DISTINGUISHED SCIENTISTS, INVENTORS, EXPLORERS, AND CHAMPIONS FOR GLOBAL GOOD

A sampling of speakers from previous Congresses

GRAND MASTERS

JOHN C. MATHER, Ph.D.

Science Director, National Academy of Future STEM Innovators
Winner, 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics

Dr. Mather studied cosmic microwave background radiation and received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California. As a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, Dr. Mather led a team to propose the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite mission to study cosmic microwave background radiation. This work, for which he won a Nobel Prize, helped cement the Big Bang theory of the universe. According to the Nobel Prize committee, “The COBE project can also be regarded as the starting point for cosmology as a precision science.” Dr. Mather has served on advisory and working groups for the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. In 2007, Dr. Mather was listed among TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. In October 2012, he was listed again by TIME in a special issue, New Space Discoveries, as one of the 25 Most Influential People in Space.

SYLVIA A. EARLE, Ph.D.

Explorer in Residence, National Geographic Society
Founder, Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc.

Dr. Earle is the author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater. Dr. Earle’s research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. She is the subject of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix documentary Mission Blue; was named TIME magazine’s first Hero for the Planet and a Living Legend by the Library of Congress; and is a winner of the 2009 TED Prize, the Royal Geographic Society 2011 Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal.

SIR RICHARD ROBERTS, Ph.D.

Winner, 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Dr. Roberts was educated in chemistry at the University of Sheffield, England, and in molecular biology at Harvard University. He worked for 20 years at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where his group discovered RNA splicing, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. In 1992, Dr. Roberts joined New England Biolabs as Chief Scientific Officer. He has had a long-standing interest in bioinformatics, which most recently has been applied to his research on restriction enzymes and DNA methylases. He now dedicates his research to GMO crops and food sources and to demonstrating the effect they have on humanity.

GEORGE M. CHURCH, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School Professor of Genetics
Director, PersonalGenomes.org
Lead, Harvard Woolly Mammoth Revival

Dr. Church is a founding member of the Wyss Institute and director of PersonalGenomes.org, the world’s only open-access information on human genomic, environmental, and trait data. Dr. Church developed the first methods for the first genome sequence, thus contributing to nearly all “next generation sequencing” methods and companies. His team invented CRISPR for human stem cell genome editing and other synthetic biology technologies and applications, including new ways to create organs for transplantation, gene therapies for aging reversal, and gene drives to eliminate Lyme disease and malaria. Dr. Church also leads the Harvard Woolly Mammoth Revival team, which is working to identify cold climate-adapted alleles of the mammoth genome and edit them into living elephant cells.

PARDIS SABETI, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor at the Center for Systems Biology and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University
Professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Sabeti is a computational geneticist whose lab develops powerful methods and tools for advancing genome biology and medicine. She has created some of the most widely used algorithms to mine our genome for instances of human adaptation, and created powerful molecular tools to elucidate their underlying biology. Dr. Sabeti has contributed to widely varying fields, such as viral sequencing, information theory, rural disease surveillance, and education efforts in West Africa to create comprehensive approaches for detecting, containing, and treating deadly infectious diseases. She enabled the first diagnosis of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, training more than 50 African scientists through summer-long educational programs and establishing genome centers in West Africa.

STEPHEN RAY MITCHELL, M.D., MBA

Dean for Medical Education, Georgetown University

Dr. Mitchell currently serves as the Dean for Medical Education at Georgetown University and Joseph Butenas Professor and is responsible for the overall operation, development, curriculum, and student affairs for the School of Medicine. He also opened and continues to be Director of the Georgetown University Hospital Childhood Arthritis Center. Dr. Mitchell has been honored numerous times for his teaching excellence, including receiving multiple “Golden Apples” for medical student education at Georgetown. In addition, he has received the Kaiser Permanente Award from the faculty for Outstanding Clinical Teacher in the Medical Center, as well as every residency teaching award in the Department of Medicine, including induction into the Sol Katz Society. Dr. Mitchell is a strong advocate for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals that provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

RICHARD BROWNING

Founder and Chief Test Pilot, Gravity Industries Ltd.

Richard Browning is an ultra-marathon runner, an ex-Royal Marine reservist, a former city commodity trader, and a pioneering inventor. He defines his approach to life as one of pursuing “innovation and endeavor.” Mr. Browning co-founded Gravity Industries Ltd., the company behind the Daedalus Mark 1, a flight suit that uses six miniature jet engines to achieve vertical flight. In November 2017, Mr. Browning set a world record for the fastest speed in a body-controlled jet engine-powered suit, by reaching a speed of 32.02 mph.

NEIL GERSHENFELD, Ph.D.

Director, MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms

Dr. Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including the New Yorks Museum of Modern Art, rural Indian villages, the White House, and the World Economic Forum. He is the author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books, and has been featured in and on media such as The New York Times, The Economist, NPR, CNN, and PBS. Dr. Gershenfeld has been named one of Scientific American’s 50 Leaders in Science and Technology, one of 40 Modern-Day Leonardos by the Museum of Science and Industry, and one of Popular Mechanic‘s 25 Makers.

KENNETH LACOVARA, Ph.D.

Dean, School of Earth & Environment at Rowan University
Director, Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park

Dr. Lacovara famously unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighed more than seven T. rex. By using the modern technologies of 3D imaging, 3D printing, robotics, and medical modeling techniques, Dr. Lacovara’s work is helping to shift our perspective of giant herbivorous dinosaurs from their historic portrayal as hapless lumbering prey to that of fearsome, hulking, hyper-efficient eating machines. Dr. Lacovara led the effort to create the Rowan University’s Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park in suburban Mantua Township, New Jersey. The quarry preserves a rich cache of marine fossils that Dr. Lacovara is using to shed light on the calamitous events that wiped out the dinosaurs.

YOUNG GENIUSES

GITANJALI RAO

Winner, 2017 Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge
2019 Forbes 30 Under 30

When 7th-grader Gitanjali Rao heard about the Flint water crisis, she was inspired to help, and dove right into research. She designed a compact device called “Tethys” to detect lead in drinking water with the aid of a mobile app. She believes her invention to be faster and cheaper than other current methods. In 2017, she was named America’s Top Young Scientist and was awarded the $250,000 top prize from Discovery at the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Earlier this year, she was named in the Forbes 2019 30 Under 30 list of breakthrough scientists.

PAIGE BROWN

Winner, Global Good, 2016 Intel Science Talent Search

Paige Brown is the first-place medal of distinction winner of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search for her development of a cost-effective filter, largely made of calcium alginate strands, capable of removing phosphate pollution from stormwater. She is currently studying at Stanford University at the crossroads of chemical engineering and materials science. There, she is continuing her research, aiming to make her device more efficient, using computer-aided design and alginate bio-printers, and applicable to more pollutants. Beyond her research, she is also the lead mechanical engineer for a record-breaking high altitude balloon control system called ValBal, within the Stanford Space Initiative.

JACK ANDRAKA

Grand Prize Winner, 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
National Geographic Emerging Explorer

Jack Andraka is a breakthrough inventor, scientist, and cancer researcher. When Mr. Andraka was 15 years old, he created a new diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer that is 28 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive, and over 100 times more sensitive than the then-current diagnostic tests. His diagnostic test earned him first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science research competition. Mr. Andraka is currently studying electrical engineering and public policy at Stanford University. His current work as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer ranges from crowdsourcing environmental monitoring in Tanzania to investigate the causes of the Ebola epidemic.

SHREE BOSE

Grand Prize Winner, 2011 Google Global Science Fair; Co-founder, Piper

At age 17, Shree Bose triumphed over 10,000 competitors to become the Grand Prize Winner of the first-ever Google Global Science Fair in 2011. For her winning research, Ms. Bose discovered how ovarian cancer cells grow resistant to a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. Her work has opened up new avenues for research and medicine, and she has presented to former President Barack Obama and directors of the National Institutes of Health. Ms. Bose is also a passionate advocate for better STEM education, and is the co-founder of Piper, a Minecraft tool box for budding engineers. Ms. Bose is a graduate of Harvard University and is currently attending Duke University School of Medicine, where she is pursuing a dual M.D.-Ph.D.

OLIVIA HALLISEY

Grand Prize Winner, 2015 Google Science Fair

Olivia Hallisey developed a novel diagnostic Ebola test, the Ebola Assay Card (EAC). She determined early diagnosis was critical to arresting the epidemic’s exponential growth. The EAC is inexpensive, rapid, and visual, indicating results through a color change, eliminating language barriers and increasing ease of use. TIME selected her as one of its 30 Most Influential Teens of 2015. Former President Barack Obama selected her to be profiled in the November 2016 WIRED’s Frontiers issue, “Generation Excellent.” Most recently, she developed the Lyme Assay Card for saliva-based early diagnosis of Lyme disease.

JANELLE TAM

Winner, 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada

Janelle Tam has discovered that cellulose, a material found in trees that helps them stand up straight, is an antioxidant with potent anti-aging properties. Ms. Tam’s study of minute particles in tree pulp known as nanocrystalline cellulose led to an “aha!” moment – she had unearthed a super-durable material that has the power to fight disease and prevent aging. This discovery won Ms. Tam the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada, a national competition for young scientists. After graduating from Princeton University with a degree in molecular biology, she worked as an associate consultant at Bain & Company. She is currently a program manager at Y Combinator, one of the top start-up accelerators in the world.

EASTON LACHAPPELLE

Founder and CEO, Unlimited Tomorrow

Easton LaChappelle is shaking up the prosthesis industry. Self-taught, he began creating his first robotic hand using Legos, electrical tubing, and fishing line. He founded Unlimited Tomorrow with his business partner, Tony Robbins, in 2014 to take this technology to the next level. Recently, he fitted a 10-year-old girl with possibly the most advanced prosthetic device on the market. This was achieved by use of today’s newest technologies such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. His goal is to create advanced functional technology at a global level that anyone can afford.

SUPPORTING
ORGANIZATIONS:

The Society of Torch & Laurel

The Society of Torch & Laurel is a high school honors program developed by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars to recognize high school high-achievers and provide them and their families with the vital tools to successfully transition to college.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS)

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high-achieving students. NSCS provides career and graduate school connections, leadership and service opportunities, and gives out more than $1 million annually in scholarships, awards, and chapter funds.

College Admissions Central

College Admission Central exists to serve high school students interests, providing them with the essential resources and support that’s required to gain acceptance to college. They provide the essential tools, information, resources, and assistance: everything they’ll need to succeed!

PROUD
MEMBER OF:

International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA)

The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) is an organization devoted to improving technology education and engineering through the use of technology, innovation, design, and engineering experiences at the K-12 school levels. It represents over 35,000 technology educators throughout the world.

STEM Education Coalition

The STEM Education Coalition’s mission is to raise awareness amongst policymakers at every level about the critical role that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education plays in enabling the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century. The Coalition believes that our nation must improve the way our students learn STEM and that the business, education, and STEM communities must work together to achieve this goal.

PROUD
TO BE LISTED:

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.