Alex Sheen is the founder of Beacause I Said I Would. Because I said I would is a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Their goal is to build a community of people who are driven to help others through the strength of determination.
Anna Griffin is an award-winning marketer who, for more than 20 years, has helped build and promote visionary campaigns for global brands such as Apple, Sony, Saturn and many others. In May of 2019, Griffin joined Smartsheet, the leading SaaS platform for the future of work, as Chief Marketing Officer. She has held positions on both sides of the marketing fence, leading teams on the corporate marketing side as well as holding executive-level brand management positions at advertising agencies in San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C. Griffin has been named the Advertising Women of New York Game Changer in 2016 and Moves Magazine Power Woman in 2018, among other accolades. Her passion for creativity extends into the classroom as a founder of Naledi Christian Academy in South Africa, aiming to support educational equality in the local town.
Avi Gupta is a first-year computer science and economics student at Columbia University with a passion for science, social entrepreneurship and activism. A trivia lover, Gupta was the 2019 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament champion. Avi created the #InspiredBy campaign, raising over $200,000 for pancreatic cancer research in honor of Alex Trebek. He founded Project32, a student-run social startup that has distributed thousands of dental hygiene kits to children worldwide. Gupta’s efforts to raise awareness and funds for dental hygiene and pancreatic cancer have been featured in national and international media including CNN, CBS and Good Morning America. His research on vascular disease has been published in journals and is currently in clinical use. Gupta also serves as class president, works to promote environmental sustainability, and provides pro bono technical and strategic consulting to nonprofits.
Clay Morris is a first-year Morehead-Cain scholar at UNC majoring in political science and media/journalism. Morris is a Campus Y Executive Board member, an assistant to the Student Body President, a Diversity Committee member and a Style Team writer for Coulture Magazine. Morris was previously a panelist on a March For Our Lives Tour in 2018 and a in the Youth Media Project of Jackson Free Press, where he wrote a long-form feature on the discrepancies among the quality, funding and success of predominantly White versus predominantly Black schools in his home state of Mississippi. To Morris, dialogue regarding race should be an active part of everyone's lives because race is always an active part of everyone's lives --- even when you can't tell.
Mary McCall Leland
Mary McCall Leland is a senior UNC student studying education policy and business with a minor in documentary film. After a close friend and classmate died suddenly in September 2019, Leland began reflecting on the connection between grief and water. Her talk will explore that connection.
Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., is a husband and father certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology. He serves as the John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience as well as assistant dean for Honors Carolina at UNC. Prinstein is also the author of the acclaimed book, Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships. His Peer Relations Lab has been conducting research on popularity and peer relations for over 20 years and has generated over 100 scientific works, including a slew of scientific journal articles, book chapters, a set of encyclopedias and even a textbook on clinical psychology. Prinstein and his research have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Time Magazine, New York Magazine and elsewhere.
Reema Zaman is an award-winning writer, speaker, actress, screenwriter, and author of the critically acclaimed memoir I Am Yours, and the forthcoming dystopian novel, Paramita. I Am Yours has been adopted into the curriculum of several high schools through an Innovation Grant from the Oregon Department of Education, and is being adapted into a movie. The New York Times states that "Zaman writes beautifully of the pain and frustration of being a woman in a man's world, an immigrant in a world suspicious of outsiders."
Born in Bangladesh and raised in Thailand, Reema graduated with degrees in Theater and Women's Studies from Skidmore College, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her rescue chihuahua, Fia the Fierce.
Sister Norma Pimentel
Sister Norma Pimentel is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. Running some of the largest respite care centers for immigrants along the Mexican border, Pimentel has been on the frontlines of the immigration crisis, seeing first-hand the complexities of the immigration system and the many problems that lie beneath the surface. Through running these centers, she has also become an ad hoc advisor to policymakers and host to congressional delegations who have come to the southern border to gain a better understanding of the crisis.