Nicole Harris is a teacher at Gainesville High School and youth coordinator for ARTSPEAKS, a local poetry nonprofit. In her second year of teaching, Nicole founded ‘Canes On Da Mic, an after school poetry club dedicated to the free and open creative expression of young minds. The club has become the first to represent the city of Gainesville on an international scale in youth performance poetry. As youth coordinator for ARTSPEAKS, Nicole also organizes an annual youth poetry showcase that allows 30 students from 7 different schools across Alachua and Columbia County to share their original poetry in a way that is raw, creative and vulnerable.
Jack Kendall is an engineer and researcher specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) at the University of Florida. Pulling inspiration from the biological efficiency of the human mind, Jack served as the lead designer on an innovative AI processor that combines the fields of nanomaterials and AI to push the boundaries of processing power. As Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Rain Neuromorphics, a local start-up, Jack hopes to continue replicating the profound computational power of the human brain to make AI cheap and massively accessible.
Gretchen Casey is an advocate for victims of sexual assault. In 2016, Gretchen launched Unshame.org, a platform dedicated to helping connect victims of rape with a supportive community through messages of hope, resilience and compassion. As an extension of this project, Gretchen also led a local Me Too campaign in Gainesville, FL, with the goal of bringing visibility to the people behind the statistics of sexual assault, and an end to victims feeling ashamed by someone else’s behavior. Her goal has and continues to be helping survivors of sexual assault regain control of their lives.
Anna Grace Sampson is a Gainesville native and has been passionate about healing the environment since a young age. She received her Masters of Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009 and has since used mathematics and the nature around her to inspire meaningful, local change. As the director of the environmental nonprofit, We Are Neutral, she uses her analytical skills and passion for the environment to calculate and offset carbon footprints while improving the community around her.
Giancarlo Tejeda is a third-year biomedical engineering major at the University of Florida, and a DACA recipient. His family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old, leading him to receive the right to study in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA). Giancarlo now serves as an advocate for the undocumented community. As the Chispas Vice President of External Affairs, he works to provide on-campus resources for undocumented students at the University of Florida, and to educate the general student body about DACA and its impacts.
Jared Feldman is an undergraduate mechanical and aerospace engineering student at the University of Florida, and mechanical systems lead for Gatorloop. As a member of Gatorloop, Jared has worked with a team of students to develop a revolutionary ground transportation system for SpaceX’s hyperloop competition. His knack for solving complex problems with simple strategies has secured him an internship with SpaceX, where he hopes to continue challenging and redesigning the blueprints of tomorrow.
Dr. Jennifer Rothschild is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Florida. Specializing in ethics, her interests lay in understanding the kinds of things that make people and their actions good. Believing that ancient Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle got some very important things right about this topic, she hopes to do her part in advancing some of their arguments. As a teacher, Dr. Rothschild finds joy in bringing new people to works of philosophy, and hopes to encourage her students to take in some of the great philosophical arguments and engage with them throughout their lives.
Valeria Hernandez is a fourth year Psychology, and Family, Youth & Community Sciences dual degree student at the University of Florida, and an advocate for mental health. As an advocate, Valeria has worked to spread awareness of mental health issues on school campuses, and increase mental health preventative care resources for students in primary and secondary education. Her goal is to diminish the stigmas associated with mental health conditions, and allow those suffering from them to feel comfortable validating their experiences and seek the help they need to improve their quality of life.
Benjamin Lok is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Florida, and has worked in the Virtual Reality (VR) field for the past 20 years. Along with UF Professor Sri Kalyanarman, Dr. Lok is the Co-Founder of the VR for Social Good class. Students in this course work in teams to design and implement a meaningful VR project that will benefit the community. His goal is to spread “awesomeness” in the VR field by showing that virtual reality is an important medium that can be used not only for entertainment, but social advancement.