Champions of Change

One Voice Can Change the World

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President Obama challenged us all to help win the future by out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building our competitors in the 21st century. Over the course of his presidency he encouraged citizens to nominate people doing extraordinary things to make a difference in their communities to become Champions of Change. Learn more about these individuals who are helping shape the future for all of us below.

Extracurricular Enrichment for Marginalized Girls

Shari Benites
Shari Benites, M.Ed., has been an educator for 24 years and is currently the Minority Achievement Coordinator and the Director of the Center for Leadership and Public Service at Yorktown High School in Arlington. In these roles, she has helped develop and implement many programs for students, including the SOAR Cohort, Minority Student Achievement Network, Latinas Leading Tomorrow, Sister Circle, and College Bound. She is also the advisor for National Honor Society and Model General Assembly. As a trained Results Based Facilitator, Shari has worked with staff, students, and parents across the county to engage in conversations about race and equity. Shari has has served on the Board of Directors for the Dream Project for the past four years, whose mission is to empower students whose immigration status creates barriers to education by working with them to access and succeed in college through scholarships, mentoring, family engagement, and advocacy. Shari has also served on the Board of Directors for Volunteer Emergency Families for Children in Alexandria, Virginia.
Annie Delgado
Annie Delgado, M. Ed., JD, serves as an educator for the Merced Union High School District and heads the Lift While You Lead Empowerment Project. Annie has taught high school women’s studies to more than 700 students over the past eight years and was inspired by her pupils’ desire to defy expectations based on gender, ethnicity, and economic status. She also recognized the importance of reaching out to students before they enter high school so she developed the Empowerment Project to target previously marginalized middle school girls. Participants receive ongoing support from Annie and other mentors over the course of five years to improve academics, attendance, and discipline while engaging in at least one extracurricular activity each year and completing 250 hours of community service during their high school years. Through collaboration with stakeholders at the Merced City School District, UC Merced, and the Educational Employees Credit Union, the program has proven successful for the inaugural group of young women who saw a significant rise in grade point averages, improvement in attendance, a remarkable decline in discipline related issues, and an immeasurable boost in self-esteem.
Cynthia Frisina
Cynthia Frisina serves as Executive Director for BlazeSports America, headquartered in Norcross, and is the mother of two teenage daughters. BlazeSports America is the legacy organization of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games and a member of the United States Olympic Committee Multi-Sport Council with the mission of changing the lives of people with physical disabilities through the transformative power of adaptive sports and recreation. Under Cynthia's direction, BlazeSports has tripled the number of girls with disabilities participating in sports from the recreational to the elite Paralympic level through innovative, afterschool, community-based adaptive sports programs like their "Girls with Bows" archery program, swimming, track and field, rock climbing, summer camp and community collaborations designed to raise self-esteem, improve academic performance and leadership skills, facilitate inclusion and reduce stigmas for girls with disabilities. Previously, Cynthia Frisina founded and served as Executive Director of Reaching for the Stars, the largest parent-led pediatric cerebral palsy education and advocacy foundation in the world and was CEO of her own marketing consulting company.
Lynn Gilkey
Lynn Gilkey, born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, knows well the pain and isolation many young girls face in her community. She founded CLASS – Caring Ladies Assisting Students to Succeed – to mentor and inspire teen girls. Her Motto is "It is better to build strong girls than to restore broken women". With the support of generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers, Lynn and her husband David Gilkey created Rise Up For Youth, Inc., in 2014. The mission is: To inspire and motivate future generations to unlock their full potential through education, mentoring and empowerment. Lynn currently serves as Program Director for CLASS and Executive Director for Rise Up For Youth.
Bridgette King
Bridgette King is a Doctoral of Sports Management student at Northcentral University and serves as Executive Director and Head Coach of the Lady Panthers Girls Basketball Association (LPGBA) in Duncanville. She is a 2016 recipient of the President's Council Community Leadership Award. LPGBA is a USA Basketball Official Youth Development organization whose players have earned certificates and medals under the Presidential Fitness Challenge for the past six years. Bridgette helped to create a fitness and nutrition program for LPGBA athletes to teach lifelong proper nutritional habits, as well as, how to stay physically fit and healthy as lifelong goals. Bridgette's coaching has helped her girls, especially those of color, to see their potential and understand how basketball can teach them important life skills.
Sharon Lin
Sharon Lin is a senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York, NY. She is the Founder and Executive Director of StuyHacks and BitxBit Camp. StuyHacks is a high school hackathon founded in 2015, which currently serves students in the greater NYC area, offering computer science opportunities to middle school students through college-age students. BitxBit Camp is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide opportunities for middle school students in computer science, partnering with companies such as Intel, Sphero, and Microsoft in order to provide in-person training and online mentorship. Sharon is passionate about expanding extracurricular offerings to all girls, especially those from marginalized and underprivileged backgrounds.
Clemmie C. Perry
Clemmie C. Perry serves as the Executive Director and Founder for the not-for-profit organization Women of Color Golf (WOCG) and Girls on the Green Tee (GOTGT) programs in Tampa, Florida. The mission of WOCG and GOTGT are to promote and facilitate the inclusion of minorities, girls and women of color into the game of golf. These programs were founded in 2014 and have already trained over 280 women and girls in the Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg Florida communities on the basic fundamentals of golf. Through golf, girls learn many basic life skills, including respect, teamwork, courtesy, patience and responsibility. WOCG and GOTGT programs provide a pathway for minority girls and women to learn the game of golf and provides girls with greater access to a broader range of personal, professional and business opportunities to expand their life experiences. Clemmie has a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology & E-Learning. She has previously worked for two Fortune 500 Companies in Aerospace & Defense Technology and Electrical Utility Smart Grid Technology.
Maya Nussbaum
Maya Nussbaum is the Founder and Executive Director of Girls Write Now, a writing and mentoring organization for girls in New York. Over the last 19 years, she has grown the organization from a loose association of women writers into a dynamic, volunteer-powered community that serves teens who are 90% high need and over 95% girls of color. Girls Write Now has received awards and honors from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Nonprofit Excellence Awards, Time Out New York, and Youth INC. Maya was named one of the Top 40 Feminists under 40 by The Feminist Press, one of the Top 20 Philanthropists under 40 by The Observer, a Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) People’s Voice Nominee, a Local Hero by Metro New York, and an Education Hero by The New York Times. She continues to look for ways to expand Girls Write Now in order to reach more women and help them succeed.
Angela Patton
Angela Patton is the Chief Executive Officer of Girls For A Change (GFAC) and the Founder of CAMP DIVA, one of GFAC's flagship programs. A native of Richmond, Angela has been a strong advocate and champion of Black girls for 13 years in the non-profit sector. Girls For A Change seeks to address the unique challenges faced by Black girls and to support and inspire them through after school and summer enrichment and leadership programs focused on creating social change. Patton has established partnerships with five universities, expanded GFAC programs to underserved communities across the country, and overseen the creation of over 200 social change projects conceptualized by girls. One of those projects was the subject of her 2012 TED Women talk. Angela is working to expand GFAC programs to create more spaces where girls can be seen, heard, and celebrated.
Cheryl Ann Wadlington
Cheryl Ann Wadlington is the Founder and Executive Director of The Evoluer House in Philadelphia. Under Wadlington’s leadership, The Evoluer House has delivered award-winning empowerment programs over the past 12 years to more than 1,200 teen girls of color experiencing unique social and emotional challenges and barriers to success. The Evoluer House works to equip the most underserved and hard-to-reach girls in Philadelphia with essential tools to become college-bound and career-ready and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. As a testament to its success, 100% of Evoluer House graduates finish high school on time and 90% go on to attend a four-year college. Cheryl is also a fashion and beauty journalist, personal growth consultant, author, and motivational speaker.

College Opportunity

Kim Cook
Kim Cook is the Executive Director of the National College Access Network, where she leads its efforts to help states, nonprofit organizations, schools, higher education institutions, philanthropists, and the business community provide better college access and persistence support to low-income and underrepresented students. She has worked in the higher education and college access field for her entire professional career, including experience in undergraduate admissions, administration of a last-dollar scholarship program, and a succession of responsibilities at NCAN. As a Pell Grant recipient herself, she has a passion for the success of students underrepresented in higher education. Kim holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Pace University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Law, Economics and Government from The American University.
Pam Eddinger
Pam Eddinger, PhD, is the president of Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) in Boston. BHCC is an urban 2-year public institution serving 19,000 learners annually. With 95% of entering students testing below college level in math and 45% in English, the College is scaling up reforms in developmental education to ensure retention and on-time completion. Compression and acceleration strategies for math and English take students to college level work in a year. Companion programs such as career-focused early college pathways and intensive Learn and Earn internship programs add to the overall retention/completion strategy. The Massachusetts community colleges educate one out of two undergraduates in the Commonwealth. In light of the workforce development needs in the next decade, the increase in retention and degree completion of BHCC students, and their placement into high-wage, middle-skills jobs will be critical to the growth of the local economy.
Michael T. Holmes
Michael T. Holmes serves as Chief Operating Officer for INROADS Inc., whose mission is to develop and place talented underserved college youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. Founded in Chicago in 1970, INROADS has positively impacted the lives of over 200,000 culturally diverse high school and college students. Michael previously worked in college admissions, financial aid, campus recruiting and talent development, and has mentored, coached and provided college, career and personal advice to young people in communities throughout the nation. Michael has also held Board of Director roles within the Danbury NAACP, Young Life and Danbury Pathways Mentoring Programs and has also conducted numerous workshops and been a motivational speaker for Junior Achievement, A Better Chance, Urban League, The Hord Foundation and SayYes Danbury.
Dana A. Hubbard
Dana A. Hubbard serves as the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Coordinator at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia. The AVID program works to help students in the middle become college and career ready and provide them with the necessary skills to achieve academic success. In her six years as AVID coordinator she has helped to double the size of the program and has created a program that welcomes all students and motivates them to follow their dreams of going to college. In the last three years, 100% of the graduating AVID seniors have gained admittance to and enrolled in college, and all are on track to graduate on time. Dana also teaches Biology and serves as the Head Field Hockey coach at West Potomac High School.
Nicole Hurd
Nicole Hurd, PhD is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the College Advising Corps (CAC), headquartered in Chapel Hill. Nicole has led CAC from a pilot project in Virginia to the largest college access program in the country, placing hundreds of near peer advisers in high schools from coast-to-coast. In the 2016-2017 school year, CAC's 600 advisers will assist over 180,000 low-income, first generation, and underrepresented students in navigating the path to college. Under her leadership, CAC has launched innovative virtual advising work and has received numerous accolades, including a $10 million investment which was announced at the White House College Opportunity Summit and the 2012 National Service Impact Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
A’Dorian Murray-Thomas
A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is a recent college graduate and the Founder and Executive Director of SHE Wins Inc., a Newark-based leadership program for girls ages 10-15 years old who have been affected by violence. Before founding SHE Wins, A'Dorian designed and co-facilitated "SSEP", a free SAT preparation and self-empowerment program that served students from over fifteen different high schools in the Newark area. A'Dorian's organization has provided mentorship, academic, and emotional supports for nearly 50 girls, and has impacted the lives of nearly 1,000 people in the city of Newark through community service projects. The SHE Wins college readiness track also allows scholars to participate in coding programs that increase exposure to STEM fields, attend national leadership conferences, visit college campuses, and enroll in the SHE Wins after-school program. A’Dorian is a 2016 graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Educational Studies. She is also an alumna of the KIPP: TEAM Academy in Newark and the Northfield Mount Hermon School.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Eloy Ortiz Oakley has served as President of Long Beach City College for nearly 10 years and is the co-founder of the nationally-recognized Long Beach College Promise. He serves as the co-chair of the Education Leadership Committee of the College Promise Campaign. Earlier this year he was selected as Chancellor of the California Community Colleges and will begin the role in December. He has been actively working with leaders in California to establish the California College Promise. In 2014, Eloy was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the University of California Board of Regents. He is a product of a California community college.
Jin Park
Jin Park is the founder and director of HigherDreams and a junior at Harvard University. As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient applying to college, Jin experienced the daunting challenges that many undocumented students face while applying to and funding their college education. Driven by his experiences, Jin founded HigherDreams, a nonprofit that seeks to help the 65,000 undocumented high school graduates reach their potential. HigherDreams has worked to consolidate resources for applying to college from the perspective of an undocumented student, and is currently doing direct outreach to high schools in Boston and NYC to make higher education more accessible for low-income and undocumented students. At Harvard, Jin is the campus coordinator of the "Define American" movement, which seeks to elevate the conversation surrounding immigration through storytelling, and also directs Harvard's "Chinatown Citizenship," a naturalization assistance program for immigrants in the greater Boston area.
Daniel R. Porterfield
Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D. has served as president of Franklin & Marshall College since 2011. Under his leadership, Franklin & Marshall has developed a distinctive student talent strategy built upon a significant increase in their need-based financial aid budget. Through his work, Franklin & Marshall has seen record application numbers and an increase in the academic profile, diversity, and selectivity of incoming classes. In addition, lower-income and first-generation students at F&M consistently achieve the same average GPA as the student body as a whole and maintaining higher retention and graduation rates. Porterfield sits on the boards of the College Board and the Lenfest College Scholarship Foundation. He has received awards for his work from the KIPP and “I Have A Dream” foundations and in 2016 was named one of the “Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly. Prior to leading Franklin & Marshall, Porterfield served as a Senior Vice President at his alma mater, Georgetown University. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and earned his Ph.D. at The City University of New York Graduate Center.
Juliette Price
Juliette Price serves as the director of The Albany Promise, a cross-sector collective impact partnership in Albany, NY that facilitates the improvement of educational outcomes for the city’s most vulnerable students using a shared vision, collective action, and rigorous continuous improvement. The partnership focuses its efforts on six key outcome areas including kindergarten readiness, third grade reading, eighth grade math, high school graduation, post-secondary enrollment, and post-secondary completion, and is a part of the national StriveTogether network of cities across the nation leading the field of collective impact. The Albany Promise convenes over 100 institutions to engage in systems change to create a new civic infrastructure to best serve children and families, with a special focus on eliminating racial disparities.
Mary Schmidt Campbell
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. is the 10th president of Spelman College. Dr. Campbell previously served as the Dean of the Tisch School of Arts at NYU for two decades. As president, Dr. Campbell leads an institution that is a global leader in the education of women of African descent, with more than 2,100 students from 41 states and 15 foreign countries and with a graduation rate of 76%. Over 79% of Spelman students receive financial aid and nearly half of enrolled students receive Pell Grants. Spelman is also leading work examining innovative strategies that may positively impact student learning as a 2015 U.S. Department of Education First in the World grantee.

Sustainable Seafood

Robin Alden
Robin Alden is the founding Executive Director of Penobscot East Resource Center, Maine’s center for coastal fisheries in Stonington, Maine. She led a path-breaking effort to bring shared management to Maine’s lobster fishery, now recognized internationally as a model for sustainable fisheries. Robin is the former Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, responsible for Maine‘s marine and anadromous fishery management and enforcement and for aquaculture in the state. She was also the publisher and editor of both Commercial Fisheries News and Fish Farming News and a public member of the New England Fishery Management Council.
Linda Behnken
Linda Behnken is Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, which represents longline fishermen in securing sustainable access to healthy halibut, sablefish and rockfish stocks. Linda was a commercial fisherman for 34 years and served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. During that time, she also served as an industry advisor to the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, the National Academy of Science Individual Fishing Quota Review Panel, and co-chaired the Council's Essential Fish Habitat committee. Linda participated in the last two re-authorizations of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and was an active advocate for the Sustainable Fisheries Act amendments. She is also a founding member of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, which is a cutting-edge financing tool to help new and young break into Alaska’s fisheries and connect communities with their natural resources.
Christopher Brown
Chris Brown serves as President of the Seafood Harvesters of America and spends around 200 days per year aboard his fishing vessel the Proud Mary. The Seafood Harvesters represent commercial fishermen from the Bering Sea to the Gulf of Mexico and north to New England. Under Chris's leadership the Harvesters champion accountability, stewardship and sustainability in fishing practices, fisheries science and fisheries management. Chris also heads up the University of Rhode Island's East Farm Fisheries Center, serves as President of the Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen's Association and is the founder and executive director of the Rhode Island Fluke Conservation Cooperative.
Jason DeLaCruz
Jason DeLaCruz is the President of Wild Seafood Co., which provides high quality sustainable fish to eco-minded customers. He is also the Executive Director of Gulf Wild, a company dedicated to setting the standard for genuine, responsibly caught, traceable and reliable wild domestic seafood, and the Vice President of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, a strategic non-profit fishermen’s organization that is working to protect the Gulf’s fish and fishermen for today and for future generations. He is a former commercial fisherman and lives in Florida with his wife Vicky.
Byron Encalade
Byron Encalade is President of the Louisiana Oysterman Association. He engages in harvesting seafood, oysters and shrimp and in transporting seafood along the gulf coast states. He is currently serving as Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana Constable 3rd Ward, and as an American Legion Post 430 Judge Advocate. Byron is also a voting member on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Oyster task force. He is President of South Plaquemines United Fisheries Cooperative. Byron has been a leader in his community by pushing for the sustainable management of oyster grounds. He has been a staunch supporter of a recent Sustainable Oyster Shellstock model for sustainable oyster management.
Monica Jain
Monica Jain is the founding director of Fish 2.0, a social enterprise that brings entrepreneurs and investors together to grow the sustainable seafood sector. Fish 2.0 works with businesses developing technologies or processes that reduce waste in seafood supply chains and create value-added products from waste. Fish 2.0 is also working with land-based aquaculture ventures that operate sustainably and provide a new source of jobs and local seafood. Monica is also the Executive Director at Manta Consulting, which works to bring structure, knowledge and substance to initiatives around sustainable resource use, and previously worked for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean Conservancy, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.
Bun Lai
Bun Lai is the owner and chef of Miya’s Sushi, the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant. Miya’s also offers the world’s only invasive species menu, featuring dishes made of foraged ingredients that are threatening to the region’s indigenous species. Bun is an avid diver and fisherman who supplies his own restaurant with local, sustainable seafood from his own hundred acres of shell-fishing grounds off of the Thimble Islands in Connecticut. He is also the owner of two fishing boats which serve as laboratories for sustainable seafood production. Central to the Miya’s menu are culturally and commercially unpopular types of seafood that are abundantly locally available such as silver sides, sea robins, and wild seaweeds. Bun Lai is the recipient of the prestigious 2011 Seafood Ambassador Award from Monterey Bay Aquarium for his leadership in the Sustainable Seafood movement. He is a Seafood Watch Ambassador and previously worked as a Director of Cooking and Nutrition for an NGO working with low income pre-diabetics.
Alan Lovewell
Alan Lovewell is the CEO and Co-founder of Real Good Fish, a community-supported fishery that connects local fishermen with local consumers with weekly deliveries of high-quality, local, sustainable seafood. Real Good Fish’s new program, Bay2Tray, brings local seafood to public school children through their school lunch program, and brings local fishermen into their classroom to engage in experience-based learning around ocean health. Previously, Alan was a Sea Grant Fellow working with NOAA on their ecosystem based management initiative. Having grown up on the water, has devoted himself to serving coastal communities and is passionate about the relationships between business, community and environment, with specific interest in sustainable food systems.
Dr. Kevan Main
Dr. Kevan Main is the Senior Scientist and Program Manager at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium and has lead Mote's aquaculture research programs since 2001. Dr. Main is the Immediate Past President of the World Aquaculture Society, having completing her Presidency in February 2013. She has published 7 books and more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and has traveled to aquaculture facilities throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. Dr. Main has been instrumental in Mote’s efforts in translating and transferring sustainable, innovative technology to the commercial sector and implementing real change that will fuel a new economic engine of environmentally sustainable land-based and offshore aquaculture in the U.S.
Luka Mossman
Luka Mossman is part of the Conservation International Hawaii program, where he serves as the Fisheries Outreach Coordinator. The Hawaii program works to merge traditional knowledge with Western science, conservation tools and strategies for changing how people and business value local, sustainable seafood. Luka is a native Hawaiian born from Hilo, Hawaii. Through his experience in working with the Lokoi’a o Hale-o-lono (traditional Hawaiian fishpond aquaculture), he has come to understand what it takes to manage a small and delicate fishery resource. Although he spent most of his life in the ocean as a fisherman, a spearfisherman, a surfer, and a fishpond steward, he also has significant experience in working with native Hawaiian forests, as they play a key role in the island ecosystem.
Brad Pettinger
Brad Pettinger is the director of the Oregon Trawl Commission, a state commodity commission operating under the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Commodity Commission program. He has worked collaboratively in the Pacific Fishery Management Council process to improve the management of west coast groundfish fisheries. Under Brad's leadership, all three Oregon trawl fisheries have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as well-managed and sustainable fisheries. Brad currently owns a trawler that participates in the west coast trawl groundfish catch share program off the coast of northern California and southern Oregon. Brad’s work has been instrumental to recovery of many rockfish species, which will provide sustainable, healthy, delicious seafood for local communities.
Richard B. Robins, Jr.
Richard B. Robins, Jr. is the owner of Bernie’s Conchs Seafood Market and Ocean Perfect Seafoods, Inc. He also served as Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council from 2008 through August of 2016, where he led the Council through a historic stakeholder-driven visioning and strategic planning process for the management of marine fisheries. Under Rick’s leadership, the Council also completed an amendment to establish a nearly 38,000 square-mile area, named for the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, in which deep sea corals will be protected from the impacts of fishing gear. Rick was also previously an associate member of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Climate Equity

Kristin Baja
Kristin is the Climate and Resilience Planner at the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability. She is responsible for development, implementation and monitoring of the City’s Disaster Preparedness Project and Plan, which integrates climate adaptation with hazard mitigation efforts. She is also responsible for climate change communication and outreach, coordinating resiliency planning, the City’s Community Rating System certification, and updating and implementing the City’s Sustainability Plan. Kristin has led initiatives focused on increasing community adaptive capacity for vulnerable populations and ensuring underserved populations have their voices heard. She plays a vital role in coordinating city agencies and stakeholders around resiliency efforts. Kristin was awarded the American Society of Adaptation Planners (ASAP) Prize for Progress in 2015 for her work on equity and climate adaptation.
Gilbert Campbell
Gilbert is a co-founder and principal of Volt Energy, a renewable energy firm that finances and develops solar energy projects, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy storage solutions for commercial, government, educational, and non-profit institutions. Volt Energy's clients include Subaru, The Cheesecake Factory, Pepco, Fort Bragg, Wake Forest University, KIPP DC, and the Government of the District of Columbia. Gilbert has been widely recognized for his work in promoting clean energy, entrepreneurship, and STEM education in underserved communities. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Amtrak and Washington Wizards Pioneer Award, which recognizes individuals that have made a positive impact in their local communities, and was included in EBONY magazine's Power 100 List.
Susana De Anda
Susana co-founded and co-directs the Community Water Center (CWC) in Vasalia, California. Susana is a seasoned community organizer and has received numerous awards and recognitions, including: the 2009 Petra Foundation Fellowship award; “150 Fearless Women in the World” by Newsweek Magazine (2012); “Women on Top – Top Activist” by Marie Claire magazine (2012); AOL sponsored PBS 3-part series, “Makers: Women Who Have Shaped America” (2012); and “Las Fabulosas” and “Inspiring Latinas” by Powerful Latinas (2011). Susana and CWC are the focus of a chapter of Jill Iscol’s 2011 book, Hearts on Fire. Susana has held a variety of positions at organizations including the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, the County of Merced Planning Department, the Santa Barbara County Water Agency, and the Santa Barbara non-profit Community Environmental Council. For the past two years, Susana has served on the Community Funding Board of the Grassroots Fund through the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and now serves on the Tulare County Water Commission and the Board of Directors of the Tulare County United Way.
Michael Durglo
Michael is a tribal elder from Montana and serves as the Environmental Protection Division Manager for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). He began his career in environmental advocacy in 1979, and has since worked for his tribe in a variety of positions including tribal police officer, wildlife conservation officer, wetland conservation coordinator, and water quality regulatory specialist. Michael has further influenced environmental policy through his former position on the CSKT Tribal Council and current position on the National Tribal Science Council. In these roles and others, Michael has overseen a wide variety of environmental initiatives. In 2013, he led CSKT in developing a climate change strategic plan to address the effects of climate change on the Flathead Reservation and set a powerful example for other tribes as they develop strategies to protect the cultural and environmental resources. He has also worked to engage community youth in sustainability projects through the Environmental Advocates for Global Logical Ecological Sustainability (EAGLES) Program.
Michael Green
Michael is the Executive Director and Founding Partner of Climate Action Business Association (CABA). The Boston-based organization focuses on organizing leaders of small local businesses to advocate for action on climate issues on local, state, national, and international platforms. CABA also supports local businesses to reduce their carbon footprints and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change through metrics-driven programs and strategic support from staff. These businesses form a powerful network of sustainable practices and effective advocacy work. Michael advocates for policies to address climate change within and beyond his position at CABA. In addition to working on various national and international campaigns, Michael has served as a representative to the United Nations since 2012, focusing on international climate policy.
Cecilia Martinez
Cecilia is the co-founder and Director of Research Programs at the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). She previously held positions as Associate Research Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware, Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University and Research Director at the American Indian Policy Center. Cecilia has also worked with a range of organizations from local grassroots groups to international organizations engaging in the promotion of sound environmental policy and environmental justice. She served on the Climate Action Planning Steering Committee for the City of Minneapolis, and has been appointed to several national advisory boards. She is also on the leadership team for the national EJ and Science Initiative, and is leading the effort on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on environmental harms. Cecilia has led a variety of projects to address sustainable development at the local and international levels and has conducted research focused on the development of energy and environmental strategies that promote equitable and sustainable policies. Most recently Cecilia co-authored a chapter on environmental justice and climate resiliency with Dr. Nicky Sheats. She is working on a manuscript on environmental justice and climate change and among her other publications is the co-edited volume Environmental Justice: Discourses in International Political Economy, which includes some of her work on North American Indigenous peoples and the challenge of forging a common agenda of indigenous rights, justice and sustainability.
Colette Pichon Battle
Colette has worked for the past ten years with local communities, national funders and elected officials around equity issues in her home state of Louisiana in the post-Katrina and post-BP disaster in the Gulf Coast. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP), developing programs focused on Global Migration, Community Economic Development, Climate Justice, and Equitable Disaster Recovery. Colette has won a variety of awards for her work with Gulf Coast communities, including the 2015 US Human Rights Network Movement Builder Award and the 2015 Echoing Green Climate Fellowship. Most recently, Colette was named a Water Champion by the Greater New Orleans Foundation in recognition of her efforts supporting underrepresented communities and improving the lives of Gulf Coast residents.
Esau Sinnok
Esau was raised on an Alaskan island on the frontlines of climate change. Growing up in such a community inspired Esau to share his experiences, telling stories of how climate change has affected Shishmaref in order to raise awareness about the issues his community faces. Esau represented his community when he traveled to COP21 for the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations as part of the Sierra Student Coalition and continues his advocacy in his current role as an Arctic Youth Ambassador for the US Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. He studies Tribal Management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and hopes to run for Governor of Alaska by the year 2030.
Vien Truong
Vien is one of the country’s foremost experts when it comes to building an equitable green economy. Inspired by her childhood in one of Oakland’s poorest and most polluted communities, she now leads Green For All, a national initiative with the goal of creating a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Among other accomplishments, Green For All was a key player in creating the country’s first Green Jobs Act in 2007. Vien is an instrumental leader in a wide variety of green economy initiatives: she has developed over a dozen state policies, created numerous energy and workforce programs, and advised on billions in public investments for energy and community development programs. More specifically, Vien is known for accelerating California’s transition to electric vehicles through the Charge Ahead Initiative and developing strong workforce standards in the environmental technology sector through the California Climate Credit.
Desiree Williams-Rajee
Desiree is the Equity Specialist for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. As the Equity Specialist, she provides technical assistance to shape the City’s urban planning and sustainability programs, policies, and services with an equity lens. Desiree led an effort to authentically engage organizations that serve communities of color and low-income populations through a formal learning partnership. Together, staff and community members built mutual capacity and actively collaborated to create a climate plan that meaningfully reduces carbon emissions, prepares for climate impacts, and delivers more equitable outcomes for Portland’s under-served and under-represented communities. Her work has inspired other cities across the country and in Canada to incorporate similar equity considerations into their climate action planning efforts. The final product reflected a groundbreaking process that catalyzed the agency to rethink climate policy and public involvement and reignited a grassroots climate and environmental justice movement within Portland’s communities of color. Desiree was also a founding board member of the Center for Diversity and the Environment and a member of the inaugural cohort of the Young Climate Leaders Network.

Living Wage

Laphonza Butler
Originally from the South and a graduate of Jackson State University, Laphonza Butler resides in Los Angeles, California, and serves as Provisional President of the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) Local 2015, representing over 325,000 California home care and nursing home workers. She also serves as President of SEIU California State Council, which works on behalf of the state’s 700,000 SEIU members. Laphonza had a leading role in negotiating and passing the state’s recent landmark minimum wage law.
Barbara Carr
Barbara Carr has been a home care worker for 15 years, providing essential services for her community’s most vulnerable residents. As a member of the Home Care Fight for $15 National Organizing Committee, Barbara is fighting for a better home care system for everyone – one that pays home care workers enough to provide for their families and delivers quality care for consumers. Barbara works tirelessly to engage her community in the fight for higher wages and a union and quality care. She has led neighborhood canvasses and phone banks to reach other home care workers, who are isolated without a central workplace. Barbara, an Executive Board member at SEIU Healthcare Michigan, has also helped lead her union's response to the Flint water crisis, focusing on elderly residents who may not understand the full extent of the danger. As an activist and a care provider, Barbara serves her community and inspires home care workers across the country.
Sherry Deutschmann
Sherry Stewart Deutschmann is the founder and CEO of LetterLogic, Inc., a $40M company in Nashville, Tennessee that has been praised for prioritizing the needs of the employees. The company mission is to prove to the world that taking great care of employees ensures customer loyalty and a healthy bottom line. Sherry is an outspoken advocate of increasing the minimum wage, noting that after her company increased the starting wage, the net profit more than doubled. She is a member of the National Women’s Business Council, a group of female business leaders whose role it is to advise the President, Congress, and the Small Business Administration on issues related to access to capital, markets, and networks for female entrepreneurs. Sherry is a member of Business for Fair Minimum Wage.
Isabel Escobar
Isabel Escobar is a home cleaner in Chicago and a leader on the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign, organizing to earn basic legal protections for home cleaners, nannies, and home care workers across the state. After experiencing wage theft and after she was unable to collect her stolen wages, Isabel contacted the workers’ rights organization Arise Chicago. With support from Arise, she led a campaign to recover the full $10,000 owed to her. She became a fierce domestic worker leader, organizing workers to travel to the Illinois capitol to educate state officials on the need for a Bill of Rights, and acting as a campaign spokesperson. In addition to organizing domestic workers to improve wages and working conditions, she directly trains workers in green cleaning, health and safety, responding to sexual harassment, and workers’ rights. Isabel is an OSHA-certified health and safety ergonomics trainer and a member of the Arise Chicago Board of Directors.
Bruce “Buz” Grossberg
Buz Grossberg is the founder, owner and operator of Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue, which has served the Richmond community for the last 30 years. He knows that paying his workers a living wage and accommodating their schedules is not only good for business — it is also the right thing to do. He understands that paying fair wages attracts a loyal workforce and increases worker productivity. Buz pays his servers $8 an hour plus tips — almost 4 times the tipped minimum wage. He pays his other employees $12 an hour. He has also worked to ensure that all Buz and Ned’s employees are full –time workers, enabling them to qualify for benefits. He believes that the changes run contrary to the current stance of the restaurant and hospitality industry as a whole, but is excited to lead for change.
Doug Hoffman
Doug Hoffman is retired from a career in hospital finance with Children’s Hospital of Birmingham, Alabama. Working with his fellow organizers, he initiated a coalition that helped pass an ordinance in Birmingham to raise the minimum wage. Doug wrote several Op-Ed’s in the state newspaper that began the discussion of raising the minimum wage, and helped coordinate demonstrations, press conferences and city council presentations in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Working with state Democratic and Black Caucus legislators, they twice fought off Republican efforts to preempt Birmingham’s minimum wage ordinance until finally thwarted. Outside of his work to raise the minimum wage, Doug has been an activist for Medicaid expansion in Alabama and helped enroll community members in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Kristian Mendoza
Kristian ‘Kris’ Mendoza participated as a member of the organizing committee that was successful in winning union recognition with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) at Kinkisharyo International, a rail transit manufacturer in Los Angeles County. The region is only recently recovering from double digit unemployment. As a result of the committee’s organizing and negotiating successes, hourly wage rates are the highest entry rates in the area. After successful negotiations and contract ratification, the now 300 workers at the plant went from paying 25% of healthcare premium to 0% for accessible healthcare coverage. Kristian is a Marine Veteran and a proud father of two.
Molly Moon Neitzel
Molly Moon Neitzel is the CEO of Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle and has advocated for progressive business practices and worker rights at the local, state and national levels. With seven shops and 140 employees, Molly has dedicated herself to building a company that is a leader in labor practices. At Molly Moon’s, employees earn starting wages that are above national minimum wage, 100 percent of the health premiums for themselves and their children, and a family leave plan that pays 100 percent of compensation for up to 12 weeks of bonding time for any new mother or father, and 70 percent for other family and medical leave. Molly has lent her support to issues that affect all Seattle and Washington state workers: successfully campaigning for paid safe and sick time in Seattle in 2012 and a minimum wage increase in 2014.
Alia Todd
Alia Todd is a longtime restaurant worker and the co-founder of Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce (ASRW), located in Asheville, North Carolina. ASRW is a worker-founded and -funded advocacy group tasked with improving the economic and human rights of restaurant workers through awareness, advocacy and action. Under Alia’s leadership, ASRW builds relationships with workers, business owners and diners in a triangular effort to create better conditions in Asheville’s service-driven, tourist-based economy. In its first year, ASRW focused on educating workers about their rights in collaboration with the North Carolina Justice Center. Last fall, Alia launched and ran a successful campaign to raise wages of support staff at her long time employer using the worker-powered platform Alia lives in Asheville with her husband and two children, ages 6 and 3.


Gregg Behr
In his ten years as executive director of the Grable Foundation, Gregg Behr has not only led the Grable Foundation’s portfolio of community investments but has also worked tirelessly to build a collaborative funding environment called the Remake Learning Council. This network has grown from the original conversation over a pancake breakfast to now include more than 250 schools, museums, libraries, and others organizations working cooperatively to re-imagining early childhood education, teaching and learning in public schools, and out-of-school time supports. In 2016, Gregg was instrumental in organizing a regional effort called Remake Learning Days to collected more than 150 commitments that will help accelerate hands-on, personalized learning and which included $25 million+ in investments from philanthropies, businesses, and governments to support 21st century learning across southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Gregg has been recognized across the country for his work to support the maker movement, including receiving the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award behalf of Pittsburgh’s Remake Learning Network and the being named America’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education in 2015.
Umberto Crenca
At the heart of the nationally-known makerspace AS220 is co-founder and artistic director Umberto Crenca. In the 31 years since Umberto set out to co-create an incubator of maker culture and a lab for integrating STEM and the arts, AS220 has grown from a single rented room above the Providence Performing Arts Center to now include three buildings totaling 95,000 square feet. Umberto has focused his work on building a collaborative community committed to supporting exchange of knowledge between innovative makers and creative thinkers. He was recently awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Brown University and Roger Williams University for his commitment to community development, his work to help revitalize downtown Providence, and his success at creating opportunity for artists and makers.
Dara Dotz
Motivated by her first-hand experience responding to large scale disasters, Dara Dotz is a pioneer in exploring how making can solve global problems in austere environments. She is the co-founder of Field Ready, which brings hyper-local digital manufacturing to people in disaster areas, allowing survivors to make humanitarian supplies on-demand. Dara’s innovations have been deployed around the world including in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, where survivors were trained to make essential medical supplies and replacement parts for rural clinics using 3D printers she brought to Haiti. She holds a BS in Industrial Design and minor in International Business from Metropolitan State University of Denver. In addition to her work, she is a guest lecturer and educator who is inspires children to solve for the complex natural, economic, and humanitarian needs though making.
Renee Fredericks
Working to connect traditional Alaska Native crafts with the digital fabrication tools of today, Renee Fredericks directs the Youth Education and Employment Services at Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) in Anchorage, Alaska. Under her leadership, CITC Fab Lab provides maker opportunities to Alaska Native and American Indian youth in partnership with the Anchorage School District and other youth organizations. Renee’s combined passion for preserving tradition while embracing opportunities led her to help launch the CITC Fab Lab and create its programs. Renee is committed to designing new hands-on approaches to help Alaska Native and American Indian students overcome academic disparities and increase skillsets for work available in the Alaskan economy and beyond.
Limor Fried
While studying engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Limor "Ladyada" Fried decided to create a company focused on supporting learning electronics for makers of all ages and skill levels. In 2005 she founded Adafruit which has grown to now employ more than 100 individuals in their 50,000 sq ft. NYC factory. Limor is committed to building both innovation and community and is known for creating resources for learning. She was the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED magazine and was awarded Entrepreneur magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and was also on the NYC Industrial Business Advisory Council. Adafruit is a 100% woman-owned company.
John Niebergall
For more than 32 years John Niebergall has dedicated himself to training the next generation as an educator in the Sherwood School District in Sherwood, Oregon. He has worked tirelessly to provide his students with hands-on, contextualized learning experiences and has directly raised more than $825,000 through grants and in-kind contributions to establish a classroom and mobile Fab Lab. As a result of access to both top-level instruction and industry-standard software with state-of-the-art prototyping equipment, numerous students in Mr. Niebergall’s class have launched student-run, school-based enterprises. Of particular note is his successful efforts to create a culture of inclusion in his classroom with a notably high participation of female students. His instructional approach allows students direct experiences with the real-world challenges of designing, developing, manufacturing, and marketing. John has mentored other career and technical education (CTE) programs and educators.
Sonya Pryor-Jones
Committed to ensuring more communities have access to the tools of tomorrow, Sonya Pryor-Jones serves as Chief Implementation Officer for the Fab Foundation out of Boston. A non-profit spin off of the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Fab Foundation supports communities spaces that provide access to tools to educate, innovate, and invent using technology and digital fabrication, and to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world. Sonya is personally driven to create more equitable access for more diverse communities and has spent her career in the service of this mission. Prior to her current role at the Fab Foundation she served as the founding Director for the Promise Neighborhood initiative at the Sisters of Charity Foundation, and the Executive Director for Northeast Ohio’s STEM Initiative at Case Western Reserve University.
Felton Thomas, Jr.
Since his own experience as a young boy growing up in a tough Las Vegas community and finding his way through the support of his local library, Felton Thomas, Jr. has been an advocate for formally supporting informal learning and community. From his first job in a library as a teen to his current position as director of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) and President-Elect for the Public Library Association (PLA), he has seen tremendous transformation of the technology landscape and opportunities for creative use of library space. Under Felton’s leadership, CPL has created a dedicated makerspace called TechCentral to provide open access for patrons to laser engraving, 3d printing, audio, video, photo production tools and more. He has further expanded this work to now include MakerLab programs at 27 CPL branches featuring high and low-tech versions of photography, 3D printing, font creation, computer programming, art and design, laser engraving and cutting, and more. Felton has received numerous recognitions for his leadership role including being appointed to the Aspen Institute’s Task Force on Learning and the Internet, being named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal, and serving as a fellow and Sponsor in the Urban Library Council’s Executive Leadership Institute.
Bahiy Watson
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Bahiy Watson committed himself to creating opportunities for his community from the ruins and began rallying others to help save a local youth center. After increasing volunteering and advocacy work for a number of years, Bahiy’s commitment led him to create the 1881 Institute of Technology, which draws inspiration from the work of Booker T. Washington to found Tuskegee Institute in 1881. Building off of his 17 years of direct experience as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry, Bahiy is working to create pathways for underrepresented populations to enter STEM careers by creating hands-on projects directly impacting the surrounding community. In addition to developing alternative school models for high school students interested in STEM careers but who struggle in traditional classroom settings, 1881 is partnering with the New Orleans Recreation & Development Commission to offer summer camps and after school programs for African-American children and for students with special needs.
Lisa Marie Wiley
Retired Army Sergeant Lisa Marie Wiley is part of the growing group of women who have served their country in combat zones. In November 2011, Lisa stepped on an IED during deployment in Afghanistan, resulting in a left below the knee amputation. Passionate about living an active lifestyle, Lisa committed to finding a better solution which could enable her and amputees in similar situations and worked with the VA to design a challenge aimed at developing a coupler device that would make it easier and faster to switch between prosthetics. This work has since become part of a larger initiative called the VA Innovation Creation Series aimed at crowdsourcing innovative low-cost prosthetics and assistive technologies from the Maker community. Lisa is showing how the Maker Movement and the democratization of low-cost tools and technologies for design and fabrication to develop solutions that will result in more precise and personalized care for not only females or veterans, but anyone who can access a computer and a 3D printer. Lisa is currently earning an additional bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Texas San Antonio.

School Support

Edward Ammons
Edward, a computer/AV technician with the Bethel School District, believes that digital learning complements the excellent teaching that is already happening in the classroom. His focus for nearly 22 years has been to provide students, staff and teachers with technology expertise that supports a positive learning environment. Ammons is a visible presence in classrooms, making sure that equipment is working as expected so that students can learn most effectively. Community work is a priority for Ammons as well—he has volunteered as a basketball official for the Special Olympics for more than 12 years.
Anna Angeles-Farris
As a custodian at Lakeville School District, Anna Angeles-Farris has seen first-hand the successes of early childhood education, and continues to advocate for additional support for such programs. Since 2005, Angeles-Farris has been integrally involved in the pre-kindergarten program, Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), and has been a member of the ECFE Council in Lakeville, Minnesota. A lifelong resident of Minnesota, Angeles-Farris’ grew up a child of migrant working parents. She passionately believes in the need for a strong, nurturing educational system that helps all students reach their full potential. In addition to a variety of civic activity, Angeles-Farris is an advocate for the arts and served as a member of the Lakeville Art Festival committee.
Ted Chaudoir
Ted is a school bus driver and playground supervisor at Southern Door Elementary School in Brussels, Wisconsin. He also is founder of Southern Door County School District’s Books on the Bus program. The program started when Chaudoir brought a box of his daughter’s books to his bus for students to read on the way to school. Books on the Bus is now a district-wide program that connects students with books and keeps them engaged while riding the bus to school. Commute times go by more quickly for students and they arrive at school inspired and ready to learn. Chaudoir is the recipient of the 2014 Celebrate Literacy Individual Award from the Wisconsin State Reading Association. The award is given to an individual who exemplifies efforts beyond his/her normal duties to promote literacy in their community.
Gary Cooper
For nearly 40 years, Gary Cooper has nurtured more than trees at San Jose-Evergreen Community College District. As a groundskeeper and arborist, Cooper is responsible for keeping the grounds attractive and healthy at San Jose City and Evergreen Valley colleges in San Jose, California. The only arborist at the district, Cooper leads a team in maintaining the district’s many trees, grounds, preparing athletic fields for student use, and assisting with a variety of special events—all with the least amount of impact to students, staff and faculty. Cooper also volunteers as a mentor with Evergreen College’s AFFIRM program, which assists students in developing positive self-images and provides an opportunity to acquire a solid foundation of basic skills in a supportive environment. His efforts have positively impacted many students, who have noted that his support and friendship motivated them to achieve their goals.
Jeanette Griffin–Kimber
Jeanette Griffin-Kimber is a substitute teacher coordinator for Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, GA. As a substitute teacher coordinator, she ensures that there is a qualified substitute for every teacher, paraeducator or custodian working in her school. In addition to her work at Meadowcreek High, Jeanette engages and supports at-risk youth across Georgia. She is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter and also connects at-risk high school freshmen with mentors who help them identify scholarship opportunities. Griffin-Kimber has also developed a community outreach program through the Gwinnett County Association of Educators, which provides county residents direct access to educators in their district. Jeanette is currently a Doctoral candidate for an Education Administration and Leadership degree.
Doris Hominda
Doris Hominda dedicated her career as a school support professional to helping students in her community find their calling. As an integral part of the Career and Technical Education Department in the Bethel School District near Tacoma, Washington, she provides innovative career exploration opportunities in under-represented fields, including “Girls in Engineering and Technology” and “Boys in Healthcare.” Hominda takes initiative to organize events that encourage non-traditional career paths, provides her students with real-world experience by taking them on field trips to worksites, and offers assistance in making the connection to higher education. Hominda works closely with students to help them be successful every day—something that brings her immense pride and joy. She is also a winner of the Vocational Legislative Award for her service from the State of Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Annie McClintock
Annie is a special education paraeducator at Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, NY. In addition to her work in the classroom, Annie works with the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative (HIHI), a local nonprofit that provides support to homeless and low-income families in Huntington. For the past eight years, Annie has coordinated youth volunteers to assemble over 250 bagged lunches and breakfast sandwiches every week for HIHI. Annie participates in many volunteer opportunities. She leverages her work in the community and school district to connect student volunteers and service organizations to benefit local clean-up efforts and community improvement projects. Annie is currently working on a BA with a focus on labor studies.
Doreen McGuire-Grigg
Doreen McGuire-Grigg is a special education paraeducator at Terrace Middle School in Lakeport, California. Whether she is teaching math, spelling or how to use a vacuum and other independent living skills, what is most important to her is that her students feel safe and supported in her classroom. McGuire-Grigg is often referred to by her students as their “other mother.” She is a fierce advocate for human rights and works hard to make sure the needs of Lakeport students are met. Last September, when the Valley Fire struck her community, McGuire-Grigg arranged to have bedding and cooking supplies, clothing and other necessities made available to school employees, neighbors, and others affected by the fire. Doreen is the 2016 National Education Association (NEA) Education Support Professional of the Year.
Debbi Partridge
Debbi Partridge, a multimedia technician for Modesto Junior College in California, is described as a true leader by coworkers and students alike. She works tirelessly to ensure that computers, audio-visual equipment and other high-tech devices in nearly 200 smart classrooms are ready for when classes begin. In addition to daily technical support issues that arise, Partridge sets up sound and multimedia systems for campus events, and records video for lectures, speeches and athletic events. Partridge takes great pride in knowing that what she does directly supports student success, and she is committed to doing whatever is necessary to enable effective student learning. Partridge shows the same dedication off the job, assisting with school fundraisers and field trips, and coaching T-ball.
Cynthia Tercero-Sandoval
Cynthia Tercero-Sandoval is the dropout programs coordinator for Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been a champion for public education and at-risk youth for more than 20 years. As the dropout prevention programs coordinator and in her numerous volunteer efforts, Tercero-Sandoval has helped students stay engaged in school so they graduate with a high school diploma. Tercero-Sandoval has received numerous awards, including the Community Excellence Award from the Arizona State University Hispanic Mother Daughter Program, the Phoenix College Golden Bear President’s Partnership Award for K-12 School Colleague, and the Community Service Award from the League of United Latin American Citizens. She is a recent graduate of the Georgetown University School Justice Reform Certificate Program.
Cindi Trettel
During her 41 years at Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota, middle school Special Education Paraeducator Cindi Trettel has proven to be a devoted individual to students and coworkers. Starting her career at the age of 18, she is very thankful for the adults that believed in her abilities to foster the growth of special education students. Trettel speaks with a wide smile as she describes how each child has different strengths, abilities and talents that create unique individuals. Each of these students brings such joy and satisfaction to going to work each day. Trettel works tirelessly to foster independence and growth, allowing each student to work toward success.
Margaret Warder
Margaret Warder, an intervention paraeducator for the Laguna Beach Unified School District in California, gives great attention to detail in her work. Coworkers and school administrators say Warder is deeply dedicated, is quick to volunteer when needs arise, and serves on several school committees. On the job, Warder often works with students one-on-one, forging relationships to relate to students on their level while also challenging them to reach new heights in their education. Through these connections and her astute observations, Warder ensures that the school is meeting the changing needs of her students. In her community, Warder is civically engaged, serving on a number of city committees, and is a staunch advocate in women’s and children’s issues.

AAPI Art & Storytelling

Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed
Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles. An electoral organizer by trade, she’s mobilized thousands of AAPIs to the polls in over seventeen different languages in the past fifteen years at various nonprofit organizations, starting with founding South Asian American Voting Youth in 2004. She is Campaign Strategist at 18MillionRising, an Asian American new media organizing group. She is cohost of the #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast that has been featured in O Magazine, Wired, and Buzzfeed. An avid essayist, she had a monthly column called Radical Love, was a blogger for Sepia Mutiny, has written for Truthout, The Aerogram, The Nation, Left Turn Magazine, and more. She is published in forthcoming anthology Good Girls Marry Doctors (2016) and poetry collection Coiled Serpent (2016) and was published in the anthology Love, Inshallah (2012). Her third poetry chapbook Emdash and Ellipses will be published in early 2016. Taz curates Desi music at Mishthi Music where she co-produced Beats for Bangladesh and she annually makes #MuslimVDay Cards. Her artwork was featured in the shows Sharia Revoiced (2015), in Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s H-1B (2015), and Rebel Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California (2014).
Selu Alofipo
Selu Alofipo is a self-taught expressionist artist who immigrated to the United States from the Island of Samoa in 1983. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University while on a football scholarship and credits much of his success to the opportunities made available to him through his parent's hard work and family support. As a first-generation Samoan American, Selu feels a tremendous responsibility not only to his family, but also to his Samoan heritage to persevere, progress, and succeed by doing things the right way and by utilizing the values instilled in him as young child--faith, family, respect, and above all, hard work. Selu has returned to his local elementary, junior high, and high schools to speak to students and to personally thank the teachers and administration for their dedication by donating customized original paintings as a token of gratitude.
Quang Vu Minh Do
Quang Do is a spoken word poet and student development professional at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Quang has worked to empower AAPI youth and has extensive experience as a teaching artist facilitating writing/performance workshops using spoken word as a tool to help communities better understand the personal and cultural needs of the AAPI community. The themes of love, identity, oppression, compassion, and humanity are all foundational to Quang’s poetry. Quang is a multi-time Grand Slam Champion of the Montevallo Poetry slam, TEDxBirmingham 2015 speaker, and top finalist at the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam. He currently serves as Coordinator of Student Leadership at UAB where he advises and works with the Black Student Awareness Committee, the Multicultural Greek Council, the Multicultural Council, International Mentors, as well a host of other organizations and programs. Previously, Quang was a full-time touring and teaching artist.
Jason Fong
Jason Fong, born in Los Angeles, California, is a junior at Redondo Union High School and third-generation Chinese-Korean American. Jason is interested in progressive politics, having written extensively on issues such as police brutality, affirmative action, and immigration. He is the founder of the popular hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory, which has earned millions of impressions on Twitter. His blog, JasonFongWrites, has been featured in news outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, NBC, and CNN. Jason has participated on panels about social media, civil rights, and Asian American identity at colleges, including the University of California, Riverside and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Kayhan Irani
Kayhan Irani is an Emmy Award-winning writer, a socially engaged artist, and a Theater of the Oppressed trainer and facilitator. She designs and directs socially engaged arts projects for community-based organizations, government agencies, and international NGOs. She facilitates workshops and trainings nationally and internationally in Afghanistan, India, and Iraq. Her published work includes Telling Stories to Change the World: Global Voices on the Power of Narrative to Build Community and Make Social Justice Claims (Routledge, 2008). In 2010, Kayhan won a New York Emmy Award in best writing for We Are New York, a nine-episode broadcast TV drama created with the NYC Mayor's Office of Adult Education and used as an English language and civic engagement tool for immigrant New Yorkers. She is currently producing Documented cIRCA 86: Immigration Reform Turns Thirty, a multimedia oral history and public engagement project that celebrates the lives and accomplishments of immigrants who found a pathway to legalization through the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986.
Grace Lin
Grace Lin is an award-winning and bestselling author and illustrator of picture books, early readers, and middle grade novels, including the Newbery Honor Book "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." An advocate for diversity in children's book, Grace gave the TEDx talk, "The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf." Most of Grace's books are about the Asian American experience because she believes, "Books make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal."
Fawzia Mirza
Fawzia Mirza is a Pakistani, Muslim, and queer actor, writer, and producer based in Chicago. She has written and produced theatre, web series, short films, documentaries, and more. Fawzia is a creative workaholic and believes in the power of art, storytelling, and comedy to break down stereotypes across all her identities, as well as dispelling the model minority myth seen in both the media and her communities. Fawzia is currently producing her first feature film Signature Move, which is about a Pakistani woman seeking her identity in love and wrestling, and was selected to be part of the 2016 Tribeca Film Institute All Access program. She is the recipient of the 2015 3Arts Award and was named a Rising Star in Indie Filmmaking by WBEZ Chicago and a Top Ten Creative by Indiewire Magazine.
Leslie Hsu Oh
Leslie Hsu Oh is an award-winning writer whose work has been named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays. Losing her mother and brother to hepatitis B at age 21 inspired her to found the Hepatitis B Initiative in 1997, which she later expanded to the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area with Thomas Oh. Today, this award-winning nonprofit continues to operate in several states mobilizing communities to prevent liver diseases caused by hepatitis B and C among AAPIs, African Americans and other high-risk groups. Earning masters in fine arts and public health from Harvard, she is the recipient of the Rasmuson Individual Artist Award, the first Julius B. Richmond Young Leader in Public Health Award, the first National Award for Excellence in Public Health Leadership, the Sun Memorial Award for exemplifying a commitment to improving the health and well-being of people in underserved populations, and the Schweitzer Award for reverence for life. Her writing and photography has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, First Alaskans Magazine, Fourth Genre, Parenting Magazine, Rosebud Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Under the Sun, and The Washington Post, of which several are excerpts from a memoir-in-progress including the essay named in Best American Essays.
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is a Native Hawaiian teacher, cultural practitioner, and community leader. Her work as an innovative teacher was highlighted in the award-winning PBS documentary Kumu Hina from which emerged A Place in the Middle, a nationally-recognized youth-focused, culturally centered educational program aimed at making schools and communities safe and inclusive for all. Hina serves as the gubernatorially-appointed Chair of the O'ahu Island Burial Council, charged with overseeing the protection and care of ancestral remains, and is leading a Hawaii State Department of Corrections program to empower offenders preparing for community reintegration. She was a founding member of Kulia Na Mamo, a community organization established to improve the quality of life for māhūwahine (transgender women), and served for 13 years as Director of Culture at Hālau Lōkahi Public Charter School in Honolulu. Hina is the recipient of the National Education Association’s 2016 Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Award.
Jenny Yang
Jenny Yang is a Los Angeles-based writer and standup comedian who produces the first-ever (mostly) female, Asian American standup comedy tour, Disoriented Comedy, and has been a writer and performer on the viral Buzzfeed videos that have amassed over 20 million combined views such as "Ways Our Asian Moms Say 'I Love You'," ""If Asians Said the Stuff White People Say," and the "Ask An Asian" video series. In 2015, Jenny produced the first-annual The Comedy Comedy Festival: A Comedy Festival, an Asian American comedy festival featuring the best emerging and veteran standup, sketch, improv, and writing talent. Drawing from her former career in politics, Jenny is a regular commentator on politics and pop culture with contributions featured on NPR, Southern California Public Radio, The Guardian, NBC News, BBC News, Al Jazeera America, and Pivot TV. She has been an actor and host in numerous digital projects including Comedy Central’s White Flight and Phil Yu's Angry Asian America talk show on ISAtv, a new media platform created by Far East Movement and Wong Fu Productions. Jenny was dubbed one of Los Angeles' "most fascinating people" of 2015 in LA Weekly's annual "People" issue, and a featured standup comic on Joan Rivers' 2013 Showtime documentary Why We Laugh: Funny Women.

Expanding Fair Chance Opportunities

Samantha Galarneau
Galarneau serves as Executive Vice President at California Marketing Group (CMG), a business process outsourcing vendor headquartered in San Diego, CA. Over the past 20 years, Galarneau has developed a company culture that focuses on the current qualities of candidates and her re-entry advocacy has helped foster a diverse and successful workforce. Since 2006, CMG has trained and relied upon federal inmates in the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI or UNICOR) work program to perform tele-servicing functions on behalf of its customers. This relationship has been so successful that the call center operation was expanded to a second correctional facility in Tallahassee, Florida. Both locations operate outbound call centers and, together, employ more than 300 federal inmates. To date, over 100 formerly-incarcerated individuals have been provided a direct opportunity with CMG, and more than a 1,000 opportunities have been provided through partnerships and business relationships developed by Galarneau.
Sue Kastensen
Kastensen is the founder and executive director of Fair Shake, a web- and software-based Reentry Resource Center. The idea for Fair Shake came in 1999 when an employee in a business she started in 1993 asked if she would consider hiring a friend who would soon be released from prison. Sue interviewed and hired the individual, learned a great deal about crime, prison, reentry and recidivism, and started building on an idea. By 2005, Sue sold her business and in 2009 launched Fair Shake. Today, Fair Shake provides a number of free resources to currently and formerly incarcerated individuals including a free office in the Clouds for formerly incarcerated individuals which includes data storage, email and a personal web page. The Fair Shake software and limited internet access website is also available in state prisons in Idaho, Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.
Tina Naidoo
Naidoo, MSSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker serving as the executive director for the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.), a prisoner reentry program of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas, Texas led by Bishop TD Jakes. Through the vision of Bishop TD Jakes, and under Tina’s leadership, T.O.R.I. has helped reduce the rate of recidivism by serving over 10,000 returning citizens and their families, over the past 10 years, through a 12 month intensive case management program that offers formerly incarcerated individuals the opportunity for a second chance by providing solutions to the many barriers they face upon release. The T.O.R.I. program has a recidivism rate of 11% through its holistic approach to six core components: Employment, Housing, Healthcare, Family Reunification, and Spiritual Guidance.
Dorsey Nunn
Nunn is the executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and co-founder of “All of Us or None,” an organization that supports formerly incarcerated individuals. Since 2003, Nunn has been at the forefront of a movement where formerly incarcerated individuals speak in their own voices, transform their lives and communities, and fully participate in all aspects of society. All of Us or None originated and continues to expand the “Ban the Box” campaign – a nationwide effort to eliminate structural discrimination based on conviction history in employment, housing, education, social services and other areas. Nunn and his organization have been involved in efforts to ban the box on employment applications in local and state governments and in some of the largest corporations in the country. Formerly incarcerated himself, Dorsey holds numerous prestigious awards for over thirty-five years of work on prison reform and social justice.
Juan Perez
Perez was appointed to be the Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department by Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez in 2016 and has served in the Miami-Dade Police Department since 1990. Throughout his extensive law-enforcement career, he has served as a supervisor in Police Services, Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security, Robbery, Chief in the Police Services’ South Operations Division, and as Deputy Director. The Miami-Dade Police Department has prioritized training its workforce on Crisis Intervention, so that the mentally ill persons are treated rather than incarcerated. In addition, Director Perez participates in the Re-entry Council Committee of the Miami-Dade Criminal Justice Council ensuring comprehensive local re-entry programs. He has recently developed the Youth Outreach Unit which helps at-risk children at an early age in an effort to break the cycle of violence.
Gregory P. Razo
Razo is an Alaska Native and shareholder of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., an Alaska Native Corporation which supports his efforts to improve Alaska’s civil and criminal justice systems. He serves as Chairman of the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission charged with evaluating and making recommendations to improve criminal laws and practices, keeping in mind the goals of enhancing public safety, offender rehabilitation, victim restitution and reducing costs. Alaska is in the midst of omnibus criminal justice reform legislation that is based upon the Commission’s policy recommendations to the Alaska Legislature. Razo also serves as Vice Chair of the Alaska Native Justice Center tribal non-profit to address Alaska Natives’ unmet needs regarding the Alaska civil and criminal justice system in response to the increasing disproportionate rates of victimization, incarceration and other justice-related issues impacting Alaska Natives throughout Alaska.
Carrie Ann Schubert
Schubert is the President of the Beaverton Bakery, which has been a community landmark since 1925 and in the Schubert family since 1965. The Beaverton Bakery started its Second Chance Program ten years ago but the business has been providing second chance opportunities since it was founded. The program was developed in partnership with Judge Thomas W. Kohl who presided over the Washington County Adult Drug Treatment Court. The program focuses on teaching bakery skills as part of an effort to help individuals transition back to the community after being released from prison. Since the program was founded, Beaverton Bakery has trained and hired over 200 formerly incarcerated individuals.
Robert Scott
Robert Scott, PhD, is Executive Director of the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) at Cornell University. CPEP provides college-level liberal arts education to qualified incarcerated students in upstate New York prisons. CPEP is a response to the challenge of mass incarceration in the United States: too many people in prison with too few opportunities for education and rehabilitation. CPEP demonstrates the transformative power of higher education in prison. Former students of the program have gone on to serve as role models in the community, participating in civic life and finding gainful employment in spite of the myriad challenges that face formerly incarcerated individuals. Under Robert's tenure, the program has expanded to three prisons and is serving approximately 200 incarcerated individuals this year. Robert has also been noted for his leadership in increasing collaboration in the field, contributing to the formation of a NY statewide consortium, as well as a national consortium for higher education in prison.
Roby So
So is a Re-Entry Program Manager at the Executive Clemency Initiative, part of Stanford Law School’s Justice Advocacy Project. Since becoming involved in 2012, So has provided support for both federal and state inmates returning home after long sentences, often meeting them at the prison gates. Having served in California’s prison system for 12 years, he has used his experience as an inmate to help released prisoners reintegrate into society. In 2015, So was featured in a New York Times Magazine article on reintegrating the formerly incarcerated. He also serves as an example for formerly incarcerated individuals by working full time as post production supervisor in the entertainment industry, proving that hard work and determination can overcome barriers.
Sabra Williams
Williams is an actress and the founder and Director of The Actors’ Gang Prison Project. The Prison Project conducts eight-week theatre workshops inside the California prison system and has developed programs at The California Institution for Men, The California Institution for Women, The California Rehabilitation Center, Lancaster State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, and New Folsom Prison. As one of the only remaining arts programs inside California’s correctional system, The Prison Project fosters tolerance and nonviolent expression while significantly reducing recidivism rates.

Advancing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

Anita Bradley
Anita Bradley is the founder and Executive Director of the Northern Ohio Recovery Association. She has been in recovery from a substance abuse disorder for over 25 years and understands the importance and magnitude of blending personal and professional knowledge to promote the power and possibility of recovery. Anita built a Peer to Peer training program offered at a local Community College and opened the Next Step Recovery House, a residential recovery housing facility on Cleveland’s near west side. Anita also recently launched a Statewide Network for Addiction to respond to the opioid crisis and insure that the voice for recovery from substance use disorders is included in planning and policy efforts in Ohio. Anita was named winner of the 2015 Women Who Excel Entrepreneur Award, by Smart Business Magazine and is a recipient of the Joel Hernandez Community Recovery Award.
Leonard Campanello
Leonard Campanello is the Chief of Police in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Chief Campanello has worked to end the stigma of addiction by adding law enforcement's voice to those suffering with substance use disorders. In May of 2015, in response to the growing epidemic of opioid use disorders, he announced policy change that those with substance use disorders could ask for help and treatment resources from the Gloucester Police Department by walking into the station, with or without drugs, and without being charged with a crime. The policy also provided free naloxone (an opioid overdose antidote) for anyone in need. In the 10 months since it began, the Gloucester Program has brought 425 people directly to treatment with no criminal penalty and no solicitation of information, and has reduced crime and costs associated with addiction in Gloucester and rebuilt trust between the police and the community. The policy’s success led to the creation of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, which facilitates the proliferation of the Gloucester Program to over 100 communities in 22 states and partnerships with 250 treatment centers and growing.
Leslie Hayes
Leslie Hayes, MD, works for El Centro Family Health in Espanola, NM, as a family practitioner. El Centro Family Health is a community health center with clinics located throughout northern New Mexico, a rural, underserved area. While Dr. Hayes enjoys all aspects of family medicine, her particular passion is taking care of people with opioid use disorders. She works with pregnant women and new mothers who have substance use disorders to make sure that they and their babies receive compassionate and appropriate medical care. Leslie received much of her training in substance use disorders through Project ECHO, a program that uses telecommunication to link specialists with primary care providers. Leslie considers herself extremely fortunate to have been able to give back to Project ECHO, and she now provides training for other providers around the state of New Mexico in substance use disorder and use of the medication assisted treatment buprenorphine.
Tom Hedrick
Tom Hedrick is one of the founding members of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (the Partnership). Since its founding, the Partnership has focused on delivering evidence-based prevention communication messages through the media, becoming the largest single-issue public service communications program in America during a period of dramatic reductions in substance use among adolescents. Tom helped expand the program to include evidenced-based resources and support for parents and caregivers in prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery through a web-based platform and a toll-free Helpline. With Tom’s help, the Partnership is piloting a peer support program to recruit and train experienced parents and caregivers to coach other parents and caregivers who have discovered that their kids have a substance use disorder. The coaching has been integrated with the online resources and the Helpline into a national Parent Support Network.
Andre Johnson
Andre Johnson is the founder, President and CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project (DRP), a recovery community organization, providing peer-led, peer-run, and peer-driven services in Detroit. Andre has been in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder for nearly 28 years. Over the past ten years, Andre has secured over $15 million dollars in federal, county, state, and local grants for DRP to provide quality prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Andre was appointed by the US Secretary of Health & Human Services to serve on the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Advisory Council. He also sits on the board of the College for Behavioral Health Leadership.
Shawn M. Lang
Shawn M. Lang is the Deputy Director of AIDS Connecticut (ACT). Shawn has been with ACT since 1991, where she coordinates HIV/AIDS public policy activities on the state and federal levels, including chairing the AIDS LIFE Campaign, Connecticut’s AIDS policy group. Shawn also oversees ACT’s care and treatment programs, prevention programs, member services, and provides a variety of trainings and presentations. She is on the board of the National AIDS Housing Coalition, the Community Advisory Board of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, and was recently appointed to the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. Since 2013, Shawn has chaired Connecticut’s Statewide Opiate Overdose Prevention Workgroup, which has engaged in an extensive advocacy campaign to increase awareness about and access to Naloxone, a lifesaving medication that reverses opioid overdoses. She has been a longstanding activist on issues impacting battered women, LGBT communities, homelessness and HIV/AIDS. She lives in Hartford with her 18 year old son.
Julio Medina
Julio Medina is the founder and Executive Director of Exodus Transitional Community, a reentry program in East Harlem, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Albany, New York. Julio spent twelve years in prison on drugs charges in the 1980s and 90s. As the Founder and Executive Director of Exodus Transitional Community, Julio addresses the widespread struggle of substance use disorders, often linked to incarceration and recidivism. Under Julio’s leadership, Exodus Transitional Community employs a holistic approach to substance use disorders with the aim of tackling all of the stages of addiction, including prevention, treatment, recovery and relapse. Julio also works to promote effective local, state and federal policies aimed at substance use disorders, while increasing access to services that support men, women and their families. Most recently, Julio was appointed by New York Governor Cuomo to serve on the Community Reentry and Reintegration Council, and by New York City Mayor De Blasio to serve on the Alternatives to Incarceration Council.
Justin Phillips
Justin Phillips, MA is the Founder and Executive Director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana non-profit dedicated to reducing the stigma of addiction and preventing deaths resulting from opioid overdose. Justin started the nonprofit in 2014, following the loss of her 20-year old son Aaron to a heroin overdose. Overdose Lifeline established a support network for families impacted by opioid use disorders and helps to purchase naloxone, an opioid reversal drug, for first-responders in the Indianapolis area. Justin also worked with Indiana legislators on a bill known as Aaron’s Law to expand access to naloxone prescriptions for others beyond first responders. Justin’s advocacy efforts were realized with the enactment of Aaron’s Law in April of 2015, making it legal for naloxone to be made available in pharmacies across Indiana without a physician’s prescription. Overdose Lifeline has distributed over 300 naloxone overdose reversal kits to families and individuals and developed a one of a kind prevention education program for the state of Indiana.
Justin Luke Riley
Justin Luke Riley serves as president and CEO of Young People in Recovery (YPR), a national grassroots organization focused on peer-to-peer services for young people in, or seeking, recovery from substance use disorder. Riley is 28 years-old and has been in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder since 2007. Under Justin’s leadership, YPR aims to improve access to treatment educational resources, employment opportunities and housing that sustains young people in their recovery. With over 100 chapters nationwide, YPR empowers young people to get involved in their communities by providing them with the tools and support that will allow them to take charge of their futures. Justin graduated cum laude from the Honors & Leadership Program at the University of Colorado at Denver in 2013 and is currently seeking his Executive MBA at the University Colorado. He is a former organizational development consultant and a youth and community engagement pastor in Denver; former secretary of the board of Faces & Voices of Recovery in Washington, DC; and past president of the board of Advocates for Recovery in Denver.
Barbara Theodosiou
Barbara Theodosiou, upon learning that two of her sons had substance use disorders, founded The Addict’s Mom, a forum for mothers who were suffering the adversities that accompany addiction in a loved one. The Addict’s Mom offers both online and in-person support, education, resources and the opportunity for members to “Share Without Shame” their triumphs and tragedies as they hope that their loved one achieve recovery. Under Barbara’s leadership, The Addict’s Mom has reached 70,000 members who educate, advocate, and collaborate with lawmakers, community leaders and experts in the field.

It's On Us

Pablo Das
Pablo Das is a senior at Boston University studying in the Pardee School of Global Studies. He is the founder and chair of “16,000 Strong,” BU's first and only student-run sexual assault prevention campaign. Pablo created 16,000 Strong to spearhead a movement against sexual assault on BU's campus and to create an educated, united community to stand against such acts. In just over two years, 16,000 Strong has worked with BU to tighten its sexual assault reporting procedures, promoted dialogue and activism among prominent student groups such as Greek life and Varsity athletics, and garnered thousands of signatures on its awareness pledge. Under Pablo's leadership, 16,000 Strong has become a well-known campaign across campus and is collaborating with the local community and businesses to strengthen off-campus safety measures as well.
Jessica Davidson
Jessica Davidson is the Student Body Vice President at the University of Denver (DU), where she is earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Public Policy Analysis. Jess has led the DU Undergraduate Student Government in comprehensive sexual assault prevention education and policy, including: creating a program to give students access to safe walks home during orientation week, mandating bystander intervention training for student organizations, and working towards affirmative consent policies. Jess believes survivor narratives lead the charge on policy change; this year, she told her story as a survivor on the front page of the Huffington Post in her article, My Rapist Might Not Know He's a Rapist, in which she made a call to action for universities to adopt clear affirmative consent policies. Her advocacy has amplified survivor voices, establishes pathways for student leaders to create meaningful change, and used her own story to spark discussion and deepen understanding of sexual assault on college campuses.
Valerie Halstead
Valerie Halstead, BSN, RN, is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. Her passion and research interests include women’s health, violence prevention, and health promotion, especially pertaining to young adults and the college population. Ms. Halstead’s dissertation study focuses on exploring the characteristics of sexual violence practices by student health centers located on institutions of higher education. Her hopes are to ensure that these facilities are implementing best practices so that students receive appropriate and comprehensive care. Further, Ms. Halstead works determinedly within her own campus community in efforts to address sexual violence. She serves on the larger President’s Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence and Prevention as well as two sub-committees, the Resource Committee and the Campus Climate Survey Committee. In addition, Ms. Halstead is honored to be part of Futures Without Violence Campus Leadership Program as well as a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar.
Malayna Hasmanis
Malayna Hasmanis is currently an undergraduate student at Grand Valley State University, where she is studying Special Needs Education with an emphasis in cognitive and emotional impairments. She is the founding member and president of Greeks Against Sexual Assault on the Grand Valley campus, where she has worked in collaboration of the Women's Center, the Division of Inclusion and Equity, a plethora of Greek organizations, as well as with the It's On Us initiative to try and unify the student body to demonstrate their stance in being active bystanders and informed individuals in this fight against sexual assault. She is currently working on revamping the It's On Us initiative so that it demonstrates full Greek body support, and working more closely with the peer education student organization, Eyes Wide Open, to unify these bodies to go above and beyond to break the walls and barriers that prevent these means of open communication in regards to consent, sexual assault, rape culture, etc.
Claire Kelling
For the last four years, Claire Kelling has coordinated Take Back the Night at Virginia Tech, the largest event for raising awareness of gender-based violence on campus, and has advocated for this movement at the regional, national, and international levels. Claire also serves as the president of Womanspace+, the longest-running feminist activist organization at Virginia Tech. Claire volunteers in her community through the Clothesline Project, which is a visual testimony to the shattering effect of gender-based violence and its impact on society. In Fall 2016, Claire will begin pursuing her PhD in Statistics in an effort to bring the power of data analytics to social and economic justice issues.
Celene Lopez
Celene Lopez is a Psychology Major at Humboldt State University and CHECK IT’s Volunteer Coordinator. On campus, she is working toward creating a more consent-centered and accountable community. Celene, along with other students and groups, built a student led initiative called CHECK IT, which sets consent-based norms on campus and creatively empowers students to take action when they witness potential moments of sexual assault, dating violence, and/or stalking, tangibly challenging the violence happening in their community. CHECK IT provides the campus community with tools for intervening in ways that are realistic and match people’s unique personalities, identities, and communication styles.
Cody McDavis
Cody McDavis is a December 2015 graduate of University of Northern Colorado, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team. Cody was also a member of the National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where he engaged with the It’s On Us campaign. He serves as the lead of the It’s On Us National Video Competition, which was created in 2014 in recognition of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) partnership with the White House to spread awareness of sexual assault on collegiate campuses. In the two years since the competition began, it has actively engaged college campuses across the nation by challenging students to create a video addressing sexual assault intervention in a creative and unique way. Ultimately, this competition has the goal of establishing collegiate students whom actively intervene in situations where sexual assault could occur and can provide resources to fellow students.
Lisa Napper
Lisa Napper is a student leader at Howard University from Aurora, Colorado. She co-produced a documentary on the experiences of African American women who are survivors of sexual assault and the challenges they deal with upon arriving on campus. Lisa also hosted Howard’s first Take Back the Night event where the documentary was screened and she facilitated a discussion on the issue of sexual assault on Howard’s campus and around the world. The following year, she expanded the event to Take Back the Night week, with a survivor’s yoga session, a panel with mental health professionals, an open mic night, and an “It’s On Us” pledge drive. Lisa is an advocate for engaging men on the conversation on sexual assault and ensuring that victims are empowered to view themselves as survivors. Lisa was invited to share her perspective at a student voices session with former Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Lisa has worked as a program’s intern for Moms Demand Action against Gun Violence, and as an intern, in the Office of the Chair at the Democratic National Committee.
Cadet Carson Warnberg
Cadet Carson Warnberg is a First Class Cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Carson currently serves as the Education Officer for the Cadets Against Sexual Harassment Program (CASHA). He has been involved with the program since 2013 and has worked at the Company, Regimental, and Brigade levels. As the Education Officer, Carson is responsible for creating education aimed at eliminating sexual harassment and sexual assault, training and educating, and fostering a culture of bystander intervention in the Corps of Cadets. He is also involved with USMA's Law Enforcement Tactics Club and will commission as an Armor Officer in the Army upon graduation.
Meghan Yap
Meghan Yap is a senior at the University of California San Diego, double majoring in biological anthropology and global health. She is a College Ambassador, Resident Assistant, and a research assistant at the university. Meghan was first exposed to the effects of sexual and domestic violence while rendering care as an emergency medical technician in Los Angeles. Following her own experience of campus sexual assault, Meghan made it her personal and professional mission to improve the lives of survivors through research and activism. As an intern at UC San Diego Medical School’s Center on Gender Equity and Health, Meghan is developing policy and best practice recommendations for the university to address sexual violence. She has been reviewing recommendations from state and national coalitions against sexual assault and conducting an analysis of campus policies to assess their adherence to these coalition-recommended approaches. On campus, Meghan collaborates with administrators and resource centers to promote evidence-based, trauma-informed policies and practices, in an effort to advocate for greater sensitivity and prevent re-victimization of survivors. Meghan is a first generation college student, and after graduating from UC San Diego in June 2016, she plans to pursue a Masters of Public Health and PhD in global health, emphasizing gender-based violence.

Summer Opportunity

Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend
Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend, MSW serves as the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), a nonprofit that builds and connects systems to equip young people for academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. Under Chekemma’s leadership, PYN has transformed the youth employment system and played a critical role in surpassing the city’s goal of 10,000 summer jobs in 2015. Since its inception, PYN has created more than 150,000 summer and year round opportunities for Philadelphia’s hardest to reach young people, with scalable models and collective impact strategies that have been replicated nationally and recognized globally.
Bill Hanawalt
Bill Hanawalt is the Executive Director of Peace Community Center in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington, a position he has held since the Center’s opening 15 years ago. The Center supports and encourages youth historically underrepresented in college to cultivate their academic and leadership talents through in-school, after-school and summer programs for students in elementary through post-secondary education, including mentoring, tutoring, leadership development, college readiness preparation, and social and emotional skill development. Peace Community Center serves over 350 students each year and provides nearly 200 elementary, middle and high school students with summer programming. Bill also served for six years on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Services in America, is currently the Co-Chair of Tacoma’s summer and after-school network, and a member of the state-wide Expanded Learning Opportunities Council.
Alec Lee
Alec Lee is the co-founder and Executive Director of Aim High, an educational nonprofit serving middle school youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the last 30 years, Aim High has worked to narrow the opportunity and achievement gaps prevalent among students from under-resourced communities. Aim High engages students in a multi-year, free summer learning program that blends academics, enrichment, and college and career preparedness. Under Alec’s leadership, more than 9,000 students have participated since the program began in 1986. In 2016, Aim High will oversee seventeen summer campuses in five regions and serve over 2,000 students. In 2016, Aim High launched Vision 2020, a five-year plan to serve 6,000 more students, while also training hundreds of new teachers and educational leaders, and elevating support for students and alumni through strategic partnerships.
Victor Francisco Lopez
Victor Francisco Lopez lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and founded Learners Chess in 2010. Learners Chess operates with a social business model to use the game of chess as a medium through which its coaches serve as mentors to children in the Albuquerque, New Mexico metropolitan area. Over 5,300 students have participated in Learners' summer chess camps and after-school chess programs and nearly 800 students have received financial assistance through Learners' need-based scholarship fund. Victor has recruited, trained, and mentored over 30 chess coaches since 2010. Victor previously worked as a community organizer through The Center for Community Change and U.S. PIRG.
Laura Huerta Migus
Laura Huerta Migus is the Executive Director of the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) in Arlington, Virginia, the world's largest professional society promoting and advocating on behalf of children's museums and children’s museum professionals. Throughout her career, Laura has been devoted to the growth and education of children, particularly those from underserved and under-resourced communities. Under her leadership, ACM pursues innovative and effective partnerships to leverage the power of children’s museums. The latest manifestation of this approach is ACM’s partnership with the Ultimate Block Party, which emphasizes the importance of play for healthy academic, social, and emotional development, all critical elements in addressing summer learning loss for the youngest learners. Previously, Laura served as the Director of Professional Development and Equity Initiatives at the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Inc.
Riya Rahman
Riya Rahman is from Waco, Texas and is a senior political science student at Baylor University. For the last two years, she has worked to end child hunger with the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. During the 2014-15 school year, she was a No Kid Hungry Youth Ambassador on Baylor’s campus to increase child hunger awareness and advocacy among college students. This summer, she worked at THI’s Dallas Regional Office as an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate, where she promoted the Summer Meals Program. Currently, Riya works at the THI Central Office as an undergraduate policy analyst where she focuses on child nutrition policy at a state and federal level.
Lauren Reilly
Lauren Reilly is the Program Director at Practice Makes Perfect (PMP), a nationally recognized summer school operator in New York City. She joined the PMP team in early 2014 after teaching in the Bronx and Harlem's charter schools. During her time at PMP, she has created the programmatic framework that has positioned the organization as a highly scalable solution to our nation's summer school crisis. In addition to improving the quality of training, Lauren oversaw the integration of a home visits program, a merit-pay system, and one of the most selective internship programs in the US, with just a 4% selection rate for the summer of 2014.
Olis Simmons
Olis Simmons lives in Oakland, California and is the founding President and CEO of Youth UpRising, a multi-service youth leadership development organization started in 2005. Youth UpRising provides comprehensive, fully integrated health, wellness, educational, career, arts, and cultural programming to Alameda County youth and young adults, ages 13-24. Under Olis’s leadership, Youth UpRising has served over 13,000 youth in the East Oakland area, including over 2,100 internship placements. In 2014, Simmons partnered with the Oakland Unified School District to found Castlemont Community Transformation Schools, a cradle-to-career continuum that holds students as drivers of neighborhood improvement.
Beth A. Unverzagt
Beth Unverzagt lives in Wilsonville, Oregon and has served as the Director of OregonASK since 2005. OregonASK is a collaboration of 65 public and private partners which seek to improve the quality, increase sustainability and create system support for out-of-school time programs in Oregon. Beth coordinates state level efforts around afterschool and summer programming, including OregonASK’s Summer Learning, Summer Library, Summer Lunch program, which operates at 30 sites around Oregon and focuses on high need children reading below grade level. Beth also educates policy makers, local and state representatives, educational stakeholders and afterschool professionals around the issues and resources for the field of afterschool and advocates for systemic change within statewide systems.

Computer Science Education

Cordell Carter, II
Cordell is the Chief Executive Officer of TechTown Foundation, Inc. in Chattanooga, TN, an operator of technology and arts education centers designed to level the playing field for young innovators through access to state of the art technology, training in 21st century skills and career awareness. Previously he was Chief of Staff and Director, U.S. Programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vice President of Operations for the National Alliance of Public Charter School and Vice President of Public Policy, leading the Education and Workforce Committee, for Business Roundtable. Earlier in his career, he served as Seattle Public School District Director of School Support Services, a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow with Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau Bankengruppe and a strategy consultant with the IBM Corporation.
Andrea Chaves
Andrea Chaves is a Spanish and Computer Science teacher and creative director at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria, NY. There she has integrated digital education and coding into all of her classes, including Spanish. Andrea also leads a group of students known as the “Tech Crew,” composed of filmmakers, graphic designers, coders, website designers, and project managers. Under Andrea’s guidance, these young women collaborate to solve problems around school like teaching students about recycling through coding educational video games.
Grace Clark
Grace Clark is a sophomore at International High School in New Orleans, LA and is a student intern with Operation Spark, which offers free technology training and coding courses to young people in New Orleans. Through Operation Spark, Grace worked with the New Orleans Police Department on a policing data event where she taught New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison to write his first line of code. She also teaches coding to children at Arthur Ashe Elementary and attended the 2014 Essence Festival to represent inner city youth in coding and technology. Grace wants to become an educator and teach English and computer programming in New Orleans.
James Forde
James (Jim) Forde is a 7th grade science teacher at Cloonan Middle School in Stamford, CT. Jim was the Stamford Public Schools' Teacher of the Year and is an active STEM education advocate. He has served as the district's STEM Professional and is involved in developing STEM curricula, planning of a city wide STEM festival, providing STEM professional development, and promoting STEM education. Jim curates a popular STEM Education Twitter feed for STEM educators and organizations, @stemnetwork, with more than 3,000 followers from across the nation. He also sponsors the Computer Coding Club at Cloonan Middle School and a 3D printing club.
Christina Li
Christina Li is a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School and the Utica Center for Math, Science, and Technology in Macomb, MI. She is the Vice President of Controls for her FIRST robotics on team #217 the ThunderChickens. Christina created Hello World, a week-long Computer Science day camp for thirty middle school girls to learn how to code robots, apps, websites, and games. Through the program, Christina hosted online and in-person meetings with female computer engineers from Google, Microsoft, the Michigan Council for Women in Technology and Ford Motors, and field trips to the Microsoft Tech Center, Google Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. Through Hello World, Christina aims to help lower the gender gap in computer science.
Andreas Stefik
Andreas Stefik, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For the last decade, he has been creating technologies that make it easier for people, including those with disabilities, to write computer software. With grants from the National Science Foundation, he established the first national educational infrastructure for blind or visually impaired students to learn computer science. He is the inventor of Quorum, the first evidence-oriented programming language. The design of Quorum is based on rigorous empirical data from experiments on human behavior.
Jane Margolis
Jane Margolis is a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where she investigates why so few women and students of color have learned computer science. Based on research discussed in her books Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing and Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race and Computing, she and her collaborators, with support from the National Science Foundation, created Exploring Computer Science (ECS), a high school curriculum and teacher professional development program committed to reaching all students, especially those in underserved communities and schools. ECS now exists across the nation, including in seven of the largest school districts.
Karen North
Karen North is a retired computer science and math teacher from Houston, TX and has been an advocate for Computer Science education since 1985. She has fought to keep computer science certification for teachers and played an integral part in increasing programming and computational thinking in the K-8 Texas math standards. She now serves as a affiliate, a Code Buddy for Spring Branch Independent School District and a volunteer with the American Association of University Women, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, and the International Society for Technology Education Computing Teachers Network, among others.
Angelica Willis
Angelica Willis is an undergraduate Computer Science student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. She currently spearheads an initiative to develop an entrepreneurship, design and Computer Science centered Makerspace for at-risk youth and underrepresented communities in Greensboro. She is a 2015-2016 Student Ambassador through the White House Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) All-Stars program, a 2016 CODE2040 Fellow, a 2016 Apple HBCU Scholar and a Stanford University Epicenter's University Innovation Fellow. Angelica interned with NASA, where she worked on ecological forecasting research with space satellites to support reforestation in Rwanda.

Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture

Anita Adalja
Anita Adalja is the Farm Manager at Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. Arcadia works in the Washington, D.C. metro area to create a more equitable and sustainable food system through increasing food access, sustainable farming, farmer training and farm-to-school education. Under Anita’s management, Arcadia Farm grows thousands of pounds of naturally grown produce that is then sold in low or no food access areas in Washington, D.C. through their mobile farmers’ market program.
William “Buddy” Allen
Buddy Allen is a producer in Tunica, Mississippi and a member of the Macon Edwards Company, a Washington D.C. based consulting firm. He is actively involved in several agriculture related businesses, including a large-scale multi-crop farming operation in Mississippi. Buddy is a leader in conservation on the farm and holds a leadership role in several agricultural and conservation organizations.
Keith Berns
Keith Berns and his brother Brian are co-owners and operators of Providence Farms, a 2,000 acre diversified family farming operation in Bladen, Nebraska and Green Cover Seed, one of the nation’s leading providers of cover crop information and seed. Keith spends countless hours educating farmers and ranchers about the importance of soil health and carbon sequestration through field days, workshops, and conferences.
Larry Cundall
Larry Cundall, a Vietnam War Veteran and fourth generation rancher from Glendo, Wyoming, is a leader in his ranching community. His priority is managing his land for increased productivity, while also protecting wildlife and natural resources for future generations. Larry manages water in an effort to decrease water use and cut down labor costs; he has switched from windmills to solar wells, added miles of waterlines for better water use, and grazing distribution.
Herman “Trey” Hill
Trey Hill serves as partner and manager of Harborview Farms located in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Harborview Farms produces corn, wheat, and soybeans for the Mid-Atlantic region with a focus on sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. Under Trey’s direction, Harborview has taken 4.5 percent of its total 12,500 acres out of production because they are environmentally sensitive areas.
Loretta Jaus
Loretta Jaus, and her husband Martin, operate a 410-acre, rotationally grazed, 60-cow dairy in south-central Minnesota. In 1980, with degrees in Biology and Wildlife Management, the couple settled in as the fourth generation on Martin’s family farm where their training created a natural backdrop for the farm’s conservation focus and subsequent transition to certified organic production.
Martin Kleinschmit
Martin Kleinschmit is the owner of an organic farm in Nebraska that produces organic grains and forages grass-finished cattle on annual and permanent pastures. The farm maintains natural fertility using crop rotations, cover crop mixtures and animal impact. After recognizing the need for a high microbial life to foster carbon sequestration, Martin mentored other farmers through a 4-year program that was instrumental in enrolling over 60,000 Nebraska acres in a USDA organic transition program.
Jennifer “Jiff” Martin
Jiff Martin is the Sustainable Food System Associate Educator for the University of Connecticut Extension. She has worked for over 12 years on food and agriculture issues in Connecticut, helping residents discover local agriculture, connecting kids to real food to help them grow up healthy, and researching community food security in Connecticut’s 169 towns.
Jesus Sanchez
Jesus Sanchez serves as the Farm Manager for Sano Farms –a diversified tomato, almond, wheat, garbanzo, and garlic farm spanning 4,000 acres in Firebaugh, California. Firebaugh is a small town of about 8,000 people in the heart of the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley. For over ten years, he has implemented a number of innovative conservation agriculture practices including the use of cover crops and strip-tillage at Sano Farms.
Erin Fitzgerald Sexson
Erin Fitzgerald Sexson is senior vice president, global sustainability for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, a forum for the dairy community to work together pre-competitively to foster research, measurement and innovation for sustainability from farm to table. Under Erin’s leadership, the Innovation Center conducted environmental impact assessment studies which led to an industry-wide voluntary carbon reduction goal and tools and resources to measure and track progress.
Timothy Smith
Tim Smith is a fourth-generation farmer who raises soybeans, corn and cover crops on his family’s Century Farm in Wright County, Iowa. In addition to raising crops, Tim is focused on strengthening soil health and improving water quality and has worked with a number of organizations, including the Iowa Soybean Association and the Soil Health Partnership, to implement new farming methods.
Donald Tyler
Donald Tyler is a soil management researcher in the Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Department at the University of Tennessee. He has done research in soil management for over 37 years. When he arrived in Tennessee, soil erosion rates were some of the highest in the United States. He is being honored for his research and outreach contributions in the areas of no-tillage cropping systems.

LGBT Artists

Steven Romeo
Steven Romeo is the founder, executive director and primary artist for The Change Project based in Birmingham, AL. The Change Project is an arts and storytelling organization that seeks to transforming discrimination against all LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) people into acceptance through the art of photography, social media campaigns, educational resources and partnerships with social justice organizations. Steven’s first fine art installation is “Our Bodies. Our Lives,” which engages viewers to consider what LGBTQ people want to be called versus the labels that society places on them.
Lee Levingston Perine
Lee Levingston Perine is the Founder of Makers Lab in Washington, D.C. Through Makers Lab, Lee has built and supported queer communities by creating spaces that celebrate life, art, and queer culture. Since launching in August 2015, the Lab has produced and been a collaborator in the production of 35 cultural events in the region. The Lab recently received a grant for the Last Night Project, a story-collecting project that explores Black queer space in Washington, D.C.
Marco Castro-Bojorquez
Marco Castro-Bojorquez is the Community Educator in Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office in Los Angeles, California. Marco is responsible for the coordination and implementation of Lambda Legal’s various educational and advocacy efforts. He has produced and directed several short films and documentaries, including the award- winning documentary Tres Gotas de Agua (Three Drops of Water, 2013), a short film about Latina immigrant mothers and the impact of their children’s coming out process.
LJ Roberts
LJ Roberts is a visual artist who creates large-scale knitted installations, detailed embroideries, screen prints and collages. Their work investigates overlaps of queer and trans politics, activism, protest, craft and the ongoing AIDS epidemic through an intersectional feminist lens. Among their upcoming projects are a collaboration with Visual AIDS to create a sex-positive woman-centered safer sex kit as part of the forthcoming show Agitprop! at The Brooklyn Museum .
Fiona Dawson
Fiona Dawson established TransMilitary to promote transgender equality through media that educates, entertains and inspires. The project intimately shares the lives of U.S. transgender military personnel who served under the threat of discharge. Having co-directed and produced the short opinion documentary Transgender, at War and in Love, commissioned by the New York Times, she is now working on the feature length version of the film.
Jess Dugan
Jess Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. She has been photographing within LGBT communities for the past decade and is deeply committed to the transformative power of photographic portraiture. Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several major museums.
Joanna Hoffman
Joanna Hoffman is a 12-year veteran of slam poetry. Her full-length book of poetry Running for Trap Doors was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and featured in the American Library Association's list of recommended LGBT reading for 2014. She has performed her one-woman poetry show, The Personal is Political: These Simple Truths, on topics of bullying, homophobia, racism and mental health, and conducted poetry workshops with youth across the country.
Pidgeon Pagonis
Pidgeon Pagonis, M.A., is an intersex activist. They are the former Communications & Operations Manager and Youth Leadership Coordinator for Inter/Act, an intersex youth project, at Advocates for Informed Choice--an organization that fights for the legal rights of intersex children and their families. Since 2006, they have made an effort to expand the visibility of issues related to the intersex community by facilitating workshops and presentations around the world.
AJ King
AJ King serves as the Founder of Breaking Ground. Formerly known as “Brother 2 Brother,” this program targets men and trans youth of color in Washington, D.C., to tell their life stories through musical theatre, and identify non-violent conflict resolution. The program began as a fellowship project and blossomed into a full program presented at the national HIV/AIDS conference, NAESM.

Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation

Olatunji Reed
Olatunji Reed has worked to build a diverse, inclusive, and equitable bicycling culture throughout Chicago, which revitalizes underserved communities, improves health, and gives people greater accessibility. He leads a coalition of cycling advocates fighting for a citywide biking infrastructure that is equitable and beneficial for all Chicagoans.
Peter Lagerwey
Peter Lagerway has spent over 30 years managing pedestrian/bicycle planning and design projects with the City of Seattle and as a consultant to communities throughout the country. Peter developed, refined, and promoted the concept of a “road diet,” which reduces four lane roadways to three, making room for bike lanes and pedestrians.
Nathaniel Ford
Nathaniel Ford led efforts to overhaul Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) by implementing the Route Optimization Initiative, which has increased ridership, decreased travel times, and made safety upgrades to buses and stations. His efforts have transformed JTA into a more reliable, efficient, and safer system for the people of Jacksonville.
Marilyn Bull
Dr. Marilyn Bull has developed a reputation for her commitment to child safety, working with entrepreneurs and manufacturers to develop products to help children with special health care needs travel safely. She and her team developed the curriculum on “Safe Travel for All Children,” which is used nationally and internationally for training.
Carl Weimer
Carl Weimer is Executive Director of the national Pipeline Safety Trust. Under his leadership, the Trust has worked with community and industry groups alike to improve pipeline safety, testified to Congress over 20 times, and successfully advocated for stronger pipeline safety regulations at the local, state and federal level.
Kyle Wagenschutz
Kyle Wagenschutz helped to establish Memphis as a national leader on bicycle and pedestrian programs in an urban environment. His work led to the city’s first bicycle master plan, which secured funding to construct more than 100 miles of new dedicated bike lanes, which has helped make the city more accessible, livable, and walkable.
James Sayer
Dr. Jim Sayer was instrumental in developing the University of Michigan’s vision for introducing connected and automated vehicle technologies. To achieve this, he designed, developed and implemented M City, a facility that will allow the automotive community to test automated vehicle technologies.
Elaine Roberts
Ms. Elaine Roberts was instrumental in envisioning, designing, developing, and implementing a plan to build a joint use facility in Columbus, Ohio. Her leadership led to the opening of the Rickenbacker Airport, a 210,000 lift/truck intermodal facility that is the heart of the Heartland Corridor.
Robert Portiss
Robert Portiss, who has been a passionate advocate for inland waterways issues for over 40 years, was instrumental in forging a formal partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas-Oklahoma Port Operators Association. His advocacy efforts led to enhanced partnership between private and public stakeholders.
Habib Dagher
Dr. Habib Dagher, a leading advocate for developing advanced structural systems, and his team at the University of Maine designed the “Bridge in a Backpack” program, which uses innovative and lightweight bridge materials. His concept is helping states construct new bridges in an efficient, innovative way.
Atorod Azizimamini
Dr. Atorod Azizimamini invented the Folder Steel Plate Girder bridge system, which provides a cost-effective alternative for rapidly replacing or retrofitting short span bridges without impacting traffic or mobility. His innovative rapid bridge replacemen

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