2017 Speakers

2017 Speakers

Amara Berry is the Director of Sparkle Program, an educational non-profit program she founded which teaches college-level STEM topics to elementary students across the Ocean State. In 3 years, the program's reach has expanded to almost 500 students at locations across New England, with continued plans to close the STEM gap by reaching and teaching more scientists in kindergarten through middle school. The program focuses on concepts most vital to understanding Biology, Chemistry, Astrophysics, and Quantum Mechanics, taking a hands-on and student-centered approach to equipping each participant with problem-solving skills for life.

Kiara Butler is the CEO and Co-Founder of Diversity Talks, which provides K-12 school districts and higher education institutions with student-led professional development grounded in the cultural competencies of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Butler is a strong advocate for student voice and because of her advocacy, she was awarded the Generation Citizen Community Partnership Award at the Rhode Island State House this year. Today, she is a participant in The Lean Lab Incubator Fellowship and is expanding Diversity Talks to Kansas City, Missouri.

Adeene Denton, a scientist, historian, and dancer focused on approaching future planetary exploration from a scientific and humanistic perspective. She is currently completing her PhD in Planetary Science as a Presidential Fellow at Brown University; Adeene also holds degrees in geophysics and history from Rice University.

Christopher Johnson is a Providence-based performance artist, poet, educator and playwright. He uses these and other mediums to humanize issues like race, incarceration, and mental illness. Johnson’s most recent works include the Freedom Project with Everett Company Stage and School, Invisible UpSouth with Wilbury Theater, and New and Dangerous Ideas, which is currently in creation.

Javier Juarez is a research fellow at the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University. Juarez and his father came to Rhode Island 18 years ago from Peru with nothing but the clothes on their back looking for a better future. He also serves as a community outreach member at the Coalition of Advocates for Student Opportunities (CASO), a non-profit that focuses on the betterment of undocumented and first-generation immigrant students in Rhode Island. Juarez is a graduate of Rhode Island College and currently enrolled in a masters program at Brown University.

Michael L. Littman is a Computer Science Professor at Brown University, studying machine learning and decision making under uncertainty. He is co-director of Brown's Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative, a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and has earned multiple awards for his teaching and research. An enthusiastic performer, Michael has had roles in numerous community theater productions and a TV commercial.

Lulu Locks is the founder and owner of Suite Tart, a West Side salon that blends old-school techniques with fashion forward aesthetics, and Providence Pin-Up, a vintage styling and photography studio. She has styled performance art for Liz Collins at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston and Dawn Kasper at the Whitney Museum, and has been the key artist for Lindsay Degen’s look books, videos and runway shows at New York Fashion Week. Locks has performed at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and is a frequent emcee for charity events like The Sojourner House and Rhode Island Pride.

Arnell Milhouse is a tech community influencer, cryptocurrency investor, and co-founder of CareerDevs Computer Science Academy and IntraCity Geeks. Milhouse is currently working on developing a pipeline of innovation-driven software developers and startup-entrepreneurs who will add tremendous value to their hiring companies or go on to launch disruptive moon-shot startups in Rhode Island. He is also the co-founder of the hackathons for the State of Rhode (HackRI) Island and the City of Providence (HackPVD). His non-profit teaches rigorous computer science at the K-12 level and has a mission to disruptincome-inequality for those in under-served and under-skilled communities.

Dr. Raymond Mis is a board certified gastroenterologist with a practice in Warwick, RI and the first visually impaired gastroenterologist to be accredited by the State of RI. Dr. Mis has taught medicine at the New England College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been chief of the gastroenterology department at Kent County Memorial Hospital. In 1998, Dr. Mis lost a significant amount of his hearing and in 2001 was declared legally blind.

Colleen Daley Ndoye is the Executive Director of Project Weber/RENEW, a peer-driven organization providing street outreach, HIV prevention and testing, harm reduction, case management, and social support for sex workers and other high-risk populations, including transgender individuals. Ndoye has dedicated her career to creating opportunities for individuals to succeed and grow through the peer-driven model, and building innovative partnerships in service of marginalized populations at the intersection of substance abuse, HIV, homelessness, and sex work. Concentrating on Africana Studies at NYU, Ndoye loves traveling to Africa and lived in Nairobi after graduating. She is also involved with local efforts to mentor recent Congolese refugees in RI.

Paul Salem is a co-founder and senior managing director of Providence Equity Partners. Salem is chairman of the board of Year Up, a national non-profit focusing on closing the opportunity divide for urban young adults and a board member of Edesia Global Nutrition, a non-profit focusing on feeding severe acute malnourished children. Salem also serves on the advisory board for the Brown Institute of Brain Science (B.I.B.S). He received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.

Shannon Shallcross is a data-enthusiast who believes that data holds the key to solving healthcare’s toughest challenges. She has served as an executive in the insurance and health industries over the past decade and has advised a broad range of Fortune 500 clients. As the co-founder and CEO of BetaXAnalytics, her company uses the power of data “for good” to improve the cost, transparency and quality of healthcare.

Cheryl W. Snead is the founder, President, and CEO of Banneker Industries, Inc., a world-class provider of Supply Chain Management solutions, including product sourcing, value added warehousing, and logistics services. A mechanical engineer by training, Snead has worked in Corporate America, small businesses, and serves on various non-profit and for profit boards locally, regionally, and nationally. She is a passionate, motivational speaker advocating for youth, minority, and women empowerment.

Raymond Two Hawks Watson, an artist, community activist, educator, cultural practitioner, and convener with 10 years of experience in nonprofit executive administration. In 2016, Watson was the recipient of an Innovation Fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation for his project, the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has been a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island since 2006. Senator Whitehouse is a member of the Budget, Judiciary, Environment and Public Works, Health Education Labor and Pensions committees, and is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism and of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Oversight. Prior to being elected as a U.S. Senator, Whitehouse was appointed as RI’s U.S. Attorney in 1994, and he was elected to be RI’s Attorney General in 1998. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law.