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University where she studied the molecular mechanisms of a class of drug metabolizing enzymes called P450s. A postdoctoral fellowship brought Dr. Sohl to the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University where she explored treatment strategies against HIV and cancer. In 2015, she joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at San Diego State University, where she is currently an Assistant Professor. Prof. Sohl leads a bright and diverse team of “Sohlmates” who are exploring how metabolic enzymes become altered to drive tumor development and growth. By understanding how enzymes go "rogue" in cancer, we can establish the mechanisms behind tumor formation and identify new drug targets to combat this complex disease.
Speaker & Coach
Emeka Nnaka is a professional motivational speaker, coach and leading advocate for individuals with physical challenges. He brings a message of determination, inspiration, and hope to audiences of all ages. Emeka is uniquely qualified to present life, its challenges, and its opportunities from the perspective of someone who found strength through tremendous adversity.
Author, attorney, and consultant
Hannibal B. Johnson, a Harvard Law School graduate, is an author, attorney, and consultant specializing in diversity and inclusion issues, human relations, leadership, and non-profit leadership and management. He has taught at The University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma State University, and The University of Oklahoma. Johnson serves on the federal 400 Years of African-American History Commission. His books, including Black Wall Street, Up From the Ashes, Acres of Aspiration, Apartheid in Indian Country, Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, and The Sawners of Chandler, chronicle the African American experience in Oklahoma and its indelible impact on American history. Johnson’s play, Big Mama Speaks—A Tulsa Race Riot Survivor’s Story, was selected for the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival and has been staged in Caux, Switzerland. He has received numerous honors and awards for this work and community service.
Architect & President, Jones Design Studio
Molly A. Jones, AIA is an Oklahoma Architect, Design-Build Institute of America Professional, LEED ® Accredited Professional, Green Globes Professional, and Guiding Principles Compliance Professional with over 25 years of experience. Her passion is sustainable design and construction. She founded Jones Design Studio, PLLC (JDS) to create beautiful, sustainable, regenerative communities. Her design projects focus on sustainable living and community-building. She designed The Joinery, the first project in Oklahoma seeking certification as a Living Building. She also works with cohousing communities in Northeast Oklahoma to help build more livable, sustainable communities. She is an advocate for sustainability and social equity. In 2016, JDS became Oklahoma’s First JUST™ Organization, pioneering the way for social transparency. Ms. Jones was the driving force behind the City of Tulsa’s net zero water ordinance which transforms water use in buildings.
Dancer + Choreographer
Priya Raju is a choreographer and the director of Kripalaya Dance Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kripalaya specializes in Bharatanatyam and other dance styles of India. The school’s main mission is to preserve this culture while promoting unity in diversity. Priya Raju began studying Bharatanatyam at age five. After her family moved to the United States, she frequently traveled to India to continue her training. Priya has studied and worked with some of the great luminaries of dance and music in India and won many accolades along the way. In 2018, Priya received the Women of the Year – Pinnacle Award by the YWCA, in partnership with the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women, recognizing her work in promoting diversity in the art of dance and for being a mentor and role model to young girls.
Director of Community Relations, Gathering Place
Rodrigo Rojas is the Director of Community Relations at Gathering Place, where he provides leadership and coordination for Gathering Place in all community-based strategies, communications, and outreach efforts. Prior to Gathering Place, Rodrigo served as Director of Development and Communications at Teach For America and Director of Operations at La Semana Del Sur, Oklahoma’s Spanish-English Newspaper. Rodrigo is also the founder of Festival Americas, a free multicultural festival that celebrates the rich and diverse culture of Tulsa’s Hispanic community and inspires the next generation of leaders through college scholarships. Born in Argentina and raised in Tulsa, Rodrigo has a passion for public service, improving access to opportunities in all communities, and celebrating diverse cultures. Rodrigo earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in Marketing Management.
Theater troupe presenting in American Sign Language
Sunshine 2.0 is a professional traveling theater troupe based at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York. The troupe provides performances and activities for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults that highlight the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), as well as educational topics pertaining to the Deaf experience. The theater troupe travels to schools and programs serving deaf and hard-of-hearing students, colleges, museums, conferences, civic groups, festivals and other venues. Performances are presented in voice and in American Sign Language, are accessible to all audience members and cover subjects for people of all ages.
Tvli Jacob ain't no movie man, but he's seen a lot of movies. He has also worked on a few motion pictures. He produces, directs, and writes them sometimes. He loves working on productions with Native American Indian, Indigenous and First Nations communities. Besides movies, he makes failed attempts at other artistic endeavors. He is responsible for managing all aspects of the documentary film and multi-media components for the Center for Indigenous Health and Research Policy (CIHRP). He is from the Choctaw Nation in Southeast Oklahoma. He loves stories but doesn't collect them. Instead, he prefers that stories collect him, be a part of him, flow through the universe and exist as it wishes to be. People in his family walked the trail of tears, resisted oppression, preserved the Choctaw language and fought for tribal rights and sovereignty. He has a daughter, Nuseka, who is a philosopher, free-thinker, creator, artist and the reason he exists -- which is a lot for an 8-year-old.