frank2023 speakers

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Amahra Spence

Amahra Spence (she/her/they) lives in the UK and works globally across cultural, public, Built Environment and philanthropic sectors. Her practice is rooted in spatial and racial justice, exploring transformation and iterating change oriented towards liberation. As Founding Director of MAIA (2013) and Organiser of The Black Land & Spatial Justice Project (2020), Amahra brings a critical analysis of systemic injustice, to build infrastructure, redistribute resources and curate programmes that platform radical imagination.

Ashwath Narayanan

Ashwath (he/him/his) is the Founder & CEO at Social Currant, a DC based managed service and platform that matches social impact organizations and nonprofits with the influencers and content creators across social media platforms. He founded Social Currant while a student at The George Washington University and continues to manage the firm & platform after graduating in May 2022. Prior to Social Currant, he spent time working within the startup and nonprofit space in DC. He was named on the 25 Under 25 DC Inno List, has spoken at events across the country and is on a mission to empower creators. He can be retwached at

Banafsheh Madaninejad

Dr. Banafsheh Madaninejad (she/her/hers) is a scholar-activist of Feminist Studies and Critical Race Theory and has taught at The University of Texas at Austin, Middlebury College and Southwestern University. She immigrated to the United States from Iran for college, studied Physics with a specialty in Chaos Theory; worked at NASA (Johnson Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and made short documentaries about the Iranian reformist movement with a focus on Gholam Hossein Karbaschi. Karbaschi is the influential former Mayor of Tehran who was a key figure in getting Mohammad Khatami elected as president and starting the reformist movement in the 90’s.

She became a professor in 2011 and stayed that way before leaving in May 2019 to found Bulbul a storytelling, collecting and curating operation with the goal of creating safe spaces that help AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian) populations share personal narratives and unapologetically step into their collective power as Americans.

Dr. Madaninejad has been active in Iranian politics for years and was a regular on VOA during the Green Movement in 2009. Focusing on the Iranian Woman, Life, Freedom revolution, she was the lead organizer for the City of Austin, TX December 1, 2022 proclamation entitled “Iranian People’s Revolution Solidarity Day” and the upcoming Joint House and Senate resolution and lobby day in support of the Iranian revolution at the Texas Legislature.

Dr Madaninejad has given several talks on the revolution since September 2022 and will be a panelist for a Concordia Forum (an international Muslim leadership collective) presentation with Dr. Nahid Siamdoust and Arash Azizi in Feb 2023.

For more on what is happening in Iran, follow her on Twitter @bmadaninejad, where she has been translating tweets out of Iran, providing analysis and focusing on what the youth on the street are thinking and feeling, since late September. 

Bennett Callaghan

Bennett Callaghan (he/him/his) is a social psychologist who researches inequality’s influence on politics and public opinion. Currently, he is an Associated Researcher with the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, housed within the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Graduate Center. Primarily, Bennett’s research focuses on public (mis)perceptions of economic inequality, particularly racial inequality, and support for policies that reduce inequality. He also researches how social class and socio-economic status influence behaviors that might contribute to or reduce inequality (e.g., voting, donation behaviors). Bennett received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Yale University in 2020. Before that, he attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received a BA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY).

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay

Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay (he/him/his) leads the international research group CoFUTURES, and is the principal investigator of two major research projects, “CoFutures: Pathways to Possible Presents” (European Research Council), and “Science Fictionality” (Norwegian Research Council which explore contemporary global futurisms movements from a transmedial perspective, including literature, film, visual arts, and games). He is manager and co-founder (with Moumita Sen) of Theory from the Margins, a research collective with over 16,000 followers worldwide. Chattopadhyay is an Associate Professor of Global Culture Studies at the University of Oslo. He is also an Imaginary College Fellow at the Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University. He has served as an innovations consultant with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and has been a visiting researcher at the Department of Informatics at the University of California at Irvine and the Evoke Lab/Calit2, as well as the Department of English, University of Liverpool. He has served as co-Editor-in-Chief of Fafnir: Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research, and the Journal of Science Fiction. He is also founding co-editor (with Taryne Taylor) of the Routledge book series Studies in Global Genre Fiction. Chattopadhyay has written or edited ten books, published numerous articles, exhibited in six transnational art projects, and produced the award-winning film Kalpavigyan: A Speculative Journey, the first documentary on science fiction from India and Bengal. His latest work is the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms – coedited with Grace Dillon, Isiah Lavender III, and Taryne Taylor – a 400,000 word essay collection featuring a stunning range of work from around the world on contemporary futurisms, including Indigenous Futurisms, Afro and African futurisms, Latinx and Latin American futurisms, and Asian Futurisms. Other than his research and artistic research grants, he is also the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including the prestigious World Fantasy Award (2020), the Johannes H Berg Memorial Prize (2019), the Foundation Essay Prize (2017), and the Strange Horizons Readers’ Poll Award (2013). His research website is:

Brandi Collins-Dexter

Brandi Collins-Dexter (she/her/hers) is associate director of research at the Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC) at Harvard. As former Senior Campaign Director of media, culture and economic justice at Color Of Change, Brandi led a number of successful campaigns for corporate and government accountability. She has testified in front of congress on issues related to surveillance, antitrust and media manipulation. Her book Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future uses a pop culture lens to understand the history and trajectory of Black political, economic and social power.


Singer, rapper, and writer Dessa (she/her/hers) has made a career of bucking genres and defying expectations. Her solo albums include rap bangers; a cappella arrangements; and big, catchy pop hooks. She’s co-composed for a 100-voice choir, contributed a track to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s The Hamilton Mixtape that’s notched over 16 million streams, and recorded a cover of the Mountain Goats’ song “Balance” (Merge Records) that plays like a Bond theme.

Her performance venues are equally varied: gritty rock clubs; velvet-lined theaters; top-tier festivals like Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and Riot Fest; and countless tour stops spanning North America, Europe, Australia, China, and South Africa. Her most recent full-length recording, Sound the Bells, was recorded in 2019 with the GRAMMY-winning Minnesota Orchestra and showcases lush, symphonic arrangements of previously-released work, performed live at Minneapolis’s Orchestra Hall. Dessa also takes special pleasure in designing themed events for intimate rooms, such as her sold-out residency series at WYNC’s The Greene Space, in which she matched lyricists with scientific researchers to investigate free will, romantic attachment, and intoxication.

As a writer, Dessa’s byline has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, and in an episode of the cult-classic Welcome to Night Vale podcast. She has written two short collections of poetry and essays, and in 2018 published a memoir, My Own Devices (Dutton Books, Penguin Random House), that tells the story of her life, career, and an ambitious plan to fall out of love. Dessa has delivered presentations on art, science, and entrepreneurship for Fortune 500 companies, keynote speeches at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and the Mayo Clinic, and guest lectures at universities and colleges across the country including Georgetown, Macalester, NYU, and Iowa State. Her TED Talk “Can We Choose to Fall Out of Love?” has been viewed over 2 million times and showcases Dessa’s funny, charismatic style that engages, entertains, and inspires audiences from all walks of life.

Dessa grew up in the 80s in South Minneapolis as a strong-willed, brainy kid. Both parents were musical—her mother sang and her father played classical guitar and medieval stringed instruments. After earning a philosophy degree, Dessa began competing on the slam poet circuit. There she met members of the Minneapolis rap scene and was soon invited to join Doomtree, the hip-hop collective known for bold production, charismatic lyricists, and explosive live shows. Dessa learned from and contributed to the Doomtree ethos—a gritty, DIY attitude that presumed musicians would make their own way, without help from industry players. Dessa’s songs are the product of her unusual trajectory: she’s part academic and part hip artist, a lute player’s daughter who spent her formative professional years touring the world in a van full of guys. Whether she’s composing rap lyrics or writing creative non-fiction essays, Dessa’s style and dedication to wordcraft is unmistakable. The LA Times says she “sounds like no one else,” NPR says she’s “breaking the rules of rap,” The Chicago Tribune simply calls her “enchanting.” On the stage and on the page, Dessa exemplifies ferocity, wit, tenderness, and candor.

Falisha Hola

Falisha Hola (she/her/hers) is a senior at the University of Rochester, majoring in Political Science and Anthropology. As a Pasifika Woman with roots in Tonga, she is passionate about climate change and equipping island nations with the tools they need to survive in the event of natural disasters. Her identity as a Pasifika Woman has allowed her to understand firsthand the misrepresentation and the erasure of indigenous and BIPOC voices from the conversations around social issues. 

As a Rainier Scholar and as a first-generation low-income college student, Falisha has become more confident in knowing that there is a place for her in this world. She aims to cultivate spaces and continue having difficult conversations to create progress. As a result, she would like to reimagine a better place and challenge the structures and institutions that are in place. Alongside school, Falisha is involved in different student-led organizations like Student Government and Student Programming Board, that aims to advocate for students and create an environment that all students can thrive in and enjoy.

As a 2022 Frank Karel Fellow, she interned at the National Wildlife Federation, a nonprofit whose mission is to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice.

Fatma ElRefaei

Fatma ElRefaei (she/her/hers) is a rising junior at Franklin & Marshall College, majoring in government and environmental studies. She is passionate about the intersection of environmental change and social justice issues. As a research assistant in her school’s Earth and Environment Department, Fatma has been working on advocacy and research on tackling the food desert crisis in Lancaster, PA, especially as it affects low-income women of color communities.  

This summer, Fatma is interning at Greenpeace, a nonprofit whose mission is to use non-violent creative action to pave the way toward a greener and more peaceful world.

Faylita Hicks

Faylita Hicks (she/her/they/them) is a queer Afro-Latinx writer, spoken word artist, and cultural strategist. A new Chicago transplant, Hicks is the author of the critically-acclaimed debut poetry collection HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry, the 2019 Julie Suk Award, and the 2019 Balcones Poetry Prize. Currently, they are working on a second poetry collection, A Map of My Want (Haymarket Books, 2024), and a debut memoir about their carceral experience, A Body of Wild Light (Haymarket Books, 2025). Both projects are partly supported by grants, fellowships, residencies, and awards from the Art for Justice, Black Mountain Institute, Tin House, and The Right of Return USA. 

Hicks released their latest indie spoken word album, A New Name for My Love (Arrondi Productions, 2021) after becoming a voting member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs and its Songwriters and Composers Committee for the Texas Chapter. In 2022, they became the first spoken word artist to perform live for the Academy’s Texas Chapter during the regional member-only celebration for the 65th Annual GRAMMY Award nominees at the House of Blues in Houston, TX. 

The former Editor-in-Chief of Black Femme Collective and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Hicks has also received fellowships and residencies from the Tony Award-winning Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Civil Rights Corps, Lambda Literary, and Texas After Violence Project. Their poetry, essays, and digital art have been featured in American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, Poetry Magazine, Slate, Split This Rock, Texas Observer, The Slowdown Podcast, and Yale Review, amongst others. Their personal account of their time in pretrial incarceration in Hays County is featured in the ITVS Independent Lens 2019 documentary 45 Days in a Texas Jail, and the Brave New Films 2021 documentary narrated by Mahershala Ali Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem

A prolific creative and previously incarcerated artist, Hicks’ is known for their dynamic storytelling methods and compelling narrative arcs. Using poetry, prose, music, video, and live performances—they explore the evolution of personal and national identity, the cyclical nature of grief, the spiritual applications of quantum physics, decolonized eroticism/sensuality, and manifesting personal liberation. Hicks is an Artivist who integrates transformative justice theory into their creative practice, using much of their work to advocate for the lives of marginalized people who make up our global majority. 

Born in Gardena, California, but raised in Central Texas, they received their MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada College’s Low Residency Program (now University of Reno at Incline Village Low Residency MFA Program) in 2018, and started their consultation service, Infinite. Creative. Lit. Ltd. Co., in 2020.

Francesca Tripodi

Dr. Francesca Tripodi (she/her/hers) is a sociologist and information scholar whose research examines the relationship between search engines, participatory platforms, politics, and society. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Information Technology and Public Life (CITAP) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Tripodi is a recognized expert in the field of misinformation. She has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on how search engines are gamed to drive ideologically based queries, has been funded by the National Science Foundation to study the cultural complexities of search literacy, and uncovered patterns of gender inequality on Wikipedia. Her research has been covered by NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Columbia Journalism Review, Wired, Slate, The Guardian, and The Neiman Journalism Lab.

Hari Pulapaka

Hari Pulapaka (he/him/they) is a full-time, tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics in his 22nd year at Stetson University (DeLand, FL). In 2017, Hari launched a company – Global Cooking School, LLC – with a mission to offer a wide swathe of educational and consulting services aimed at making food more delicious, thoughtful, nutritious, and inclusive. The Global Cooking School published Hari’s 2nd book. Born and raised in Mumbai, Hari has been in the United States since 1987. After completing a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Florida in 1995, a professional midlife crisis led to a fast-paced, top-of-the-class graduation with an Associate of Applied Science in the Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu-Orlando in 2004. Hari has published many research papers in the areas of Graph Theory and Number Theory and is an award-winning chef with four James Beard Award semifinalist nods as Best Chef-South and multiple Food & Wine People’s Best Chef recognitions. Hari won the inaugural Chefs Taste Challenge in New Orleans and his cuisine was rated the best in the inaugural ZAGAT Orlando Guide with a food score of 29/30. In 2015, Hari published his first book-a memoir-food advocacy-cookbook of sorts titled Dreaming in Spice and his second book titled Dreaming in Spice–A Sinfully Vegetarian Odyssey featuring 251 globally inspired recipes in 2020. Hari has, by invitation, cooked at the James Beard House in New York City on many occasions and was a featured chef at the 2018 James Beard Awards in Chicago. In 2016, Hari was recognized as a GRIST 50 fixer for his innovative and active work in food waste reduction and has helped develop food waste reduction related teaching materials for the James Beard Foundation as part of a full-use kitchen curriculum. Hari was an invited chef at the inaugural official JBF Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change and is an active leader & chef advisor for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program and the JBF Smart Catch Program in his capacity as Strategic Advisor for Postelsia. Hari is a Chef/Partner for Enroot Organics PBC, is on the Chief Sustainability Officer Group for Food Tank, holds a Worldchefs Certified Master Chef certification along with a Certified Executive Chef certification of the American Culinary Federation. When he is not cooking or writing about food, teaching Calculus, Abstract Algebra, Cryptology, Number Theory, or supervising Undergraduate Research, Hari writes and speaks frequently on food-related matters. 

Hari is married to Dr. Jenneffer Pulapaka, a podiatric surgeon who specializes in diabetic limb salvage, is a certified sommelier, board certified in lifestyle medicine and wound care management, and co-founded Cress Restaurant with Hari. She is presently launching a new venture SokTek. They live in DeLand, Florida with a few non-human family members. 

Hari and Jenneffer are scheduled to publish their book “Whole Food Plant Based Cardiac Recovery Cookbook” with Hatherleigh Press in late Summer 2023.

Hub Brown

Hubert “Hub” Brown (he/him/his) joined the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications as dean on June 25, 2021. Brown came to UF from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where he served as Associate Dean for Research, Creativity, International Initiatives and Diversity, and an associate professor of broadcast and digital journalism. As Associate Dean, Brown managed the Newhouse School’s incentives to facilitate research and creative activity, aided department chairs, the School’s Diversity Committee, and individual faculty members in promoting diversity in curriculum, faculty hiring and student recruitment, and promoted international engagement among faculty and students, including student/faculty exchange, memoranda of understanding and promotion of the Newhouse School abroad. Brown had been a member of the Newhouse School faculty since 1996. He has taught broadcast reporting, newscast production and performance, mass media ethics, and media and diversity.

He has been active nationally in issues of journalism and mass communications education. He is a member of the Hearst Journalism Awards Steering Committee and has served as head of the Electronic News Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He’s also a former member of the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and has taken part in accreditation site visits at AEJMC programs all over the country. Brown is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Broadcast Education Association.

Brown has more than 15 years of experience in reporting, producing and anchoring, for commercial local news and in public television. His experience ranges from political and state government reporting to producing public affairs documentaries.

Jennifer Jacquet

Jennifer Jacquet (she/her/hers) is a Visiting Professor at the University of Miami and an Associate Professor at New York University. She is the author of The Playbook: How to Deny Science, Sell Lies, and Make a Killing in the Corporate World—a work of ‘epistolary non-fiction’ that makes the business case for scientific denial. Her previous book Is Shame Necessary? explored the evolution, function, and future of the use of social disapproval in a globalized, digitized world.

Kamau Sadiki

Kamau Sadiki (he/him/his) is a Board of Directors member and Lead Instructor of Diving With A Purpose (DWP), an organization committed to resurrecting the stories of shipwrecks involved in the Transatlantic Era of African Enslavement (TEAE) through underwater archaeology documentation. He is a certified Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) Divemaster with over 1,400 logged SCUBA dives. He was featured in the cover story of the March 2022 National Geographic magazine and companion podcast entitled “Into the Depths” that explores the work of DWP and the exceptional journey of NatGeo Explorer Tara Roberts as she follows Black SCUBA divers across the globe in search of slave shipwrecks.

Kamau has actively worked on the search and underwater documentation of five TEAE shipwrecks including the pirated ship Guerrero in southern Florida. He was a member of the field team that confirmed the location of the TEAE shipwreck Clotilda in the Mobile River in Alabama, the last ship to bring captured Africans into the USA. He is one of only two African-American divers that have entered into an actual cargo hold of a TEAE shipwreck, the space in which captured Africans experienced the horror and trauma of the Atlantic Middle Passage. He is featured in the October 2022 release of the documentary film “DESCENDANT” that tells the story of the Clotilda descendant community of Africatown near Mobile, AL. Kamau has conducted numerous lectures and presentations on TEAE shipwrecks, memory and resistance. He has worked on multiple shipwreck sites around Mozambique Island, Mozambique, South Africa, and shipwrecks in the NOAA Thunder Bay and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries and Biscayne National Marine Park off the southern Florida coast, Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Kamau Sadiki is a certified NOAA and NABS Foundation Scientific Research Diver and a Blue Card Diver for the National Park Service. He holds numerous PADI specialty certifications including Deep Diver, Archeology Survey Diver and Coral Reef Conservation. He was recognized as the 2016 National Association of Black SCUBA Divers “Diver of the Year” and received the Underwater Adventure Seekers 2016 Founder’s Award, awarded by NABS co-founder and International Diving Hall of Fame inductee, Dr. Albert Jose’ Jones.

Kamau is a retired Civil Engineer and a certified Jiivana Yoga Instructor. He is a licensed general aviation pilot with over 400 hours of flying experience. He also enjoys river kayaking, playing djembe drums and acoustic guitar. Kamau is the proud father of two adult children and resides in the State of Maryland. 

Kate Davies

Kate Davies (she/her/hers) is a social change strategist with over 15 years professional experience. She has designed and delivered public interest communication campaigns around the world, including perception- and behavior-change campaigns for peacebuilding, global health, poverty alleviation and climate adaptation. 

Her passion is in using data to deliver resource-efficient interventions: using survey research, behavioral science and optimized targeting to deliver impact for public good campaigns, and in building surround sound for progressive social change and advocacy interventions. She is also a keen advocate of measurement, learning and evaluation, both in how we can measure and understand change, as well as inform future design. 

Her sectoral and geographic experience is broad, having spent 8 years in conflict-affected states largely in the Middle East and 6 years in poverty alleviation and public health, working largely across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She has also covered Europe and North America extensively, managing policy and financing advocacy communication, risk and reputation for non-profit brands, and building capacity of advocacy networks across donor governments. 

Kate was based in the US most recently at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in the UK as Head of Strategy at the UK Department of Health and Social Care. She started her career at YouGov where she delivered quantitative and qualitative research projects, predicting electoral and social behavior. She has a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Research Methods, and a Masters degree in Applied Social Psychology. She has lived in Baghdad, Istanbul, New York City, Washington DC, and London.

Lia Kelinsky-Jones

Lia Kelinsky-Jones, (she/her/hers) is an interdisciplinary social scientist whose work focuses on sustainable, just, and climate resilient food systems. Within this area, she tends to focus on two primary domains: 1) university-based engagement efforts and their impacts on supporting food and climate social movements and 2) how collaborative and participatory policy making approaches impact food systems and climate resilience. 

She holds a PhD in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education from Virginia Tech. Her dissertation examined the impacts of federal policy on land grant international development praxis regarding participation and a sustainable agriculture approach called agroecology. This work directly fed into her leadership of a university-community policy project to develop a more climate-resilient food system in the Appalachian region of Virginia. Now as a Civic Science Fellow at Johns Hopkins’ Agora Institute, she studies how university-based engagement meets local climate change policy needs. Personally, she grew up in five different countries and speaks both Spanish and French. She is an avid gardener of both food and flowers and enjoys road and mountain biking in her spare time.

Lizz Winstead

Lizz Winstead


Co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show, and co-founder of Air America Radio, comedian Lizz Winstead (she/her/hers) helped change the very landscape of how people get their news.

Winstead is not only a writer and creator, she was also a correspondent on The Daily Show and co-hosted Unfiltered, Air America Radio’s mid-morning show, with Chuck D and Rachel Maddow.

Known as one of the top political satirists in America, Winstead is recognized by all the major media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, O Magazine, and as Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Most Creative People. Winstead’s first book, Lizz Free Or Die: Essays, released in 2012, garnered incredible reviews.  Ms. Magazine says, “Lizz Winstead is a sharp-witted truth-teller, and Lizz Free or Die will inspire anyone who has ever talked back to the television or wished they could come up with satire as insightful as The Daily Show.

Lizz continues to do stand-up, yet spends most of her time helming Abortion Access Front, an inclusive NYC- based reproductive rights organization she founded in 2015. AAF uses humor and outrage to expose anti-choice hypocrisy and mobilizes people to take action in all 50 states.

Creating Abortion Access Front was the natural next iteration of her Daily Show sensibilities and she and the organization are taking it one step further by producing and co-hosting Feminist Buzzkills Live! FBK Live! brings all of her passions together- Slaying bad guys with humor, making people smarter, and talking with folks the world needs to know.

Magdalena Saldaña

Magdalena Saldaña (she/her/hers) is assistant professor in the School of Communications at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, where she teaches topics related to social media and news, data journalism, and research methods. She is also associate director of the Center for Media, Public Opinion, and Politics in Chile, and associate researcher at Chile’s Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data. Her research looks at information disorders in digital environments, such as mis- and disinformation, uncivil language, and hate speech. Her work has been published in journals such as Digital Journalism, New Media & Society, and International Journal of Press/Politics, and her studies have been awarded by several academic organizations, such as the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). In addition, she has received a number of important awards in recognition for academic achievement and excellence in journalism education, including Becas Chile and Fulbright scholarships. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Social Research, both from Universidad de Concepción, Chile, and a PhD in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mark M. Chambers

Mark M. Chambers (he/him/his) earned his PhD at Stony Brook University, where he also teaches and writes about American environments coupled with science and technology, and topics in U.S. and African American history. Chambers first book, Gray Gold: Lead Mining and Its Impact on the Natural and Cultural Environment, 1700–1840 (2021) highlights the significance of Native American early mining and smelting techniques and their amalgamation with European, African slaves and American settler mining and smelting practices. Mark is completing an eighteen month Rita Allen Civic Science fellowship where is gained experience in environmental justice with the Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI). Along with his colleagues at EDGI, Mark is writing a white paper on the effectiveness community-based participatory action research to protect human health.

Mia Birdsong

Mia Birdsong (she/her/hers) is a pathfinder, author, and facilitator who steadily engages the leadership and wisdom of people experiencing injustice to chart new visions of American life. She has a gift for making visible and leveraging the brilliance of everyday people so that our collective gifts reach larger spheres of influence, cultural and political change, and create wellbeing for all of us.

Mia is the founding Executive Director of Next River, an institute for practicing the future. Through Next River, Mia is moving conversations, culture, and resources to nourish the people and communities whose ways of being, doing, and relating can move us toward a liberated future. In her book How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community (Hachette, 2020), Mia maps swaths of community life and points us toward the promise of our collective vitality. In “More Than Enough,” her podcast miniseries from The Nation, she expands the guaranteed income movement by tapping into the voices and visions of low-income people. 

Believing that, taken collectively, we are the guides we most need, Mia has made an art out of inviting people into rich explorations of how we map paths forward. Her writing, interviews, and public conversations draw targeted attention to the stories of people who are finding their way despite myriad barriers. Mia helps audiences understand and embrace radical frameworks on things like freedom, deservedness, and interdependence. 

Mia is a Senior Fellow of the Economic Security Project, a Future Good Fellow at Institute For the Future and an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute. She lives in Oakland California on the occupied land of the Chochenyo Ohlone people.

Micah Gilmer

Micah (he/him/his) helps teams reach their full potential by turning equity values into courageous leadership. He is a co-founder of Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned consulting firm dedicated to making the world a more just place for all. In that role, he has led work in partnership with dynamic non-profit organizations as well as institutional philanthropy. In June, he finished a 16-month shift as interim CEO for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, a funder supporting racial equity and power building across eleven states in the Southeast US. He also serves as the founding board chair of Activest, an organization pursuing racial justice by transforming the ways cities and other local governments think about municipal finance.

Michael Huang

Michael Huang (he/him/his) is a community organizer, and former advertising exec turned creative agency owner. Michael spent most of his young adult life building and organizing community around Hip Hop and street dance culture in the Pacific Northwest including founding a non-profit for at-risk youth. He decided to take his cultural insight, creative skillset, and organizing experience to big advertising. After a stint in New York, Michael went on to found his own creative agency, Milli, in 2014 focused on creative, cultural, and communications strategy as well as design, branding, and production. Select clients include the City of Seattle, ReFrame, Netflix, New York University, Red Bull, and RadComms. Outside of his agency work, Michael works closely with local and national social, racial, and economic justice organizations especially in the AAPI and creative industry communities. 

Mikka Kei Macdonald

Mikka Kei Ito Macdonald (she/her/hers) is a political communications specialist, writer, designer & illustrator, and avid marathoner & ultramarathoner. Ms. Macdonald’s background stems from experience in policy, program management, communications, and campaigns. She has led multiple high-budget progressive advocacy initiatives, serving in a breadth of senior management roles including communications lead, press secretary, digital & design lead, political lead, and as the head of the campaign. Her work & ghostwriting have appeared in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Vox, Variety, and TIME Magazine, she has been quoted in outlets including the NYT, POLITICO, & the WSJ, and her personal writing has appeared in the Daily Beast, ChangeWire, DCist, WAMU, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and

One of her projects also explores Japanese American Internment Camps and the intersection of policy and human experience in World War II. Lifting her grandparents’ experience in the camps, she published an article on the subject in the Princeton Journal of Asian American Studies and has spoken in cities including Tokyo, Japan and Boise, Idaho (near Minidoka).

Nell McShane Wulfhart

Nell McShane Wulfhart (she/her/hers) is an author and former travel journalist from Philadelphia. She’s written for The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Guardian, and many other outlets. Her most recent book, The Great Stewardess Rebellion – about how flight attendants in the 1960s and 70s staged a revolution for working women everywhere – was published by Doubleday in April. She’s currently based in Uruguay.

Nicole Bronzan

Nicole Bronzan (she/her/hers) brings journalistic roots and an advocate’s passion to her role as the vice president of communications and content at the Council on Foundations. Most recently she was a senior communications officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, working to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health. Previously she led communications at ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom; Freedom to Marry, helping to secure marriage equality; and the Legal Action Center, working to fight discrimination and restore opportunity for people with arrest and conviction records, substance use disorders, and HIV or AIDS. Before her work in communications, she held various news editing roles, most recently as assistant Metro editor at The New York Times.

Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi (he/him/his) has two decades of eclectic experience working at the intersection of culture and politics, media and narrative, advocacy and the arts. A Vice President at Spitfire Strategies, Nima develops communications strategies dedicated to dismantling systems of oppression, discrimination and disinformation. Nima was a founding member of the Narrative Initiative and currently co-hosts the Webby-honored media criticism podcast “Citations Needed.”

Born and raised in New York City, Nima’s work has traversed the film, music, theater, philanthropic and nonprofit worlds. He used to tour the country as a drummer in various rock bands and now serves on the board of directors for Proteus Fund.

Rachel Weidinger

Rachel Weidinger (they/she) a Program Director – Network at Narrative Initiative, is an artist, researcher, and organizer using all three of those lenses to illustrate what is possible and to build patterns for broad, mutual survival.

In 2011, Rachel founded Upwell (the ocean was our client). As executive director, she led the development of Big Listening practices, coupled with campaigning across a distributed network of influencers. The project aggregated power for movements and immediately redistributed that power through networks. Upwell’s groundbreaking narrative work was grounded in both offline community organizing and online community management.

Recent appointments include an arts residency at Monson Arts, Creative Dissent Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Arts & Culture for Economic Development Residency at PolicyLink, and Growth Hacking Fellow at the Energy Foundation. 

Rachel holds an MFA-Social Practice from the California College of the Arts, a B. Phil in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University, and completed coursework for an MA in Arts Policy & Administration at Ohio State.

Rianna Walcott

Dr. Rianna Walcott (she/her/hers) is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Black Communication and Technology Lab in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. Her PhD research focuses on Black British identity presentation in social media spaces. By taking a mixed-methods approach to investigating Black British social media usage, Rianna incorporates interviews and discourse analysis across various sites in order to examine digital communities, the circumstances under which they are created, and the constraints they face. This research investigates if and how discourse varies in different contexts with different demographics, and how social network services — and their attendant harms — impact how Black users express themselves.

 A LAHP alumna with a PhD from King’s College London researching Black British identity formation in digital spaces, Rianna combines digital work, Black feminist praxis, decolonial studies, arts and culture, and mental health advocacy in her work, with a deep commitment to outreach work and public engagement. She co-founded, a website that promotes inclusivity in academia and a decolonised curriculum, and is the UCL Writing Lab’s Scholar-in-Residence for 21-22. Rianna frequently writes about race, feminism, mental health, and arts and culture for publications including The Wellcome Collection, The Metro, The Guardian, The BBC, Vice, and Dazed. Rianna is co-editor of an anthology about BAME mental health – The Colour of Madness (2022), and in the time left over, she moonlights as a professional jazz singer.

Rick Serdiuk (Ярослав Сердюк)

Rick Serdiuk (he/him/his) is a co-founder and Creative Director of banda, a ground-breaking Ukrainian creative agency. Rick crafts unusually human brand narratives and visual identities, as well as social impact campaigns that strike a chord. Known for his outstanding entrepreneurial background, global campaigns for Ukraine’s brand, and taking home the nation’s first Cannes Lion. His work has been recognized in award shows and press including Cannes, D&AD, Effies, Red Dot, Epica, ADC, Golden Drum, BBC News, New York Times, CNN, NBC News, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Adweek, Fast Company and others. 

During the Maidan events in Ukraine in 2014, Rick and his partners created the “I am a drop in the ocean” campaign, which became known as the symbol of the Ukrainian Revolution.

When Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, Rick launched “Each of Us,” a national army mobilization campaign that was seen by millions of Ukrainians and received the most positive feedback.

Rick is one of the creators of Ukraine NOW, the country’s first international marketing campaign, which was created at the request of Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers. It was founded in 2018 with the goal of enhancing and expanding Ukraine’s global image, improving tourism, and attracting foreign investment.

On the request of Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Ukrainian President’s Office, in 2022, Rick’s team created the global campaign Be Brave Like Ukraine, which is unprecedented not only in terms of the creative idea’s accuracy and virality, but also in terms of the scale of advertising space in the world’s most popular Out-of-Home locations. This is Ukraine’s largest ever outdoor advertising campaign. This was broadcast in 19 countries, 140 cities, on 10,000 screens, and received over 40 million impressions.

One of Rick’s most recent projects is Keep Ukraine Moving, a global Uber campaign to raise funds to purchase ambulances for the people of Ukraine. The campaign is currently airing and has raised $3 million.

Rodrigo Dorfman

Rodrigo Dorfman (he/him/his) is Latino Chilean award-winning writer, filmmaker and multimedia producer known for his work documenting the Great Latino Migration to the American South. He has worked with POV, HBO, Salma Hayek’s Ventanazul and the BBC among others. His films have been screened at Toronto IFF, Full Frame, Cucalorus, Edinburgh, Telluride, Human Rights Watch among others. His plays have been staged in Japan, Germany and the USA. With his father, he won the best screenplay award from the Writers Guild of Great Britain for Prisoners in Time, starring John Hurt. His short One Night in Kernersville won the Jury Award for best short at Full Frame. His work has been exhibited at the Levine Museum of the New South, the Atlanta History Center, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. In 2018, His sci-fi/Latino documentary, This Taco Truck Kills Fascists won Best Louisiana Feature Award at the New Orleans FF, and his feature FIESTA! Quinceañera was broadcast on PBS stations nationwide. His latest film, Quaranteened, was broadcast on PBS stations in the spring of 2022. He was a contributor to Codrescu’s Exquisite Corpse and he is an associate member of La Pocha Nostra. His memoir Generation Exile will be published by Arte Publico Press in March 2023.

Shanelle Matthews

Shanelle Matthews (she/her/hers) collaborates with social justice activists, organizations, and campaigns to inspire action and build narrative power for social justice and liberation. She is the communications director for the Movement for Black Lives, founder of Radical Communicators Network (RadComms), and faculty of Resistance Narratives at The New School. She is co-editor of a forthcoming anthology that details world-building narrative campaigns and strategies led by social movement communications workers in the 21st century.

Tafadzwa Tivaringe

Tafadzwa Tivaringe (he/him/his) is an Associate Program Officer at the Spencer Foundation. His work at the Foundation involves reviewing research grants across all programs, supporting internal evaluation policies, and advancing field engagement efforts. He completed his PhD in Education at the University of Colorado Bolder, where he also served as a graduate researcher with the Research Hub for Youth Organizing. In this role, he co-led research projects geared toward creating equitable education systems with community partners, such as Equal Education in South Africa and the Center for Popular Democracy in the U.S.

Tanya Watkins

Tanya Watkins (she/her/hers) is a mother, writer, Black womanist, community organizer and prison abolitionist originally from Chicago’s South Side. She studied writing and the teaching of writing at Columbia College Chicago with the intent of bringing innovative arts programs to schools in low-income communities of color. She is a former South Suburban Chicago elected official and served as a Presidential Delegate in 2016. Tanya began as a leader with Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) in 2010, a multi-issue, faith-based, social justice organization that assists residents in building power in the Chicago Southland. Since being with the organization, Tanya has led a multitude of campaigns demanding criminal justice reform and police accountability in Chicago; most recently leading SOUL as an anchor organization in the campaign to end cash bail in Cook County and Illinois. Currently, Tanya is the Executive Director of SOUL and SOUL in Action, on the Executive Board of the BlackRoots Alliance, and on the Advisory Board for Black Lives Matter Chicago.

Teresa Irene Gonzales

A native of Mexican Chicago, Teresa Irene Gonzales (she/her/ella) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of California Berkeley in Sociology, and her bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Latin American & Latina/o Studies with a focus on literature and history. Her work is situated at the intersections of feminist, urban, and organizational theories with a focus on race and structural racism. Given her interests, she focuses on three major areas: a) marginalized communities’ access to public goods through an interrogation of trust relationships, social cohesion, and civic engagement, b) the use of racial and class-based narratives to inform local public decisions, and c) the playful reimagination of public place that centers Black and Brown individuals in the public sphere. Gonzales has over ten years of experience with analyzing community responses to racial and income marginalization in the United States, with several publications, including her recent book Building a Better Chicago: Race and Community Resistance to Urban Redevelopment (NYU Press 2021). Her work has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, and the Ford Foundation. Gonzales firmly believes in the capacity of sociology to redress social injustices and inequalities.

Trina Stout

Trina Stout (she/her/hers) is a communications strategist and storyteller for social good. She crafts and implements strategies to help clients change minds, policies, and behavior. What really animates her is changing narratives and culture too.

Trina’s life work is to be a part of the transition from systems of domination and oppression to systems of collaboration and care. She believes we can build a world where everyone belongs and everyone’s needs are met. Where all people enjoy lives free from violence. Where we live in right relationship with the land. She knows that getting there will require reshaping the public imagination—massive shifts in the stories at the heart of our cultures.

She looks to the wisdom of Gloria Anzaldúa: “Empowerment comes from ideas—our revolution is fought with concepts, not with guns, and it is fueled by vision. By focusing on what we want to happen we change the present. The healing images and narratives we imagine will eventually materialize.”

During her career, Trina has provided communications services for academic institutions, coalitions, foundations, government agencies, nonprofits, and policy/advocacy organizations. Seasoned at a full-service communications agency in Washington, DC, she feels grateful to call Southern Oregon home again. She grew up on and now lives again on stolen land traditionally stewarded by the Shasta and Takelma people.

In her free time, Trina can be found walking her dog, gardening, cooking, making pottery, or camping.

Trina holds an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and a B.A. in Economics from Pomona College.

Yasmin Elhady

Yasmin Elhady (she/her/hers) is a comedian and attorney who has toured both nationally and internationally. She’s performed at The Kennedy Center and is featured on NBC’s True Story with Ed Helms and Randall Park, now streaming on Peacock. She’s also appeared on NPR, Netflix is a Joke Radio on SiriusXM, The Washington Post, WUSA9 with Reese Waters, and in Vice Media’s book “Little America: Incredible True Stories of Immigrants in America,” which was later turned into an Apple TV+ series by Kumail Nanjiani.  She was named a 2022 “Yes, And…Laughter Lab” finalist for comedy & social justice.

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