Entrepreneur, Engineer, and Tech Evangelist
VP Google, On leave from MIT Corporation, U.S. Chief Technology Officer
In September 2014, President Obama named Megan Smith the United States Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, she serves as an Assistant to the President. As U.S. CTO, Smith focuses on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance the future of our nation.
Megan Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. She most recently served as a Vice President at Google, first leading New Business Development–where she managed early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations, and technology licensing across Google’s global engineering and product teams for nine years–and later serving as a VP in the leadership team at Google[x]–where she co-created the company’s “SolveForX” innovation community project as well as its “WomenTechmakers” tech-diversity initiative and worked on a range of other projects.
Megan previously served as CEO of PlanetOut, a leading LGBT online community in the early days of the web, where the team broke through many barriers and partnered closely with AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and other major web players. Megan was part of designing early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on multimedia products at Apple Japan.
Megan has served on the boards of MIT, MIT Media Lab, MIT Technology Review, and Vital Voices; as a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; and as an advisor to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Malala Fund, which she co-founded. She holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she completed her master's thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.
Writer & Comedian
Aparna Nancherla started out doing comedy in her hometown of Washington D.C. and now resides in New York City. She can be seen in the forthcoming seasons of Love on Netflix as well as HBO’s Chasing, Comedy Central's Inside Amy, and Seeso’s stand up series Night Train with Wyatt Cenac. Other television appearances include season 2 of Comedy Central’s Meltdown and Adam Devine’s House Party. In 2013, she made her late night stand-up debut on TBS’s Conan and was one of the breakout New Faces at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. Her TV writing credits include Late Night with Seth Meyers. She is also a regular correspondent/writer on FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. She is an alumna of the NBC Stand Up for Diversity program and currently headlines throughout North America. She has been seen at a number of festivals including Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Maui Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest, Bentzen Ball, Outside Lands, Aspen’s Rooftop Comedy Festival and The Great American Comedy Festival. She has also been featured on and in NPR, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post Magazine, XM Radio, and Slate V. She can regularly be seen performing at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s in LA and NYC. Her debut album Just Putting It Out There was released in July 2016 by Tig Notaro’s label Bentzen Ball Records.
Assistant Professor of Civic Media & Data Visualization, Emerson College; Principal Investigator, Engagement Lab; Research Affiliate, MIT Center for Civic Media
Catherine's work focuses on data literacy, feminist technology, and civic art. She is the Faculty Chair of the Boston Civic Media Consortium, a network of 250+ researchers and community organizations committed to the ethical study and design of technology in/with communities. D'Ignazio has co-developed a suite of tools for data literacy (DataBasic.io), developed custom software to geolocate news articles, and designed an application, "Terra Incognita", to promote global news discovery. She is currently working with the Public Laboratory for Technology and Science to explore the possibilities for journalistic storytelling with DIY environmental sensors. Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation, Turbulence.org, the LEF Foundation, and Dream It, Code It, Win It. Her work has been exhibited at the Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology, Museo d’Antiochia of Medellin, and the Venice Biennial.
Yvonne Lin is a design strategist and an expert at considering gender in developing compelling and functional solutions to complex design problems. She is the founder of Wondernik, which makes smart toys for all boys and girls and, one of the founding members of 4B and the Femme Den. As an avid skier and rockclimber, Yvonne painfully realized that the outdoor industry was falling woefully short of meeting the needs of female athletes. She quickly understood that was just an example, not an exception, of a much larger problem. Women are all too often misunderstood or ignored in the male dominated design and innovation industries. Yvonne found key weaknesses in how these industries approach design for women. She continuously develops tools to better understand and design for women. Previously, she was an Associate Director at Smart Design. She was a named a Master of Design by Fast Company. She has designed numerous award winning and best selling products, messages, and services for clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Nissan, Lego, Proctor & Gamble, Nike, Under Armour, Pyrex, and Johnson & Johnson. She is the inventor on more than 20 patents. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, I.D. Magazine, and Brazilian Vogue. In addition, she shares her knowledge by writing at fastcompany.com, is a Teaching Fellow at Philadelphia University, and speaking at events such as the Outdoor Retailer Show, Brazil MOB, IDSA, and Design Research Conference at IIT. She has a BA in Visual Art and a BA in Engineering from Brown University. She also spends a lot of time skiing, rock climbing, and dressing up her small kid in a variety of unwieldy and fuzzy outfits.
CEO and CoFounder, NextGen Jane
Ridhi Tariyal launched NextGen Jane, a women's health startup, while serving as a Blavatnik Fellow (2013 - 2014) at Harvard. She is co-inventor and co-conspirator of the company's technology (a smart tampon platform), which will be used to empower women with the tools to take more active ownership of their health. Prior to founding NextGen Jane, Ridhi helped establish the Lassa fever program in West Africa for the Broad Institute and led finances and operations of a genome wide association study in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Ms. Tariyal’s career has focused on commercializing innovations in the life sciences to improve healthcare outcomes. She has expertise in emerging markets research operations (India, Africa) and women’s reproductive health and fertility. She holds an MBA, an SM Biomedical Enterprise, and a BS in Engineering.
Design Director, Society of Grownups
At Society of Grownups, a Boston-based start-up with the mission to democratize financial literacy for the young adult set, Kristy leads design teams dedicated to crafting exceptional experiences across both digital and physical platforms. Prior to Society of Grownups, Kristy was a designer at IDEO, an award-winning global design consultancy where she helped solve design problems across a variety of industries including consumer product goods, finance, education, and healthcare. She also did a tour through the footwear industry as a product graphic designer at PUMA and Reebok. Kristy believes in a future where design is a tool that aids underserved communities in solving sociocultural problems. As the co-founder of the Detroit Water Project and founder of Tomorrow Looks Bright, Kristy has a strong commitment to furthering the accessibility of design. She is an alumna of Florida A&M University.
Zenzile Moore (moderator)
Marketing Manager, Glosten
Zenzile Brooks, PhD is the Marketing Manager for Glosten, a Seattle-based engineering consultancy focused on naval architecture, marine engineering, ocean engineering, and detailed design. Dr. Brooks earned her undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California, and obtained both a Master's and PhD in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her role as Marketing Manager combines her passions for engineering, storytelling, and building relationships. She is an active member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). A native of Oakland, California, Dr. Brooks spends her free time cooking and exploring Seattle.
Research Scientist, MIT’s Office of Digital Learning (ODL) and Biology Department
Lourdes Alemán graduated from Brown University with a BS in Biology and obtained her PhD from MIT's Biology Department, where she studied the specificity of RNA interference in Professor Phillip A. Sharp’s lab. She moved on to become a postdoctoral fellow at MIT in curriculum innovation and science education. During her work with Professor Graham Walker’s HHMI MIT Education Group, Lourdes helped develop, implement, disseminate, and assess a suite of innovative software tools for teaching experimental design and data analysis (StarBiochem, StarGenetics and StarCellBio). In her current role at ODL, she advises faculty on how to implement technology effectively in the classroom and is engaged in projects that aim to understand how students learn best. She currently serves as an instructor for MIT’s Teaching and Learning Lab where she teaches in the Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program, and also serves as a member of the MIT-Haiti Initiative, where she leads sessions for Haitian biology faculty on best practices for teaching and learning. Her latest endeavor is MIT’s first course on growth mindset and achievement that she created to help students embrace and overcome academic and career challenges.
Assistant Director, Diversity Initiatives & MIT Summer Research Program
Gloria Anglón works to implement various MIT diversity initiatives, including the MIT Summer Research Program and the CONVERGE visit weekend. She has over 10 years of administrative experience in student affairs. Prior to MIT, Gloria served as an Administrate Fellow and Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and later as the Assistant Director for Diversity and Student Engagement at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). In this role, Gloria initiated and led the graduate admissions’ diversity subcommittee resulting in a significant increase in the number of admitted and enrolled underrepresented minority and women graduate students in SEAS. Gloria holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Diversity, Business, and Politics in America from Providence College, and a Masters of Arts in Applied Sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is passionate about broadening participation in higher education and advising students.
Founder, Latinas in STEM; Cofounder and Managing Director, Make in LA
At Make in LA, LA’s only hardware-focused accelerator in the San Fernando Valley, Noramay focused on developing principled leaders with solid product and business foundations and on developing partnerships that support Los Angeles’ entrepreneurship ecosystem. Cadena is also an advisor to the Latinas in STEM Foundation, an organization she co-founded in 2013 to inspire and empower Latinas to pursue and thrive in STEM fields. Cadena holds an MBA, a Master’s in Engineering Systems and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering – all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Over the last several years, Cadena has been a featured speaker in many platforms across the country including TEDx and the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Her talks and recognitions cover technical achievement, leadership, and overcoming obstacles. She has also received various awards and recognitions including being named one of the top 26 women engineers to watch in 2016 by Business Insider, one of the top 20 Latinos in Tech by CNET in 2014. She has received national awards by the Society of Women Engineers and Great Minds in STEM. Cadena is the eldest of three children raised by immigrant parents of Mexican descent in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley. She currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her daughter and is actively involved in the community through startup mentorship, STEM outreach, professional development and volunteer work.
Associate Provost and Academic Director of Diversity & Inclusion, and Lecturer in the Education Department, Wellesley College
Dr. Robbin Chapman previously served as Manager of Diversity Recruitment and Assistant Associate Provost for Faculty Equity at MIT. Currently, Dr. Chapman provides strategic leadership and vision for Wellesley’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and academic and faculty excellence initiatives. Her design-focused course entitled, EDUC322: Digital Technologies and Learning Communities, merges education and computer science theory and praxis to create a space where students may re-imagine how learning happens in partnership with computational technologies. Dr. Chapman earned her SM degree at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and her PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. She currently serves on a number of boards and as regional liaison for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, administered through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Chapman explores creative ways of leveraging technology for learning and provides strategic leadership for equity and diversity efforts. She has consulted with many organizations, including: Boston University, Harvard University, HERC, MIT, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, Northeast Regional Computing Program, Massachusetts STEM Summit, University of North Carolina, USDA, and Vanderbilt University.
Associate Professor, University of Florida
Shaundra B. Daily ("Shani B.") is an associate professor at the University of Florida in the Department of Computer & Information Science and Engineering. Previously, she was an associate professor and interim co-chair in the School of Computing at Clemson University directing MorphLab. She received her Masters and Doctorate from the MIT Media Lab, where her doctoral work with the Affective Computing Group involved designing and implementing technology-infused learning environments that provide youth an opportunity to learn about themselves and others, and to gain insight into interpersonal dynamics. Upon arrival at the Media Lab in 2003, Shani combined the ideas of constructionist learning and affective computing to create a new system to address the emotional needs of teenaged girls. While building this system, she collaborated with the Future of Learning Group on The City that We Want project, in which learners build computational models for how they would like to improve their communities. Shani also collaborated on RoBallet, which bridged dance and robotics, and created the INNER-active Journal, a digital journal collecting physiological data for future reflection. Prior to her work at MIT, she received a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – Florida State University College of Engineering. She designed curriculum for and facilitated Technical OutReach Community Help (T.O.R.C.H.), a program of the National Society of Black Engineers geared toward closing the digital divide. Shani has been profiled in the American Association for Advancement in Science website profiling African American Scientists; Engineer Your Life, geared towards encouraging young women to pursue engineering careers; and WGBH’s Science City. Trinity Broadcasting Network, Science Update Radio Program, National Public Radio, and Under the Microscope have also recognized her work. Currently, she is an Institute for the Advancement of Healthcare Scholar and a Diverse Issues in Higher Education Emerging Scholar.
Chief, DuKorp and Principal, Brooklyn’s DuKode Studio
Arlene Ducao makes technologies that examine the relationship between the natural landscape, our built environments, and ourselves. She is the chief at DuKorp (an MIT spinoff), a principal at Brooklyn's DuKode Studio, and inventor of MindRider, the mindmapping helmet system profiled in WIRED, New York Times, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, Fast Company, Science Channel, and many more. She teaches at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and MIT DUSP. She holds degrees from the University of Maryland, the School of Visual Arts, and MIT
Founder and CEO, Startups for Social Impact
Francesca is founder and CEO of Startups For Social Impact, a social enterprising coaching and consulting firm. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Francesca is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), serial entrepreneur, and certified professional business coach. She focuses her work on the intersection of technology and social enterprising, especially using technology to fight poverty, disease and social injustice. She is a nationally recognized trainer and speaker, featured in numerous conferences and publications including SXSW, Forbes.com, Platform, WPI Journal, Huffington Post, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Cosmo For Latinas, and many more.
Assistant Professor of Design, Olin College of Engineering
Sara Hendren is an artist, design researcher, and professor based in Cambridge, MA. She makes material art and design works, writes, and lectures on adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, inclusive design, accessible architecture, and related ideas. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad and is held in the permanent collection at MOMA (NYC). Her writing and design work have appeared in the Boston Globe, The Atlantic Tech, FastCo Design, and on National Public Radio (US), among others. She teaches socially-engaged design practices, adaptive and assistive technology design, and disability studies for engineers-in-training in her role as assistant professor at Olin College.
Engineering Program Manager, Apple
Joy is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina and a recent graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with her doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science. She also received her master's of science (MIT) and bachelor's of science (North Carolina State University) degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. In her PhD work, Joy built one of the first particle-scale models and experimentation techniques for the aggregation of nanoparticles used for chemical mechanical planarization, a seminal process used to build computer chips. Still active in the research community, she decided to take an entrepreneurial path post-graduation translating her coding skills from modeling nano-fabrication processes to mobile. She lead mobile at MIT music technology startup, AudioCommon and recently transitioned to the Special Projects Group at Apple were she is an engineering program manager for SW User Experience. An avid music lover, when not coding or doing research, you will probably find Joy at a concert or rocking out on a running trail!
Advocate for Gender Equity in Technology
In 2014, Lauren Kinsey became obsessed with how the tech industry is shaping our world. She began using her talents for storytelling, connecting, questioning, and communicating to amplify key messages on the topic of gender and tech. When she gave a talk at TEDx Columbus Women in 2015, on how Women Can Hack into Tech, she created a website to accompany it. Every day, women continue to use the site to find alternative educational pathways into tech. The TEDx talk opened up ongoing conversations with people in the industry and Lauren noticed a demand for male ally skills building. In 2016, she was invited to give a talk for male allies at a local user group and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. In response to ongoing requests for helping men develop the ability to most effectively become champions for gender balance in tech, she created Male Ally Mountain, a game that some may find as addictive as Pokémon Go.
Assistant Director for Conflict Management@MIT
Libby is a seasoned conflict management trainer, coach, facilitator, and mediator. She is the creator and lead trainer for MIT’s 3-Tier Conflict Management training, a 40-hour training run three times a year for all members of the community. Additionally, Libby offers a variety of shorter trainings and workshops in the suite of conflict management skills – e.g., bystander intervention, intercultural communication, negotiation – and serves as the lead trainer and administrator for the REFS program (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress, a peer conflict management program). Libby also provides the undergraduate and graduate student populations with direct conflict management services, such as short- and long-term coaching, mediation, facilitation, and restorative practices. Outside of MIT, she is a Principal with Active Neutrals, a Boston-based conflict management training group. With a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in Spanish and social science, and a Master's degree from Tufts University in urban and environmental policy and planning, Libby brings a social and environmental justice perspective to her interpersonal work.
Startup Advisor & Mom
Nathalie Miller has been an early team member of multiple tech startups, including Instacart where she designed and scaled operations during its years of hyper growth. She also consulted and briefly directed partnerships at CODE2040, which connects Black and Latino/a technologists to the innovation economy. In 2015, she co-founded Doxa, leading a founding team of engineers and data scientists to build a beta product that uses algorithms to match women to compatible tech companies based on skills, social traits, and work values. In a past life, Nathalie was the country director of an international NGO and cofounder of a microfinance nonprofit that provided financial services and products to ethnic minority women in Vietnam’s rural highlands. She also led a team of international consultants and researchers to advise the Vietnamese government’s drug rehabilitation policy. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, Anita Borg Institute, Business Insider, and others. Nathalie has been a National Science Fellow, UNESCO fellow, and Fulbright scholar. She holds an MA in sociology from UC Berkeley and a BA from Harvard, where she was awarded the Hoopes Prize for best undergraduate thesis and the Katharine Huggins Award for the Afro-American studies department’s top honors thesis.
Senior Partner, MindSpring Metro DC
In Denise's position, she provides customized learning and training programs based upon each client's needs and interests. Ms. Minor's areas of expertise include leadership training, executive coaching, team building, and professional development. She is currently penning her first book on individual and collaborative leadership, with a dual emphasis in training and practical application. Current and previous clients include, the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Medtrition, Inc. and the law firm of Crowell & Moring. At MindSpring Metro DC, the primary goal is to help individuals connect with one another in their work environment. She is driven by a commitment to designing sustainable and strategic solutions that improve personal relationships and self-awareness, as well as a dedication to collaboration and engagement. Prior to joining MindSpring Metro DC, Ms. Minor spent over 28 years in public service as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As a certified FBI instructor, she worked as a facilitator/instructor for the FBI's leadership development program team - the overarching goal of which was to improve and shift the management culture in the FBI to one of leadership. Ms. Minor holds a Juris Doctor degree from Lewis and Clark Law School, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French from Colorado College.
Assistant Director, MIT LBGT Services
Julio R. Oyola (they series/all pronouns used respectfully) grew up in the rural campo of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, to the sounds of coquíes, gallos, and perseverance. At MIT, they support the multiplicity of the community through policy reform, bystander intervention workshops, and advising. Julio has facilitated workshops for professionals and graduate and undergraduate students on navigating difficult dialogues, and has served as a panelist on webcasts through NASPA and Higher Ed Live on justice-centered leadership and LGBTQ+ Latinx issues in higher education. Julio holds a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of San Francisco as well as a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida International University.
Cofounder & CEO, SYPartners
For more than twenty years, Susan Schuman has served as a trusted advisor to leaders taking on profound transformation in their organizations. As the cofounder and CEO of SYPartners—a consultancy and product company dedicated to helping companies, teams, and individuals be their best—Susan has built a practice that helps the world’s most visionary leaders guide their companies through massive change and growth. She's worked alongside CEOs and executive teams at IBM, eBay, Facebook, Gannett, USA Today, GE, Target, Starbucks, Oprah Winfrey and OWN, Ann Inc., Blackstone, Kohl’s, The CW, and Yahoo!, among many others. SYPartners has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Fortune for its unique, human-centered approach, applied to both business and social challenges. To scale the transformational impact of SYPartners' work, Susan launched a products division that creates digital tools based on insights and methods from the consulting practice. Software products include Unstuck (an award-winning app and editorial platform), Teamworks (a set of collaborative tools for managers and their teams), and Leadfully, a digital tool with accompanying advisory services that helps frontline leaders be at their best. In 2014, SYPartners became a founding member of kyu, a global collective of best-in-class companies using creativity to solve the world’s most pressing business and social challenges. Other kyu companies include IDEO, Sid Lee, and Digital Kitchen. Prior to SYPartners, Susan was the General Manager of Studio Archetype, one of the first, and premier web design firms in the country. She also ran her own marketing and product strategy consulting firm, and spent seven years at Apple Computer, where she was Group Manager of Worldwide Product Marketing.
Eyebeam Fellow with the Buzzfeed Eyebeam Open Lab, UX designer and artist
Caroline Sinders is an artist, researcher and designer with a speciality in machine learning and conversation. As the Eyebeam Fellow, Caroline is building chat bots and machine learning commenting systems to mitigate abuse. Prior to her fellowship, she was a user researcher at IBM Watson. Caroline holds a master's degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University's Photography and Imaging Program. Her work focuses on the intersections of ethnography, visual systems, machine learning, language, data, trauma, and online harassment. Caroline’s work has been featured in the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, Style.com, Fusion News, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Babycastles Gallery, IXDA and the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress (32c3). She recently completed a residency at Studio for Creative Inquiry on her Designing Consent Into Social Networks research.